Vegetable Soup

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My favorite vegetable soup starts with fresh in-season vegetables. I like crisp, market fresh vegetables and tons of herbs all swimming together with tiny bits of slow braised beef. My favorite vegetable soup has so much texture, riotous color and flavor that each spoonful is pure heaven. I have served this soup in my restaurants and in my home for years with rave reviews all around. The secret is the slow braised beef building flavor in a rich stock and then beginning the soup with a soffrito (aromatic vegetables) base. The soffrito is cooked until the vegetables have caramelized. The rest of the vegetables are added and the soup is simmered quickly to keep the vegetables very brightly flavored and colored. I stir in an herb puree at the end that oomphs up the flavor. 

When I have served this soup to vegetarians, I use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and use a combination of dried and fresh mushrooms to amp up the flavor. I am not sure why anyone would make vegetable soup when it is not vegetable season. A soup that relies so much on fresh vegetables should be made during that season. This soup is best made in the late summer and early fall when gardens are bursting with produce. As the season changes and new vegetables come into season, add in your favorites. This soup can be made pareve by substituting the beef base with vegetable stock.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 10Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, pulsed in a food processor until ground
  • 1 large fennel bulb, pulsed in a food processor until ground
  • 3 medium carrots, pulsed in a food processor until ground
  • ½ pound mushrooms, pulsed in a food processor until ground
  • 2 large red peppers, pulsed in a food processor until ground
  • 8 cloves of garlic, pulsed in a food processor until ground
  • ½ pound green beans, stemmed and then cut into ½-inch segments
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob
  • 3 cups of Tuscan kale, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 small hot peppers, minced (I use Fresno peppers for a fruity, toasty heat)
  • 10 cups stock
  • 2 cups favorite petit pasta (I use a small whole wheat bow tie) or brown rice for gluten free
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Herb Pistou

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preparation

1. Lightly brown the onions, fennel, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, and garlic, in a large saucepan or stockpot lightly coated with extra-virgin olive oil, over medium-high heat until they are lightly browned and very dry (about 15 minutes). 

2. Add the vegetables, beef stock, and pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer the soup for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. 

3. Ladle the soup into bowls and spoon Herb Pistou on top.

Herb Pistou:

1. Process all of the ingredients in a food processor until a paste is formed.

2. Store in the refrigerator, cover the surface with parchment paper to keep oxygen off of it and to prevent the herbs from turning black. 

Recipe published in JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller magazine Fall 2012. Subscribe Now. 

Bitayavon, Fall 2012 Magazine

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