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Old 11-09-2005, 09:33 AM   #1
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Winter veg soup w/ splash of cream...missing s'thing

Last night I was inspired to use up some vegetables I had bought over the last week or so & hadn't cooked yet....They were: cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, potatoes and carrots.
In an 8 qt pot, I sauteed 4 med yellow onions & 3 garlic cloves in about 3-4 tblsp. olive oil. To that I added 6 cut up carrots, then the cut up cauliflower (1/2 head) and broccoli (1/2 head), letting everything "sweat" for a few minutes. Added 2 tsp kosher salt and about 15 grinds of fresh black pepper. Finally, I added 2 med. butternut squash (peeled & cut up) and about 5 med potatoes. I was going to top up with chicken broth, but decided on plain water (adding just enough to cover all the veg with about 1/2" to spare), since I had a vegetarian friend visiting. After a few minutes I added two more tsp kosher salt (by now it was about 5 qts). I let this simmer for about 30 minutes. I used by handy dandy hand held blender to mix everything (almost like a puree) and added about 1/4 cup of fresh, heavy, cream, mixing again.
It came out very good (says husband and daughter), but I felt there was something missing. I didn't achieve the right balance. I think maybe the soup needed some acidity?
Sherry? Cheese? I didn't want to ruin it, so I took some in a bowl and grated a bit of nutmeg in it, and that really tasted very nice.
I didn't have a recipe for this, was just following my nose, so to speak.
Any suggestions as to what might have been that missing ingredient.

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Old 11-09-2005, 09:41 AM   #2
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How do you think the salt level was? My initial though was that it sounds like it could use a bit more. I also would have gone with vegi broth instead of water.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:46 AM   #3
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Yes, salt level was low 4 tsp kosher for 5-6qts isn't enough. Didn't have any veggi broth at hand, but yes, that would have been good too. I never think to buy veg. broth, maybe I should look into that. Oh - I forgot to say I added about 2 tsp thyme, which was fresh when I bought it, but had dried out a bit (still smelled really nice).
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:48 AM   #4
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You could try a splash of soy sauce or vinegar.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:48 AM   #5
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Do you have leftovers? Try putting some in a bowl and playing with the salt level to see if that helps, then if it does you can add more to the big pot.
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:16 AM   #6
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Thanks for your suggestions! Mymom always adds a dash of vinegar to soups and roasts - kids always complain it smells awful, but my mom says it keeps the soups (esp. if beans/lentils) from souring and adds to flavor of gravy. But, what about sherry - I've seen this added to soups?
GB - do I have left overs! Oh my goodness, of course yes!
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:20 AM   #7
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As I was reading your post, I was thinking "nutmeg". I bet it is even better today.
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Old 11-09-2005, 11:41 AM   #8
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I agree that it probably needed more salt. But you should also season the layers of flavor. In other words, season (salt and pepper) the sweating vegetables while they are sweating.

It's important to season each layer of flavor rather than midway or all at the end.

A can of good quality tomatoes might have brightened it up. I would be aftraid that adding vinegar to the cream would make it curdle.

Some parmigiano reggiano or gradana padano cheese might also have been good. If you ever buy a hunk, save the rind in the freezer and toss it in a soup like this and let it simmer with the veggies.
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Old 11-09-2005, 11:46 AM   #9
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sherry (dry) and or nutmeg are good ideas. or perhaps a little sweet curry (garum marsala)
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Old 11-09-2005, 01:21 PM   #10
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I never have good luck when using "water" as a base. That elusive missing flavor is usually fixed by using some kind of flavor enhancer to the broth.

There are tons of good vegetarian broth bases out there. The "Un-Chicken" kind (I can't remember the brand name of it off of the top of my head) is my favorite since it has a nice pale color and great flavor with the McKay's powdered versions being a very close second.


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