Although we’ve had a pretty mild winter by Canadian standards, we do still get the abrupt reminder that we (Canadians) live in the Great White North (Canada) and that yes, winters here are a long and cold. Last week we had temperatures that only warmed up to -8 Celcius in the day time and dipped to -20C at night. That was the weather here in Toronto and surely much of Canada can boast (complain) of colder temps.
One of the best ways that I cope with the cold winters is with a big pot of soup to comfort and warm me and the family. Oh sure, one could just open a can of soup, warm it up and serve with a sandwich but you don’t come this blog for express meals do you? Like any good soup, the base starts with a good homemade stock and the rest is up to your imagination.
Today’s soup is mostly made of winter vegetables (the red peppers likely came on a truck from Mexico) and pantry items that most of you will have: cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, broccoli, Romaine lettuce, red peppers for sweetness and colour and a good handful of pasta. Other than whip-up a hearty winter soup, I also wanted to clean-out some odds & ends in my fridge…I added a grated sweet potato into the mix and I must say – the soup satisfied the soul and belly!
Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup (Χειμωνιατικη Σουπα απο Λαχανικα)
1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek (or large onion), thinly sliced (or diced)
5-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
1 sweet potato, peeled and passed through a box grater
9-10 cups of of hot vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup of pasta of your choice (I used homemade egg noodles)
1 cup of shredded white cabbage
1 cup of broccoli florets
1 cup of cauliflower florets
2 cups of Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Place a large pot on your stove-top over medium heat and add your olive oil, leeks (or onions), garlic, bay leaves, thyme, carrots, celery and red peppers and stir to coat. Season lightly with some salt and pepper and cover…allow the vegetables to sweat down for another 10 minutes.
- Uncover and grate the sweet potato into the pot and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli and stir in. Now add your hot stock and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook slightly covered for 35-40 minutes. At about the 20 minute mark, add your pasta and Romaine lettuce, continue to simmer until the pasta has cooked. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, remove bay leaves and thyme spigs. Serve hot with good crusty bread.
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