I have officially declared today I Still Get to Eat Like a Vegetarian Day. The following soup is one of my favorites – soothing, delicious, can be made very low cal, and is nicely high in vitamins. I think I'll pair it with a toasted tomato, basil, provolone cheese sandwich made with wheat berry bread. No quibbling as to the vegetarian nature of cheese and evaporated milk, this is my blog and what I say goes...it even counts if I decide to use the bacon.
For those that are interested in such things as nutrition facts, they have been analyzed at Calorie Count!
Ingredients with special notes:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2-4 c red potato, diced (peeling is optional)
1 c onion, diced
1 c celery, sliced (include some of the leaves)
1 ½ c carrot, sliced
1 sweet red bell pepper (optional)
7-14 pieces of bacon, cut in to chunks (this is optional and it's real handy to use the precooked bacon so you don't have to drain the fat - sometimes I just cook some bacon and crumble it for the meat eaters at the table to enjoy and have my soup vegetarian!)
3 teaspoons garlic, chopped
1 ½ teaspoon thyme
1 t paprika
4 c Vegetable Stock (you could use chicken stock if you prefer. I like Kitchen Basics brand. You might need a little more if you add too many potatoes!)
2 tablespoon parsley, chopped, or 1 tsp dried
½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
12 oz can of evaporated milk (optional for extra creaminess)
shredded cheese (optional)
1. In a large pot, saute the onion, celery and carrot in olive oil til veggies are softened a bit (if you are adding chunks of bacon, you can do that here)
2. add garlic, thyme, and paprika and saute a minute or two
3. Add potato, veggie stock (enough to cover the veggies) - preferably low sodium, and the rest of the seasonings.
4. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered (tilt the lid to vent a bit) til veggies are cooked (approx 30-45 minutes), stir every now and then. You can add more stock if it reduces too much or if it does not look like the veggies are covered.
5. Stir in the evaporated milk and cheese (if you are using them) shortly before preparing for serving.
6. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Let aroma and your own taste buds be the judge of what is right for you. Ditto with what spices and/or herbs to use. Experiment, soup is a wonderful flexible thing.
7. Before serving, mash a few of the potatoes with a fork as this gives the soup a nice thickness yet still retains its rustic chunky character.
8. If you really want it thick, either increase the amount of potatoes or make a roux and add some during the last five minutes. Today I added the roux, but I used a few shakes of Tony Chachere's instant powdered roux which works amazingly well!
9. The bacon is not recommended if you are trying to recover from a carnivorous attack, but can be minimized with a small crumble of them on the top at serving time.
10. Serve with a nice tall glass of locally grown cool water enhanced with a squishing of fresh lemon or lime.