© Chef Michael Smith – Family Meals, 2014

There are as many soups as there are cooks, pots and vegetables, and just as many reasons to take the time to craft your own. Time-honoured puréed soups are a super-simple way to get a whole lot of vegetable flavour on the table in a hurry (and to hide vegetables from those who aren’t crazy about them). You just might end up discovering a table full of vegetable lovers. Start by treating yourself to a hand blender.

Makes 4 hearty bows of homemade goodness

  • Your choice of vegetable and accompanying aromatic flavors—mix and match
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of butter, more if you’re feeling indulgent, even a lot more, up to 1/2 cup (125 mL)
  • A large onion or two, finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 or 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups (1 L) of chicken or vegetable broth (or just plain water, which works fine)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of salt
  • Lots of freshly ground pepper
Choose a vegetable flavour … … and it s flavour partner.
6 red bell peppers 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fennel seeds
1 can of any beans, drained and rinsed Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 pound (450 g) or so of carrots 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of ground cumin
1 big head of broccoli 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of nutmeg
1 turnip 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fresh thyme
2 sweet potatoes 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of cinnamon
1 head of cauliflower 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of curry powder
2 pounds (900 g) of mushrooms 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of chopped fresh rosemary
6 cups (1.5 L) of green peas 2 large bunches of kale, center stems removed
1 bunch of mint + 1 teaspoon (5mL) more salt 1 whole head of garlic, minced

Choose your vegetable and its flavour partner. Grate hard vegetables, and cut others into small pieces.

In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and garlic, stirring as the onions soften. Keep the heat high enough to sizzle but not high enough to scorch. Add your chosen vegetable and pour in the broth. Bring to a slow, steady simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, brightening the flavours, 20 minutes or so—just long enough for the vegetables to soften but not long enough for the flavours to peak and fade. In the last minute or two, stir in your chosen flavour partner. Season with salt and pepper.
Purée the works using your hand blender, tilting the pot and going for the depths. Keep going until you’ve reached soup thickness. Go further for smoother. Holler, ladle, serve and share!

Check out our fun variations created with Ontario MPP’s!

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