March weather in our nutmeg state can be varied. As the weather starts to warm up, we can still feel a bite in the air. Soups are always a nourishing way to bring warmth while still enjoying the transition into spring, through bountiful soup vegetables. The following recipe is a basic soup recipe from my grandmother, Terri. What’s wonderful about this recipe is its forgiving nature. Whatever vegetables you have can go into this soup and help you create a delicious flavor for you and the whole family. The one criterion my grandmother taught me with this soup was to take your time adding ingredients. Be sure to bring the soup up to boil in between adding each ingredient. I have modified the recipe slightly with the spices and the addition of lemon zest and lemon juice for a more robust flavor. The directions are listed clearly below. Enjoy!
1 onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
¼ Tsp sea salt
3 carrots, chopped into small bite sized pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into small bite sized pieces
2 celery, chopped into small bite sized pieces
Zest of 1 lemon
2 x 32 oz cartons of Chicken stock
1 can of 28 oz crushed or diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups of water
3 x 10 oz bags of frozen vegetables (peas, corn, chopped green beans— if includes carrots, then delete additional chopped carrots from ingredients)
½ of 10 oz bag of frozen fava beans (Trader Joe’s has delicious frozen fava beans; can use canned/rinsed beans of other variety instead or in addition)
½ of 10 oz bag of frozen greens (spinach or kale works well)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs sea salt
½ Tsp cracked pepper
1 pinch hot pepper flakes
1 Tbs dried parsley (can use fresh parsley instead)
¼ Tsp paprika
¼ Tsp dried dill
1 dried bay leaf (be sure to scoop this out before serving soup)
Optional: Additional frozen vegetable variety (for example, broccoli)
1. Caramelize onion in olive oil (turn burner onto medium/low and cook onion until translucent—do not burn onion).
2. Add ¼ Tsp sea salt and mix with onions.
3. Stir onions periodically.
4. Add carrots and parsnips and celery before onion is fully caramelized and continue to cook until onions are done.
5. Add lemon zest and stir.
6. Add cartons of chicken stock and can of crushed/diced tomatoes and water and stir.
7. Bring to boil.
8. Add bags of frozen vegetables, one bag at a time. Bring soup to boil in between each added ingredient. (This is an important step—my grandmother always taught me that this is how you achieve the richest flavors!)
9. Bring to boil.
10. Add frozen fava beans.
11. Bring to boil.
12. Add frozen greens.
13. Bring to boil.
14. Add lemon juice and spices.
15. Bring to boil.
16. Lower to simmer or low boil for 1-2 hours. (May need to add more water if soup has reduced too much.)