Food

Bonus #SundayCookingAdventures: Baked vegetable soup

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Yes, vegetable soup baked in the oven. I didn’t believe it either, so I decided to try it out. And it worked — yeah, I didn’t exactly bake it correctly, but that’s a minor detail (will explain later).

This recipe comes together like a progressive salad — you layer it. You don’t have to saute the onions (in this case, leeks). Get a big, ovenproof, dutch oven. Add a layer of oil. A layer of potatoes. A layer of zucchini. And on and on, till you finish with parsley and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil on the stove then put it in the oven. An hour later, it’s done.

I forgot to put the lid on the pan when I put it in the oven, so it was slightly overcooked. But I think with some crackers it’s still  going to make for some very nice lunches this week.

This is one dish where I have to say that I missed the salt. So I added some dried Italian seasoning, and a couple of bay leaves, which really improved the flavor. If you choose to include the salt, you may not need these seasonings, but you may want it all, which would be fine, too.

There are many, many vegetables in this soup, and not necessarily the ones you’d expect: potatoes, zucchini, celery, parsley, artichoke hearts (frozen), mushrooms and a small can of tomatoes. I imagine you can swap vegetables and use what you have. If you’re on Weight Watchers, this is a good one 5 Pointsplus value for a generous  1-3/4 cup serving (the photo at the end of the post represents one measured serving).

One last thought: You may want to cut back on the oil — it calls for 5 tablespoons. I think you could use less (I did use all 5 of them).

Here is a link to the original recipe from the Sept/Oct issue of Eating Well magazine. Below is the version as I made it.

Baked vegetable soup

Ingredients

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed
4 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced
10 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, quartered
4 cups frozen artichoke hearts (two 9-ounce boxes; I didn’t bother to thaw them.)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 dried bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 15-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juice
1 2-inch piece Parmesan cheese rind, plus finely shredded Parmesan for garnish
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Method

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) Pour oil into a large ovenproof pot (about 6 quarts) and arrange potato slices in an even layer over the oil. Layer in zucchini, leeks, celery, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and 1/4 cup parsley; sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and bay leaves. Pour tomatoes over the vegetables and nestle Parmesan rind into them. Add water (the vegetables will not be completely submerged), cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
3) Once boiling, transfer the pot to the oven and bake, covered, until the vegetables are tender, but still firm, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Season with pepper and serve garnished with parsley and Parmesan, if desired.

Cooks note: Clean leeks well to be sure they are grit-free: Cut off and discard green and root ends. Slice leeks and place in a bowl filled with water and swish around to release any sand or soil trapped between the layers. Scoop the leeks out of the bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving any sand or soil behind in the bowl. Drain well. Repeat as needed.

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