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Harvest Vegetable Soup

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
-Calvin Trillin

This soup might also be called, “Anything You Have Left in the Refrigerator Soup.”  But that doesn’t mean it tastes like an afterthought.  In fact, it’s downright delicious.  It’s also pretty fast… something I can throw together in about 30 minutes or so.

Here’s how:

What’s in YOUR refrigerator?  Today it’s red potatoes, broccoli, yellow squash, carrots, celery, and an onion.

The onion is the only vegetable in this dish that is an absolute must.  If you don’t have an onion, you’d better think of something else to make for dinner.

You can also use cauliflower, zucchini, red pepper, or mushrooms.  You can even use things like frozen broccoli… whatever you have… whatever tickles your fancy.

I’d say about 5 – 6 cups of vegetables in addition to the onion.  To be perfectly honest, I never measure.  I just add what looks right.  You can use more or less depending on what you like.  This soup is flexible if you get my drift.

Chop up an onion.  In a large stock pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute your onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add 4 cups of chicken broth (or water with a heaping tablespoon of bouillon).  Add cubed potatoes and bring to a boil.  I like to use red potatoes with the skin on.  They are a good choice because they cook fast and because they are more waxy, they have great texture in the soup.  Plus, I don’t have to peel them, and they add great color to the soup.  You can use other kinds of potatoes, but a Russet potato will take longer to cook.  Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.

While that’s simmering, chop up the rest of your vegetables into bite-sized pieces.  As far as how many vegetables to use, shoot for about 5 – 6 cups.  Today I used 2 large carrots, 2 celery sticks, just more than 1/2 of large head of broccoli, 1 whole yellow squash, and about 6 medium red potatoes.  In a separate large saute pan, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute your vegetables.  You can saute them in batches so you don’t crowd the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute them until they are just getting slightly soft and golden.

Remove the sauteed vegetables to a plate and set aside.  The veggies are still a little firm, but that’s OK, they will finish cooking in the soup.

Add 1/2 cube of butter (1/4 cup) to the pan.  Once melted, gradually add 1/2 cup of flour, whisking to incorporate to make a roux.  Whisk in 4 cups of milk and cook until thickened… a few minutes.

By this time your potatoes should be cooked through.  Pour the thickened milk mixture into the stock pot with the potatoes, and add the rest of the veggies into the pot.

Then add cream cheese.  If you want a very creamy soup, add 8 ounces.  I usually use 4 ounces, to reduce the calories.  I like to pinch my cream cheese into smaller pieces to make them quicker to melt.

Add in the cheese.  This is also a matter of taste, but about 2 cups of grated medium cheddar is about perfect in my book.

Once it’s all melted, the veggies are usually finished cooking.  Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  I especially love pepper.  You don’t have to, but I give it one good shot of Tabasco.  It doesn’t make it even remotely hot, it just brightens the rest of the flavors.

And it’s ready to serve.

It’s hardy and delicious, and one of my favorite autumn weeknight meals.  I love to serve it with homemade buttered wheat bread.

Here’s the recipe:

Harvest Vegetable Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock if you prefer to keep it vegetarian)
5 – 6 medium red potatoes, cubed
vegetables of choice
1/2 cube of butter (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup of flour
4 cups milk
4 – 8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 shot of Tabasco (optional)
In a large stock pot, pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute onion until translucent.  Pour in chicken stock and chopped potatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cover with a lid.
Prepare remaining vegetables into bite sized pieces.  In a large pan, saute vegetables until starting to soften and golden.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  Add butter and allow to melt.  Slowly whisk in the flour and allow to cook for 1 minute while stirring to make a roux.  Whisk in the milk and allow to thicken.
Pour thickened milk into the stock pot with stock.  Add the remaining vegetables.  Add cream cheese by pinching into smaller pieces.  Add grated cheddar cheese.  Allow cheeses to melt.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.
(If you do make this soup ahead, don’t cook it all day.  You don’t want overcooked vegetables.  Refrigerate and heat before serving.  You may need to add some chicken stock to get a good consistency.)
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18 Responses to “Harvest Vegetable Soup”

  • Lori:

    This soup sounds delicious. I have been looking for a new vegetable soup recipe with cheese. Thanks for sharing.

  • This looks delicious and like a great fall soup. I may share this with my readers too thanks for sharing
    http://theveryhungrycaterpillar.blogspot.com/
    Nicole
    I love your site

  • Mmmmm… this looks yummy! And just what I was looking for. Guess what’s for dinner tonight? ;) Thank you for sharing!

  • Holly:

    That looks so tasty. And I love that it’s fast. So often when I want soup I can only find recipes that take many hours, or else we settle for soup from a can or box. This recipe will be much much better!

  • Jenn Giroux:

    This looks similar to what I call fridge soup. I love using whatever I have on hand to make a tasty soup to warm you up on a cool day. P.S. – I LOVE your homemade breadsticks and we often have them on soup night :)

  • Lori C.:

    This soup was so delicious!!! Perfect for such a beautiful fall weekend! I really enjoyed making it and even shared some with our neighbors. We loved it!!! Thanks for sharing your amazing recipes with us!

  • Oh my goodness, this sounds delicious! I’ve printed the recipe to try for myself…I love soups! Thanks!

  • I have just spent the last 30 minutes enjoying your blog! I will be making this soup tonight. Have a great day!

  • I really really loved that quote. This soup will be made at my house this week. For sure.

  • Lisa:

    Loved this soup!! I will be making it again soon.

  • I just made this with potatoes, broccoli, and celery. It was wonderful, thank you!

  • Coreen:

    I made this today. Delicious! My husband said it is a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

  • Julie:

    I have been waiting for it to be cold enough to make this so we would really enjoy it. Well-today was the day. Soooo good, especially since we were out in the snow storm rescuing some of the veggies we used for the soup. Thanks Calli!

  • Makita:

    Hi,

    I am planning to make this soup for my coworkers tomorrow. Can this soup be made in a crockpot?

    • Calli:

      Hi Makita, I don’t have a Crockpot, so I’ve never tried. I keep thinking I would love one! I don’t think you could saute your vegetables or make your roux in the crock pot, but you could certainly simmer it. Good luck, Calli

  • Lacey:

    we have the same Spode dishes!

  • debbie:

    I have made this soup so many times! Its my favorite! Thanks for sharing..

  • Leslie:

    I found this soup and your website through pinterest about 4 years ago – first made it for a “harvest bounty” baby shower I was throwing for my niece and oh my did everyone love the soup. I now make it at least once every fall and winter. I was just curious if you or any one else has tried this soup with adding pasta…since our fall weather has arrived finally, I plan on making this soup again this week with the remains of my summer garden that is being removed and I have an excess of frozen tortellini in my freezer that I thought I might add…let me know what you think.

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