When the weather is cold and nasty I love making soups and stews. I'll often make a large pot of soup Sunday afternoon and eat on it for most of the following week. One of my all time favorites is vegetable soup. I put in all different kinds of vegetables and often make it so thick it is really more of a stew than a soup. It simmers long and slow for a couple of hours. Because of the long cooking time, canned vegetables are really more appropriate than fresh or frozen for most of the vegetables. The fresh things I usually use are: onions, celery, carrots, cabbage and either a rutabaga or turnip. Here's how I make my soup.
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
about 1 1/2 cup chopped celery
about 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
3-4 cups chopped cabbage (a bag of slaw mix is perfect!)
a medium sized turnip or rutabaga, peeled and cubed
In a large stock pot heat about 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrots, cabbage and rutabaga. Fry over medium heat until the vegetables begin to brown a bit, taking care not to scorch.
Next add the following canned vegetables (each can is about 14.5 ounces each):
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 can peas
1 can green beans
1 can lima beans
1 46-oz bottle of low sodium vegetable juice cocktail
Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours. Eat with cornbread or good sourdough or homemade bread.
Variations: If I want to make vegetable beef soup, I'll take a pound or so of stewing beef (I like chuck best), cut into cubes, cover with water and simmer until falling apart. I then add the stewed beef and broth when I add the canned vegetables and decrease the vegetable juice cocktail by half or omit completely.
I also substitute other vegetables depending on what I have or what is in season. Sometimes I'll put in browned cubes of eggplant or zucchini squash. Some people like to use corn in vegetable soup, but I rarely do. You can also put in cubed potatoes if you like. Just use what you like or have.