Monday, 23 January 2012

Nan's Vegetable Soup

Everyone had a recipe that their Nan / Nans / Pa / Pas made for them when they were younger that just brings back memories of family, safety, and deliciousness.

For me, it's my Nan's vegetable soup. She made it often, but it didn't stop me from requesting it every other time!

I'm sure vegetable soups of this kind, with little or much variation, have appeared on the tables of many of you, but I thought I'd share this "recipe" with you because it's super easy to make, has basically no fat, and is super delicious! It makes quite a lot, so it's great if you have a few people (like a couple of hungry grandkids!) to feed, or just to eat over a few days at home. The advantage of the latter is that the longer it sits, the better it gets. As such, you can easily prepare it during the day and just heat it up when you need it, so there's even less stress around dinner. Or make a huge pot of it on the weekend, and then eat it over a few days of the week (great if you have to work or study late and don't want to have to think about dinner).

This isn't exactly the same as Nan's; typically she said "I just throw these things in and then it's done" so I've adjusted it slightly to make it recipable. As such, adjust to your tastes; if you hate turnip, leave it out! Use the legumes you like, use less or more garlic, etc. It's super basic, so it's pretty easy to customise.

Nan Lovejoy's Vegetable Soup
5 cups of water
2 vegetarian beef stock cubes (such as Massel)
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
2-3 cans of mixed beans, or individual cans of chickpeas, kidney beans, cannellini beans, black beans... whatever takes your fancy!
3 large carrots
3 medium or large stalks of celery
6 (either one type or a combination of) potatoes, turnips, etc.
1 onion
Garlic to taste (1-2 cloves, or a couple of tablespoons powdered garlic)
Oregano to taste (if dry, add at the start)

Put the water in a large pot over medium heat (we're aiming for a simmer). Add the stock cubes;
as the water heats, stir occasionally until the cubes are dissolved. While the water is heating (and the cubes are dissolving) chop all vegetables (potatoes can be chunky, but if they're too large they'll taste quite bland (unless you're leaving the soup sit)). Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot, followed by the vegetables, then the beans. Simmer for 20-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. As you feel the vegetables become tender, finely chop the oregano and garlic and add them.

Once vegetables are nearly ready, taste the soup and adjust seasonings to suit. When they're ready, serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to serve. Heats up easily on the stove or in the microwave.

Variation: add a cup or so of uncooked barley at the start; by the time the soup is ready, the barley should be too (but check just to make sure!). If using cooked barley, add just before the veggie's feel about ready (around 5 minutes towards the end).

Now that wasn't too painful, was it! Not as painful as my feet are, anyway; what I'd give for a sit down...

We went to Stanthorpe over the weekend, so we'll have a post up about our adventures there soon!

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