Ingredients vary greatly: Basically, as long as you have veggies, a white onion, butter or oil, cream or milk and some kind of stock, you’re good to go.
1. In a big soup pot, on medium heat, heat a little bit of butter (or oil for vegan) and sauté (that’s French for mix-while-cooking) a big, diced, white onion until the onion is translucent. I like to add some chopped garlic or a little bit of thyme (fresh is better but dried is also fine) at this point…optional.
2. Add any quantity of any vegetable you have. This is great for emptying out the fridge before everything turns bad: Broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms**, cabbage, carrots, celery, spinach, pumpkin you name it, it’s all good. Warning, mixing some of these may give some funky results, but you know what? YOLO! Am I right? Stir for a minute.
**For cream of mushroom, I like to cook the mushrooms on very low heat for over an hour until all the water has evaporated before even adding the onion. It really gets the flavour out, but it takes forever. Also optional.
3. Add chicken stock** (vegetable or seaweed stock for vegan) in your pot to BARELY cover the vegetables. Don’t put too much: It’s easier to thin a soup than thicken it. Bring to high heat and boil for about 4 or 5 minutes or until your veggies are fork tender (that’s English for soft enough to easily poke with a fork)
** stock can be bought in any grocery store in cartons, cubes or powder. You just add it to boiling water and voila!
4. Remove from heat and put in a blender in small batches until you have a nice creamy texture. The easy (read lazy) way is to use a hand blender so you can blend it right in your pot. Hand blenders are cheap and super easy to clean. Ask your grandma to get you one as a departing gift. She’ll be so proud of you!
5. Put back into pot on medium heat and add water or stock to get the texture you want. Then, stir in two tablespoons of fresh cream or milk. Don’t put too much, it’ll get way too rich! Vegans can eat it as is, or add coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk or anything creamy, but be careful as some of these will really alter the taste.
6. I almost never put salt and pepper in my soups as the chicken stock will often be salty enough. Just add those in your bowl when serving, to taste. You can also garnish with parsley, cheese, bacon bits, paprika, spicy sauces like Tabasco or anything you like.
Serve hot with some nice hot buttered toast. (just toast for vegan!)