Listen, I’m not much of a chef. It’s not that I don’t know how to cook or hate to do so, it’s just that my schedule is really hectic and I rarely have the time or energy to make a big meal at the end of my long days. Still, sometimes I want something hearty and healthy that doesn’t leave me feeling lethargic or heavy and this soup ticks all of those boxes. Not to mention that January is National Soup Month. Horray!
I can’t take credit for this recipe, admittedly – it comes courtesy of someone pretty special in my life who herself came up with it as a way to not let the veggies in her fridge go to waste. It’s the ultimate non-recipe recipe in that, once you get the ingredients together in the pot, you set it to simmer and leave it for a few hours until it’s ready to blend. It’s also great because you can easily make additions/adjustments to the soup without compromising the taste (so long as you follow a few basic tenets).
One thing you can’t forgo is the crushed red pepper. Even if you don’t like super spicy food, this is a necessary ingredient as it adds a little heat and kicks it up a notch (who am I, Emeril Lagassi?) in the best way. In addition, while I was originally told to use leek, my local market didn’t have any and I instead substituted white onion. Leek is preferable, however, if available.
In addition, you’ll notice that I do not give exact measurements of ingredients – that’s not my style and is another beautiful thing about this recipe. Words like “a handful” or “a little bit” will really do just fine – don’t overthink it. I promise it’ll still be delicious.
The Best Soup Ever
Serves ?? (It makes a TON. Seriously.)
– 2 leeks OR 1/2 large white onion, chopped
– 3 medium red potatoes, halved (I leave the skin on, though you can peel them)
– 1 large sweet potato, quartered
– baby carrots (a couple handfuls should do)
– broccoli florets (I get a broccoli/cauliflower floret mixture at my local market, probably equaling 2-3 cups)
– salt & black pepper
– crushed red pepper (a few generous pinches)
– bouillon cube (I use a sodium-free chicken cube, but OXO or something similar would work just as well)
Optional additions: spinach (as seen above), dark red kidney beans (I always go for a low-sodium variety), asparagus or anything else you have lying around that seems like it might fit.
– Throw all ingredients in an oversized pot – it makes a LOT. Since there’s so little exactness about this recipe, feel free to cut it down by using less of the above ingredients. How much less? You decide.
– Fill pot with water. It should cover your ingredients completely and come about an inch above.
– Add salt, pepper and bouillon cube and stir
– Cover with lid and set on low heat and let it simmer… and simmer some more.
– When finished, remove and blend (including the broth, which will have gone down considerably) until smooth with a hand blender or in an actual blender. Either will work!
You’ll know when it’s done and ready to go when all of your ingredients are soggy as hell. That probably sounds gross, and perhaps some of the nutritional value is lost by this time (figure about 2 hours), but it has to be that way in order to be blended. I’d provide some pictures here, but given that the finished product slightly resembles baby food and I’m not a great photographer, I’ll leave that out.
Once blended, put some into a bowl, get yourself some multigrain saltines and have at it. I promise you, you won’t be sorry.