Mid Summer Vegetable Soup

Come August, around the beginning of the Month although sometimes we must wait until mid month, Meta and I make a special trip to the local farmers market for our first real fresh from the farm purchase.  It gives us an opportunity to gorge on local produce and local farms provide most of the ingredients we need for a large pot full of vegetable soup.

Generally by now in Ohio the tomatoes should be well established and even seconds will be available which are perfect for soups and sauces.  I am a scratch cook so for me its just a question of throwing whatever we find into a large stock put and cooking the shit out of it.  When I first started the category of Kitchen Witchery I had intended it to include recipes.  The problem for me is the odd fact that I don’t measure anything.  It has been a stumbling block of sorts.  So I am going to take a shot at getting this recipe down for your perusal using approximate measures and guesstimates.

So here goes…

16 quart stock pot

1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds of beef chuck (Optional)

1/2 peck of tomatos

4 yellow of light green peppers (sweet)

4 – 5 green peppers (sweet)

3-5 small or 2-3 medium zuchinni

a couple hand fulls of green snap beans

a couple hand fulls of wax beans

6 small or 4 large turnips

3 – 5 medium potatoes

two hand fulls of white mushrooms

one cup of pearl barley

clean veggies, chop or slice and skin when necessary (turnips) and throw in pot, don’t expect all the veggies to fit comfortably int the pot so save some, Potatoes especially for later in the cook.  Taters can cook to nothing so chop one for later in the boil into very small of thing pieces.

Tip 1:  Potatoes can be used to thicken the broth.  I myself don’t really care for thin broth

Tip 2:  Soup is at least 50% water.

Spices:

4 and 1/2 table spoons of Thyme

3 Tablespoons of Marjoam

3 Tablespoons of Sweet Basil

! tablespoon of Savory

1 tablespoon of Rosemary

1 teaspoon of oregano

half of a teaspoon of black pepper

3 – 6 Bay leaves

3 – 6 cloves of garlic

Salt  (Don’t be shy)

Chuck the the chopped meat (optional), chopped veggies and Potatoes (Holding one tater the pearl barley back for a couple of hours, once the veggies begin to melt then these last two plus any other left overs can be added.)

Ideally the contents of the stock pot should fill said pot to a couple or three inches from the top.  Once this level has been established it should be maintained through out the cook.

Once a soft boil has been reached it should be maintained.  The heat can be high until boil is reached then the batch should be cooked over lower or low heat until finished.  As a rule of thumb the contents shouldn’t boil hard, if you get splatter from the inside of the pot onto your stove then the heat is too high.  I like to maintain a patch of bubbles maybe number six or eight or so near the middle of the pot.  Cook uncovered, add water as needed.  Stir frequently but not constantly.

If you want a neat amount of time on this mess I can’t give it to you.  Generally it takes about six hours once on the heat.  sometimes a bit more.  It is one of those dishes that takes most of the day to get right.  Taste it once it is well under way, and again after about four hours and you should have a pretty good ideas how the taste will develop.  Also use Thyme, Marjoam, Basil and Oregano along with Salt to finish.  Don’t be afraid of the salt as the ingredients are fresh.  Tasting as it cooks can give one the taste as it changes and develop strong anticipation of what it needs to finish. Whenever a person cooks from scratch and uses fresh ingredients it takes extra special effort to screw it up.  Meta and I will be putting this together later this very day assuming that nothing out of the ordinary happens.

If you want to try something a little different add a quarter cup of millet to the batch at the same time you add the pearl barley.

This has become our traditional (Twenty years now) Lamas meal and we usually party some once it has started cooking.  Even though this won’t be happening on the holiday proper I don’t think that really matters.

This is recipe is NOT intended for novice cooks.  But if you are a novice and have a sense of adventure don’t let this warning stop you.

Best of luck and happy eating.

Have a better then average day.

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