Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No Cream - Cream of "Choose Your Own Vegetable" Soup

I make soup all the time. It’s a great way to use up vegetables from the garden or the farmshare (especially when they hit all at once – tomatoes, I’m looking at you.) Anyway, I use pretty much the same recipe for every soup I make. The only thing that changes is that I swap out the vegetable for whatever is in season.* And maybe change the spices around a little bit. I make asparagus soup in the spring, a curried zucchini soup in the summer, and a corn bisque in the fall. Soup is also a good way to use up vegetables from the farmshare that aren’t necessarily my favorites. I’m not a huge fan of sweet peppers. I’ll throw some red sweets in with the tomatoes when I am making tomato soup and I don’t even realize I am eating them.

So I call this “Cream of Choose Your Own Vegetable Soup”. Today its corn.

I find it easiest to prep all my ingredients before I make the soup. So I have chopped up an onion, garlic and some chiles. I also chopped up some celery because I had a lot of celery and figured I should use some up.

And I removed the kernels from 4 ears of corn.

Saute one diced onion with four chopped cloves of garlic and a couple diced chiles in a little bit of olive oil (and maybe a little bit of butter if I am feeling decadent.) When the onions turn transluscent, I add half of the kernels from the 3 – 4 ears of corn that I have removed from the cob. I throw in some thyme (thyme is ALWAYS good in a vegetable soup) and saute for a few more minutes. Then I add a little wine (boxed Pinot Grigio is perfect), cover the vegetables in chicken stock and allow them to simmer until tender. It doesn’t take very long with the corn; 10 minutes is plenty of time. I remove the soup from the stove, and puree with an immersion blender. Then I put it back on the heat, add the remaining corn, a bay leaf and enough stock to bring it to a consistency that I like. Then I taste, salt and pepper. Simmer again until corn is tender. Its ready. (You might have noticed that I don’t add cream to my “Cream of Choose Your Own Vegetable Soup”. I don’t like the guilt I feel the extra calories. And it really doesn’t need it. But, in a perfect world where fat didn’t exist, I might find occasion to enrich the soup with a little heavy cream right at the end.)

This soup is fool proof. I like to garnish with something crunchy like fried tortilla or wonton strips. As I am not a huge fan of frying things in my kitchen, I usually buy these thing already prepared. The grocery stores sell them in resealable bags over by the croutons and salad dressings.

I always make extra and freeze it for quick lunches. The Schnucks Olive Bar containers are the PERFECT size for freezing as they hold two servings of soup.

*How do I know if a vegetable is in season if I don’t have a garden or shop at the farmers market? The cheapest vegetables are usually the ones that are in season. Corn that’s on sale at the grocery store 4 ears for $1? That’s in season.

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