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How to make a hearty vegetable soup

The beauty of a hearty winter soup is that you can add whatever vegetables you have, carrots, onions, potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, frozen green beans and peas, broccoli, whatever you have on hand. What you can’t do without, however, is a good broth, whether it’s homemade chicken broth or vegetable broth.

You can have a broth-making night when you’ve cooked a chicken, and take the carcass, a large onion, whole or quartered, a large carrot peeled and halved or quartered, a celery stick, or two parties for the half; keep the leaves on the stem as well for added flavor, a bay leaf, 12 black peppercorns, and a teaspoon or two of dried mixed herbs. Cover all ingredients with water, bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top, then reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover the pan. Cook the broth for about an hour and a half, let it cool down, and then freeze it for future use. You don’t have to stand on it while it cooks, just put it down, relax and just remember to turn it off at the right time.

Making vegetable broth is even easier as you can use vegetable skins and even onion skins which will darken the color of the liquid. You’ll need carrots and an onion or two and celery and any other vegetables you have in the kitchen, although the ones I’ve named will make a good stock on their own. It only needs about an hour of cooking time, and again, all you have to do is turn it off after an hour.

With this hearty vegetable soup, you can add oatmeal or pearl barley to thicken it up and give it an interesting texture, and you can puree the finished soup if you want a creamier texture. Red lentils can also be added, which will give the soup protein.

Hearty winter vegetable soup


2 pounds of mixed root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, parsnips, salsify

3 or 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 leeks, well washed and sliced

1 large onion coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves finely minced (optional)

4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried

6 sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage

1 handful fresh parsley, minced or 1 tablespoon dried

1 bay leaf

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 liters of chicken broth

olive oil for frying


Fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes in the hot oil. Remove from heat and transfer to the saucepan you will be cooking the soup in.

Put all the other ingredients in the saucepan, stir to mix and bring the liquid to a boil.

Lower the heat so that the soup simmers, partially cover the pot with a lid and cook for 20 minutes to half an hour until the vegetables are tender.

Serve very hot.


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