Kid Tested, Toddler Approved: Vegetable Soup (!!!!!)
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I swear to you the kids designed this one 100% on their own. I let them pick all the ingredients at the store and out of our fridge, then we came home and chopped it all up together and they helped from beginning to end to make this soup. Both kids, even at times veggie-picky Little Boy ate the whole soup up. It was super easy to make, a lot of fun actually between the shopping and integrating the kids into the whole process, and best of all I got them both to eat an extremely healthy and low fat dinner.
I often get asked how I get my kids to eat stuff like veggies and fish. Hell, Little Girl even eats raw oysters now (!). I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but Rule #1 is Get Them Involved. A lot of times picky eaters have an issue with control rather than the food item itself. If you can get them involved in the process from the beginning by choosing their own vegetables and ingredients for the dish, they have a vested interested and the control issue is put to bed. Not only will they be excited to taste the final product, they'll be proud of themselves for creating something from scratch that's so tasty. I can't say it enough: kids aren't as stupid as we think they are. Treat them like a person with opinions and feelings and you'll be surprised how much further that'll take you, especially in the War of the Veggies department!
For this dish the kids both wanted soup. Perfect. It's easy and fast and totally something they can help with. They chose to use carrots, onion, and celery (which happens to be the trinity of soup making!), and add tomatoes, beans, and aromatics. I helped guide them into the foray of fire-roasted tomatoes because I knew they'd love the flavor. And same with the herbs -- I told them all soups use bay leaf so they agreed to use it, then we opted for some fresh herbs from our garden as well as garlic. Of course.
Perfect Vegetable Soup
1 white onion, chopped small
1 stalk of leek -- washed and ends trimmed then sliced thinly (white and light green parts only!)
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped small
2 stalks celery (or 1 if very large), ends trimmed and chopped small
3/4 cup small cube yukon gold potatoes -- about 2-3 potatoes, depending on size -- unpeeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice
1 can cannelini beans, drained
6 cups good chicken broth (recommend: Swanson)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bay leaf
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a medium-large sized soup pot. Add the onions, leek, carrots, and celery all at once and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes, on medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and garlic and cook another minute. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the broth slowly at first, gently scraping up the brown bits on the bottom and sides of the pot -- this adds flavor to the soup! Add the bay leaf, thyme, and oregano leaves and bring soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and add a lid on top. Simmer the soup until vegetables are very soft, potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork -- about 15 minutes. Add the drained beans and stir to combine. Cook another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve piping hot with good crusty bread.