Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dark Days of Winter Weeks 7-8: Soups!

All I crave in winter are soups and stews. Over the last two weeks, I've made a couple of mostly local soups for my Eat Local Challenge. I was very happy to see that my year-round farmers' market still has a nice selection of produce in January. I had some leftover celery from a previous trip to the market, and I picked up some onions and this beautiful bunch of carrots to add to a lentil soup. I used the potatoes for a separate soup. And the cheese was just a special treat for me!

Lentil Soup
(five servings)
Lentils (An exception that I listed in my original post; I wanted to reserve the right to use beans and legumes in my Challenge meals)
Celery (farmers' market)
Carrots (farmers' market--such a sweet and pure taste! I wish I could grow carrots myself)
Onion (farmers' market)
Oil, salt, pepper (all given exceptions under the Challenge rules)

I followed the cooking directions on the bag of lentils. I added water instead of vegetable or chicken broth to try to keep this as SOLE as possible.  I actually make this soup regularly throughout the year, and it's very nutritious and leftovers are perfect to bring to lunch at work.

The other mostly local soup I made was a potato celery soup. I used this recipe as a guide but made many modifications. I excluded wine to keep this as locally-sourced as possible (and I wasn't about to use my tasty local white wine on this soup). I also used more potatoes and less celery than the recipe called for, based on the ingredients I had available.

Potato Celery Soup:
(six servings)
Potatoes (farmers' market)
Celery (farmers' market, leftovers from a previous trip)
Onion (farmers' market)
Chicken broth (exception; I know I could have made my own but I wanted this soup right now!)
Thyme (my garden)
Olive oil, salt, and pepper (Oil and seasonings are always exceptions in this challenge)

Interestingly, the recipe didn't call for cream, so the soup wasn't thick, but it wasn't watery either. The consistency was just right, and the soup was the perfect meal on a freezing January afternoon.

Here's the best part about making these two soups:
I had tons of leftovers! In addition to the bowl of lentil soup that I ate, I packaged up four containers to freeze and/or take to lunch. My husband and I each had a bowl of potato soup, and then I stored enough for two more meals each (so four more potato soup servings). My freezer is stocked and my belly is happy.


  1. Yummy looking soups. Our ground is supposed to be frozen hard as a rock so we don't grow too much right now. I love my garden carrots. If you ever want to try growing them in your containers, try a variety that is smaller and round. They are delicious and tend to grow very shallow. The type of thing you could put at the base of another plant. We have really come to love celery, its nice to get older and appreciate more flavors.

  2. You've done really well on this challenge! I'm amazed your farmer's market is still open. Your soups sound so good, I'm inspired to make some soup tonight!

  3. Mmmmm...that looks yummy! Especially the potatoes--I love them in soups. Enjoy!

  4. Is there anything better than home-made soup on a cold winter's day!?! I'm totally trying the Potato-celery one...sounds delish!

  5. Your soups sound great - I have been making soups all winter and particularly like lentil - never tried potato and celery though - will have to give it a go. Carrots grow really well in containers mine were really successful this year - their are special seeds specifically for containers the Chanteney type are delicious.

  6. @Spencer--thanks for the tips. I tried growing small carrots last year with bad results. Not sure if I'll try again this year. I've never grown celery.

    @Holley--thank you! I'm fortunate to have access to a year-round farmers' market, and these farmers keep some things in storage to sell. There aren't as many vendors now as in the summer, but I can find what I need for the two of us.

    @PlantPostings--thank you! I love potatoes in everything!

    @scottweberpdx--thanks! I would make the potato/celery soup again, maybe with more celery next time. It was good!

    @Elaine--I really like lentil soup. It's so easy to make and I always have leftovers so I can save a few dollars by not having to buy lunch.

  7. Yummy! I, too, like soups in warming and substantial. Thanks for some great recipes.

  8. I love soups and stews in the winter, too. I make double batches sometimes so I have lots of leftovers.


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