#FoodFocus – Hearty Vegetable and Smoked Cheddar Soup

We are experiencing one of the coldest winters on record here in Ontario and across Canada. As a matter of fact, the last few days have seen temperatures lower than those at the North Pole, Antarctica, and Siberia with extreme cold weather alerts being issued in many provinces and bordering States. Yikes! That’s crazy!

Keeping warm can be challenging, especially with commuting to and from work. Coming home to a bowl of hot soup warms us from the inside and really hits the spot!

I don’t know about you but my fridge is still packed with leftovers from Christmas. And that’s a good thing because you can throw just about anything into a pot, add some liquid and make soup! Check out my Turkey Soup if you have lots of leftover bird and are tired of turkey sandwiches 😉

This soup is easy and fairly quick to prepare. It’s low fat, full of flavour, vitamin-packed and fiber-rich. You can omit the macaroni if you prefer a vegetable-only version.

makes 4-6 servings

You will need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup shallot or onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 cup carrot, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
4 plum tomatoes with 1/3 cup of tomato juice (canned)
1 1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
4-5 bok choy leaves, roughly chopped
4 fresh basil leaves
6 cups water
1 medium purple potato, cubed (yukon gold or any other type)
3/4 cup elbow macaroni
salt and pepper to taste
grated smoked cheddar cheese
fresh parsley

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  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil into a medium sized pot.
  • Add in the shallot or onion. Saute until transluscent.
  • Add the garlic, carrots and celery and stir it all up. Season with salt and pepper. Let that cook for a few minutes.
  • Squish the tomatoes into the pot and add the juice. Taste for salt. Stir and simmer until the tomato broth thickens.
  • Add the cabbage, bok choy and basil and stir.
  • Pour in 6 cups of water, the potatoes and the macaroni and a little more salt.
  • Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the macaroni and potatoes are cooked.
  • Adjust the seasoning and ladle into soup bowls

 

Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and grated smoked cheese and serve with crispy crostinis, fresh baguette or even leftover focaccia! The smoked cheese adds that  interesting layer of flavour. You don’t need very much of it either. I used Cheddar but lots of cheeses come as ‘smoked’ varieties. Try a smoked Gouda or Gruyere.

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A bowl of steaming hot soup on a wintry night is good for the soul, don’t you think?

To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.
– Laurie Colwin

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