At the moment, my fridge contains a dark green cluster of bitter rapini, a bag of red-stained blood oranges and 2 bulbs of fennel. It’s food like this – bitter, sharp and interesting, that helps to make February – and what’s left of winter – a bit more bearable. But a few days back, my vegetable drawer contained only a few potatoes, half a head of green cabbage and a bag of gnarled carrots. Utilitarian and handy, for sure, but not anything to get excited about. But then I made this soup.
This shouldn’t be anything special based on the ingredients, but it’s a deceptive little number. If you left this soup in it’s natural state, chunky, you’d learn all of its secrets. But with a wave of your magic wand, or your immersion blender, the soup becomes mysterious. As you’d imagine, it’s quick and simple to whip up on a weeknight evening. Soothing and hearty, you’ll happily go back for seconds and then slurp up the leftovers for lunch. I’m sighing contentedly just thinking about this dowdy, loveable soup.
dowdy vegetable soup
2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 t red chili flakes
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 head small green cabbage, sliced into thin strips & then into squares
2 large potatoes, well-scrubbed & diced (peeled or not, it’s up to you)
1 t herbes de provence
a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce (I used a vegetarian version)
5-6 c flavourful homemade vegetable stock or chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste
strong cheddar, grated, to serve (optional)
In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat, and stir in the onions, garlic and chili flakes. Saute for 5 minutes until the onions and garlic turn soft and fragrant, but not brown. Add in the carrots, celery, cabbage, potatoes and dried herbs and let that get familiar with the onions for a good 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Shake in some Worcestershire sauce along with the stock of your choice and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, 25 minutes. Taste and stir in some salt and pepper if needed. Now, you can serve it as it is or use an immersion blender to puree it into something smooth and creamy without any lumps. Serve with toasted bread and a sprinkle of strong cheddar cheese.