With this meal, I am finally admitting it’s no longer summer. But I am not happy about it.
Now if you ask Bari, you’ll get some serious autumn love, and even more for the winter. This is her time to thrive – she walks all the way to work, wears lots of olive green, and drools over plans to go skiing. I am, essentially, the opposite: I thrive on sunshine, proclaim endlessly that all I would buy if I were suddenly rich would be endless fresh berries, and fall down a lot in the snow.
But alas, it’s late October in New York, and I admit – I shut the windows, the ultimate New York temperature regulation tool. So with the vegetable stock from this morning, I made some hearty vegetable soup, inspired by (slash totally copying) one of Mark Bittman’s Meatless Monday recipes.
ingredients (makes 6-ish cups of soup – which for us is basically two servings. What?)
3 tbsp earth balance (or butter if you’re not keepin’ vegan on this one)
2 small red potatoes – though baking or russet potatoes would be better – peeled and diced
2 small baby onions, diced
3 small yellow carrots, peeled and diced (orange would be fine – and boring)
4 medium zucchini – 3 peeled and diced, the fourth diced with the skin on, and kept separate
3 medium pears, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme, or 1 tsp fresh
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of cinnamon
4 cups vegetable stock, or water (if you buy pre-made stock, use slightly less salt)
2 tbsp olive oil
In a pot or large saucepan, add the butter and bring it to a boil. Add the potatoes, onions, and carrots, and stir frequently so the vegetables don’t start to brown. Reduce the heat to medium. Let that simmer for 10 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, add the olive oil, bring to medium-high heat, and toss in the diced zucchini with the skins on – these are going to be added into your soup at the end for a touch of texture. Stir every minute or two, and again, ensure the veggies don’t brown – you want them to end up soft but not soggy, about 7 or so minutes in the pan.
Back in the big soup pot: Once 10 minutes have passed, add the peeled zucchini, thyme, and salt. Stir frequently – this is the phase where the mixture starts to stick to the pan. Reduce your heat more if it’s sticking too much.
After 5 minutes, add the pears, and let the entire mixture simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock, pepper, and cinnamon, and simmer for 10 more minutes.
Now, puree: If you have a handheld immersion blender, you can just do it in the pot. Otherwise, let the soup cool slightly, and blend it in your food processor or blender, even. Return to the pot once it’s mostly smooth, and toss in the zucchini from the other pan. Reheat the mixture, and serve the soup hot, topping it with some thyme or mint if you have it. Enjoy.