I'm trying to make soup for lunch when we're home during the day, because gawd knows we could do with upping our vegetable intake a bit, and toast for breakfast followed by toast for lunch isn't cutting it. But I'm a lazy tart at heart and toast is easy. So I've bestirred myself a couple of times this week and started cooking the soup around 11:30 when people are starting to get grumpy from lack of protein, and we've had some nice warming meals. It is definitely soup weather!
The bean and pasta soup I made yesterday was a definite hit. I wasn't happy with the balance of flavours in the previous soup, which I'd made using stock powder, so I made up a rich vege stock the night before. A carrot, handful of celery sticks and leaves, two onions, some bayleaves, peppercorns and a clove of garlic, cooked down to a gorgeous brown broth, probably about 4 or 6 cups full (who notices that sort of thing).
I didn't bother browning anything the next day because I had my beautiful stock, but you can if you want. I also used dried garlic, because I have heaps, and it kept the emphasis on speed of preparation, but if that strikes you dead in your foodie heart then by all means use the real stuff. Ditto the beans.
stock, glorious stock
1 can five bean mix
2 sticks celery, with leaves, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 potatoes, diced
~1 tsp dried garlic
1/3 cup risoni
1 tsp dried basil
1 slug mushroom soy sauce (optional, but it adds a bit of oomph to the broth)
salt and pepper to taste
Combine everything except the risoni, bring to the boil, and simmer until the potato is nearly tender. Check the seasonings, then add the pasta and simmer for about 8 minutes, or until tender. If you like a thicker soup, mash roughly so that some of the potato is broken up.
We served it with grated cheese on top, and the smalls insisted on toast, since apparently toast is an essential part of the Authentic Soup Experience, but it really doesn't need it. Very filling!