Monday, January 4, 2010


I'm pleased to say I made a nice version of Old Fashioned Irish Vegetable Soup tonite. SURPRISINGLY (big caps) non-veggie eater ~apprentice~ enjoyed a cup without complaint! (She added crsuhed red peppers for some spice)

I've been looking at different versions of what seem to be similar recipes for this type of soup.. and simplified this. It's not overwhelmingly flavored of vegetables which was imperitive in my house, however, the diner may add their own seasonings... cracked pepper, crushed red peppers, course sea salt, parsley, etc.

Now from what I understand, and it makes sense, everyone in Ireland has a similar yet slightly different version. Why?  I believe this is the DAILY SOUP in Ireland (maybe it is interchanged with Potato Leek Soup, not sure). And I suspect each home-cook, chef or soup maker uses whatever vegetables they have on hand, to make their soup that day. Makes sense... certainly resourceful, and living green, plus sustainable.

Would I change anything in the next batch? Yes, add more carrots just for color and vitamins, use leeks instead of onions (because I just learned they pack a healthier punch than onions) and probably try parsnip since one Irish woman recommended it for the soup... and it also has added health benefits

Leeks are a good source of dietary fiber, folic acid, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. And best news, they are easier to digest then regular onions! Plus leeks have the added benefits of having laxative, antiseptic, diuretic, and anti-arthritic properties.

Their fiber content is great for digestion and their sweet taste is satisfying without being high in calories.They're high in soluble fiber, the type that helps lower cholesterol and keep blood sugar on an even keel. They're a surprising source of folic acid & B vitamins. Folic acid also plays a role in reducing heart disease, may help prevent dementia, as well, as osteoporosis bone fractures. And potassium, an aid to blood pressure, is present in good amounts. Unlike their carrot relatives, however, parsnips lack beta-carotene. Worth a try I'm sure you'll agree!
I will be making an additional pot tomorrow since I didn't make a large batch this first time. So I'll keep you posted on the addition of parsnips, more carrots and substitution of leeks for onions.
One source I found was Bob's Red Mill VEGI Soup Mix. This incorporates all of the individual ingredients that I personally would have liked to add to the soup though not all were in the recipes I received. If you can find it by all means pick up a bag...$3.89 for 28oz was worth it. This mix includes "green and yellow split peas, barley, lentils, whole wheat pasta bits, spinach and tomato" NO SPICES. I probably used 6-8oz of the 28 oz bag. This amount increasess the nutritional value of this pot of soup by 40g Protein and 35g fiber. (check out they have many wonderful products). I have found prices vary from specialty stores to supermarkets so check around.
RECIPE as I made it..this was enough for 4 bowls and we have enough left for lunch tomorrow.
In a large pasta pot
Add 5C Water
8oz Bob's Red Mill VEGI Soup Mix 
Add a good size pinch of salt and crushed black pepper
Bring to boil and simmer for 30 mins. Stir occasionally, add water if needed while simmering, to cover .
In the meantime, finely chop the following:
1 medium/large sweet onion
3 very large carrots
6 stalks of celery
After the first 30 mins of simmering, add the vegetables and return to simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until soft. Stirring frequently.
*SPECIAL INGREDIENT Add 1 Large Tbls of kerrgygold butter. Mmmmmm!
If you have an immersion blender remove from heat and blend until thick and creamy. (Otherwise let cool first and use a blender) Then add 2-3C milk for desired consistency. Season as desired and serve in a large mug or bowl. I like it just thick enough to lightly coat the spoon when stirred.
Tomorrow I'm making Irish Brown Bread.
This soup, served with the brown bread makes a Delicious, Hardy, Healthy Meal! A small teacupful is also a great snack in the evening to keep you from eating junk food. Just enough to satisfy my urge to eat anyway. :  )
When all is said and done, it seems, the inclusion of this particular soup mix follows closely to the other recipes I have been receiving from Irish home-cooks, they just used barley, peas and a can of tomatoes instead. I prefer the mix, it's a bit hardier & overall more nutritious. Looking forward to the alternate recipe (leeks, parsnips) too,  it's always fun to try new flavor profiles.
We'd love to hear what you have to say, please comment with any questions or recipes of your own.


cathy said...

Update on today's soup batch: I won't post as recipe unless we are completeyl pleased with outcome.
Today I used 3 times as much of Bob's mix (24oz) filled the pot with water, much of it will evaporate. Chopped 4 parsnips, 6 large carrots, 1 large leek (bulb and greens)...the produce man from Albania said his family uses all the greens so i said what the heck) and a large handful of locally grown organic baby spinach. It smells delectible. I have yet to add the Irish butter and milk and blend.

Last nite's batch is completely gone. I haven't added any salt only crushed black pepper.

This is so exciting. My oldest had a bowl today and liked it. My hubby has had a few bowls already. This is from a non veggie eating bunch most of the time : )))

The only other things I've made that disappear so quickly are cakes and the country white bread (neither healthy) HAPPY DAY HERE...appreciating every moment!

Cathy Collins said...

funny the 2nd version had a stronger vegetable taste, I also added baby spinach at the end. Along with more milk and water to thin it a bit. I'd say it's a matter of preference both were great.

Cathy Collins said...