Autumn Vegetable Soup

Cooking With Co-Op Basics: Simple Vegetable Soup

Course: Main Dish, Soup

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Cuisine: Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 4

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 celery stalks, chopped

  • 1 Bag Sno-Pac Mixed Vegetables (or vegetable of choice)*

  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic (bulk item)

  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning blend (bulk item)

  • 1 can diced tomatoes*

  • 3 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef broth

  • 1 tsp salt, to taste (bulk item)

  • 2 bay leaves (bulk item)

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (bulk item)

  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained (reserve liquid separately) or 1 cup dried beans cooked up to 4 days prior (see note).*

  • 2 cups fresh kale roughly chopped with tough ribs removed separately and finely chopped

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*Indicates Co-Op Basics Item

Instructions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.

  2. Add the granulated garlic and Italian Seasoning. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes and frozen vegetables and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.

  3. Pour in the kale stems, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

  4. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the great northern beans and the chopped kale. Continue simmering for 10 minutes, until the greens have softened to your liking.

  5. Remove the pot from heat, then remove the bay leaves. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

 

Note on cooking beans: Soak beans overnight in enough liquid to cover 3-4 inches above beans. Drain. Slow cook with enough water to cover by 2 inches. To maximize effort, consider cooking enough beans for multiple meals and freezing or refrigerating extra. Beans will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Alternative uses include bean spread or hummus, adding to salads, or bulking up sauteed vegetables or to compliment meat or grains.

 

Flavor Alternatives: this recipe is meant to be adapted to your own tastes and mood so you don't get bored. Consider substituting other seasoning blends (curry powder, garam masala, herbs de provence) to change the flavor profile. Wilty greens that you think are too soft for salad or peeled stems of broccoli, stems of collards, mustards or other greens can be substituted for the kale. Any other preferred frozen vegetable can be substituted.

 

For a heartier version and if your budget allows, add 2 cups diced potatoes or sweet potatoes or other root vegetables in during step 3. Or 2 cups pre-cooked pasta or grains (barley or rice) can be added during the final 5 minutes of the simmer. Add an additional teaspoon of salt to accommodate these additions.

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo

Of all the products I put on my preservation spreadsheet each year, the one with the least yield and a crazy amount of labor would be these tiny jars of canned smoked jalapenos. As a result, I put off this part of my preservation plan until it’s really almost too late. Some years, it has been.

Even with all that, I still love this recipe. A jar of canned Adobo peppers is probably less than a dollar at your nearest Mexican grocer so if you’re budgeting tight for what to buy local and what to skip, I would skip this one. But... I love that I can control the sourcing of the tomatoes and the concentration of flavor in this recipe, so here we go.

Even in late October it is possible to find the last red jalapenos from your local farmer. If you have time smoke and dehydrate them within the next week or two, before they turn to mush in your fridge, I highly recommend it even if you don't end up simmering them in this sauce and canning them. Dry them and grind them up to add to winter stews and chili or other sauces and call it a day. This year, I used frozen tomatoes for my pepper sauce and I didn’t notice any major difference from the previous years’ batches.

Since peppers are low-acid foods, it’s important to follow a recipe to ensure the pH is low enough to prevent botulism. I found this recipe several years ago and really enjoy it, though I’ve always come up short on the quantity it claims to make (five 4oz jars). I would wager the weight of the peppers in the recipe is post-smoked/dried. Bear this in mind when you make it at home too.

Chipotle In Adobo Sauce

From Homespun Seasonal Living

(http://homespunseasonalliving.com/chipotle-adobo-sauce-canning-recipe/)

1 1/2 Ounces Chipotles (smoke-dried) jalapenos*
2 Cups Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Cup White Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Onion, chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 Cup Honey
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
1/8 teaspoon Cloves
 

Instructions

  1. Mix everything together in a pot and cook until thick, stirring occasionally. It'll take at least 30 minutes. You could also put it all in a slow cooker on high and leave the lid off to let it thicken more slowly and allow you to do other things.
  2. Once thick, ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 30 minutes (adjusting for elevation).
     

*Note on smoking jalapenos. If you have time to plan, you can keep the dried/smoked peppers in the freezer until it comes time to make this recipe. If you’re firing up the grill to make a meal during the summer, add the peppers after the coals have died down a bit. For an hour or two, your peppers can sit on the grill while it loses heat and should absorb that smokey flavor. If they aren’t fully dried afterward, throw them in a dehydrator or in your oven on the lowest setting until dried. I wait to seed the peppers until afterward, though you can do this beforehand if you want to remove some of the heat from the peppers.

Use these jars wherever recipes call for them, or mix with sour cream or yogurt for a dipping sauce, add to soups (they are wonderful in potato and frozen corn chowder), or water down and use for slow braising jackfruit or meat. I found I had a small quantity of the sauce and one jalapeno remaining that wouldn't fill up a jar so I added some chicken stock thawed from the freezer and frozen tomatoes and slow cooked jackfruit overnight in the oven at 200 degrees with some olive oil, onion, and garlic. You could do the same with potatoes, sweet potatoes, or squash. Anything... well almost anything... tastes good with hot smoky pepper sauce slowly cooked into it, right?