It was a snow day and school was cancelled for the day. Woohoo!
Its a perfect day to make a great big batch of vegetable soup and in the process clean out the fridge. Naturally I decided to do this before getting out to snow blow the driveway so it was a challenge to find ingredients in the fridge that will go well together in a hearty stew.
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Step 1: What's in the Fridge?
I had quite a few fresh vegetables in the fridge.
I found a celery hearth, a purple onion, a turnip, a jar of dried tomatoes (my Dad tried these in the food dehydrator from our crop of summer tomatoes), three carrots, and a bag of Belle Isle Cress which is a crisp and spicy green somewhat similar in texture to water cress.
Step 2: What's in the Freezer?
Soup needs some liquid, I wonder what's in the freezer that could help with this?
A variety of tomato soup, tomato stock, tomato paste... (Did I mention my family grows A LOT of tomatoes each summer?)
Some chicken stock, a few cloves of elephant garlic... (yes those are cloves not bulbs!)
Step 3: Time to Do Some Chopping!
Its important to chop in fairly small pieces so the vegetables will be cooked through but large enough that the pieces are recognizable. I do like to be able to identify what I am putting in my mouth.
So I chopped the celery and greens with a knife, and used a mandoline for many of the other items.
Step 4: Load the Veggies and Sauce Into the Crockpot
Load all the vegetables into the crockpot, add the liquids and the squash.
The squash was Galeux D' Eysines squash that I grew in my garden over the summer. I roughly chopped the very large squash into pieces that would fit into my oven, cleaned out the seeds and membranes from the center, and baked it until it was soft. Then I put the baked flesh of the squash into my blender and blended it until smooth. I froze the squash in canning jars for use during the cold winter months.
Then I needed more liquid so I added a box of chicken stock from the cupboard.
Step 5: Time for Seasoning
I have dried sage branches from my herb garden hanging in my dining room window, so I picked off a few leaves, crushed them in a mortar and pestle and added the crushed sage to the crock pot.
I also added some tumeric powder for more flavor.
Step 6: Stir and Turn on the Crock Pot
I stirred the pot and then set it for 6 hours on high. It is important to check periodically and stir to make sure you don't overcook the soup. I wanted the vegetables to have some firmness.
Step 7: Relax and Take a Break
Let the crock pot do the work.
You really should clean up the dishes before you go off for a break.
I made myself a nice cup of tea, and relaxed in my favorite rocking chair with my kindle and cup of tea.
Step 8: Taste and Serve
I tasted the soup after about 5 hours and it was delicious! Make sure you test the carrots and turnips as these take the longest to cook.
I served myself one portion and then put the remaining soup into canning jars, labeled them, and put them in the freezer so they are all ready to take to school in my lunch. Remember that water expands when it freezes, so leave a little head space under the cap of each jar or the lid will warp, get stuck or break and then your soup will be freezer burned and yucky. Once the remainder is stowed away in the freezer, its time for me to enjoy my lunch!
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