With a chilly day predicted, I thought a hot soup would be a good choice, but I wondered how I could make a flavorful soup in an hour or so? I would have no time to make a separate vegetable stock and, in the spirit of our cooking demos, I did not want to go with a store bought option. What to do?
I needed to figure out how to create a strong flavor that would not dissipate once water was added to make the soup. What came to mind were two things. The first is a tip I learned from Mike Vrobel, of DadCooksDinner, that he uses to make his turkey stock: Be sure to include onion and carrot and slice them very thinly to let more of the flavor out into the liquid. The second is that tomatoes are one of the vegetarian ingredients used to add an “umami” flavor. Okay, three things, with the third being that dried herbs, when added early in the cooking process, can pack as much of, or an even better punch then their fresh counterparts.
Oh, okay, five things. Garlic (of course) and just the right amount of salt.
The instructions are in the following recipe, but the short story is saute thinly sliced onion and carrot on low for a few minutes in olive oil, (do not brown!) raise temperature, add dried herbs, salt, and pepper, and cook for a minute or two, add thinly sliced garlic and cook until fragrant, add diced tomato, lower temperature, and cook down for 10-15 minutes. Then add water and veggies, cook for 15-20 minutes, and season with salt to taste. Here is what I did at the Market Kitchen Tent:
Quick and Easy Fresh Vegetable Soup
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, very thinly sliced/chopped
1 3 to 4-inch piece of a medium carrot, very thinly sliced
2 small clove garlic thinly sliced
4 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4+ tsp each salt and pepper
1 medium sized tomato, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small to medium potatoes, diced
1 3″ or so chunk of daikon radish, diced (can also use two big red radishes)
15 or so green beans, in 1″ pieces
kernels from one cob of fresh corn
liquid scraped from the “de-kerneled” cob
2 cup water to start, then, if needed, add more to cover by 1/2″ or so (I used three cups)
1 tsp salt
Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan, add onion and cook on low for a few minutes. Add the thinly sliced carrot and cook another few minutes, then raise the temperature to medium high and add dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Cook for another minute or so, add the garlic and cook until frgrant, about 30 seconds, then add tomatoes, and liquid scraped from corn cob. Lower heat and cook for at least 10 minutes or so until thickened and very fragrant.
Next, add all the rest of the veggies and the water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, adjust seasoning if desired, and you are done!
So easy and so good! You can use whatever veggies you like, but I’d recommend keeping the flavor base the same.
You might be wondering about the daikon radish in the ingredient list. I am a big fan of this vegetable, also called ice radish. I discovered it back when I followed a macrobiotic diet and have since learned that it is very good for the soil, making it an excellent rotation crop. Unfortunately, it is not one of the more familiar vegetables, so I always like to give it some PR when I can.
I found out that Farmer Dave’s has been offering it in their current CSA, so I requested that they send some along to Wakefield this week. And they did! Along with using it in the soup, I also offered raw slices for people to try. I am happy to say that more than just a few people headed over to Farmer Dave’s for a daikon radish when they left the Market Kitchen Tent.
Not everyone was a newbie, though. Here are some ideas for using daikon shared with me today: Slice it in rounds and serve with hummus or another dip in lieu of crackers. Julienne and include in a wrap. Or, the most fun sounding one: slice thin or spiral and serve with a strong soft cheese on dark rye bread, accompanied by a good beer.
Of course, it is great in soups or stir fries, any casserole dish, (use to complement or as a substitute for turnip, potato, or carrots) raw in a salad or veggie plate, or try it roasted, by it itself or in a veggie medley. Here is a fun recipe I am going to try this weekend: Spicy Roasted Daikon Radish French Fries.
Do a search online for daikon radish, and daikon radish recipes. You just might find out that you have a new favorite veggie.