Weekend Food Prep–Pureed Ginger Vegetable Soup

This is a lovely, warming soup. It is also a great way to get some easily-digested vegetables when you’re feeling a bit off. I like it after a hard run when my stomach can be a bit tender. You can make it a complete meal by adding some shredded chicken or a heavy dollop of plain Greek yogurt and a side of buttered toast.

This recipe does take a while to make, although it isn’t hard and all that time isn’t spent standing over the stove. I will add some shortcuts in the recipe to make it come together even more easily. Make it on a day off, when you’ll be puttering around your home anyway, and it will add very little to your chore list.

Pureed Ginger Vegetable Soup

one. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat.

two. Roughly chop and add the following vegetables, reserving the trimmings for stock:
2 cups onion

2-3 stalks celery
4 large carrots
2 zucchini
2-3 cups broccoli
2-3 cups cauliflower
(shortcut: sub in frozen mixed vegetables for these ingredients–California Blend or Italian Blend are both good comps. No need to thaw, just throw into the pot frozen.)

3 cups red garnet yam (shortcut: skip the yam for now and later, when the stock is added, sub in a 29 oz. can of pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling!)

4 whole cloves garlic, skinned
2 inches of fresh ginger root, skinned

Photo description: A pot full of chopped zucchini, carrots, broccoli, onion, yams and celery.

three. Slowly cook down the vegetables. You want them to become a flavorful mush. Stir every 20 minutes to cook evenly. Don’t rush this part, as it adds a lot of flavor to the final product. How long this takes depends on how moist the vegetables are, but typically I give it 1 1/2-2 hours. You’ll know it’s close when they are starting to seem dry and are more easily browned at the bottom of the pan.

Photo description: What the vegetables look like about 45 minutes into cooking. They are softening and beginning to break apart, but they are still distinct chunks.

four (optional). If you reserved the trimmings, you could make a quick vegetable stock by adding cold water to them and bringing to a simmer in another pot. Flavor with bay leaf, a few whole black peppercorns, and a few whole cloves. Allow to slowly simmer while you cook down the soup vegetables.

Photo description: Vegetable trimmings on a cutting board with a knife. There are outer layers of onion, some broccoli stem, a clove of garlic, and a cauliflower leaf in view.
Photo description: The vegetables are beginning to break down and liquid is collecting on the bottom. At this point, you’re maybe 20 minutes from going to the next step. I admit, it’s not very appetizing at this stage, but be patient, it gets better!

five. When the vegetables are starting to caramelize, increase the frequency of your stirring and cook it about 10 minutes longer. Then, add about 4 cups of homemade vegetable or chicken stock (and pumpkin puree, if you skipped the yams earlier).

six. Use an emersion blender to blend the soup until it is completely smooth. Add:
1 tsp curry powder (or more, to taste)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp table salt (or more, to taste)

seven. Slowly heat through to allow flavors to blend together. Adjust seasonings and add additional stock, if it’s too thick.

Yields: About ten 1 1/2 cup servings. This recipe freezes and reheats beautifully.

Photo description: A white bowl of pureed soup. The soup has a golden orange color, and there is a spoon in it alongside a dollop of Greek yogurt.

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