Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Scarborough Inn, "Winter Soup Recipe"

Winter Vegetable Soup
There's something incredibly comforting and self-righteously frugal about making a pot of Winter Soup during the blustery months of the year.  To be honest, I have to admit that this is less of a "recipe" and more of a "method" because my soups are always inspired by whatever is in the cupboard and refrigerator.

Almost always, my soups begin with a mirepoix (a sauteed mixture of vegetables) that includes onions, celery, and carrots - sometimes garlic - cut into dice and gently cooked in some extra virgin olive oil.  Then the fun begins as I add a selection of ingredients from whatever I have on hand.  This is a great way to use up small amounts of vegetables, meats, poultry, beans, and pasta or rice to create a delicious soup that is different every time!  So, "shop" your fridge and pantry before you begin!

Other "standard" additions include herbs - usually a bay leaf of two - plus whatever other seasonings will complement the ingredients, and always sea salt and freshly-ground mixed variety pepper.  Sometimes, I add Tabasco sauce or Worcestershire for a little palate "kick."  I've even been known to add a little salsa for a Mexican twist and served the soup with tortilla chips and grated cheese on top.  Why not?

Frequently, I use my secret ingredient - Furmano's Tomatoes*.  These yummy canned tomatoes come in a great variety of forms (diced, stewed, whole) and feature different seasonings helping to create a delicious broth that features bright flecks of color, too.  These tomatoes are easy to keep in the pantry.  The remainder of the broth may be home-made or organic (preferred) store-bought.

Most recently, I concocted a Vegetable Soup.  To the mirepoix and one can of Furmano's Diced Tomatoes, I added, corn, Lima beans, and baked potato - all from a recent meal.  I also had home-made chicken broth on hand that I poured into the soup pot before adding seasonings and allowing the soup to simmer on the stove for most of the day.  This produced a brightly colored, richly flavored, thick soup that I served with slices of a rustic Italian bread.

If I want to, I could add kidney beans, or rice, or even chunks of leftover chicken to make it a little different for another meal.  A warming bowl of home-made soup and a chilly winter day - perfect together!

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*The Furmano's family vacations at the Scarborough Inn and introduced us to their wonderful family of products.  We use these delicious tomatoes for recipes for Breakfast or Afternoon Refreshments at the inn. Yum!

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