Also called "Carrot O's" and "Bugs Bunny Soup" (sorry Warner Brothers, I know you probably have some trademark on that name, meaning I owe you $0.10 every time someone sees this post), this soup is really just a mash of veggies all squashed together. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and you have yourself an economical (I refuse to refer to it as "cheap" because it hardly tastes so), heaping pile of warm vegetable-laden goodness.
I'm serious though when I say "a little bit of this, a little bit of that," because (as you'll see) my measurements are almost scientific. (Note the sarcasm.) I'm a big fan of intuitive cooking, and with soups there's no better, more forgivable dish that will allow you some leeway in your spices. I should note, though, that I promote tasting often and starting off easy with anything (especially those spices that have added salt). The last thing you want is something resembling a salt brick. It may be good for horses, but for us, well, not so much.
Typically I'll add some elbow-type pasta to any soup I make, but I went into making this dish knowing that I had a ginormous loaf of Asiago-Pesto bread (be jealous, Allison) ready to be toasted and dipped as an accompaniment. (Thank you, Momo!) I do recommend finding yourself a tasty, hearty bread to compliment this dish. A simple wheat bread sprayed with olive oil spray, sprinkled with garlic powder, topped with Parmesan and/or Romano and broiled for a minute would be quite lovely.
- large stock pot
- 2 cups ice cubes
- olive oil cooking spray
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 1-16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower
- 16 oz. chicken broth (vegetable broth could most definitely be used)
- 1/2 of a 16 oz. bag of frozen sliced carrots
- 2 bay leaves
- light shake of onion salt
- light shake of chili powder
- light shake of bacon salt (it's vegetarian... ha! of course, this addition is only if you are an eclectic spice collector like me)
- generous shake of dried oregano
- generous shake of dried thyme
- generous shake of coriander
- generous shake of garlic powder
- generous amount of fresh ground pepper
- 1 large can of chicken (see the Making for vegetarian suggestions)
- 1 cup frozen spinach (or about 2 cups fresh)
- Spray a large stock pan with cooking spray and turn stove to medium-low. Place garlic in the pot and listen to it. Once it starts yelling at you (some might call it "sizzling"), dump the diced onion into the pot and turn the stove up to medium. After 2 minutes, add the cauliflower and the 4 fresh diced carrots. Let the veggie mixture cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Pour broth in pot and turn the temperature up to high. Add the spices and bay leaves at this time. Once the pot begins to boil, let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until the vegetables are looking loose. At this point, it's a treasure hunt as you try to find and remove the 2 bay leaves.
- Turn the stove off and dump 2 cups ice cubes into the pot. Stir the mixture to melt the cubes and cool the soup. Once cool, place 2/3 of the soup into a blender (or as much as it takes to fill your blender halfway). See? It's half-mashed!
- Place frozen (thawed) carrots in the blender with the soup. Puree until it resembles delicious baby food, and then return it to the pot and combine with the non-blended mix.
- Turn stove on once again to medium-low. Add contents of the strained can of chicken (tofu or cannelloni beans would work beautifully as a vegetarian substitute). Also add the frozen spinach (no need to thaw, it'll do that in the hot tub o' veg you have going on).
- Let the soup cook and re-warm for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.