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Verses from my Kitchen: Rustic Vegetable Soup

January 26, 2011

Rustic Vegetable Soup

When I was a kid I used to live at the hockey arena. I'm Canadian, it's our birthright. I would wake up at the crack of dawn and slide my skates through my stick, throw it over my shoulder and start walking towards the local outdoor rink. When the rickety caged fence would open up I'd be the first one through it. I would nod at the the gate keeper like I was on my way to to work. Once inside I would skate and play until my toes threatened to fall off.

I used to spend hours upon hours honing my skills and working on my game. Most kids dream of being a firefighter or policeman but in this country everybody dreams of being in the NHL. One day my dream would be crushed but that didn't stop me from spending the better part of my youth on a sheet of ice playing with strangers who quickly became friends.

It didn't matter how cold it was or how harsh the winds were, I would be there. You could set my $2 watch by it. My toque (yes, that's what we call a hat) would cling to my ears as if my bigger brother protecting me from the weather. I didn't care about the wind chill or frost warnings. I didn't care about anything back then. I had an ace in the hole.

A big pot of soup.
I'd walk home knowing after the better part of the day knowing my mom would have a pot of soup on the stove. I'd step inside the house and immediately feel better. The aroma would hug me and warm me up. By the time my coat was off there would be a bowl of soup waiting at my spot at the table. It was instant warmth. It was perfect. My toes would uncurl and my ears would soften up.

I'll be honest, soup gets mad love in my house but vegetable soup was always like the ugly step-sister. When I was young it was all about mushroom or tomato or chicken noodle soup. The thoroughbreds of canned soup. Vegetable soup was the soup you had when the cupboards ran bare and you ran out of the good stuff. You would eat it but your mom knew you were doing so grudgingly.

It's not that way anymore. I still have a deep affection for the soups I grew up on but vegetable soup plays an important role in my house today. It's perfect this time of year, when cold takes on a new meaning. It's chunky and hearty and laced with flavour. With a couple pieces of crusty bread alongside the bowl, this is a meal by itself. And, just as importantly, when you make a big batch it holds and gains flavour so it's arguably better the next day.

This is my kind of baby-it's-cold-outside soup. It's fills you up and leaves you wanting more. It's a new kind of memory that I'll hold onto for a long time to come.

From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!

Rustic Vegetable Soup

The Goods:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 large vidalia onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 leek, chopped (white parts only)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 large can tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 4-5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of pasta
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, leek, carrot, celery and cook for 5 minutes to sweat them. Do not caramelize them.
  2. Add the paste and tomatoes and cook and stir. Add the stock, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot. Cook for 30 minutes. Add the pasta of your choice and cook for 8-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to your taste and serve with a couple pieces of crusty bread. Serve 4.

**This post made #1 on Foodbuzz Top 9!

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At January 26, 2011 at 5:47 PM , Blogger Vicki Wilde said...

Such a simple and classic vegetable soup, love it. We could definitely use some warming up here!

At January 26, 2011 at 8:43 PM , Blogger Rosemary said...

such a simple soup but full of flavour and texture, can hardly wait to put a patch of soup on over the weekend.

At January 26, 2011 at 9:38 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

So true, Vicki! Simple is great. Thank you!!

At January 26, 2011 at 10:02 PM , Blogger All That's Left Are The Crumbs said...

You are so right. There is nothing better to come home to on a cold winter's day than a big pot of soup. It warms you from the inside out. And it's even better the next, if there is any left. I lived in Toronto for 2 years when I was first married and remember the bitter cold, but I also remember it as one of my most favorite places in the world.

At January 27, 2011 at 7:51 AM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thank you again. Our weather is predictable in that it's unpredictable. Soup always helps this time of year! Where are you now?

At January 27, 2011 at 8:47 AM , Blogger Melissa @IWasBornToCook said...

Looks delicious and comforting!

At January 27, 2011 at 11:01 AM , Blogger Diethood.com said...

Ah that bowl of soup looks so delicious and comforting!

You Canadians really are crazy about your hockey. I have a few friends up in Toronto and all they ever want to talk about is hockey. I like to rub it in their face about the Blackhawks victory last year :))

At January 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thank you Melissa. It's definitely a comforting cup of soup. Great this time of year!

Kate, don't rub it in too much. The Blackhawks had more active Canadians on their team than any other NHL club. 20 Canadians. So blame Canada! ;)

At January 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM , Blogger Hope said...

Looks easy & delicious, thanks for sharing! It would taste great with my warm romaine salad (http://hopecooks.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-leaf.html) on the side,a nice loaf of very crusty bread and a glass of red wine!

At January 27, 2011 at 2:37 PM , Blogger All That's Left Are The Crumbs said...

I now live in the opposite end of cold - Hawaii.

At January 27, 2011 at 7:25 PM , Blogger Tiffany said...

This soup looks so comforting!

At January 28, 2011 at 2:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

yum, this looks very homestyle...real comfort food :)

At January 28, 2011 at 4:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely soup. right up my street!! Congrats on Top 9, glad I found your blog, Thanks!

At January 28, 2011 at 6:41 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Looking forward to trying the recipe. The picture shows carrots, but the recipe doesn't mention them?


At January 28, 2011 at 7:53 AM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thanks Hope, i'll be sure to check it out!

Hawaii? I'm jealous now!

Thank you Tiffany, it was! Just what I needed.

MB, thanks so much. Just what the doc ordered.

Thank you FBATD! Glad you found it as well! Thanks for the congrats!

Mary, thanks for catching that. I edited the recipe. Oversight on my part.

At January 28, 2011 at 9:21 AM , Blogger Peggy said...

I think vegetable soup is one of my favorites! Its great to clean out the crisper drawers at the end of the week, and it warms the soul! Your version looks absolutely delicious!

At January 28, 2011 at 9:41 AM , Blogger Diethood.com said...

I'm singing, Blame Canada Blame Canada! :)

Congrats on Top 9 - well deserved!!

At January 28, 2011 at 10:28 AM , Blogger Kim said...

oh my, this looks so hearty and warm - perfect winter soup! congrats on top 9 :).

At January 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

delicious food and pictures, authentic recipe that are easy to replicate at home, thank you for sharing this recipe with us!

At January 28, 2011 at 1:33 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Peggy, it's one of my favourites now as well. Thank you!

Kate, sing away! Thank you for the comment.

Junia, it definitely hits the spot when it's cold out. Thanks for the congrats!

BDC, thank you kindly! It should be easy peasy to make at home. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

At January 28, 2011 at 3:57 PM , Blogger Susan Lindquist said...

Ha! Great story about your wintertime skating days! I, too, had my love of soup after a hard day of sledding on cold winter days in northern New York State (right on the Canadian border!)... my Mom used to make big pots of vegetablesoup or tomato soup and bake bread for all of us kids to devour. Your post brought back such great memories!

At January 28, 2011 at 4:13 PM , Blogger Magdalena said...

I come from Poland; in my country, eating soups as a starter of the main meal (obiad) is a tradition. Polish are soups eaters, and mee, too. I love soups, and yours is appealing.

At January 28, 2011 at 5:56 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thanks Susan! Those were the days, no? At least our moms took good care of us! Although mine didn't bake bread so you had that extra bit of something with your soup! Lucky you. Thanks again!

Magdalena, thank you so much! I love soups as well, maybe more than any other group. Thanks for the comment.

At February 1, 2011 at 10:39 AM , Blogger Eliotseats said...

Sounds like a great recipe, and so versatile. I imagine one could throw in whatever veggies were fresh and on hand.


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