When I find the fridge dangerously full of vegetables, with the choice between using them and throwing them out leaning closer and closer to the trash, I make soup. This week, I had sweet potatoes coming out of my ears, some chayote that were puzzling me and leftover vegetables like roasted fingerlings, carrots and green beans. To make a vegetable soup, it doesn’t matter how many or which kinds of vegetables are holding up in your refrigerator. Throw them into a pot with broth and a starch like rice or pasta and you have a great dinner or lunch in the making.
I used my enamel covered Dutch oven for this soup. I put some beef bones into it and roasted them for a few hours; until they were nice and brown. Then I added some boiling water to the pot (putting cold water into the hot pan would have been disastrous) with some onion peels, celery tops and other weird things I keep in my freezer to make broth. After another two hours or so, I strained out the solids and the bones and started putting in the things I actually wanted to eat. In went the chopped sweet potatoes, chopped onions, chayute, leftover potatoes and anything else I found in my fridge. I let them cook, covered for another hour. In went some orzo for 10 minutes. Then, we ate. It was delicious.
If I hadn’t had soup bones in the freezer, I could have started with a chicken or pork chops or ham. I could have added some beans or lentils or even chunks of meat. The possibilities are pretty much limited by your imagination or the contents of your vegetable bin.
- 2 pounds soup bones
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 3-5 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1-2 bay leaves
- potatoes or sweet potatoes (1/2 per person being served)
- 1 can green beans or corn or peas
- any leftover vegetables you may want to use
- 1-2 quarts water
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1½ cups rice or pasta
- Roast the bones in the oven at 400 degrees for two hours.
- Remove and add to stockpot.
- Add water, onion, celery and carrots to the pot.
- Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
- Remove the bones from the pot and add other vegetables.
- Cook for another half hour.
- Add the rice or pasta.
- Cook only another 15 minutes for pasta, 30 minutes for rice.