My husband gave me the idea for soup week one evening as were enjoying a soup dinner that had been pulled from the freezer, "Could you just cook a whole bunch of soups in one week and stock the freezer with them?" Well, yes, I could. The more I thought about it, the more the idea appealed to me. Planning and cooking a bunch of soups all at once would save time in prepping and cleaning, would use ingredients most efficiently and would allow me to justify an out-of-the way trip to an Asian market where produce is sold at fantastic prices. I planned a week of cooking two double batches of soup each day. I estimated that this would provide forty meals for our family with enough for Eric's lunches here and there as well. I would have carried out this plan in December but at the time our freezers were crammed full of other bulk buying projects and I had no space for forty ziploc bags full of soup.
I kept putting off the project until it came time to think about Lent. We always try to simplify our food during Lent and this soup week project was going to net enough to have soup every night during Lent. I don't think I will be able to neatly fit the cooking and blogging into one week because I have to shop strategically. I'd also like to give you the recipes I'm using but I don't have time to type ten at once. I'll get two at a time up on the blog until I'm done.
As I said, all recipes will be doubled which we find yield enough for four meals for our family of four. I'll let the soup cool in the pot and then bag enough for one meal in a gallon-size ziploc bag. The bags will freeze flat and take up much less freezer space. To thaw I pull them out of the freezer in the morning and lay them on the counter. Since they are all meatless they won't spoil this way. About half an hour before dinner I dump the soup into a saucepan and heat for dinner. We'll have homemade sourdough with our soup each night. If the soup is low in protein we may make cheese sandwiches. Our Saturday Lord's Day meal will be something other than soup each week and Sunday supper will be either soup or Saturday leftovers. We also won't have soup on Eric's birthday or the Solemnity of St. Joseph. So, off we go . . .
Tomato Soup from Moosewood Cookbook
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 1/2 c. minced onion
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 t. salt
1 t. dill
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 28 oz. can crushed concentrated tomatoes
2 c. water
1 T honey
1 T sour cream
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
Heat olive oil and butter in a kettle. Add onion, garlic, salt, dill and black pepper. Stir over medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
Add canned tomatoes, water and honey. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
About five minutes before serving, whisk in sour cream and stir in diced fresh tomatoes. Serve hot topped with yogurt, fresh basil, fresh parsley, scallions or chives.
Gypsy Soup from Moosewood Cookbook
2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
2 T olive oil
2 c. chopped onion
3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
1 stalk celery, minced
2 c. peeled, diced sweet potato
1 t. salt
2 t. milk paprika
1 t. turmeric
1 t. basil
dash of cinnamon
dash of cayenne
1 bay leaf
3 c. water
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
Scald and peel the tomatoes. Squeeze out the juice and seeds and chop the remaining pulp.
Heat the olive oil in a kettle. Add onion, garlic, celery, and sweet potato, and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt and saute 5 minutes more. Add seasonings and water, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add tomato pulp, bell pepper, and chickpeas. Cover and simmer for about 10 more minutes, or until all the vegetables are as tender as you like them. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.
(Incidentally, if you are not familiar with the Moosewood Cookbook, it's really fantastic. It was one of the first cookbooks I'd ever used and it taught me a lot about food. Many of my recipes come from this book or one of its spinoffs.)