This is a basic recipe I made up with some guidance from James Peterson’s "Splendid Soups" which my play group gave me for my birthday one year. Kids love it, and even if they just eat the broth (like Audrey) at least they’re getting some veggies near their mouths!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 – 4 carrots, chopped
2 – 4 ribs of celery, chopped
2 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
bouquet garni (bay leaf, fresh thyme sprigs and parsley or other herbs tied up in cheesecloth)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large can of diced tomatoes, with juice
Frozen peas and/or carrots
diced potatoes, parsnips, winter squash, sweet potato or bell peppers
chopped spinach, chard, kale or other greens
cooked to al dente small pasta (Trader Joe’s has very cute alphabet pasta which is fun)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute. At this point, add any other fresh vegetables and sauté for a few more minutes. Add the stock and tomatoes with juice and bouquet garni. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. At this point add frozen vegetables and/or greens. Continue to simmer until greens are tender. Stir in pasta, if using.
This soup is best if you make it in the afternoon and let it sit on the stove, then reheat just before serving, or make a day ahead and reheat. Remove bouquet garni before serving.