It’s a working vegetarian’s dream!
Oh, and it’s just about the easiest soup you could make; I made it the other night, start to finish, in just about 15 minutes, with minimal prep, little more than just stirring the pot, and a little seasoning.
This soup–I hesitate to call it a soup, because with just a few minor alterations it could be a wonderful vegetarian or seafood stew. It’s hearty, flavorful and, made with fresh vegetables, just about perfect.
If you’ve followed this space at all, you know that what I am all about is simple; both of us work, and often supper comes down to what is easiest. Well let me tell you, this is easier than defrosting something you made last Sunday while watching the football games.
The recipe I post here is for a vegetarian version, but let me suggest to you that a simple addition of about three quarters of a pound of shrimp or a nice white fish like cod or haddock–or both–would make this a dream come true.
A couple of preparation notes: this would work really well with a bag of chopped onions and peppers from the freezer aisle of the grocery store–in fact the original recipe called for just that–but don’t. Use a fresh onion and a bell pepper or two (I used mini peppers–red, orange, and yellow), and fresh garlic cloves. The recipe calls for two 15-oz. cans of diced tomatoes. I suggest Muir Glen Fire-Roasted tomatoes–find them at a store near you–we found them at Target–they’re worth the difference. It might be even better if you have tomatoes from your garden that you put up over the summer–I do, and I fire-roasted them, but these canned tomatoes are fabulous. Try them. You’ll be glad you did.
So here’s the roadmap:
Vegetable Soup with Ravioli
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions and bell peppers–about half of each
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (don’t skip this!)
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes (fire-roasted is best)
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tsp. dried marjoram (or basil if you prefer)
9 oz. fresh or frozen cheese (or meat, if you must) ravioli
2 cups zucchini, small dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Over medium heat add the oil in a heavy enamel or stainless-steel soup pot (not aluminum–tomatoes and aluminum don’t play well together). Add onions, peppers, garlic, and pepper flakes and saute. stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Don’t overcook here–you want the veggies to feel like they’re still fresh.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, water, and dried herbs, plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper; stir well and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add the ravioli, give it a stir, bring the soup back to a boil and cook, stirring, just until the ravioli begin to float, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, stir, and return to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini are just getting tender–3 to 4 minutes. NO MORE!
- Adjust the flavor with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
NOTE: You can turn this into a bangin’ seafood soup by adding about 3/4 pound of 26-31 shrimp and/or white cod or haddock at the same time as the zucchini and cook just until the fish is turning from translucent to opaque. Want a stew: After cooking the onions and peppers for a minute, add 2 TBSP olive oil and 2 TBSP all-purpose flour, and stir well to combine, until there is no more white flour showing. Stir another minute, until the mixture begins to brown and the oil and butter are well incorporated. Then proceed to step 2, adding the tomatoes and the stock, but don’t add the extra cup of water. For an extra jolt of goodness, add a teaspoon or two of Cajun seasoning.
TIP: You can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days–it gets better. but if you do and want the seafood variety, don’t add the fish until you’re ready to heat and serve.
Original Source: Nancy Baggett for EatingWell
We’ve come round the bend and into the Mediterranean Sea. We’re stopping in Alexandria, Egypt, on our way through the canal to India. We’ve been traveling by steamer all night, and are in need of a hearty late breakfast/early lunch meal that includes both lots of veggies and some protein, but not a heavy protein. The answer is shakshouka.
The word comes either from the Berber word chakchouka, which means vegetable stew, or from the Hebrew leshakshek, which means shake. Its origin is somewhat disputed; some think it is originally an Israeli dish, others insist its origin is Tunisia, and some of those think that it originated with Tunisian Jews. Whatever the origin, it is highly popular throughout Mediterranean Africa, especially in Egypt. The upshot throughout the region is that it is sort of a shaken mixture. That defines it quite well.
In any case, it is a mixture of fragrant spices, and is served with an egg poached in the vegetable stew and cut-up pitas, to soak up the juices and the egg yolk.
And it is really tasty. Here’s the recipe:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Anaheim chiles (or 4 or 5, if you like it spicy) stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, top trimmed off and roasted*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes with juice, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas, for serving
*Roasted garlic: preheat the oven to 350. Slice off the top of the garlic head, drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over the exposed cloves; leave the head otherwise intact. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes; remove from oven, cool until warm but safe to touch.
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic (squeeze the garlic from the skins), cumin, paprika, and fennel, and stir to mix well and heat throughout, about 2 more minutes.
Crush the tomatoes in a bowl by hand and add with the liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water; reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.
Thanks to Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen for the foundation of this recipe, with which I started, but then altered just a bit after trying several varieties.