This pot of winter vegetables goes onto the stove weekly and changes with the day. Last night, for instance, after the soup was made -- and the clear broth looked almost pristine -- it received a post-Thanksgiving injection of chopped Brussels sprouts, rutabagas, roasted red onions, and turkey. Other days, it might be simmered with cooked cauliflower florets, stir-fried bok choy, potatoes, green beans, even the leftover salad (you'd be surprised how delicious it tastes in soup, though only if dressed with oil and vinegar, not something creamy).
Every night, after the leftovers are added, I top it up with more water or chicken stock. Then the hot pot goes onto the screened-in porch for the night. At the beginning of the week, the soup is the main course. When the pot gets low, the soup is an appetizer, served in small cups, often sprinkled with plenty of Parmesan and chopped parsley.
Winter vegetable soup
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 leeks (white and green parts only), sliced and soaked for 20 minutes in cold water
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 turnips, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 Savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart water
1 can (16 ounces) tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans with their liquid
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1. In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the carrots, leeks, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.
2. Lift the leeks from the water and add to the carrot mixture. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the turnips and cabbage. Cook for 5 minutes more.
3. Add the stock, water, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and set on the cover askew. Simmer for 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
4. Add the beans and their liquid. Simmer for 10 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Stir in the thyme and ladle into bowls. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.