Clean Out the Fridge Soup

There's so many things to do to get ready for Thanksgiving Day. Finalize the menu, buy the ingredients, polish the silver, set the table, start cooking and the list goes on and on.

Another thing I've been trying to do is clean out the fridge so I can fit everything we need for the big feast in there. I've tossed a variety of old and perhaps even out-dated condiment jars as well as those almost-empty jars of whatever or who-knows-what that seem to linger too long. David says I will "throw out anything to make room." And he's right. (It drives me crazy to see a half a spoonful of something in a container, jar or bottle!)

While cleaning the fridge, I peeked in the vegetable drawer and when I saw how full it was, I knew I needed to make soup. Yes, vegetable soup is the answer to cleaning out the veggie drawer.

Though I did buy a head of broccoli for this occasion, I used some leftover cabbage, a few carrots, several stalks of celery, three onion halves and pieces and a green pepper leaving the drawer just about empty. Now it is primed and ready for the arrival of lots of new veggies. Hello, Brussels sprouts, celery, carrots, mushrooms, Italian parsley and leeks!

Not only is this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink soup delicious and nutritious, but you can make it with whatever veggies you have. Zucchini and broccoli, bring it on. Carrots and red pepper, yes to that, too. Or a smorgasbord like I had. Plus, it's something light and easy that I can eat over the next few days before the feast begins.

Buen provecho!

Vegetable Drawer Soup

Vegetable Soup
The Cowgirl Gourmet (http://www.thecowgirlgourmet.blogspot.com/)

Print recipe

This is a great way to clean out the vegetable drawer in the fridge, though it's so easy and fab you may just start buying extra veggies and leave them in the fridge as an excuse to make it. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and anything else you want to throw in there. Broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, asparagus, potatoes, squash, zucchini, you name it, it will work!

1 onion, diced
3 carrots, washed, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery and the leaves, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, cored and diced
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cups of whatever veggies you have or want in the soup, washed and roughly chopped
2-4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
2-4 cups water
Parmesan rinds, frozen (I toss my rinds in a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer until I need them for soup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little drizzle of heavy cream, if desired for a creamy soup

In a soup pot, add 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil and saute the onions, carrots, celery and bell pepper until onions are translucent, about 5 -7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir cooking a few more minutes.

Toss the chopped veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, spinach, Swiss chard, potatoes, etc.) in the pot, stir to coat with olive oil and cook for 2 minutes. Using a combination of half vegetable broth and half water, cover the vegetables. Stir to combine and allow to simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the veggies are almost tender.

Using a blender, ladle the soup in and pulse a few times to puree. I like my soup pureed, but I still leave some unpureed for texture. This will take a few batches. When each batch is the texture you want, pour it into a big bowl until everything is pureed.

Once everything is the right texture, pour the soup back into the pot and let it cook about 5-10 more minutes. Now add a Parmesan rind or two if you have any in the freezer. The Parm will melt into the soup and create a creamy texture as well as add great flavor.

Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning adding salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. By now the Parmesan rinds should have nearly melted or at least partially melted into the soup. Just avoid putting the rinds in the bowls.

If you want a creamy soup, drizzle a tablespoon or two of cream in the pot of
soup and stir, adding more cream until you get the creamy color you want. Alternatively, you can add a 1/2 teaspoon or so to each bowl.

Serve with fresh greens and enjoy.

Vegetable soup always tastes best from the
"panza llena, corazon contenta" bowl
from Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe.
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