One of the best ways to fill Half Your Plate (and all of your soup bowl) is with a simple pureed 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 Honourable Yasir Naqvi’s 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
2 pounds (900 g) of mushrooms, cut into small pieces
4 cups (1 L) of chicken or vegetable broth (or just plain water)
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fresh oregano
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 oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
Purée the works using your hand blender, tilting the pot and going for the depths. The longer you puree the smoother the soup. Alternatively use a food processor or blender. Ladle, serve and share!
© Chef Michael Smith – #HalfYourPlate
Soups are the workhorses of many kitchens because they’re an easy way to make a lot of food in a hurry. You can also personalize them for your family. Add crunch with nuts, seeds, or crumbled crackers. Stir in thinly sliced deli meat, leftover roast chicken, crisp bacon or any cheese, grated or crumbled. Condiments like salsa, pesto, tapenade and guacamole. You name it. You can stir anything into these soups to call them your own!
There are as many ways to roast a chicken as there are cooks. This basic method is my favourite. Roasting the chicken perched on top of a thick bed of vegetables not only helps you prepare an entire meal at once but also guarantees that not a drop of flavour is lost. You can also skip all the normal laborious of slicing by simply shredding the meat into the works and tossing together a pan stew of sorts!
These quickly pickled cucumbers are half light salad, half bright condiment. You won’t believe how easy it is to simply simmer together an aromatic pickling liquid to soak a mess of sliced cucumbers. These tasty pickles are strong enough to top fish, chicken or pork but light enough to be an excellent side salad. You’ll love filling Half Your Plate with these big bright flavours!