Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nelly's Vegetable Soup

I wasn't home much while Guy's parents were visiting.  But I still wanted to take advantage of having Guy's mom (Nelly) around to make at least one of her yummy soups.  She claims that she likes making soups because she's lazy and they are so easy to make; throw everything in a pot, boil, and eat.  So when we were finally in Davis for about a day we decided to make one of our favorites, vegetable soup.

This is not the kind of vegetable soup most of us are familiar with.  First off there are NO tomatoes, which I love about this soup, because most of today's veggie soups just taste like some version of V8. Gross.  And second, she uses some veggies you probably never even considered using in a soup when browsing in the produce isle.

Like most soups this is really just an "everything but the kitchen sink" situation.  Whatever you like or have on hand is fine.  We couldn't find pumpkin this time, so we just used sweet potato. No big deal.  Just try to get a nice variety of yummy veggies and you will be sure to have a terrific soup.  Same goes with the measurements.  It doesn't really matter if you use three carrots or five, a small celery root or a big one, it's all about what works for you.  I give some amounts just to keep people from having a nervous breakdown, but really, this is very forgiving... go crazy!

Read on for more pictures and the "recipe"

Nelly's Vegetable Soup
4 Zucchinis
3 Carrots
1 Celery root (peeled until only white remains. save a few leaves as well)
1 Parsnip
1 Sweet Potato (Or use a similar sized chunk of fresh pumpkin)
1 Leek (bottom half only)
1 Small Cauliflower
1 Large bunch Dill
2 Heaping Tablespoons Chicken broth powder*
approximately 1 gallon water (reserving one cup to mix with the chicken powder)
salt and pepper to taste

*You could probably skip the chicken powder and use broth in place of the water.  But this is how Nelly makes it and it tastes amazing.  I'm sure using chicken broth will produce a different flavor, not sure if it would be better or worse.

Step 1:
Peel all of your veggies.

Step 2:
Chop all of your vegetables into approximately 1/2 inch chunks. Sweet potato and pumpkin will cook faster than other veggies so you can cut them larger if you want. While Parsnips have a strong flavor so we cut them smaller. Everything is your preference.

Step 3:
Cut Leeks into rounds about 1/4 inch thick and break down the cauliflower into small flowerets. Also roughly chop the Celery leaves.

Step 4:
Place all the chopped vegetables into your pot and cover with water.

Step 5:
Heat the reserved water and mix the chicken powder into it until dissolved, then pour into the pot.

Step 6:
Add salt and pepper to taste (about 2 tablespoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper for us)

Step 7:
Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 8:
Chop the dill and mix into the soup after it is finished cooking. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Step 9:
Serve plain or with grated cheese on top (parmesan and gruyere are yummy with it).

This is what celery root (or celeriac) looks like, if you never saw it before.  Just chop off the celery and cut the hard, brown outer layer off with a knife until only a clean, smooth, white root remains.

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