Steam rising over silky pureed soup is winter’s equivalent to summer’s blue shimmer of pools under a scorching sun. Warming up to a bowl of split pea in a sweater with sleeves that are too long is just as refreshing to the senses as a July afternoon dip. We know you probably have a binder's worth of soup recipes to make this winter and encourage you to try them out, using your immersion blender as a wand to turn vegetables into liquid gold. But in order to produce all these soups, there’s one item you need to—ahem—stock up on.
You see it on the shelves, stacked in cartons, disguised as convenient. Stock. Chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable, all ready to be plucked from shelves like vegetables in a field. There would be “no soup for you” without it. Stock provides flavor which, in turn, provides that instant gratification when the waterfall of soup falls from spoon to mouth.
But just because stock is dressed up in its ready-to-wear fashion, it’s not actually doing you any favors. Considering all the soup you’ll be making, all those cartons might cause an L.A. traffic-like backup in the garbage compactor. There’s an easier way to stock up, and it doesn’t involve waste. Actually, it takes advantage of it.
Those peels from the vegetables you’re preparing to cook and puree into your next Instagram post, I mean, lunch? The mess they make might look like trash, but they’re a gold mine, packed with flavor and nutrients. According to Berkley Wellness, “potato skin has far more fiber, iron, potassium and B vitamins than the flesh. It’s also rich in antioxidants.” That belongs in your body, not the trash can according to Local Roots NYC.
Local Roots NYC is a New York City-based organization building culture nourished by local food that values community, kindness, and authenticity. Through a subscription-based produce market, urban dwellers can connect to the soil around them weekly, picking up five pounds or more of organic vegetables. Walk into the market with an empty tote and leave with a sweet potato so large you can cradle it as if it were a new addition to the family.
Because winter vegetables are mostly utilized for their flesh, Local Roots NYC wants to make sure you’re recognizing the whole veggie as the gift and not tossing the wrapping. The wrapping here is the gift. And so to cure the possible waste and extend the use of your CSA haul, they wrote up a very useful recipe for Scrap Vegetable Broth. Turns out, it’s more convenient than store-bought because, well, you don’t have to go to the store for it. You don’t even have to leave your stove’s side if you don’t want to.
Being in charge of the tide of stock in your fridge is as simple as storing those measly, though I’d argue mighty, scraps. Besides saving you a trip to the store, scraps will also save you money, so you can buy a kitchen compost bin or an ice cream maker for when seasons change and it’s time to put something cold in the bowls.
Before you go fill mason jars with broth for your soup-making adventures, here’s one more soup to add to your binder this winter.
Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Spiced Chickpeas
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into florets
3 cloves garlic
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cumin
1 medium white onion, diced
2 medium Yukon potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups Scrap Vegetable Broth
1 cup water
½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
On a tinfoil-lined baking sheet, toss cauliflower, garlic, and chickpeas in two tablespoons of olive oil, paprika, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the remaining olive oil in a stock pot, add the diced onions, and cook until they’re transparent. Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir with a wooden spoon, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes.
Pour in Scrap Vegetable Broth and water carefully to avoid splashing. Bring to boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once potatoes can be pierced with a fork, remove from heat and add the roasted cauliflower and garlic, leaving the crispy chickpeas aside for topping.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender. If using a regular blender, puree the soup in batches, making sure not to burn yourself with the liquid.
Return the pureed soup back to the pot and stir in cream, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add more salt or pepper to taste. Top with crispy chickpeas and enjoy.