Having a refrigerator full of either the beginnings or the ends or recipes is a hazard of being a cook. My refrigerator is always chock full of herbs and vegetables, waiting for their use in some upcoming recipe. But often, due to time constraints or just not getting around to using them, inevitably some of it winds up in the trash can.
As I was thinking earlier this morning about what I wanted to make, I knew I wanted to make a nice warm soup that would be perfect for the cold weather we've been having. I started thinking about what vegetables I wanted to get at the grocery store, and what herbs and seasonings I wanted to use. I was deep in thought when it hit me - I have a pantry and refrigerator full of perfectly good stuff that I could make something decent out of.
So I skipped the store, came straight home, and started pulling out all of the dormant vegetables I had. I just started chopping, sauteing, and mixing it all together, and this lovely and warming soup was born.
The best thing about this recipe is I'm sure you could use absolutely whatever you had on hand, adding whatever vegetables you needed to get rid of. It's also ridiculously easy, and positively low in fat and calories. I also threw in some rice, but feel free to leave it out, or add the grain of your choice.
"Clean-out-the-Fridge" Vegetable Soup
1 c onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 c baby carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
2 vegetable bouillon cubes, crumbled*
1 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
3/4 tsp fennel seed, crushed
1/4 tsp ground savory
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
6 cups water*
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt/pepper to taste
In 2-3 tbsp of olive oil, saute onion, bell pepper, carrots, and celery for a minutes in large saucepan over medium high heat. Cover with lid, and cook vegetables for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and bay leaf, and saute another 2 minutes. Add bouillon cubes and remainder of spices. Stir in can of tomatoes and 6 cups of water, and bring to a boil. (*If you do not have vegetable bouillon cubes, simply use 6 cups of vegetable stock) Add rice, and return to a boil. Cover with lid, and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, simmer an additional 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper, and serve.