CSA-Busting Vegetable Soup

It’s Wednesday, which means CSA day for many of you.  On Tuesday nights at this time of year, I often get “CSA panic syndrome,” wherein I look in the fridge, see it overflowing with vegetables from the last week or two, and start frantically pulling things out and whipping up a recipe in an effort to make some room for tomorrow’s box.

The weather has been good to area farmers this year (so far – knocking on wood!) and despite the lack of rain, the plentiful sunshine has resulted in abundant harvests (I have no less than NINE summer squash in the fridge as we speak). A great way to use up a lot of vegetables at once is to pack them into a soup: soup recipes are generally quite flexible, allowing you to mix & match vegetables and amounts, use the stock you like, the spices & ingredients you enjoy and have on hand.  Although there is a lot of prep time to a soup like this (lots of cleaning & chopping of vegetables), the actual cooking time is pretty short, so limited stove-on time for those heat-wave days. In addition to clearing out the fridge, you are preserving the bounty of summer vegetables and making “fast food” meals that you’ll be so thankful for come a busy weeknight in December. On top of all that? This soup is delicious. Make sure to use the best stock you can find, preferably homemade, and lots (and lots) of fresh cilantro. (If you’re one of the cilantro-adverse, try fresh oregano instead). I guarantee you won’t regret it.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or bacon grease, clarified butter)
  • 2 large scallions, white & green parts separated, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 medium carrots, scrubbed and sliced on the bias (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 6 – 8 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 small summer squash, seeded and sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 10 cups stock, chicken or vegetable (I used a blend of turkey and chicken stocks)
  • 1 small head Savoy cabbage, chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups green beans, ends trimmed and cut to 2-inch lengths
  • 1, 14-oz can diced tomatoes (or about 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped)
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chile flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • chevre, for garnish

METHODS

  1. In a large stockpot, add oil, butter or bacon grease and heat over medium-high flame until shimmering, but not smoking. Add onions, white & light green scallions, garlic, carrots and summer squash.  Sauté until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add stock, cabbage, green beans, tomatoes, herbs and spices.  Cover and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until flavors blend and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Taste, adjust herbs and/or spices, and serve hot, garnished with green scallions and goat cheese.

Yields about 4 quarts of soup.

OPTIONS

  1. This is a basic vegetable soup and the additions can be modified at will, depending on what is in your own CSA box. The stock and the fresh cilantro are key to the great flavor; use homemade stock if at all possible, and fresh cilantro is a must.
  2. For a heartier soup, add cooked rice, small pasta or couscous in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  3. Made with a vegetable stock, this soup is vegetarian; if you skip the goat cheese garnish, it is vegan.  Made with bacon grease or butter, homemade stock and home-canned (or fresh) tomatoes, the soup can be 100% local.

STORE

Store a quart or two in the fridge for quick lunches or dinners over the week; freeze the rest in individual-serving sized containers for up to 6 months.

SEASON

Summer.

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2 comments

  1. Ahhh, I know that feeling of “ack, how to use all this produce” all too well. And somehow my mind can never come up with a solution at the needed time. Thank you for this! Its versatile, easy, and well, solves the problem 🙂

  2. Sarah

    Thanks for this recipe, I just found your blog and have enjoyed poking around through your favorite seasonal recipes! I had too much produce in my fridge from our farmer’s market and this was an excellent way to incorporate a lot of different veggies in! I also included some quinoa for a bit more “substance” and it was delicious.

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