Grandma's Kitchen Sink Soup

This is an economical and tasty way to serve leftovers and use up any ingredients that may be lingering in the fridge. Grandma's basic template[ for soup (see Cook's Note) is infinitely customizable for pot after pot of something new and delicious. Be sure to save easy flavor boosters that often get thrown away, such as Parmesan rinds, leftover bones from roasted meats and dried sausage ends.]

Total Time:
1 hr
Prep:
15 min
Cook:
45 min

Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium celery stalk, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups water, low-sodium chicken broth or a combination of both
  • 1 piece of Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 1 ear corn, kernels removed, cob reserved for flavoring soup (optional)
  • 1 small zucchini, shredded on large holes of box grater (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup sliced green beans (bite-size pieces)
  • 1 cup cold cooked rice, pasta, or grain
  • 2 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce or spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Grated Parmesan and/or fresh lemon juice for serving
Directions
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.

  • Add the water and/or broth, the Parmesan rind and the corn cob (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the carrots are just tender, about 10 minutes.

  • Add the corn kernels, zucchini and green beans and cook until all the vegetables are tender and the flavors have developed, about 10 minutes more. Discard the cheese rind and corn cob. Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, then stir in the greens. Once they begin to wilt, turn off the heat. Check for seasoning and, if necessary, add more salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with Parmesan and/or a squeeze of lemon juice.

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Cook's Note: This adaptable soup template will see you through almost any odds and ends you may have in your kitchen.

2 cups aromatic base (onion, carrot and celery)

5 cups liquid, such as water, stock, or reserved cooking liquid

3 cups mixed vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup cooked starch or grain, such as rice, pasta, quinoa or barley

2 cups quick-cooking greens, such as lettuce, baby spinach or watercress

2 tablespoons chopped fresh soft herbs, such as parsley, cilantro or dill


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