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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer vegetable soup

 It might sound odd to eat soup in the summer, but this is wonderful barely warm or at room temperature. It's also healthful and takes advantage of some of the bounty of your (or someone else's) garden. This is great with a crusty bread or cornbread. (See earlier posts on Stilton Parmesan bread and Spinach Feta bread.)
I admit that I made this before the really long, miserable hot spell we had in the Midwest -- not the best time for cooking up a pot of soup. I'm just way behind in my posting.

Summer Vegetable Soup
Adapted from a Gourmet recipe

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. each dried oregano, dried basil, ground cumin and paprika (I used Spanish smoked)
2 sweet bell peppers (choose among red, yellow, orange), chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, sliced crosswise (and lengthwise if thick)
2 medium yellow squash, sliced crosswise (and lengthwise if thick)
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups water*
1 quart chicken broth
1 can corn (or scrape kernels from 3 or 4 ears fresh corn if in season)
1 can chickpeas (I used a 19-oz. can Progresso)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh herb mix such as oregano, thyme, parsley, basil
Feta to crumble over each bowl of soup

In a large deep skillet, cook the onion and the garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. Stir in the dried herbs and spices and cook 1 minute. Add the squashes, bell pepper and the corn, and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, water, salt and pepper to taste and simmer the stew, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer the stew, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and Feta, and serve just warm or at room temperature.

*For thicker, stewlike dish, omit water.

Variation: Add 1 tbsp. minced sun-dried tomatoes with the raw vegetables.