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
This is my favourite way to toss together the amazing flavours of a Niçoise salad and skip the traditional fussy arrangement of the ingredients. My kids aren’t big fans of visible anchovies and don’t know that they’re hidden in the powerfully flavoured dressing loaded with tangy lemon, bright parsley and aromatic basil. They just know they love this salad and I love that it’s a whole meal in a bowl!
You can fill more than Half Your Plate with this traditional Kenyan dish. It’s a complete vegetarian meal and so tasty that you just might end up filling all your plate. It’s often made with old-fashioned maize but even tastier with sweet corn.