Thursday, March 24, 2011
Winter Vegetables and Bulgur: The Last Soup of Winter (I hope, I hope, I hope!)
I want spring to come as badly as anyone. It’s been a long, gray, cold winter. Again. And the only thing I’ll miss about winter is that I won’t feel like making wonderful soups like this. I’m itching to get outside, wash the windows (!), clean up the perennial flower bed, getting the vegetable garden ready. (Although, I have to be admit, if there’s a kinda cool, little rainy, pretty gray summer day, I can be found making soup.)
In the meantime, I’m enjoying this hearty, warming and filling soup. My sister recommended this soup after another guest brought it to her new condo group’s monthly potluck. She loved it and I was anxious to try it, too. I had more than enough bulgur in the pantry and plenty of vegetables on hand. I even had the herbs de Provence the recipe called for; didn’t have to substitute my own mixture.
But I decided to make it the day I also decided it was high time I saw my three-week old new nephew. I called his mother and announced I was bringing lunch, too. She told me her husband had the day off and would be extra delighted that Mr. Rosemary might be along, too. Hmmm, I got to thinking, two big men just might not think this vegetarian soup would be hearty enough. So, without making a trip to the store, what could I do?
Since this isn’t my first rodeo, I have gotten in the habit of stashing a few freezer packets for just such moments. I decide to add about ¼ cup of chopped bacon and abut ½ cup of cooked chicken. That was all the soup needed to make it “manly.” Pretty quick to make and easy to tote.
In the end, Mr. Rosemary couldn’t make it, but the proud new daddy did – and I’m pretty sure the little bit of bacon did it.
Winter Vegetables and Bulgur
adapted from Bon Appetit 2006
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups ¾ inch pieces of root vegetables, peeled and chopped (like carrots, turnips, celery root, parsnips – I used carrots, parsnips, and turnips; wish I could have found golden beets)
2 cups chopped onions
4 cups vegetable broth
1 rounded teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 ½ cup bulgur (about 8 ounces)
1 6-ounce package baby spinach leaves
¼ cup cooked bacon pieces
½ cup cooked and chopped chicken pieces
Heat oil in a heavy large pot over high heat. Add root vegetables and onions. Sauté until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add vegetable broth and herbes de Provence’ bring to boil. Add bulgur, bacon and chicken pieces; cover pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer until bulgur is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add spinach; stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if you want.