Happy 2018! Now that the holidays are behind us, I am sure many, like me, have a plethora of leftovers, including vegetables from the vegetable tray. Am I right? Instead of tossing the veggies, dice them up to create this unique, flavorful Irish Vegetable Soup.
Vegetable soup is very satisfying, and full of fresh vegetables and herbs, but not necessarily noteworthy in my opinion. But...travel across the ocean to The Emerald Isle (Ireland), and you will find not only a breathtaking countryside with warm and friendly, native folk but also delicious vegetable soup presented entirely differently than in the states. Instead of chunky vegetables swimming in a sea of full-bodied broth, the Irish version is a velvety, pureed blend of root vegetables, garlic, herbs, cream, and butter.
There is nothing like travel to cause a bit of culture shock, particularly in the cuisine, but I am rarely shocked by soup! My hubby and I traveled to Ireland last summer to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, and this humble dish graced almost every pub and fancy restaurant throughout the country. I have to admit; I was a bit skeptical at first...pureed vegetable soup? It sounded awful, but my husband and I sheepishly smirked at each other and indulged.
Wow! If I had not been in the presence of others, I might have licked the entire bowl clean! It was so tasty and filling that I had to recreate this pool of deliciousness at home! When I re-created this soup, I thought for sure the texture alone would send my teenagers running, but it didn't! The aroma drew them out of their rooms. "Mom, what smells so good?" "Vegetable soup," I replied. "Would you like to try it? It is Ireland's version." They liked it so much that this soup now makes a weekly appearance in our home.
So, for my version, I used potatoes (sweet or regular), garlic, Cherchies® Garlic Seasoning, celery, parsnips, carrots, onions, and sometimes leftover vegetables, such as broccoli or spinach. And, because the entire batch is pureed, even the most discerning vegetable haters might enjoy this dish. It is a great way to get your family to eat more veggies. You need to give this version of vegetable soup a try. It is so easy, delicious, and satisfying, you may never go back to the chunkier version again!
2 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) butter
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
3 potatoes with skins on, diced (feel free to substitute sweet potatoes)
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup spinach (optional)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon (tsp) ground pepper
2 cups vegetable broth (ok to substitute chicken broth)
1/4 cup half & half (substitute fat-free greek yogurt for a lighter version)
Add butter, celery, onions, garlic, parsnips, and carrots to a large soup pot or dutch oven. Season with 1 teaspoon (tsp) Cherchies® Garlic or Garlic'n Herbs Seasoning blend and pepper. Sauté the vegetables, until onions are translucent.
Add the vegetable or chicken broth to the pot. Add potatoes, tomato, and rest of the Garlic Seasoning to the soup pot. Throw in some Kale or Spinach of leftover broccoli if you have it on hand (optional). Simmer until potatoes are soft and then add the half and half.
Once vegetables are finished cooking, turn off the stove and allow the soup to cool for five minutes. Now onto the blender. Carefully add the soup ingredients to a blender, making sure to only fill the blender half-full. You may have do a couple of batches. To ensure the hot soup does not explode everywhere, remove the center portion of the blender to allow steam to escape and put a clean towel over top. If you have a blender that is equipped to handle soup, then this step is not necessary. Hold the lid covered with the towel down and puree. Or, wait until the soup has cooled about 20 minutes or so and then puree.
Pour the pureed soup into your favorite soup bowl, serve with bread, and enjoy this tasty version of Ireland's vegetable soup! If you are feeling fancy, carefully add a little half and half and make a fun design. Enjoy!