Tuesday, 4 October 2011

It's a Good Day for Harvest Soup

Rather than wishing for the rainy weather to go away, I gathered some of my market veggies to make a chill-defying soup this morning.  This miserable weather calls for some comfort food.  Soup, zuppa, minestra, and plain, delicious many memories come to my mind beginning with my mom's steamy stracciatella.  I used to watch her beat the eggs and grated cheese with a fork and wondered if I could ever master that technique. She often added tiny meatballs to her brodo that were so drenched in parmiggiano, inhaling its fumes was almost as good as savouring it. 
And then there was the dreaded Green Goober Soup, as my sister called it, concocted by our vita-sana (healthy-living) mother when the Osterizer came to roost in our kitchen.  It was the enemy of all Children Against Veggies. My Ma's blender phase of pureed greens lasted longer than my sister could stand and was served piping hot to her loud protests much too often.  As my Uncle Tony used to say: "Chi santo mi salva?" (Which saint is going to save me?")

This harvest soup is always welcomed in our home and great for school lunches, as long as you have a reliable thermos.  We've tried a few models, once again having to relearn the lesson that you get what you pay for.  Here is my recipe.

Harvest Soup
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of leeks, chopped (bottoms only)
4 or 5 carrots
2 sweet potatoes
Fresh ginger
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 to 1 1/2 cups of milk

Set a medium-sized pot with water on the stove to boil your sweet potatoes for five minutes. This will make them easier to peel and chop. Peel and roughly chop carrots and cut up a piece of ginger (roughly the size of a tablespoon). Next, add one to two tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy soup pot.  Add minced garlic and chopped up leeks.  Stir-fry for a few minutes, then add carrots and ginger.  Mix well.  Drain sweet potatoes and run under cold water so they're easy to handle.  Peel, chop, and add them to the mix. Cook for one to two minutes, then add broth and cover.  Cook on low to medium heat for roughly 30 minutes.  Puree using your favourite blender (I use one similar to the old Green-Goober machine). Stir in one to one-and-a-half cups of milk and keep on low heat.  Do not boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with either  parsley, sour cream or nutmeg and savour.

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