Really Quick Vegetable Soup

Homemade soup in less than an hour.  It may sound impossible, but if you’re willing to cheat just a little bit, you can do it.

You probably appreciate a soup simmered lovingly for hours, the kind that makes you think of those cold days when you came home after school to a house filled with the fragrance of a rich soup.  The salty smell of celery, the sweet hint of onions and carrots and the smoky perfume of a ham bone combined with basil and pepper still take me back to when I was a kid.  Maybe that’s why I like soup so much.

But like me you may  also find yourself hungry for a good soup when you need to put a meal on the table in less than an hour.  You could open a can of vegetable soup and follow the directions, but you can make a better one for less money with only a little more more work.

You do have to cheat by starting with a can of beef broth, but the result is a really good vegetable soup that you can serve in less than an hour.

INGREDIENTS:

1 can beef broth
1/2 can water
1/4 medium onion (about 1/3 cup chopped)
2 medium carrots
2 ribs of celery
1 small potato (2 1/2 to 3 inches)
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of cloves
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp. cornstarch stirred into cold water
1/2 cup chopped ham or sausage (optional)

PROCEDURE:

Put the can of beef broth in a two quart sauce pan and add a half can of water.  Put over moderate heat.  Peel and chop the onion.  Scrape and wash the carrots, cut them in half lengthwise and chop them.  Clean and chop the celery into 1/4 inch pieces.  Peel or scrub and dice the potato.  I normally leave the skin on.  Add the vegetables to the broth as you finish chopping them.  Bring the soup to a boil and turn down to simmer.  Stir in the basil, salt, cloves and pepper.

Allow the soup to simmer for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Mix two teaspoons corn starch into two or three tablespoons of cold water and stir into the soup.  Bring back to the simmer and cook for one or two minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary before serving.

If you wish, add some chopped ham or sausage while the soup is simmering.

NOTE:  This recipe makes four servings.  If you need more, just adjust the ingredients and the size of the sauce pan or soup kettle.

For a gluten free soup, be sure to use pure cornstarch.