Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gypsy Soup

My favorite cooked dish this past winter has definitely been Gypsy Soup. A friend originally gave me the recipe because it is out of the newer edition of The Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook. However you can google the name and a close version of the recipe will come up. I dislike being tied down to a recipe and this is such a great one for using up veggies that are going soft so really play around with it. The spices used are what give this soup its interesting flavor, the vegetables are unimportant. The technique and order of additions to the pot do make a difference in the final outcome. I'm not good about "amounts" because I don't measure but for the sake of recipe writing I'll estimate them.

In a big soup pot gently heat some olive oil, let's say a few tablespoons. Coat the bottom of the pan. You want the heat at medium-low.

1 diced onion and let that carmelize while you chop and add the remaining veggies.
2-3 stalks of celery, diced (use the leafy green parts, if you have them)
2-3 carrots or 1 large sweet potato diced
1 diced bell pepper, any color

Let these all slowly carmelize and soften for a few minutes. Then add optional fresh veggies that you are using up such as diced summer squashes, green beans or broccoli.

Next add the dried spices:
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. This simmers in the soup for so long it adds a nice warming sensation every bite similar to when cayenne is added to chocolate, but go easy or you'll end up with spicy soup.
1 TBSP basil
2 tsp tumeric
1 TBSP cinnamon
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste. I use about a TBSP at this point and maybe more later. People. Good soup is seasoned correctly, which means it is salty. If you salt early in the cooking process (any recipe) the food just tastes properly seasoned and not like freshly added salt. Food that is not seasoned before it is done cooking requires that the consumer salt it later and then it, well, it just isn't
as good as it could have been. Salt now, please.

So once this is all cooking add a box of veggie broth/stock and a can of diced tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a simmer. At this point, the original recipe calls for a can of well rinsed garbonzo beans (chicpeas), but I prefer brown rice pasta. Either broken up spagetti or ziti. Cook until pasta is done. At the end I also like to add a good handful of frozen peas and frozen corn. Add water if it got thick. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. YUMMY!

Tonight I was wanting something bread-like so I made a quick vegan cornbread. It was the perfect thing for dipping! This is a huge pot of soup. Good for the three of us for several days. I like leftovers. Consider halving or freezing half if you don't need as much, though I always find previously frozen soups are sort of lackluster.

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