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HEARTY VEGETABLE SOUP

Hearty Vegetable Soup

It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? I’m referring not to holidays but to the annual wave of colds and flus making the rounds. The weather turns and folks are down for the count. I’ve got a weapon against this – it’s called soup. If you load a soup with fortifying vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots and kale, you can think of it as a protector against the attack on your immune system. As unfancy as this soup may appear, it actually has a surprising depth and body to it. There are three little secret ingredients here: a handful of diced pancetta, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and their tomatoey broth, and a sprinkle of grated cheese on top. Any hard cheese, nearly, will augment this soup. And those three flavors – the pork, tomato broth and cheese – make for something vaguely reminiscent of pasta in the broadest sense, keep it from being bland, and place it firmly in the category of healthy comfort food, which is my favorite. I’ve been enjoying this soup all week. And it’s done a pretty good job of keeping a teeny tiny cold from turning into a monstrous cold. Here’s to staying healthy, friends.

HEARTY VEGETABLE SOUP
Yield: 8-10 servings

Notes: This will yield a huge pot of soup. You can easily halve it. Vegetarians can forgo the pancetta and just sprinkle a little more cheese on top.

4 ounces thick pancetta, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
28 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 medium potatoes, cubed
3-4 medium carrots, diced
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan or cheddar cheese for grating

Warm a large, heavy-bottomed pot over a medium flame. Once your pot is heated, add the pancetta and cook until some of the fat has rendered and the pancetta is just a little brown, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If there is more than a tablespoon of rendered fat, remove the excess. Otherwise, toss in the diced onion and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chicken or vegetable stock, the tomatoes with all of their broth, and the chile flakes and stir. Add the potatoes. Cover and reduce heat to low.

After the potatoes are about halfway cooked through (roughly 10 minutes), add the carrots. Cover.

Once both the potatoes and carrots are cooked but still firm, add the chopped kale. Stir until the kale has just wilted.

Ladle soup into bowls, top with grated cheese, and serve hot.

The soup should keep for nearly a week in the fridge, and will freeze marvelously.

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  • sara - November 10, 2011 - 6:42 pm

    yumness. I feel like I’ve been on the verge of sickness for about a week. FIghting it with will. I think vegetable soup will be my back up. Beautiful grater by the way :)ReplyCancel

  • Kate - November 10, 2011 - 8:00 pm

    I’ve already survived my first cold of the season. I wish I’d had some of this soup back then! Kale and potatoes look like they’d be great together.ReplyCancel

  • la domestique - November 10, 2011 - 8:47 pm

    How appropriate- the husband and I are sitting on the couch sipping on cups of ginger tea right now trying to stave off tickly throats that might be the sign of a cold. Your soup looks delicious and comforting, I’m sure it would be very effective in promoting good health.ReplyCancel

  • Tine - November 11, 2011 - 12:46 am

    I want a bowl please! Perfect for this weather!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food - November 11, 2011 - 7:27 am

    I love cuddling up under a blanket on the couch with a mug of soup. Putting this one on my list.ReplyCancel

  • Kat - November 11, 2011 - 8:09 am

    So nice to see someone actively fighting the blandness that usually overpowers vegetable soups!ReplyCancel

  • Laken - November 11, 2011 - 6:16 pm

    I’m bookmarking this, I’ve been looking for a good vegetable soup recipe :)ReplyCancel

  • renee@sweetsugarbean - November 11, 2011 - 8:19 pm

    Lord knows I love me some soup – gonna give this one a try for sure! My immune system will no doubt be grateful!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy Marie - November 12, 2011 - 6:42 am

    this looks delicious. starting approximately now, I make at least one pot of soup a week, and this will surely be added to the queue!ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - November 12, 2011 - 8:11 am

    It’s definitely that time of year again, and this is my kind of soup!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn O - November 13, 2011 - 8:11 pm

    Healthy comfort food is my favorite too! And as much as I hate the colds that keep popping up this time of year, I love any excuse to cozy up and eat soups like this one. Looks amazing!ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - November 16, 2011 - 9:09 am

    Mmmm…I’d have this anytime, anywhere. Perfect for fall and winter!ReplyCancel

  • Cara - November 17, 2011 - 4:46 am

    Looks just perfect, Kimberley! Would love to come home after a chilly, rainy day to THIS.ReplyCancel

  • Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice - November 17, 2011 - 7:39 pm

    Sick or not, this is my kind of feel-good food. Looks absolutely perfect and just stocked with healthy bites.ReplyCancel

  • stephanie - November 19, 2011 - 7:53 pm

    i have this simmering on the stove right now! the few slurps i’ve had thus far are delicious. i can’t wait to eat the final product with the cheese on top. bravo!ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - November 21, 2011 - 5:20 pm

    I love a good hearty vegetable soup and this one looks delicious. Love that wooden bowl too :)ReplyCancel

  • amelia - December 8, 2011 - 8:06 pm

    i need to make this.ReplyCancel

  • [...] and making a hearty soup with it. Any of these, for instance: Chicken Ginger Soup with Noodles, Hearty Vegetable Soup or simple Chicken [...]ReplyCancel

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