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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Zuppa! #1

It's been cold and rainy in New England this past week. Having a great new cold and being relatively sleep-deprived I've had a hankering for some hot soup. Well, I hadn't gotten than as of Thursday night and so I decided I'd make some for Friday.
This was adapted from a post on Vegan Dad and another from NPR's Kitchen Window series from last year. It came out well (although, I prefer low sodium and love cinnamon, whereas those who ate it with me felt otherwise on both points). Served with some hearty bread, maybe a bit of cheese it's a great fall soup. If you like, add come cooked brown rice, Barley, Farro... the list goes on...
1 cinnamon stick, whole
4 cups of Vegetable Stock
2 cups of water
1 can White beans, or whatever you may prefer
1 Sweet Potato, Sliced and quartered
2 small potatoes (I used a purple-skinned Russet and a fully purple potato - color good!)
1 1/2 cups Kale, chopped
1 Onion
8-10 button mushrooms, sliced into sixths
a few cloves garlic, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced and halved (1-inch pieces)
2 apples (I used fresh Macs) finely cubed
8 or so fresh Sage leaves
a sprig of fresh Rosemary
Olive Oil
Ground Nutmeg
Bay Leaves (I never have any so I used old Bay seasoning - sodium free!)
Ginger (powder, sadly - I recommend about 1/2 of a walnut sized piece, grated)
Optional: cooked Farro, Rice, or other grain of your liking (and depending on volume desired....)

For starters, I think i give up on putting down spice measurements for the most part - they can be so personal (I'll stick with them in baking maybe...).
Begin by slicing the onion and caramelizing it with the garlic and olive oil. As it sits, browned, add the vegetable stock to a large pot and heat, adding the potatoes as they're prepared. As the stock begins to boil, empty the onions into another container and begin to sauté the chopped kale in any oil left from the onions (perhaps adding a splash extra).
Add the onions to the stock and add water towards the end of the Kale's cooking - it needn't be softened too much, merely to break down some of its Kaleness if that makes any sense... Chop the other vegetables as the kale cools in its pan, beginning with the apples.
Add first these chopped apples, then each subsequently prepared vegetable to the soup, adding water as needed. Add any spices to taste, and continue to top with water, stirring occasionally.
You may need to add more stock if too much water has been added - it shsould allow for a thick soup but not stew-like consistency.
Add the beans last - about half an hour prior to completion (if using canned as I did be sure to rinse first).
Add any grain about ten minutes later (cooked, remember) and let simmer, covered or un, depending on desired thickness. And don't forget to remove the cinnamon stick at about this point in cooking, before the final simmering takes place.
Update: It's better leftover - the flavors have to "blend" as they say. THERE'S STILL HOPE!

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