It’s been a long time (a really long time) since I used soup mix in my cooking. And yet, there’s half a bag of the stuff in my cabinet. What if I need it one day for something? That might happen, right? …Someone tell me to throw out the chemicals, please.
The best thing I’ve learned through my no-soup-mix experiments so far is that water is often a perfectly fine soup base. Vegetables, grains, and legumes have great natural flavors, and when they’re combined well and seasoned well, you can totally get away with not having stock on hand. Homemade stock has been on my to-do list practically since the day we got married, but I never get around to actually trying it. And that’s because I’ve made so many great soups without it.
Like this one. Sweet red wine and paprika take a handful of pretty ordinary vegetables to new levels of greatness. Seriously, this soup has a broth so rich in flavor and color that it feels like a special occasion dish even though it’s “just” a vegetable soup. It could be Shabbos soup, My In-Laws Are Coming soup, Congratulations on Your Promotion soup. Or just Glad I Didn’t Use Soup Mix soup.
Adapted from Soup: A Kosher Collection
Yield: 8 servings
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 3 small red potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 Tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- Sprinkle black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup sweet red wine
- ½ cup + 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 4 tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded, and diced
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups frozen green beans (pre-cut, if you like)
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Saute the onions over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and sugar. Cook another 2 minutes.
2. Add the wine and raise the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes to give the alcohol a chance to cook off.
3. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, and water. Stir well and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes. Add the green beans and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve.