I have a secret. You know one of the best teachers? Doing without. Yep, the old adage "necessity is the mother of invention" was born, I think, in the kitchen. At a time when money is low, or there's no time to run to the store. Mealtime comes around with startling regularity! When you have people to feed, a pinch of ingenuity comes in quite handy. Like when you're hungry for soup.
It was a cold, gray morning and a rare day off work. I did not have a shred of gumption to go out and fetch groceries. I looked over my paltry ingredients in the fridge and then I had a thought! As a child, I always loved the book Stone Soup. It's a story based on an old French tale about three clever soldiers who outwit the greedy inhabitants of a village into providing them with a feast. That was it! I'd raid the crisper and "tip the refrigerator" to make a tasty pot of soup like they did!
I poured a bit of olive oil in my stock pot. I chopped and threw in the celery I found in my crisper along with three slightly shriveled cloves of garlic from my potato bin and half of a lonesome onion. I sautéed them til they were transparent and fragrant. Next, I added 2 quarts of water and my favorite magic ingredient, Knorr Vegetable Bouillon cubes, 4 to be exact. I sliced up a lonesome little zucchini and the remainder of a bag of fresh spinach. Then I chopped and added what was left of a bag of baby carrots. I looked in the freezer and found about a cup of frozen corn and it went in the pot, too.
Finally, I dug around under the sink and found a few somewhat tired looking potatoes. I peeled and cubed them and added them to the rest, lavished in several cracks of fresh ground pepper, a healthy pinch of dried basil and a generous amount of parsley. I love how parsley pretties up a boring dish and makes it look, you know, dressed up somehow.
And that was it!! About an hour later I had a lovely pot of vegetable soup for a gloomy day! And, I used up what might have been tossed if not for the inspiration of an old French tale about three hungry soldiers. If there would have been some green beans or cabbage or even a partial bag of coleslaw mix in my fridge, I would have chopped it up and added it. If I found no potatoes I could have used pasta or rice. I might have added a can of navy beans drained and rinsed if the mood struck. That's the magic of tip the refrigerator soup! One part ingenuity, one part desperation, one part imagination and when the weather turns blustery, it's the perfect time to try it!
Saute first three ingredients in olive oil then add rest of ingredients. Simmer about 1 hour. Makes approximately 3 quarts
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