When my girls were young one of their favorite stories was Stone Soup. It’s the tale of two travelers who come to a village hungry, with nothing but a big empty cooking pot. When they find that the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food, they head to a nearby stream, fill their pot with water, drop a large stone into it and place it on top of a fire.
A curious villager then wanders by and asks what they are doing. The hungry travelers reply, “We’re making a delicious soup. We’re happy to share it with you, although to make it perfect, it still needs a little something else.” The villager doesn’t mind parting with a couple of carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquires about the pot, and learns about the stone soup that the travelers say hasn’t yet reached its full potential. So he happily offers some garlic, onions and seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers pass by, each enthusiastically adding another ingredient.
Finally, once the pot is filled to the brim with fresh, colorful vegetables, the stone (being inedible) is removed from the pot and the delectable, nourishing soup is enjoyed and shared by all.
I love this story for so many reasons. It shows that an open, creative, non-judgmental mind makes transcendent experiences possible. It reminds us that we are never left comfortless or without resources as long as we remember to partner with the spirited aspect of ourselves that connects rather than separates. Most of all, I love the way these hungry travelers share with the very people who were reluctant at first to share with them, which brought them all to greater fulfillment while eating and communing with new-found friends.
I was always happy when one of my daughters jumped into my lap with a dog-eared copy of Stone Soup in hand, eager to read the tale. Especially on the nights when we supped on one of my favorite fall meals: Homemade Vegetable Soup.
I love my Homemade Vegetable Soup recipe for just as many reasons as I love Stone Soup. Preparing this soup has become a yearly fall ritual, connecting me more tangibly not only to harvest time – with it’s abundance of root veggies and vast array of tender herbs – but with the delightful experience of enjoying a warm, cozy kitchen just as the fall winds begin to blow and temperatures drop. That’s the signal for me that it’s time to cook pot after pot after pot of Homemade Vegetable Soup. I make so much because I always freeze it – gallons of it. Watching the freezer fill, I feel somewhat like a prairie woman storing away my winter provisions. And I always find that the more the freezer fills, the easier it is for me to appreciate the qualities of winter that enrich my soul. With each bag I stack, I feel greater optimism that I can actually make it to the other side of these leaden dark days to Spring!
This Vegetable Soup is my go-to remedy for winter blues as well as colds and flus… it is the perfect belly full of solace.
A steaming cup of it can warm hands and hearts.
I give it to you now with all of my LOVE!
- 2 TBS Olive Oil or Ghee
- 1 large chopped Onion and/or 2 sliced Leeks (whites only)
- 2-4 cloves of Garlic
- 2 medium sized or 1 large Beet
- 2 large Carrots
- The kernels from 2 Corn Cobs
- 2 big handfuls of Green Beans
- ½ cup Butternut Squash
- 2 Parsnips (optional)
- 1 handful of Kale (optional)
- 1 can of Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 can of Muir Glen Tomato Paste (for a heartier soup, optional)
- 2 Tbs. of Organic “Better Than Bouillon” Vegetable Paste
- 3-4 quarts of filtered Water
- Seasoning and Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Heat oil/ghee in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions (or leeks) and garlic, stirring frequently until onions are translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add remaining chopped vegetables, stirring frequently and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, “Better than Bouillon” and water to the pot. Stir together.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and spices, as desired. Let cool before storing.
The Beauty of this soup is that you can easily personalize it to your liking by adding more or less of any vegetable or herb. Have fun and be creative making your own signature vegetable soup!
TIP: Freeze soup in quart and gallon freezer bags or small containers, you can then take out only what you need. There’s no need to thaw the soup before reheating on the stove.