Monday, April 11, 2011

Vegetable Noodle Soup, or, Liz learns to make stock

Those of you that know us know that Matt is the cook in this family.  If left to my own devices, my diet would like consist of noodles and canned sauces, frozen dinners, and other meals that consisted of 3 or less ingredients and a microwave.

So with Matt and I both down and out with a bad head cold, my first thought was to open a can of soup.  But Matt convinced me that there is a better, tastier way to get the soup that I wanted: make it myself.  From scratch.

Roasted Vegetable Stock

Pre-heat oven to 350.

3 carrots
2 golden beets
1 small onion

Coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for about 30 minutes.

After roasting, combine:

Roasted vegetables
3 stalks of celery
6 stems of fresh flat leaf parsley
3 dried bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp allspice berries

Put all ingredients in a pressure cooker, add water, bring to a boil, and then cook for 30 minutes at pressure.  Strain, and you have your stock!  I used a gold coffee filter to strain - it has a very fine mesh, and can handle hot liquids.  

A couple notes on the stock: you don't have to roast the vegetables.  We roasted them because we knew the stock was for a brothy soup, and roasted vegetable stock has a deeper, roasted flavor.  If you are in a hurry, though, you can put the vegetables in the pressure cooker unroasted.  If you are really in a hurry, you can make the soup below with store-bough vegetable stock.

Vegetable and Noodle Soup

Once you have the stock, it's time to turn that into a meal.  I was trying to get something close to the Chicken Noodle Soup of my childhood, but, obviously, without the chicken.  Or the heaping serving of sodium that comes from normal canned soups.

1/2 lb. white button mushrooms
1 small onion
3 stalks celery
2 small carrots
8 cups vegetable stock
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 oz. vermouth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1cup dried bowtie pasta
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut up mushrooms, onion, celery, and carrots into bite sized pieces.  Saute mushrooms in oil.  Combine vegetables, herbs, and ginger in a stock pot with stock.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are soft.  Add vermouth, bring back to a boil.  Add soy sauce and nutritional yeast.  Add noodles, and bring back to a boil until noodles are cooked.  Serve and enjoy!

For my first batch of stock, it turned out great!  The mushrooms add a texture that is missing from a lot of vegetable soups, and it hit the spot.  It's going to earn a place in my recipe book alongside camomile tea and cold medicine for the common cold.

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