Play-it-by-Ear Soup

I have a pot of this fiber-rich, thick as porridge soup just finished simmering on the stove and cannot wait to dig in for a late lunch.  As most cooks know, soup is what you make of it, highly adaptable.  Throw in what tastes good, clean out those leftovers, and you can rarely go wrong.

This soup started out many years ago from a recipe leaflet in a box of Kashi 7-Grain Pilaf (yeah, again a favorite ingredient).  It was called “Purifying Soup”.  Over the years I’ve mixed it up to make it my own, and here’s how it came together today:

PLAY IT BY EAR SOUP

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INGREDIENTS:

2 medium carrots, 2 small onions, 2 stalks celery chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 plump clove garlic minced

3 tbsp olive oil

2/3 cup each Kashi 7-Grain Pilaf, red lentils, split peas, and hulled barley

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dill weed

A few twists of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 of 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes with their juice, crushed by hand

12 cups beef broth

1 fully-cooked Italian chicken sausages cut into pite-sized pieces

1 can dark red kidney beans drained

Large handful of baby spinach

PREPARATION;

In a very large soup pot, saute the vegetables until softened and then add the grains and stir to coat. Add seasonings, the broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. After 40 minutes, add the sausages, spinach, and kidney beans. and simmer another 20 minutes until the grains are softened.

This soup becomes thicker as it sits, especially after being refrigerated, so it can be thinned with water or a bit more broth for reheating.

Can also be made as a vegetarian soup using a vegetable broth and leaving out the sausage.

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