Mike Spoodles' Old-Timey Hobo Vegetable Soup

For the past three weeks, I’ve been actually cooking. Homemade vegetable soup, sir. Sure, it’s a meal that requires absolutely no maintenance, but it is fresher than anything you’re going to nuke up in the microwave. In a world drowning in preservatives and sassafrass (the ‘frass is not to be confused with sassafras, which is a fresh oil used to make root beer and ecstasy), you can never have enough fresh, unrefined produce.

My favorite part about my Old-Timey Hobo Vegetable Soup is that it is literally made of whatever you have laying around, assuming that whatever-you-have-laying-around is not your kid brother.

THE BROTH

Hobo Soup at workStewed tomatoes (canned–no salt added). This was a recommendation that initially turned me on to this “recipe” of sorts. You dump a can of stewed tomatoes (113 calories total) into a pot and add two- to four cans-full of water, making a nice, red, tomatoey broth. Any canned tomato will do, really. I accidentally bought diced tomatoes and they seemed to work fine (just fine). Watch out–most canned vegetables are doped up on sodium. Do yourself and your heart a favor. Go low-sodium and season your soup to taste later.

V8 Juice (low sodium, natch). If you’re looking for something with a bit more of a bouquet, V8 100% Vegetable Juice will work in a pinch. The reddish gunk is a mixture of tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, and spinach (AND IT TASTES AS GOOD AS IT SOUNDS). As a juice it is probably the most horrid thing known to man. As a broth? Well, it’ll do. Water it down to taste and plunk in your miscellaneous fillings. Tomato juice will also work, although at that point shouldn’t you get the actual tomato goodness of a can of stewed tomatoes?

Vegetable broth. Somehow there is an option even lazier than the previous two options. Available in convenient off-the-shelf can form, vegetable broth is the boiled-down essence of any number of stinky vegetables. You’ll probably fare better, though, making your own vegetable broth if you have the time.

OTHER BROTH ALTERNATIVES: Of course you could make the broth out of just about anything. You could use plain old water and spice it up. If you’re a meat-eater, you could obviously go for the old standby chicken broth.

AND NOW TO THE VEGETABLES

Once again, the sky is the limit here. Whatever you have that is fresh and lingering around your kitchen can go into this pot. As a for-instance, here are the things that went into my soup tonight:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper (my peppers were shriveling)
  • 100g fresh onion
  • 10g garlic
  • 2 beets
  • 3 spears asparagus
  • 30g baby portabello mushrooms
  • 10 radishes

Beets have been a must-have in my soups for the past week. Not only do they add a subtle hint of sweetness (which is sorely lacking in most vegetables), but they will turn your soup blood red. For a less-messy option, you can chop up an apple to offset the veggies with sweetness.

Other favorites of mine include: zucchini, cabbage, carrots, celery, eggplant. You can boil an egg (or an egg white) in the broth as well.

Experiment gone horribly wrong: fresh jalapeo peppers, which are apparently as unappetizing in soup as they are in bulk eating contests.

PREPARATION

After all of the ingredients are tossed into a pot willy-nilly, bring the concoction to a boil. Once your soup has been boiling for several minutes, reduce the heat and cover your pot. Leave covered until you are ready to serve. Everything will get tender. Your veggies and broth will begin to influence each other with their flavors.

This soup can serve one or many. The nutritional value of an entire batch is generally less than 400 calories. With that said, it’s a very filling dish. If you attempt to eat the whole thing in one sitting, your stomach will probably rupture.

I’d strongly recommend this soup if you are looking for a filling, low-calorie, fat-free meal, or just a way to experiment with new and different vegetables. The only thing missing is the stone.

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5 Responses to “Mike Spoodles' Old-Timey Hobo Vegetable Soup”

  1. Stop making me wish I could cook, ass.

  2. Are you unable to cook because of your particular set-up, or do you just lack the ability? If it’s the latter, I’m in the same boat. I’m hoping that blogging will help me learn and improve.

    And it HAS! Tonight I sauteed an exotic spice called “pepper” on my turkey cutlet, and the resulting dish tasted exponentially better than the previous night’s “rubbery turkey cutlet with yellow mustard.”

  3. Definitely lack the ability, and also I guess the motivation. I’ve always looked at eating as a chore, and to this day never get excited about what’s presented to me as absolutely fantastic food. I don’t mind eating pasta and toast for weeks on end, as they usually mean I don’t have to spend much time in the kitchen (away from my computer).

    In my building there are a ton of awesome chefs, and I share a kitchen with several. Long ago I promised myself I would take advantage of this wondrous opportunity to hone my culinary prowess, but then I went back to my room and read my RSS feeds.

  4. Aha! When you share a kitchen with awesome cooks, there’s no reason to do any of that work yourself!

    I actually read my RSS feeds WHILE I’m cooking. Well, not during the prep process, but there’s a lot of idle time while everything is on-range or in-oven for me to toodle around like a doof. Still, not sure if I’m ever going to become culinarily adequate or if I’m just going to end up throwing microwaved food in a blender and calling it a recipe for the rest of my blogging days.

  5. Interesting~ I got given a horde of fruit last week from a friend and decided to make something out of it all – found some unique juice recipes here if you’re interested

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