BEAN AND ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP

THIS IS A FAIRLY STRAIGHTFORWARD RECIPE FOR A SIMPLE, YET DELICIOUS SOUP. CUT THE VEGETABLES ROUGHLY AND YOU CAN CALL IT “RUSTIC”. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BROWN THE CABBAGE SEPARATELY, BUT IT IS A GREAT WAY TO ADD ADDITIONAL FLAVOUR.

IN MY RECIPE FOR ROASTED CORN SOUP FROM LAST SUMMER, I NOTED THE FORMULA FOR MAKING A PUREED VEGETABLE SOUP. THIS RECIPE—AND JUST ABOUT ANY SOUP, REALLY—FOLLOWS THE SAME FORMULA, BUT SKIPS THE PUREE STEP.

I MADE THIS TWO DAYS AGO AND GOT TEN OR MORE SERVINGS. WHAT’S MORE, THE INGREDIENTS ARE AFFORDABLE AND GENERALLY AVAILABLE ANYWHERE, ALL YEAR LONG. -JRS

About that much veg.

INGREDIENTS

– 1 cabbage, chopped
– 3 or 4 carrots, chopped
– 5 or 6 potatoes, chopped
– 3 medium or 4 small onions, chopped
– 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
– 2 cans beans (white, kidney, a mix, whatever)
– 1 head of garlic, sliced, chopped or pressed

– 1 can diced or stewed tomatoes, or 1 box of passata
– Tomato paste
– Balsamic vinegar
– Bay leaves
– Chili flakes
– Salt and pepper, to season
– Green onion, for garnish

Rinse and drain beans thoroughly. Set aside.

In a large pot, add all chopped vegetables except cabbage. Pour in some olive oil, a good pinch of chili flakes, a lot of pepper, and a good pinch of salt. Sauté over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until vegetables soften slightly. (Here, you are removing water content from the vegetables—thus concentrating their flavour—and bringing out the sugars, as well.)

In a separate pot, cook the cabbage over medium-high heat in some oil until it browns at the edges. You can skip this step if you’re in a hurry, but it will add additional flavour and complexity to the broth. Season with salt.

Add cabbage and garlic to the vegetables in the large pot. Mix through. Next, add a good 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir and cook out the tomato paste for maybe 30 seconds.

Pour in about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Again, stir through and let the vinegar cook off for about 30 seconds.

Add the beans, the tomatoes, and a few cups of water (enough to just cover the vegetables). Toss in a couple of bay leaves.

Lower heat and let simmer for around 30 minutes. Taste the broth to check the seasoning. It will probably need a lot more salt, but maybe vinegar, as well.

Some other great seasonings: Tabasco sauce, a touch of ketchup (if the tomatoes need some sugar), harissa. Go mad—but, as always, season a little at a time, taste, and adjust. (See my post on seasoning for some good guidance.)

When you’re happy, serve. Garnish with some sliced green onion or fresh herbs, if you have.

Enjoy!