The Inspiration of Urbnspice Series
I love this time of year. There is a chill in the air meaning our daily walks require more of a brisk pace. Soup is always a menu possibility, and many folks who know me well know that I will likely have my large Dutch oven simmering on the stove with a seasonal potage, chowder or bisque. Today, it just seems like vegetable soup is in order due to an abundance of gorgeous Okanagan produce from our Naramata trip this week. Chilly Day Soup is my Market Inspired Vegetable Soup.
You can use any vegetable you have on hand for this soup to add the dimension of texture, flavour and fragrance. In addition, if you want to create a heartier fare, add cooked diced ham, leftover roast beef or chicken at the end of the cooking time. In my soup today, I added a bag of pre-cooked meatballs from my freezer reserve to further fortify the soup. I also added lots and lots of fresh spinach, sliced into chiffonade, at the very end just before ladling out into bowls. We garnished the soup with a snowfall of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and served it with biscuits.
Chilly Day Soup – A Market Inspired Vegetable Soup
Chilly Day Soup
CHEF TALK: I often start every soup I make with one of my favourite freezer ready items: a handful of lardons, fried until crisp. I remove the cooked bacon and reserve it for garnish, however, the remaining bacon fat becomes a great flavour base to start cooking the vegetables.
CHEF TIP: For my freezer ready bacon lardons, I slice an entire package of bacon, partially frozen, into lardons, and then place the raw lardons into a zipper bag and keep in my freezer section ready for recipe creation.
- 2 rashers of bacon, diced, or a handful of lardons (see note above)
- 2 carrots, diced small (1/4 inch)
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 2 stalks celery, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup rutabaga, diced small (optional)
- 1 – 2 small zucchini, diced small
- 6 cups stock (chicken, vegetable, beef, or mushroom)
- 1 tin diced tomatoes (796 ml), undrained
- 1 cup raw macaroni (I used gluten-free)
- 2 cups leftover cooked ham, chicken or roast beef (or meatballs) – optional
- 2 cups fresh spinach, finely sliced into chiffonade
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Parsley, minced
- Parmesan, freshly shredded
- Reserved Bacon lardons
- In a large Dutch oven, place the lardon of bacon and fry until crisp. Remove the bacon and reserve for garnish. Reserve 1 Tablespoon bacon fat in the pot.
- Place the first three vegetables into the pot (carrot, celery, onion) with the bacon fat and cook until translucent. Season with salt and pepper as you go along.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for about one minute.
- Add the zucchini, rutabaga and any other vegetable you would like to add and cook for another few minutes.
- Add the stock and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer the soup until the vegetables are cooked (about 20 minutes).
- Add the raw macaroni and cook for approximately 7 minutes until al dente. CHEF TIP: Alternatively, you can add cooked pasta or cooked rice of your choice to the bottom of the bowl just before you serve.
- If you are using fresh spinach leaves, add at the end of the cooking process, just before ladling the soup into the bowl.
- Check the seasoning of the soup by tasting and tweaking until it is perfect. By tweaking, I mean that you should actually TASTE the soup through the cooking process, and ask yourself if the soup needs something to brighten the flavour (like a splash of lemon juice or white wine vinegar), a little more depth of flavour (like Worcestershire or a drop or two of Tabasco). Ask yourself, “What does it need?” It is rare that I serve a soup (or anything, for that matter) that I make directly from the stove without tasting and adjusting first. In time, you will become very proficient at being the “taste tweaker.”
- Ladle the soup into bowls.
- Garnish with parsley, shredded Parmesan and bacon lardons. Enjoy!
Please CLICK the link above to access my UrbnSpice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
Bonus Learning Tip Post:
- Tweaking the Flavour
You Will Also Enjoy:
As always, if you give this recipe for Chilly Day Soup a try, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback.
You can find me on social media (see links below) – just be sure to tag @urbnspice and #urbnspice so I am sure to see it. Enjoy!
The Urbnspice Chef
Follow me on Social Media:
Urbnspice Facebook Page – If you like what you see here, please LIKE my page. I would love that – thank you!
Urbnspice is on Twitter
You will find lots of fun boards on Pinterest
I am also on Instagram