It happens after every dinner party. The guests head home. I clear away the wine bottles, and whatever fell behind the bar. And then survey the food table leavings. Invariably, there, next to the plate holding one sad, smushed pie remnant, and the half cookie that fell into somebody’s ginger ale, I will find most of a tray of fresh veggies. They are still gallantly cheerful, the brightest color in the after-party glow. It makes me feel they deserve a good send off. Soooo….I came up with this day-after-the-party veggie soup. Simply a saute of vegetables made with the veggie-tray broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrots, and celery trimmed down to tiny, plus onion and broth, it’s really easy to make. Add a little crusty bread and some good cheese and you’ve done the lonely, leftover veggie-tray proud–and yourself a big, nourishing favor.
- 1/2 stick butter (OR 3 Tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 Tbsp non-dairy butter substitute)
- 1 large onion, peeled, and diced fine
- 1 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1 1/2 cups sliced small carrot rounds, or diced carrot sticks
- 1/2 cup tender parts of the broccoli and cauliflower stems, diced
- 1 1/2 cups tiny broccoli florets (Note: You’ll just be breaking up the broccoli florets from the veggie tray into really tiny florets & saving and dicing 1/4 cup of the tender parts of the stems to cook with the carrot)
- 1 cup tiny cauliflower florets (Note: You’ll just be breaking up the cauliflower florets from the veggie tray into really tiny florets & saving and dicing 1/4 cup of the tender parts of the stems to cook with the carrot)
- Optional: 1 tiny sweet pepper, diced (no more than 1 Tbsp)
- 2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 quarts (or a little more if you want a brothier soup) good quality vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp snipped parsley
- salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
- In a heavy soup pot, over medium heat, melt butter or heat oil. Saute onion & celery until tender. Add carrot and the tender dice you trimmed from broccoli and cauliflower stems. Cook vegetables until slightly tender, adding a few spoons of water to help the veggies steam and soften without sticking, as needed. Add broccoli and cauliflower florets and cook until florets are firm-tender, adding a little more water as needed. Sprinkle vegetables with flour. Stir and saute until flour has toasted a bit. Add broth. Whisk well to smooth out the soup. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, flavors meld, and all vegetables are tender. Add more broth if you want a brothier soup. Salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Sprinkle in the parsley and stir. Keep soup hot until serving. NOTE: This is a versatile soup–adjust the amount of vegetables to your liking: more veg = chunkier soup. Add diced leftover chicken if you want a protein boost.