What do you do when there are a bunch of vegetables that have been in your refrigerator and pantry for quite some time? You make soup! Ally loves soup, and I’ve learned that somehow, I come up with a great tasting soup. The key is in getting the liquid portion to taste delicious as it will heighten the flavors of the other ingredients.
Umami, not only fun to say, but fun to cook with. A little bit of an umami ingredient will go a long way in developing flavor in any dish. Some of our favorites are soy sauce, fish sauce, cured olives, hard cheeses, bacon fat, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovies. I’d like to try cooking with dashi as it’s always used by some of our favorite restaurants and chefs.
The stock we used in this soup, we actually made 100% from scratch. Every Thanksgiving, we scoop up any and every bone from every house we go to. A couple of years ago, we had a huge Virginia ham bone that made an amazingly rich stock. This past Thanksgiving, we got the bones of turkeys, one that was fried and one that was baked, for our stock. Turkey bone stock is quite easy to make, all you need is water and bones. Cover the bones, boil, cool, skim the top, boil, cool, skim the top, and then strain (cheese cloth in a strainer works well). We can our stock every year so it will last longer in the refrigerator. That’s a whole big ordeal that I’m sure we’ll document this holiday season.
Anyways, we hope you enjoy this soup. It probably goes a little bit better with cooler weather (think: fall day, with clouds and maybe a light drizzle) instead of the 90+ degree heat with humidity.
Hodge-Podge Vegetable Soup
- 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 15 kalamata olives, pitted & sliced
- 3 tbsp of liquid from olive jar*
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium butternut squash, cubed
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced
- 4 strips of bacon
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 32oz stock
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt & pepper to taste
*Look at see if your kalamata olives are in a water-based or oil-based liquid. We strongly prefer water-based, and that’s what we used here.
- Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce instead of fish sauce – need the umami!
- A hotter pepper for the jalapeno – for more heat!
- 2 tbsp of oil (we like safflower, or try coconut oil for a little twist) for the bacon – to keep it vegetarian!
- Try a different herb or combos of herbs, like rosemary, oregano, or basil.
- Use whatever type of stock you’d like 🙂
- Prepare all of the vegetables. Peel the sweet potatoes & squash prior to cubing. Remove seeds from jalapeno, unless you want the extra spiciness. Slice bacon strips into lardons.
- In a large stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat until the fat has liquefied and bacon is starting to crisp. Add onions and cook until translucent (~5 minutes). Then add garlic and saute until fragrant. Next add jalapenos and red pepper. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Now add butternut squash and sweet potatoes to the pot. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add stock, fish sauce, and herbs. You may need slightly more stock depending on your pot size/shape – you want the liquid to cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer. Adjust temperature to maintain a low simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add corn to the soup with 10 minutes left.
- Taste liquid and add salt & pepper as needed before serving. Don’t add the salt until the very end! (We didn’t use any.)
Makes ~8 servings.