I can’t help it – I always over-shop for any festive celebration and Easter has proved to be no exception! Most items I buy tend to have a long shelf-life or can be frozen but not some of the fresh vegetables that begin to look tired and weary after a few days in the refrigerator. This is when I turn to the stock or soup pot and make an industrial sized version of what I call my ‘fridge-clear’ or ‘shelf-clear’ soup for lunch-time eating. It varies in flavour and content enormously from one session to another depending upon what I have lurking around. Today there was a large quantity of fresh stir-fry vegetables (all prepped and ready for use but somehow forgotten) all begging to be used.
Last time I made it there was a dish full of root vegetables beginning to look somewhat wizened along with half an onion and a quarter of cabbage. In all cases I pop these vegetables in a pan with a can of chopped tomatoes, a stockpot cube, some additional water or stock/bouillon and some complementary seasonings. These seasonings can be hot and spicy, warm and fragrant or just plain herby. I simmer this mixture until tender then add a can of baked beans and hey presto the most wonderful nourishing soup emerges – full of flavour, bursting with protein and better than any canned offering around.
Sometimes I throw in a bit of rice and pasta to make it more of a main meal soup and any strips or cubes of cooked bacon, ham, sausage or chicken can be added too. It is infinitely versatile and so much better for being so. The beans can be varied – I’ve used curried, fajitas style ones and barbecue ones with great success. Needless to say the nutritional stats will vary accordingly but the one below, made today, is a fairly good indicator of what to expect. I tend to serve the soup chunky but it can be pureed for those who are early post-op – and it can be frozen after cooking too if you find the weather too warm for soup. ENJOY!
I’m now off to see what I can make with a clutch of eggs leftover from an Easter egg hunt…
VEGETABLE AND BEAN SHELF-CLEAR SOUP
about 450 g/1 lb prepared left-over vegetables (I used a stir-fry vegetable mix with spring onions/scallions, carrot, courgette/zucchini, Chinese cabbage, green beans and a little chopped chilli)
400 g/15 oz can chopped tomatoes in juice
1 vegetable stock/bouillon cube or vegetable stock pot sachet
water/stock/bouillon to cover
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dried herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
415 g/15 oz can baked beans in tomato sauce
1. Place the prepared vegetables in a large pan with the canned tomatoes, stock/bouillon cube or stockpot sachet. Add sufficient water or stock/bouillon to cover then add the Worcestershire sauce, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes until very tender.
2. Add the baked beans with their juice and mix well.Add any cooked meat, rice or pasta at this stage if using. Re-cover and cook for a further 30 minutes. Serve hot with a little bread if tolerated.
WLS PORTION: 1/2-1
V suitable for Vegetarians
* suitable for Freezing
CALORIES PER PORTION: 102