Wednesday, February 06, 2008


One of the easiest ways you can evolve from good to great is to help a neighbour in need, and one of the most common ways to do this is with food. You could be cooking a meal for someone who is sick, or just showing up with something great for the next potluck. There is a reason why neighbours from miles around drop off food when there is a death in the family. Today I'm going to share with you the secret to making a great cream of vegetable soup.

For starters, any type of vegetable will do, as this recipe is universal. Some suggestions could be standards like carrots, cauliflower, leek, or asparagus. The vegetable doesn't really matter. I usually try to use whatever is on sale at the local grocery or farmers market.

Secret #1 = Equal amount of chopped onion. If you have 3 cups of carrots you need 3 cups of chopped onions. Cook the onions and your vegetable of choice in a large pot with a nice sized chunk of butter or margarine. I find roughly 1/3 cup if you had a total of 6 cups of whatever vegetable and onion you are using. Keep stirring this on medium heat until the onions are softened. This should take about 20 minutes

Secret #2 = Add about 1 parts peeled and finely chopped potato for every 3 parts of vegetable. So once again for those not good with math. 3 cups of insert vegetable here, 3 cups of onion and 1 cup of potato. You are using the potato to help thicken the soup instead of using cream or homo milk, so your soup will be a lower fat option.

Once you have added the potato, go ahead and add your stock. Chicken stock works best in most soups, but a nice tomato stock really bumps up a carrot or squash based soup. Vegetable stock is an alternative for you granola crunching hippy vegan types. You know what tastes good together, trust your instincts. My standard is 8 cups of chicken stock based on the amount discussed above (3 cups of any vegetable, 3 cups onion, 1 cup potato).

Bring all of this to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover and simmer until all vegetables are soft or until you are ready for the next step. The longer you simmer, the richer the soup.

The next step involves a hand blender, a must-have kitchen appliance. You don't need to spend alot of money, the one I use cost less then $20. Blend everything until the soup is creamy. Just stick that hand blender into the pot like it is an outboard motor and giv' er. Watch out for hot soup splashes! Once the soup is fully blended add salt and pepper to taste and about 1/3 cup of whole milk or cream to finish it off. Give it a quick stir and you are ready to serve.

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