When the weather gets chilly I crave a hearty bowl of hot soup.
One of the beauties of this hearty recipe is that it can be made in a crock-pot, possibly one of the greatest advancements in the cooking world next only to the combination bread and pasta machine. Further, this recipe embodies the essence of harvest, with enough room to add or eliminate your own choice of vegetables once you get the hang of it.
3 Red Potatoes in 1/2" Cubes, but Yukon Gold or any other are just as delectable
1/2 Chopped small Yellow Onion
2 Sliced Carrots
5 Minced Garlic Cloves, but my family members are garlic fanatics, so cut it to 2 or 3 if garlic isn’t your favorite flavor
2 Sliced Leeks, or you can eliminate this and include another onion
3 Stalks Celery, chopped
2 tsp Salt, or eliminate this and the pepper and use Creole seasoning for a more southern taste
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 C. Sliced Green Beans about 2” long
1 Zucchini peeled and chopped
6 Chopped Okra, the little seeds cook up to a purple color and fall out of their shells
1 Ear of Corn, slide a knife along the sides to cut off the kernels or buy frozen corn
1/4 C. Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 bay leaf, do not crumble this up you want to take it out when you are done!
3 Diced ripe Tomatoes, if you do not want the skins floating around be sure to gently slice an X onto the bottom, then drop the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds, and lastly deposit them into ice water before effortlessly peeling them off
1 Quart of Chicken or Vegetable Broth, but my family makes a lot of meals that produce rich gravies (the French call it “au jus”) that I dilute half and half with water when I have it
As I mentioned, this recipe is ideal for a 4-quart crock pot, but it can also be made on a stove. Start by washing, peeling, and slicing all of your vegetables. Mincing the garlic is the best for making sure the flavor is evenly distributed. A trick to getting the annoying peels off quickly is to crush the garlic under the knife first.
Stir your choice of seasonings into the broth and pour it on top. Cover and set the pot to “Low.” Go rake some leaves and enjoy some festive pile-jumping for the next seven hours. When you come back in from your chilly excursions, warm up with this hearty soup. I have added brown rice, couscous, or small noodles to bulk up the soup to a stew in the last two hours of simmering. Again, this recipe was made for tinkering, mess with the ingredients until you find the right balance to suit your harvest tastes.
This picture includes my Best Served Piping Hot Apple Butter.