Vegetable Medley Soup with Hearty Grain Biscuits

bowl of vegetable soup topped with yogurt, grated cheese, with buttered biscuits
Hot ‘Vegetable Medley’ soup makes a satisfying winter dinner with buttered Hearty Grain Biscuits

We’re winter soup fans. On cold days or when I’m tired from doin’ stuff, a yummy full-of-veggies soup is often  ‘just the thing.’

Last Sunday, our friend j. robert was coming over to browse through seed catalogs, dreaming of a summer vegetable garden. “Once it got dark,” he said…which in late January is around 6pm, dinnertime.

Had some mizuna greens from last week’s CSA delivery and collard greens from the week before that needed to be used ASAP or would only be good for the compost pile in a few more days. With the assorted veggies we had on hand, soup seemed perfect.

valley end farm's late january small box CSA delivery
Valley End Farm’s late January small box CSA delivery: Mizuna greens, Chard, Romaine lettuce, Carrots, Potatoes & Turnips, Lemons & Kiwi

Didn’t follow or start with any recipe. This was totally improv, Bri’s favorite way to cook. Here’s the list of ingredients I used. You may adapt the recipe to what you have on hand.

Vegetable Medley Soup

INGREDIENTS: (Use as many organic ingredients as you can find. Almost everything here was.)
Virgin Olive Oil, enough to saute onions
1 large white Onion, chopped coarsely
3/4 lb. Crimini Mushrooms, chopped coarsely
5-6 cloves of Garlic, chopped fine
2 stalks of Celery, sliced into medium pieces
2-3 Carrots, sliced
2 boxes (2 Qts.) Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth
2 15 oz. cans Organic Red Kidney Beans
5-6 mixed Potatoes, chopped into bite size chunks
1 large bunch of Mizuna Greens
1 medium bunch of Collard Greens
1 bay leaf
1 cup leftover, Curried Butternut Cream Sauce
(As I  promised, here’s the recipe! Or, another white sauce will suffice.)
1 cup of whole Milk
Juice from one large Lemon
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:
~ WASH and PREP the veggies. (PUT the chopped potatoes to soak in a bowl of water, so they don’t oxidize and turn brown.)
~ DRIZZLE olive oil in a heavy deep soup pan.
~ ADD the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and mushrooms.
~ SAUTE the veggies over medium heat, stirring occasionally, ’til the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
~ POUR in the broth, rinsed kidney beans, bay leaf, potatoes, salt and pepper.
~ BRING to a simmering boil and cook for 15-20 minutes ’til the potatoes start to get tender.

When they’re almost done,
~ADD the butternut cream sauce*, milk, lemon juice, greens, more salt & pepper to taste.
~ STIR well ’til the greens wilt. COOK until the potatoes are done the way you like them.
~ TURN off the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving to avoid burning your mouths eating it.
~ GARNISH with a dollop of Greek yogurt topped with grated sharp cheddar cheese and these hearty mixed grain biscuits.

SERVES 8 as a main dish.

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Hearty Mixed Grain Biscuits

We didn’t have any bread on hand, so figured hearty biscuits would round out the meal. Have been wanting to bake with more whole grains…inspired by Eating Rules’ January Rules new year’s challenge, specifically their RULE #1 ~ When you eat grains, eat only 100% whole grains. (Which this recipe doesn’t quite qualify for being half unbleached flour. But it’s a start.)

Tried & True – World of Breads Cookbook & worn biscuit cutters.

Looked in my trusty ‘A World of Breads‘ cookbook by Dolores Casella and selected her Cornmeal Biscuits recipe on pg. 13. Since we had four folks to feed, I increased the ingredients by 1/3 (the proportions I list here).

INGREDIENTS
2 cups organic Unbleached Wheat Flour
1 cup organic Whole Wheat Flour
1-1/2 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1-1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 cup coarsely ground Cornmeal (or Polenta, which is what I used)
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons of chilled, organic Butter (salted)
1-1/3 cup Buttermilk (organic, if you can find it)

INSTRUCTIONS
~ SIFT the flours before measuring. You’ll get a more accurate measure.
~ SIFT the flours, baking powder, salt, and soda together.
~ COMBINE with the cornmeal (polenta).
~ CUT in the cold butter until the particles are the size of small peas.
~ ADD the buttermilk and mix well by lifting and scooping the dry & wet ingredients with a large fork until well dampened.
TIP: Dry ingredients should be blended in and the whole dough mass beginning to stick together in one large ball, but not soggy or gooey. Use more buttermilk, if you need to…a tablespoon at a time.
~ TURN out on a lightly floured breadboard.
~ KNEAD gently for a few seconds (about 10 times max).
~ ROLL out dough to 1/2 inch thick. CUT with a biscuit cutter.
TIP: You may need to do this 2-3 times with the cutting scraps to use up all the dough.
~ PLACE fairly close together on a non-stick cookie sheet. (I got the whole recipe on one cookie sheet.)
~ BAKE in a 450F / 232C oven for 12 to 15 minutes (turning pan halfway through), until done and golden brown on tops.
~ SERVE while hot. (Any leftover biscuits are nice toasted for breakfast or a snack.)

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