Soups

Farm Box Soup

Tomorrow afternoon, I pick up my CSA box, and I’m so excited to make my favorite meal from the contents: farm box soup. It doesn’t matter what is in the box, anything works to make a soul-satisfying, warming fusion; supplement whatever veggies you get with a basic mire poix of carrots, onion and celery, a few pantry items, and just add broth.

Farm Box Soup

Serves 6 to 8

1 medium onion, diced

3 carrots, sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs thyme

4 cups vegetables such as summer squash (diced), potatoes (peeled and diced), kale (cut into thin strips), green beans (trimmed and halved), cauliflower (cut into florets), kohlrabi (peeled and diced), or whatever is in season

1 can organic diced tomatoes in juices (I love the Trader Joes or Whole Foods 365 brand)

8 cups good-quality, low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock (Trader Joes Organic Free Range Chicken Stock is a favorite)

Olive oil, salt and pepper

6 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil to a shimmer and add onions, carrots and celery. Cook until slightly browned, then add bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Add remaining vegetables and cook until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes in juice and stock,  and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender and flavorful, about 30 minutes. Drizzle with a splash of olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and top with fresh basil just before serving.

Cauliflower

This head of cauliflower weighed about 5 pounds!

What to do when you get cauliflower bigger than your daughter’s head? Make soup! There are so many different ways to go about this: first, I envisioned a creamy, nutmeg-laced dish, but it was far too heavy for the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been enjoying this winter. Instead, I roasted the florets along with some garlic cloves, sauteed a few shallots in a big pot, and added smoked paprika. When the cauliflower was carmelized and golden brown, I put that in the pot, covered it with chicken stock, and cooked it until the cauliflower was fall-apart tender. Then it was ready to turn into a silky puree, only needing a touch of salt and pepper to bring out the smoky sweet flavor that roasting begets.

Chiquilin smoked paprika from Spain inparts rich flavor

 Roasted Cauliflower and Smoked Paprika Soup 1 head cauliflower, core removed, cut into florets3 garlic clovesolive oilsalt and pepper2 shallots, diced1 tablespoon smoked paprika4 cups good-quality chicken stock, plus additional 1 cup to adjust consistency, as needed Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss cauliflower florets and garlic in olive oil, salt and pepper, spread out on a baking sheet and roast in oven until florets turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

 Remove soup from the pot to a food processor or blender, working in batches if neccessary. Puree the cauliflower mixture until smooth, adding additional stock if needed to adjust consistency. Return puree to pot, reheat and season with salt and pepper to taste.