My favorite soup recipe is for a spicy vegetable soup that is made with whatever I have on hand! The recipe changes every time I make it but here are the basics:
Chop a medium onion and add it and some minced garlic to a large stock/ soup pot with some oil or butter. Cook until the onion is beginning to soften and then add your vegetables. Chopped or sliced or cubed carrots, potatoes, parsnips, green beans or anything else! Softer vegetables need to be saved for later (such as zucchini or squash or tomatoes). Season with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you wish. Cook the vegetables for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add about 2 quarts (8 cups) of a vegetable stock (or chicken if you are not vegetarian). I don't precisely measure. I just put in enough to make a solid pot of soup. Bring the stock to a boil and then reduce the heat. Add a can of chopped tomatoes with chiles and any softer vegetables that you would like to add. Stir well and taste. Season more as needed.
Cook on medium heat, covered, approximately 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Use an immersion blender (or remove some liquid to a regular blender) to puree some of the vegetables to increase the flavor of the soup and thicken it slightly. Only a couple of quick bursts are needed. You want most of the vegetables to still be whole.
Stir, taste and season more if needed. Remove from the heat and enjoy!
You can add lentils, rice, pasta or anything else you would like to as well! I usually try to cook my pasta and rice separate and allow everybody to add what they want to their personal bowls. But I have picky eaters! LOL
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