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Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Day Soup

What is Snow Day Soup? It is the soup you come up with out of the ingredients you have on hand during a snow day.

Yesterday I cleaned out the fridge in order to determine what was truly edible in there. Yes, I could walk to a market if I had to, but it really is best to stay inside with the cat where it is warm. That meant when I was pondering lunch today, and the lone pack of tempeh in the fridge, I decided I should investigate the freezer to see if there was back-up tempeh for more snow days. That's when I rediscovered the bag of legumes.

A few weeks ago Christie and I decided to make some soup using the back of "17 bean and barley" dried mix she'd picked up from TJs. Having had this idea the day of said soup making, we put the whole 16 ounce bag through the "quick soak" method (bring to a boil, cook for 20 minutes, let stand covered for an hour). As we set to making the soup we realized that 16 ounces of dried legumes was going to cook up into more soup than the pot would hold. We took half of the pre-soaked beans put them into a Ziploc and tossed into the freezer.

Today, Snow Day Number 3 in Portland (Snowmageddon 2008), I decided those legumes were just what I needed. Yes, a big o'pot of hearty soup is what every snow day needs. Today's batch, given the ingredients on hand, had something of a "Southwestern" flavor to it on account of the cumin, fire roasted corn & tomatoes, and smoked paprika. The only thing that would have improved it is a loaf of crusty, whole-grain bread. Since having that would have meant at least a 30 minute walk, one-way to Whole Foods (closest market), I had some toasted Nature Bake instead.

Snow Day Soup

  • 8 ounces dried legumes (could be a mix or just one kind of legumes), pre-soaked
  • 6 carrots, peeled and sliced (good use for those ones that are getting a little limp)
  • 5 stalks, plus heart of celery, sliced (ditto on the limp produce)
  • celery greens from heart, sliced fine and set aside
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced fine
  • 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes (diced would be fine, in fact what I'd usually use, but this is what I found, Muir Glen fire roasted kind)
  • 1 cup steamed barley (this is already cooked)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (there was the fire roasted kind from TJs in the freezer)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano*
  • 1/2 teaspoon "21 seasoning salute" (a salt-free savory blend from TJs)*
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast*
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin*
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked, sweet paprika*
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt*
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

* seasoning measurements are estimates

Add olive oil to a large pot. When oil is heated saute onions and garlic until they being to brown slightly. Add chopped carrots and celery (do not add celery leaves at this time) and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes longer. Pour in water and pre-soaked legumes. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables and legumes are tender. Add crushed tomatoes, barley, frozen corn, celery leaves, and seasonings. Let simmer an additional 20 minutes to let flavors combine before serving.

Makes approximately 7 quarts.

No, I don't really have a knack for making soup in small batches. I do try to put the extra into 2 quart mason jars and either eat or freeze right away.

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