Kat Barry: Soup warms chill from Lake Michigan winds

Published 10:03 am Monday, February 18, 2013

Kat’s Hot Talk

As I sit here on this blustery winter morning, the house practically shaking from the winds off Lake Michigan, I can’t help but think about what a perfect day it is for soup. In fact, with all the crazy winter weather we’ve had the past few weeks, it is, in fact, the season for soup. Soup is one of my favorite things to make, and though it can be time consuming, it definitely doesn’t have to be.
I remember years ago when I was in real estate, I brought some soup in for lunch and my co-worker asked me where I got it.
“I made it at home,” I answered.
I went on to tell her about how much healthier it is to make your own soup.  She said to me, “I don’t have time to sit at home and make soup all day.”
I realize this is a common misconception so I want to tell you about the vegetarian chili I made recently. In the morning, I made vegetable stock while I was getting ready for my day. After I cooled and strained it, I put it back in the fridge to use later that night.
When my roommate and I got home from work, we decided to put on a movie and relax. While the movie was going, I made chili. I started by cooking wild rice and an onion in about a cup of the vegetable. Then, I added carrots, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, the spices and some fresh hot peppers. I set my kitchen timer to 15 minutes, sat down and relaxed. Fifteen minutes later, I threw in some broccoli (because that’s all I had that was green), and set the time for another 10 minutes.
Ten minutes later, I added 1 cup corn and a can of rinsed beans and set the timer for 5 minutes Lastly, I stirred in ½ cup nutritional yeast and a ¼ cup fresh parsley. I then let the chili sit another 5 minutes.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who likes to watch movies and relax on cold winter nights. It was little to no work to get up at these intervals and throw some additional veggies into my stock pot.  Then, boom: A spicy, satisfying dinner was ready just in time for the climax.
No one has time to sit around all day and make soup. Sit for a few minutes, stir for a few. The chili I made came in handy later in the week when I didn’t get home from work until late and just wanted to crash without thinking about dinner.
Soup from scratch is also an excellent way to use some of the random things you have left in your fridge and pantry, to make a “one pot” dinner and to incorporate some oil-free cooking. In an effort to cut down on my oil consumption, I’ve been trying to make all my soups oil free this winter. I’ve come up with some great recipes that are simple and satisfying. Here’s a good one for you:

Wild Rice Chili
8-10 cups vegetable stock
1 cup wild rice
1 yellow onion
1 32 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato paste
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. garlic powder (or 3 cloves fresh garlic)
1 tsp. sea salt
Black pepper to taste
Dash paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
4 organic carrots
1 fresh hot pepper
1 ½ cups broccoli florets
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed
½ cup nutritional yeast
Simmer the wild rice, onion and about 1 ½ cups vegetable stock over medium-high heat for about 40 minutes. Next, add the carrots, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock and spices.
Stir thoroughly with a whisk to fully blend in the tomato paste.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes before adding the broccoli and fresh hot peppers. Simmer about 10 to 15 minutes, then add the corn and beans, simmer for another 5 minutes. Lastly, add the nutritional yeast. You can also toss in some fresh parsley or cilantro, if you have it. I would suggest about 1/2 cup of the fresh herbs. If you want the soup to be less spicy, add the hot peppers closer to the beginning.
For hotter soup, add them later in the process. This one is great served topped with sliced avocado.