Fall Into Soup Season

Fall is here and the chilly temperatures have us craving for hot soup on the stove. Friends, nothing is easier! All you need are fresh vegetables, some vegetable or chicken stock and a bit of cream to make a mouth-watering bowl of soup that’s as good for you and your family as it is delicious.

Here is a choose-your-own-adventure soup recipe that you can’t go wrong with. And don’t forget a buttery grilled cheese to serve up alongside for proper comfort-food effect.

Start with:
A: A head of cauliflower, 1 medium onion, 2-3 cloves garlic – OR –
B: 5 peeled beets, 5-8 peeled carrots, 1 medium onion – OR –
C: 1 large peeled and seeded butternut squash, 3-5 peeled potatoes, 1 onion – OR –
D: Any combo of above plus celery, leeks, red peppers, or turnips if you’d like to add a bit of sweetness.

Slice your onions and cut up your veggies into big bite size pieces. Cut beets a bit smaller than the rest.

Cook the vegetables:
After coating generously with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme, place on a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan. You want enough veggies to fill a pan nicely. Roast until tender at 400 degrees, about 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t forget to walk outside, then walk back inside to enjoy the smells of good food in your kitchen!

Puree:
Place tender vegetables, half at a time if necessary, into blender, and add 1 or 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock and blend until smooth. Place mixture in Dutch oven on stovetop. Repeat as needed until all vegetables are pureed.
Finish:
A: Stir in as much heavy cream (if any) that you like for a creamy soup. I like a cup — it makes it creamy without adding too many calories per serving. – OR –
B: Add salt and pepper to taste. – OR –
C: Add a dash of Tabasco or Frank’s Hot Sauce. – OR –
D: Pick a topping: fresh goat cheese crumbles, sour cream, grated
cheddar and chives or freshly chopped parsley. – OR –
E: All of the above!

Have extra? Better yet, make a big batch to stash the leftovers in the freezer until cold and flu season. These soups are packed with immune system boosting anti-oxidants. Few things are a bigger blessing than already-made homemade soup in the freezer when your family is fighting the flu.

The moral of this soup adventure story — don’t let complicated soup recipes get you down, soup is easy and can be made with whatever you like to grow in your garden, and your personal kitchen creations don’t have to contain a dozen ingredients.

The key is not over-thinking it and trust your instincts (and your nose). Taste as you go, keep notes and add to this list of combinations according to your family’s favorite vegetables. There are very few mistakes to be made in soup-making if you enjoy the variety of flavors that come out of our Missouri gardens.

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