My garden this year has been teetering on the edge. It wasn’t quite as successful as I had hoped it to be, but it wasn’t a total failure. My tomato plants mysteriously started wilting, my squash plants were ravaged by borers and my pepper plants took forever to start producing. Yet, while my harvests haven’t been prolific, I’ve still been able to make small harvests.
Other than lettuce, there never seems to be a big enough harvest to make a complete meal for two of us. What can you do with a handful of green beans, a hot pepper and a few tomatoes? Mix in a few farmer’s market finds and wah-lah it becomes a hearty veggie medley soup or as I like to call it “Whatever Your Garden Grows” Soup. It’s a great way to have dinner now and a couple of dinners stowed in the freezer for later.
I’m giving you a recipe, but let’s face it, you don’t really need one. The idea is to use whatever random veggies you have on hand. Essentially, I always start with onions and garlic, and sometimes a hot pepper, for a flavor base, then I add things like carrots and potatoes that take longer to cook, I saute everything for a few minutes, add the broth and just start adding the other veggies that require less cooking time (green beans, corn, etc.). I like to add the herbs a few minutes before serving for a final touch. Don’t be tied to exact measurements or exact ingredients. Have fun and go with the flow – that’s become my gardening mantra and it translates pretty well into the kitchen too.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 hot pepper, minced
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and diced
- 1 potato, scrubbed and diced
- 6 cups broth (chicken or vegetable or just use water)
- 1 large zucchini, diced
- 1 dozen green beans, chopped into 1-inch long pieces
- 2 ears of corn, cut the kernels off the cob
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot.
- Toss in the diced onion and saute until slightly translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and hot pepper, when it becomes fragrant toss in the diced carrots.
- When the carrots and just tender, add the diced potato and saute for 5-8 minutes.
- Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.
- Pour in the broth.
- When the broth comes up to a boil add in zucchini, green beans, corn kernels and tomato.
- Cover and turn the heat down to simmer.
- Let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Strip off the leaves from the sprig of thyme and stir into the soup.
- Let the soup remain at a simmer for 5 more minutes.
- From here you can let it stay warm until you’re ready to eat or dive right in.
- Before serving, top each bowl with a little fresh grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.
This recipe yielded two dinner-sized bowls to eat now and two full quarts to save for later.