Vegetable soup that my boys like

Vegetable soup

Vegetable soup

Here at The Ordinary, we have an institute devoted to deciphering The Meaning of Christmas. Apparently, nobody knows what it is anymore, so we have different theories thrown at us with alarming speed. It’s bewildering! Is it the presents? (ask a seven-year-old!) Is it peace on earth good will to all men? Is it the food? Is it the partridge, sitting plumply in the pear tree? The time off work? The hope for snow? The solstice? And then, of course, there’s the Christ, which apparently somebody has stolen from Christmas. This one has been drawn to our attention by lawn signs and billboards. We are not experts, here at The Ordinary, nor are we Christian in any organized sense. And yet we understand about the Christ in Christmas. It’s his birth day, after all, that we’re celebrating! Of course, in our not-very-well-informed opinion, Christ as we understand him is not the sort of fellow to want some big hoopla on his birthday. And he’s certainly not the sort to pout because he doesn’t get a big hoopla from every single person on earth. The problem, for me, is that it often seems as though the people bemoaning the lack of Christ in christmas are the very same people who are opposed to gun control, suspicious of welfare recipients, supportive of lowering taxes for very wealthy people, and of wars that serve no function other than to benefit the oil companies and weapons makers. There’s a disconnect! You can’t have it both ways! Surely a person can’t seethe with righteous rage, as christians, that people don’t say “merry christmas,” without understanding the lessons that christ taught. Admittedly I’m no scholar, but shouldn’t we be working for peace, and helping all people, including the less fortunate, and recognizing the value of good will and good works over money? Charity and forgiveness! This is the time of year to reinforce those ideas, and remind us of their importance, and strive to make the light of our understanding last the whole year!! Holy smoke (get it?) I’m getting all preachy. I apologize!! I’ve obviously been spending too much time in the basement vaults of The Ordinary, pondering the reason for the season, as we examine tinsel through the magnifying glass, and dissect candy canes in petri dishes.

I’ve been making some fancy food lately, in anticipation of Christmas. Double-crusted this, and sugar-crusted that. I felt like making something simple, nurturing, and warming, which almost feels more in keeping with the season, in a way, if that way is that I love my boys so much, and I want to make them healthy and happy, and somehow making a soup they like feels like a rung on that ladder. It’s a very simple soup, just broth and vegetables, and we had it with pasta shaped like tiny shells. But you could serve it over rice if you preferred. And you could always add beans, if your children like them and you felt like upping the protein content, which is always a good thing. I used vegetables my boys like – potatoes, carrots, peas and corn, which also felt like a very basic and traditional type of vegetable soup, but you could always alter to suit your taste.

Here’s Jimmy Smith with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I love this song, and I love this version!!


2 T butter
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large potato, scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 small turnip, peeled and cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 t each dried oregano, basil, sage, and thyme
1/2 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 T brown sugar
splash of white wine
1/2 cup tiny green peas (I used frozen)
1/2 cup small white corn (I used frozen)
1 t tamari
1 t balsamic vinegar
salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

some small shape of pasta, to serve.

Warm the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and all the herbs. Cook for about a minute until the garlic starts to brown. Add the potatoes, carrots, and turnip. Stir and fry for a few minutes, till the vegetables start to soften and brown. Add the sugar, stir so that everything is coated, and cook for a few minutes till the sugar starts to melt. Add the wine, stir to mix.

Add enough water or broth to cover everything by about an inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the vegetables are just as soft as you like them. Twenty minutes to half an hour should do it. Stir in the peas and corn, and continue cooking till they’re warm through.

Stir in the tamari and vinegar, and season well with salt and plenty of black pepper.

Serve over pasta or rice.

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