A lot can happen at the corner bus stop. While waiting to get the little ones off to school, we’ve made play dates, met new puppies and even scheduled cooking dates.
Since I hadn’t really had time to coordinate my “Souper Bowl” soup-making plans by telephone or e-mail, I made sure the kids wouldn’t miss the bus on Monday. That way I’d have a chance to schedule a cooking date with Christina.
I found out that chilly Monday, between kisses to the kids and cold breaths of air, that she was free that morning. In less than three minutes, we made our soup making plans. After running through what we already had on hand in our respective pantries — she had lots of potatoes and I had a surplus of carrots — we divided up our ingredients, picked a kitchen and chose three kinds of soup — Harvest Vegetable Soup, Roasted Tomato Soup and Potato Leek. We recruited a third friend, Emily, for some extra help and then ran to the stores to get some ingredients.
Less than two hours later, Christina and Emily arrived at my house, with soup pots, cutting boards, storage containers and soup-making ingredients in hand. It was a testament to spontaneity and proof that the bus stop truly is the place to be to make plans.
We peeled carrots, potatoes and squash, chopped onions, garlic and leeks. Even my 3-year old joined in the fun chopping apples with a dull bread knife for our Harvest Vegetable Soup. Before long, 22 quarts of soup were simmering on the stove. The aromatic combination of soups (wasn’t I lucky we chose to cook in my kitchen!), tantalized our taste buds. So, we decided to have a tasting lunch, with our trio of soups, to ensure that our “Souper Bowl” recipients would be well fed. Our sampling was so successful that we decided to schedule a follow-up cooking date for the next Monday (which is today!) to stock our own freezers with delicious soups and chili.
In a few hours I’ll be bringing my tote bag full of cooking necessities and ingredients to Christina, whose home will be the lucky recipient of the sweet and savory scents of our efforts. I will once again set aside some of my bounty to share with neighbors-in-need for the “Souper Bowl.”
Here’s the recipe for our Harvest Vegetable Soup. You can improvise and throw in what you’d like. You can’t really go wrong, as all root vegetables will taste delicious in this hearty soup.
Harvest Vegetable Soup
Makes 8 quarts
1/8 cup of olive oil
4 butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
6 leeks, washed and chopped
6 carrots, peeled and cubed
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 green apples, peeled and sliced
6 quarts of chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup of white wine
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
In an 8 quart soup pot, sauté the leeks, onions and garlic until for approximately 12 minutes. Add all of the stock and vegetables. Bring to a boil and turn the soup down to a medium heat. Simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes) and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (You can also transfer the soup to a blender and puree in batches.) If freezing, cool the soup and then transfer to containers with tight fitting lids and add the cream when reheating.