Jul 29, 2008

The Last Soup

Custer's Last Stand.
The last straw.
The last line of defense.

These phrases all refer to the last in a line, after which there are no more options. The Last Soup isn't the last soup you will make (I hope). It's simply a way to use what you have, reduce waste, and make something delicious in the meantime. The Last Soup means you are using the last of something before re-supplying. This recipe makes cooking easy by taking the brain power out of the equation. You simply pull out the last of things and you already have your ingredients and your amounts. The rest is some chopping or some pouring and then a little bit of cooking.

Soup is easy. It's made in one pot and is, by its nature, adaptable and versatile. You can incorporate your vegetable, your starch, and your protein in one bowl. Make it vegetarian or not. Use the spices you like. And it re-heats well and travels to work well. It even freezes well so you can get those cardboard boxes out of your freezer and replace them with homemade soup!

Between a birthday for me and out of town visitors for us, our refrigerator looked like a rummage sale of fresh produce. And the freshness was becoming more questionable every day. It was time to take all those items left from birthday bashes and weekend cook-outs and make something delicious, healthy and easy.

Here is what I used in my Last Soup:
  • the last of the tomatoes we canned in September '07
  • the last of the tiny zucchini from our first zucchini harvest this year, diced
  • the last celery leaves
  • the last can of garbanzo beans before I learned how easy and cheap it is to prepare dried garbanzo beans from scratch (it was hiding in the back of the pantry)
  • the last ear of roasted corn from the weekend grill session, cut form the cob
  • the half cup or so of lentils in the lentil jar
  • the last bay leaf from the several laurel branches from friend N's garden
  • the last of the homemade chicken broth from last week's delicious roast chicken
To this I added some very basic soup ingredients:
  • a diced carrot
  • a diced onion
  • three cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
In my soup pot I heated the olive oil then sauted the onoin, garlic and carrot for a few minutes. I then added the roasted corn, garbanzo beans, zucchini, bay leaf, celery leaves, and tomatoes and stirred to combine. I seasoned with a healthy dose of salt and pepper. After everything cooked for about five minutes I added the stock and brought the whole thing to a boil. I tossed in the lentils then let the whole thing simmer for a while. Lentils don't take that long to cook. You can scoop a spoonful out to test them. When they are tender, your soup is done. I let mine sit on the stove for a long time to thicken and absorb flavor.

You will notice that the soup isn't seasoned with a great variety of herbs and spices. I do this on purpose so I can season it different ways during the next few days as I eat this for lunch. It's my delicious base soup that will save me time for the next three or four days. If I tire of it sooner I simply freeze the remainder. It's still a time-saver when we need a quick weekend lunch idea or even a dinner component.

Have a favorite soup that is easy to make? Have a time-saver idea to help us through our busy summer days?


Poonam said...

Now this is a terrific last soup...

vb said...



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