The Universal Soup
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Try this at home: The Universal Soup. January is National Soup Month, but I love this recipe from Matthew Garelick (exec chef at New York Central in the Grand Hyatt) so much I’d run it any old month. I love the name, because it sounds galactic, and I love how versatile the recipe is. No more searching the recipe blogs for various veggie soup recipes – this one works for basically any veg. And it’s easy.  Universal Soup Soldiers, let’s cook!

Ingredients:
 - 4 cups any vegetable you like, sliced thinly – red peppers, tomatoes, carrots, squash, potatoes and leeks, canned white beans, rinsed, or even defrosted frozen peas or corn
 - 3/4 cup yellow onion, sliced
 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
 - 2 ounces butter or olive oil plus 2 tablespoonss
 - 3 cups unsalted vegetable stock or water salt and pepper

Preparation:
Heat a pot over medium heat. Add butter or oil, then garlic and onion. Gently cook until softened and translucent. Raise the heat and add the rest of the veggies and some salt and pepper and cook stirring until the ingredients have softened and look a little shiny, about 5 minutes. Add the stock or water, turn the heat all the way up and cover the pot.  The idea is to cook the vegetables as fast as possible to retain their vibrancy and color. Check a piece of veg to make sure it is totally soft. Cool for 5 minutes in the pot, then puree with a blender taking care as hot ingredients tend to splatter. While the blender is running, add in the remaining butter or oil to make a sexy smooth soup. Adjust the seasoning and serve.   Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices and the addition of cream instead of a portion of the stock.

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