I like to plan elaborate dinners sometimes, but yesterday, I just needed something to warm me up. I know, it's the middle of June, but the weather has been horrible and I'd had a long day at school. Some emotional warming was in order, in addition to physical warming.
I really just wanted to go to bed, but I was also hungry. Plus, we had a whole bunch of vegetables that were threatening to go bad if I didn't do something with them that night.
This soup is something I have been making variations of ever since I started cooking. The beauty of it is how forgiving it is. There's really no way to screw it up. Plus, you can basically throw any vegetable in there and it will taste great.
I feel a little stupid posting this recipe, because it's so easy, but since stuff like this is what I eat way more often than I eat complicated dishes, I will anyway.
- 2 large and a small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 of a zucchini (or is it zucchino?)
- about 150 g (5 ounces) button mushrooms
- a handful of dried tomatos (if you use the kind in oil, use a paper towel to remove excess oil)
- some parsley (a small bunch)
- a spoonful of sour cream or crème fraîche
- a few very thin slices of strong cheese (I used raclette cheese)
- beef or vegetable broth (1 Liter/1 Quart), I used vegetable
- a bay leaf
- 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and powdered sweet pepper
You could also use rosemary, thyme, fresh or canned tomatos, peas, all kinds of beans, rice, pasta, celery, cabbage, wine, carrots or whatever strikes your fancy. I have used all of the above at one time or another in the past.
- Peel and halve the onions and slice them up.
- Peel the garlic and finely chop it.
- Clean the mushrooms and slice them.
- Wash the zucchini and chop it roughly.
- Sautée the onions and the garlic in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil for approximately 5 minutes. They are supposed to become soft.
- Add the tomato paste and let it roast for a few minutes.
- Add the zucchini (and any "hard" vegetables you're using, like carrots). Stir.
- Add the bay leave and any "hard" herbs like rosemary. "Soft" herbs like parsley should be sprinkled over the top of the soup right before serving.
- Add the wine and let it simmer for a few minutes (if you're using it). If not, add the broth right away.
- Add the mushrooms (and any "soft" vegetables you're using, like frozen peas, fresh tomatos, etc.)
- Cook the soup for 10-15 minutes. Your hard vegetables should be soft, but not mushy.
- If you're using dried tomatos (sans oil), boil some water (I use an electric kettle). In the meantime, roughly chop the tomatos and put them in a small bowl. Cover them with the boiling water and let them soak for 2 minutes.
- Place a few thin slices of cheese in a bowl or a deep dish.
- Add a dollop of sour cream/crème fraîche, if you like.
- Pour the piping hot soup into the dish, on top of the cheese and crème fraîche. Add the soaked dried tomatos.
- Serve with buttered bread.