Wednesday, January 26, 2011

kitchen sink soup

i've recently become an assistant in a series of cooking demonstrations called tuesdays in tuscany. yesterday's demo was all about italian soups and i got to go home with some of the unprepared loot. a bounty of chard, kale, celery, carrot, basil... all of which, if you ask me, scream soup. i made use of some other stuff i had lying around, and voila the kitchen sink soup was born.

ingredients (these things are just what i happened to have on hand, anything goes for a kitchen sink soup):

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
10 cups liquid (you can use 10 cups of veggie broth, or a blend of broth and water)
2 red potatoes, diced
1 cup red lentils (these will disintegrate into the soup and give it a heartier body)
1 cup brown rice
2 cups italian kale, removed of stems and roughly chopped
3-4 cups swiss chard, removed of rough stems and roughly chopped
1/4 cup diced parmesan rind, optional (the rind of the parmesan gives soups a salty bite, but it can certainly be left out if making a vegan version of the soup)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup italian parsley leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

in a large pot over medium-high heat, heat up the olive oil and saute the onions, carrots, and celery. once they have softened a bit (about 5-7 minutes), add the minced garlic. saute an additional minute or two and add the balsamic vinegar to de-glaze the bottom of the pot. the vinegar will not only lift up the good browned bits from the base, but it'll also add depth the flavor of your soup. add the liquid, potatoes, lentils, rice, kale, chard, and parmesan (if using) and bring the mixture to a boil. once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. once the rice is tender, stir in the basil and parsley and remove the soup from the heat. garnish with whole basil or parsley leaves and a sprinkle of parmesan. enjoy!


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