We’ve had a peculiar summer here in the Mid-Atlantic. Hot. Humid. Rain. Repeat. Not the kind of weather that makes me think of soup.
But the weather for the last market was positively autumnal and I craved soup. While treasure hunting my way through the Collingswood Farmers’ Market I thought of a great way to make a delicious, unique, and simple vegetable soup and I set to it.
My daughters and I shop together each week and our shopping strategy is to walk the length of the market to see what’s new and enticing. We stop, turn with the sun at our backs, and shop, filling our wagons, until we are at the end of the market where we’ve parked our cars.
I decided during our walk to give every farmer a space in my soup pot and I bought one or two things only from each stand. This is a great way to experiment with new vegetables. It is also a great way to get your children involved. Let them choose.
Recipe for Hamburger Vegetable Soup.
Ingredients: a pound of ground beef or bison, leeks, celery, carrots, lima beans, winter squash, potatoes, green beans and/or yellow beans, cabbage, plum tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini….what would you add?
1. Dice and saute one stalk of celery, two leeks, and three small carrots in about a tablespoon of butter for about three minutes.
2. Chunk up and saute the ground meat.
3. Cut up and add your chosen vegetables to the pot. A little of each makes for great flavor and fun eating.
4. Pour in a 32 ounce box of chicken broth and 32 ounces of water.
5. Add a clove of garlic (whole, so you can take it out before serving), salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried parsley. (You can buy fresh parsley at the market and pull the leaves off. Delicious!)
6. Stir all the ingredients, put a lid on it, and let simmer on low all day. The house will smell terrific! Be sure to check the liquid level during the day and, if you have to run out for a quick errand or to take a nature walk with the children….leave the lid on and turn off the heat under the pot. Then come back in a turn the heat on again. The soup will continue to slowly cook, without the heat, while you’re away…don’t stay away too long. If the liquid seems too low add some water or some broth.
I served this soup with some crackers and cheese spreads (also from the market…see Hillacres Pride …cheese crackers are wonderful…and Cheese Etc.). Grilled cheese with Hillacres Pride Cheddar on Wild Flour Bakery sour dough bread is also delicious! And those fabulous little rolls with some farm fresh butter from Villa Barone…maybe even some fresh mozzarella slices.
And for dessert….Some sliced apples from Fruitwood Farm and Wm. Schober and Sons with cookies from Springdale Farm and Wild Flour Bakery.
Some (I hope all) of the farmers and vendors from whom I purchased: Springdale Farm, Buck Wild Bison, Wild Flour Bakery, Flaim Farm, A.T. Buzby Farm, Hymer Farm, Formisano Farm, Muth Family Organic Farm, Viereck Farm, Savoie Organic Farm, Wm. Schober and sons, Fruitwood Farm, Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms.
For your next shopping trip to the market…don’t bring a list, have no preconceived notions. Buy something new. And have fun!