Soup – glorious soup! I just love the textures, flavors and comfort of a really great soup.
In my ‘mothering’ years, I wanted so much to place steaming bowls of over-the-top soup in front of my family and then, have them clamor for more. Unfortunately, I think I over-tried, over-thought and over-pursued this soup goal for most of those years.
On the plus side, whenever I made my mother’s split pea or lentil soup, everyone sighed with blissful relief, but those were the only times soup-success was guaranteed. My own forgettable soup offerings would most often languish in the refrigerator until they had to be thrown out.
With time, I have figured out how to make the most wonderful soups - soups I would have been proud to place in front of my now-far-flung family. The variety of soups I prepare today can be counted on to turn out perfectly every time from my easy-to-understand recipes.
Tuscan Springtime Vegetable Soup
(The ingredients list is not rigid - add more if you are cooking for a crowd)
1/2 C celery ribs with leaves, chopped
3 Carrots, cleaned and sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
2-3 Green onions, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1/2 C zucchini, cut into chunks
1 Can seasoned butter beans (other beans may be substituted), drained
1-2 C cooked, fragrant rice
2-3 T butter
Grated Parmesan cheese
Tuscan Chicken Blend seasoning (Sam's Club - Tone's brand)
2 tsp Better-Than-Bouillon chicken flavoring
Few dashes Tabasco, chipotle flavor
(Optional vegetables: mushrooms, red pepper pieces, garlic, yellow squash pieces, spinach - chopped)
In a med-sized pot, add 2 C water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to med-low and add the celery leaves, onions and zucchini. Simmer uncovered until onions are tender. Meanwhile, add cut carrots to a steamer bag and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Add to vegetable mixture in soup pot. Dissolve bouillon in 2 cups hot water. Add to soup stock. Remove celery pieces and a few carrot and zucchini pieces to a blender or Vita mix. Add some stock to keep the mixture from from clumping as it is pulsed. Add pureed mixture to soup pot. Season with pepper blend and Tuscan seasoning and Tabasco; add beans and rice and butter. After butter melts, mix soup gently. Taste and adjust seasoning. If too salty, add 1/2-1 C hot water. Remove pot from heat and ladle soup into serving bowls. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.