As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been cold here lately. Very cold.
Soups and stews are simply a must for the dinner menu. You’ve got have something to warm you up when the weather turns bitter, right? A big bowl of steamy goodness is just the ticket.
I love all things veggie (as you can see here…and here…and here). This soup is no exception to my infatuation with cooking vegetables. It’s packed to the brim with carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, garlic, and herbs. The wonderful thing about vegetables is that they all seem to go together so well. You don’t have to worry about cauliflower not going with the flavor of tomatoes, or carrots ruining the taste of garlic, or kale overpowering onions. Vegetables can be combined in limitless ways, which sometimes overwhelms me. I throw open the refrigerator door and see blotches of bright colors and shapes and am often hit with a million different ideas of what I could do with all of those veggies. I spend many a wide-eyed night dreaming up veggie-ful recipes in my head and scribbling down any really good ideas on a sheet of paper. I have a notebook by my bedside reserved specifically for this purpose. (I kid you not.)
Sometimes I feel bad that I don’t come up with more creative things than vegetable soups. Out of all the things in the world to make—exotic curries, scrumptious oven-roasted dishes, slow-braised delacacies—I come up with a lowly weeknight stew. But, as I’ve said before, sometimes the simplest things are the tastiest and most satisfying.
Simple as it is, nothing beats a bowl of this warming stew on a 5-degree winter’s night. Serve it up with a loaf of crusty bread, if you like. Or top with a bit of shaved parmesan. I enjoy it plain, just as it is. No frills, no garnishes. Just a bowl of warm vegetables and mineral-rich broth.
Recipes like this—easy to make and easy to eat—remind me of why I love vegetables so much. They’re good and good for you. Plain and simple.
Warming Weeknight Stew
2 tbs. olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried herb blend (I use ‘Mural of Flavor’ from Penzey’s)
3 small red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can diced tomatoes with juices
1/2 (12-ounce) bag mixed frozen vegetables*
1 tbs. rosemary, minced
3 large kales leaves, stems removed and leaves chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium. Add carrot, celery, and onion. Cook a few minutes, or until onions begin to look translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, curry, cumin, herb blend, potatoes, and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Cover the vegetables with water by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer—covered—until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes.
Add frozen vegetables and rosemary. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are heated through, about 5 minutes. Add kale and stir into soup until wilted down, another 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
*Note: the vegetables I used (Whole Foods 365 brand) contained green beans, carrots, corn, peas, and lima beans. Any type of frozen vegetable mix will work, though.
This post is linked to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.
Update 12/29 – This post is also linked up to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.