One of the best ways to fill Half Your Plate (and all of your soup bowl) is with a simple puréed soup. They’re a time-honoured and super-simple way to get a whole lot of vegetable flavour on the table in a hurry – maybe even hide vegetables from finicky eaters. This one was custom created by Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick with Chef Michael Smith’s coaching!
Yield: MAKES 4 HEARTY BOWLS OF HOMEMADE GOODNESS
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of butter, more if you’re feeling indulgent, even a lot more, up to 1/2 cup (125 mL)
A large onion or two, finely chopped
2 or 3 or 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 mushrooms, cut into small pieces
4 cups (1 L) of chicken or vegetable broth (or just plain water)
½ teaspoon (2 mL) of basil
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of salt
Lots of freshly ground pepper
In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and garlic, stirring and sizzling as the onions soften. Add your mushrooms and pour in the broth. Bring to a slow, steady simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, just long enough for the vegetables to soften but not long enough for the flavours to peak and fade, 20 minutes or so. In the last minute or two, stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Purée the works using your hand blender, tilting the pot and going for the depths. The longer you purée the smoother the soup. Alternatively use a food processor or blender. Ladle, serve and share!
© Chef Michael Smith – #HalfYourPlate
Parsnips are my all-time favourite root vegetable, which makes them ideal for roasting. Their sweet earthy flavour and firm texture are complemented with just a hint of delicious sharpness. My kids call them ‘white carrots’ and love when Dad fills up Half Their Plate with their tasty goodness.
Cherries pack a powerful nutritional punch that always delivers big bold flavour. Mulling them with warm spices and red wine adds lots of aromatic personality too. Mulled cherries are excellent over ice cream, in shortcake or anchoring a simple parfait. Adding the protein power of true yogurt and crunchy granola to any fruit really kick-starts your day. Especially with a flourish of real creamsicle flavour: pure orange and vanilla working their old-school magic in guilt-free yogurt! #HalfYourPlate