I relied heavily for this experiment on my Starfrit “manual food processor” that lets me cut up veggies really, REALLY fast, and without hauling out a full-sized piece of motorized equipment. It uses only a spinning crank, like a salad drier. This is my THIRD one, but they usually last well over three or four years, so I consider the $20 for each one to be a decent investment.
The manual food processor doesn’t do a nice, precise fine dice, like a professional chef would. But it chops the veggies quickly down to a size and shape that really does a great job in a soup. And I think everybody enjoyed this as a nice change from my “hide-the-veggies” purée soups.
Here’s what it does to veggies:
I also “processed” onions, carrots (a bit hard on the gears, but once you get going, it’s easy!) and mushrooms – two of each, except the mushrooms (14 of those; I’m like the Rain Man in the kitchen). (oh, no, wait – I used one DOUBLE-SIZED purple onion for this soup!)
Add the onion first, with a bit of salt, then carrot, celery, zucchini, and mushrooms at the end. Stir it all around in a big soup pot until it’s very soft, moist and steamy. There should be lots of liquid on the bottom.
Stir in two tins of tomato paste until it’s evenly mixed with the vegetable liquid.
Then, add 4 tbsp (2 x 2!) of Tamari, 2 Tbsp of beef flavoured soup mix, and 2 litres of water. 1/2 (2 x 1/4!) cup each of barley and acini de pepe tiny pastas that a neighbour gave us.
Boil, stirring from time to time, until it thickens into a wonderful soup. Add 1-2 Tbsp salt and pepper, then 1-2 tsp oregano, thyme, etc., as desired.
The only thing I regret is – no garlic. If I were to do this again, it would definitely go in at the end of the veggie cooking time.
This was QUITE a delicious, thick, hearty winter soup, especially served with fresh, homemade sourdough semolina bread.
Come to think of it, this entire FILLING supper probably cost pennies per person… yay, me!