is there anything better than soup?
I love soup. Love love love soup. It is easy to make and easy to make delicious, and healthy and comforting to boot. Yesterday I made some bean soup from one of those bean mixes (this one was about $2 from For Good Measure and was a fundraising thingy for something or other - the cool thing was that it came with a wee bottle of tabasco which surprisingly enough was *exactly* the right amount for the soup). I followed the recipe that came with it to a certain point, then I diverged and just started throwing stuff in.
The exact ingredients aren't important. The main thing is, soak beans in salted water overnight. Get a mirepoix together, get it going in some oil, when it starts to colour toss in your beans, a good deal of water and a ham hock. Simmer for a couple hours. Take out the ham hock, remove the meat and cut it up, then put the bone and the meat back in the soup. Then throw in some tomato paste, salt, pepper, tabasco, bay leaves, molasses, whatever. Taste it, play with it until it tastes really good, then throw in whatever veggies are in your fridge and threatening to go nasty, simmer a bit longer, remove the bone, and serve.
Yummers. I also like my blended veggie soups, which I do by sautéing sausage or bacon and onions, adding a pile of veg (roasted is nice, but not essential) and covering and then some with some good home-made chicken or veal stock and whatever herbs are lying around. Simmer that for an hour or so until the veggies are good and mushy then throw it in the blender. My favourite veggie combination for this so far has been roasted veg: tomato, onion, carrots, parsnip, peppers, garlic and beets. Gorgeous colour too! The only tricky thing about those soups is remembering to take out the bay leaves before you blend, although I have to say that nothing bad has happened on the occasions on which I've forgotten.
Soup typically provides leftovers, is easy to clean up after, and is a very convenient way to get a lot of vegetable variety into your toddler or significant other. It freezes well too. Really, what's not to like about soup?