I woke up feeling quite wretched and overworn this morning and on the verge of coming down with some sort of unwelcome summer flu. And while I was feeling far too off kilter to even think about eating breakfast until well afternoon, I woke up with the very comforting memory of a simple cup of soup I had enjoyed last night over dinner with Kate, one of my dearest friends who is in BC visiting from Montreal.
The soup was quite simple. It was the evening’s special at a little restaurant in James Bay (Victoria, BC), and happened to be vegetarian making it appealing for me. Kate had been feeling like she was fighting a cold and so inspite of the rather gorgeously sunny day we both began our meal with a cup of the "Gypsy" soup. Kate seems to recall a similar recipe in one of the Moosewood Cookbooks, though it isn’t in either of the ones I own. It was a tomato and veggie broth, with large chunks of summer fresh veggies, seasoned with a chipotle puree. Quite simple really, and I didn’t necessarily think much of it last night, but today as I battled it out with this feeling of being under the weather it was all I could think of.
And so on a lovely hot summery afternoon I managed to get the kitchen into an absolute swelter while I simmered a large pot of my attempt at recreating the Gypsy Soup, and because nearly every ingredient came from the backyard, I’ve now dubbed it Garden Soup. I’m afraid I’m hopeless with making note of amounts of anything that I use, so while I will share the ingredients with you, I’ll have to leave it up to you to figure out measurements. I accompanied mine with a loaf of a garlic and fresh herb beer bread, using (which was exactly that easy), which made a wonderful companion to the soup though the additional kitchen swelter was quite unlivable and I ended up eating my dinner in the breeze of the front porch as the evening set in.
Recipe for Domicile’s Garden Soup (Late Summer Edition)
I began by making a simple veggie stock with some vegetables from the garden and farmer’s market that languished in the fridge last week during a particularly busy week. Once that was done I headed out back to see what I could pull in for soup and returned with a bowl full of:
Yellow cherry tomatoes (maybe a dozen);
Six regular/largish tomatoes (mine were Early Girl variety);
A mixing bowl full of very large purple peacock beans that have become a bit too woody for steaming and a handful of green and yellow beans from my bush bean plants;
A bunch of lacinato kale leaves, to which I also later added a handful of green chard;
Four beets; and,
Three small onions.
To this I added about four or five cloves of garlic from the farmer’s market and about six carrots and six red new potatoes also from the market.
Then everything got chopped up to soup size. Which today was pretty chunky.
I got out my large soup pot and sauteed the garlic and onions with two bay leaves (which I happen to get from my grandma’s garden) and a generous pinch of sea salt in olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pot). When those were soft I added the potatoes, five minutes later the beats and carrots, and five minutes after that the beans. Then I put the tomatoes (all roughly chopped) in and added enough stock to cover everything. I ground in some fresh pepper and added about a tablespoon of chipotle puree and let it all simmer for an hour or so. When I came back to taste it I decided it needed some more salt (I don’t put any salt in my stock though) and a little something else, which I decided would be about a tablespoon of freshly chopped sage. At that point I also added the chopped kale and chard. About 30 minutes later I had a bit bowl of soup with the still warm beer bread and am now convinced that with a good night’s sleep I’ll beat whatever this bug is that’s trying to steal the end of my summer.