August 17, 2017

Summer Harvest Soup

Summer Harvest Soup

Janine Pineo Photo | Summer Harvest Soup

I am eating the last bowl of this soup as I write, a true inspiration for the senses. The garlic drives the flavor, and ours came from Living Land Farm of Winterport. It has quite a kick and makes all the difference.

The basil helps balance it all, and surprisingly with so many vegetables, there is actually very little salt in this recipe, just in the broth and the Worcestershire sauce. That’s the power of the garlic.

While it doesn’t need the smoked cheese, trust me when I say it is a nice addition to the flavors and the smell as you set that steaming bowl in front of someone.
We got some of the other ingredients from Parker Family Farm of Newport (broccoli and onion), Living Land Farm (carrots), Winterport Winery (baguette) and  Smith’s Log Smokehouse (smoked cheddar), all at the Hampden Farmers’ Market . The other vegetables are straight from our own vegetable patch.

Summer Harvest Soup

Fresh tomatoes, enough for about 4 cups stewed
1 large onion, rustic chop
Zucchini and summer squash, enough for about 4 cups, sliced
Celery, enough for about 1 1/2-2 cups, chopped
Carrots, enough for about 2 cups sliced
3 large Swiss chard leaves and ribs, with ribs chopped and leaves diced and set aside
Peppers, mix of colors if you have them, about 2 cups roughly chopped
Broccoli, about 2 cups of florets and chopped stems
4 cloves garlic, minced
Basil, enough for about 1/4 cup roughly cut
Olive oil
4 cups water
1 can chicken broth
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 baguette
1/8 lb. grated smoked cheddar

To prepare the tomatoes, bring a pot of water to boil. Rinse tomatoes clean and add a few tomatoes to the hot water for about a minute. Remove from the hot water, let cool slightly and then peel off the skin. Repeat until you’ve used all of the tomatoes.

Put the peeled tomatoes into the soup pan – Dutch oven size is best – and start to stew them over low heat as you prepare the rest of the vegetables.

This is a chunky soup, so a rough, rustic chop is called for with most of the vegetables.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat some olive oil. Add the chopped onion and all but one clove of the minced garlic. It is important to mince the garlic either by chopping or with a garlic mincer as this will release the most flavor.

Add the final clove of minced garlic to the stewing tomatoes.

Slice the carrots and add to the onions. Do the same with the celery and chard ribs. Slice the squash and add that. Follow with the broccoli and peppers.

Cook until the last vegetables just start to get tender. Add the 4 cups water and the broth to the tomatoes. Carefully add the vegetable mixture to the tomatoes. Add the diced chard leaves and basil.

Add pepper to taste and the Worcestershire sauce.

Let it cook for a few minutes and then taste. Add more pepper and/or Worcestershire sauce as needed, keeping in mind that the longer you cook it, the more intense the flavor as the moisture evaporates.

The soup should cook until the vegetables are tender, but not falling apart. Time will depend on how tender the vegetables were coming out of the wok.

Place in bowls and garnish with slices of baguette and grated smoked cheddar.

Final note: Substitute or add vegetables as you have them. That’s the glory of a harvest soup; you use what you have.

– Janine Pineo