Most summers my dad plants quite a large garden with a big potato patch and lots of carrots. When Fall arrives, the grandkids love to help dig up the vegetables and my parents often invite us all over for an afternoon of harvesting and eating. This year, my mom prepared a big pot of potato and carrot soup with the freshly dug vegetables and it was as hearty and satisfying as any pot roast. Since mom had made the recipe up and couldn’t remember the specific ingredients, I tried to replicate her potato soup to share with you. My soup is not quite as tasty as mom’s recipe (is it ever?!), but it still hit the spot. I used green beans to add a little fresh crunch and color, but mom added some frozen peas instead and that would be cheaper and easier. If you are not concerned about having a completely vegetarian meal, chicken broth can be substituted for the vegetable broth and gives the soup a slightly meatier flavor. I paired the soup with some scallion-cheddar scones for a very comforting, savory autumn meal. Of course, if you’re looking for a truly healthy, low-fat meal, you will probably want to skip the scones and opt for some whole wheat bread instead.
Harvest Vegetable Stew
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch thick chunks
4 cups vegetable broth (I prefer Swanson’s, other brands can be too sweet)
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces or 1/2 cup frozen peas
1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot, stirring to combine. Pour the broth and water over the vegetables and add the bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Give the soup a good stir to distribute the seasonings then bring to a boil.
3. Once the soup is boiling, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Add the green beans or peas and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes are very soft. They should be soft enough to thicken the soup, but not so soft that they turn into a soggy mess. Serve immediately. When reheating, it may be necessary to add some extra water or broth as the soup will thicken in the refrigerator.
I originally made this recipe with bacon. I left that out for this vegetarian post, but you can add 4 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon along with the scallions for a non-vegetarian version.
Makes about 8 scones
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon sugar
Egg wash: 1 egg whisked together with 1 Tablespoon of water
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large sheet pan, or 2 cookie sheets, with parchment paper, set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cheese and scallions.
3. In a medium mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and sugar. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
4. Turn the scone dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a 9-inch circle. Cut the circle into 8 wedges using a sharp knife. Transfer the scones to the parchment lined baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake in the 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.