Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Leftover Vegetable Soup of Doom!

Just before I left for Fresno for the holidays (so called) I checked the fridge and saw that I had accumulated a variety of vegetables. I envisioned two alternate futures for them:

1) I could just leave it all and let it funk out while I was gone, and then throw it all away when I returned, or

2) I could chop it all up and cook it in a big pot and then have several quarts of soup in the freezer for the coming winter months.

What hung in the balance on the purely material level, you ask? Dear reader, you should know that I had carrots, celery, a parsnip, two crowns of broccoli, and three Russet potatoes. I also had a half head of garlic and an onion that probably would last another week without much harm (they weren't in the fridge though). Luckily, I was carried along by a slowly building agitation and excitement by the idea -- and the clear prospect of mass-production awesomeness -- and I went for option 2. In the alternate PKD universe there is a very depressed person blogging his regrets about leaving good food to rot over the holidays, and probably vowing to not waste food and to not be so lazy in the future, and writing a hollow but emphatic manifesto about improving his quality of life from a behavioral perspective. But none of you have to read that blog. You are in the beneficent parallel universe thanks to my bold actions, and you can leave praises to me in the comments as is your wont.

Leftover Vegetable Soup of DOOM!
I pureed this at the end, so broad strokes in prep and cooking are all that's required. Peel as necessary/desired and chop up into more or less medium/small pieces and throw into a big old pot, mine being a cheap-ass ersatz (cf. PKD) lobster pot:

4 carrots (organic, whoop-de-doo)
6 celery stalks
9 cloves of garlic
1 big old parsnip
2 broccoli crowns (stalks were roughly peeled and the cores were chopped into the soup)
1 big yellow onion
3 Russet potatoes
Not chopped:
2 bay leaves
12 whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp canning salt (NB: This was slightly too much. I say 1-1.5 Tbsp or salt to taste only at the end.)

Add 4 qt of water and bring to a steady boil for about 30 min.

Add (all dry):

1 Tbsp basil
1 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp cumin

Stir in and turn down to a simmer/low boil for 30 min or so. Remove bay leaves and puree it all in a blender in batches and remix it. Salt, etc., to taste.

This made about 5qt, which mostly I froze in ~1 qt increments. As I note above, this was a bit too salty, but not to the point of being inedible, to my taste anyway.

Frozen quanta of soup, in situ, next to quanta of Amish chicken.
I'm pretty happy with the mix of herbs here, since I always have a hard time getting the distinctive dill, sweet tarragon/basil and earthy cumin flavors to have any balance. Probably the mix of sulfurous brassicas, sweet roots, and smooth alliums make a complementary set of contrasts to them. Anyway, Rock!   


  1. Back when my Hungarian grands were both still alive, I would make levis (soup), but one didn't like too many veg and the other did. So I would blend half of them near the end.

    Worked great for both.

    Happy Soup making. It's one of the greatest things ever. Right now I'm into butt soup make from pork butt or shoulder butt, I dunno, some kind of butt.

    Either way, it's nummy.

  2. I just bought a small pork shoulder at Wegman's yesterday, thinking of some sort of crockpot all-day simmering type of stew. Any suggestions for a Hungarian-ish approach. Just remembered I lost my good paprika during Thanksgiving ... ugh.

  3. Yes, yes, yes, I do.

    I did this two ways, one with lots of veg and the other more of a pulled pork kind of way.

    For the veggie and most yummy, I chopped onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, parsley, raw garlic, celery (I think I had celery), and I used Kosher salt, organic black pepper, and good Hungarian paprika.

    I don't remember if I used onion and garlic powder. I want to say that I didn't, but can't recall for sure. I think I had the paprika and raw garlic be the star.

    Anyway, I chopped the pork into bits and brought it all to a boil, then simmered for I believe 2 hours before I tasted and adjusted the seasonings. Then I think it was one more hour or nearly. Could have been 30 minutes.

    Let me tell you, the meat was so frickin' good and the broth was amazing. Then I stored this in the fridge and as it usually goes, the next two days it was more tender and delicious.

    I love butt soup. Hey, that might be a good title for one of my upcoming posts. I'm tellin' ya, for a cheap cut of meat, this stuff worked great.

  4. Holy hell that sounds hardcore. I'll try this soon. The shoulder I had went off the day before scheduled ... I am grateful for Wegman's here but they are pitting fresh meat sales against valu-pak sales and the meat hangs in the balance. Dang it!

  5. No, it's real simple. Just tossed it all together and let it do the work. Was yummy.

    Did you return the meat? I hate when that happens.