Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Soups to ward off the scurvy

Anyone else out there have a hard time buying vegetables at the grocery store this time of year? Especially since we started our little farm last year, it just seems strange to walk into a store and spend $4.99 on a pound of tomatoes shipped fresh from Spain.

Lately I have been noticing that my diet has changed significantly with the change in seasons. I eat much less fresh leafy greens and have switched over to root crops, namely potatoes but also beets, sweet potatoes, rutabagas and all that good stuff. Roots are great, but there are still a whole lot less veg in my diet compared to the summer months...and to be honest, its a lot harder to come up with things to eat when you feel a little pang of guilt every time you buy an pricey and not so great tasting imported vegetable. I wouldn't consider myself a hardcore locavore by any stretch of the imagination but I am trying this winter to be smart about what I am buying. Perhaps some of you readers feel the same way and might appreciate a couple good soups that you can make from mostly or entirely local ingredients. I shop mostly at Thrifty Foods and they happen to carry quite a bit of BC product in the produce department, even in February!

The following are a couple of lunch/dinner ideas which we fall back on frequently around our house. I have attempted to write recipes, but you'll have to just go with your judgement on quantities as I rarely measure.

1. Potato and leek soup: You will need - potatoes, leeks, yellow onion, some vegetable stock, butter and other seasonings like salt and pepper. I dice the potatoes and slice up the leeks and onion. Sautee the leeks and onion in butter til the onions are clear. Then add it to a pot of vegetable stock (although any stock will do) with the potatoes, add your seasonings. Bring it up to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft. Run it all through a blender and top it with some fresh chopped rosemary.

2. Pear and parsnip soup: This one came from a cookbook demonstration night that my friend took me to back in November. I had never cooked parsnips prior to making this soup, but now I'm hooked. I even eat them raw - they are like a sweet, earthy carrot. Another cool thing I learned at this cookbook night is that pears (which we grow a lot of in BC) keep for months in the fridge. Also, they ripen from the inside out, so when you are selecting from a tree or from the store, you can pick them really hard and they will ripen with time. So load up on pears while you still can. Okay so for this soup you need: 1 pear, a yellow onion, 2 large parsnips or more if they are small, about 4 or 5 cups of veggie broth, butter, flour, rosemary, seasonings like salt and pepper. I start by sauteeing the onions and parsnips (which you chop up) in butter in a large stock pot. Do this for about 5 minutes until the parsnips start to get soft, then add a few tablespoons of flour and cook a couple minutes more. Add the stock, and then the pear (cubed) and chopped rosemary. Simmer for about 15 minutes until parsnips are soft, then run it all through a blender and eat.

Both soups are pretty hearty so we just serve with bread and its a pretty good meal!

We are alway looking for new recipe ideas so please send us yours if you are willing to share.



  1. Thanks for the great soups - I too struggle every time I'm shopping to get inspired with the veggie selection from everywhere but BC. Half the time the sticker on the veggie says something different from the sign on the stand - very frustrating! We have modified our veggie eating this winter and I've tried buying some frozen organic choices from Oregon lately which have been well received my the younger members of my family.
    We will try your potatoe and leek soup as I think it will be a winner in my family. Thank you!

  2. i want to try this parsnip pear soup!