I came across a second-hand copy of Mollie Katzen's The Enchanted Broccoli Forest at lovely Berkelouw Books in Leichhardt the other day, and was inspired by the soup chapter to start a little weekly soup project. I kicked it off with the first soup in the book - a plain vegetable soup that was surprisingly good for such a simple, stock-less recipe.
I've adapted it slightly - you could probably throw in anything, to be honest. It was a lovely Sunday-afternoon-in-winter exercise - a walk to the local vegie shop for the ingredients, back for a session of chopping, slicing and dicing, then to the couch with some knitting while the soup simmered away on the stovetop.
Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Soup
Combine in a big pot 1 diced potato, 2 diced onions, half a chopped cabbage, 200g sliced mushrooms, 1 stalk of celery finely diced, 1 carrot diced, enough water to cover, 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 bay leaves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Core three tomatoes and drop them into the simmering soup until their skins loosen. Fish them out, peel, remove seeds and chop flesh. Return to soup with 1.5 cups of tomato juice. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
Add 6 cloves garlic, chopped, 5 shallots (scallions) sliced, and a medium zucchini, diced. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Season to taste.
Serve topped with fresh chopped herbs (whatever you like) and some grated parmesan cheese, with good sourdough buttered toast on the side.
Note: I threw some leftovers in the blender a few days later and it was delicious as a pureed soup too.