Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.
Today: Set your abandoned vegetables free, in just 5 steps.
It’s six o’clock, you’re just coming home from work, and a plan for dinner is about as distant as the grocery store is from your front door. (Even if your front door is a grocery store, it's too far. Your stomach is growling. Things are dire.) There is no time for grocery runs, there is no time for recipes. When life does this to you, make soup.
The ingredients for any puréed soup are probably languishing in your crisper drawer right now -- have a head of cauliflower? A bunch of spinach that’s only a little wilted? Set them free. They were born for this.
How to Make Any Puréed Vegetable Soup in 5 Steps
1. Heat your pan with a little bit of fat (olive oil, butter, goose fat, what have you) and add some chopped allium. Onions? Great. Leeks, too? Even better. Cover the pan and sweat these until they’re translucent.
2. Now add in whatever's in your fridge. Cauliflower works well, as do roots, as do greens. (Cut in uniform sizes so they’ll cook evenly.) Season. Salt and pepper are non-negotiable, but experiment at will: curry for cauliflower, ginger and cumin for carrots, Herbs de Provence in anything if you’ve ever wondered what that tastes like.
3. Pour in liquid to cover -- stock will be best, but if you don’t organize your life in a Google spreadsheet and have quarts of it in the freezer, use water and compensate with seasonings and spices. Simmer till tender.
5. Fortify with dairy if you must. A slip of cream or milk will add a richness to your soup, but you can just as easily skip this step. If you're stirring in a sauce, now's the time for that, too. Then eat! And bring the leftovers to work the next day.
Still want a recipe? Here are a few for inspiration:
Photos by James Ransom