I have a confession! I have been coveting this enamelware coated, cast iron dutch oven for quite a while now. I have gone so far as to go "visit" it numerous times at the store. I would envision how beautiful our dinner casserole or soup would look as I lovingly set it on the dinner table, while my appreciative family oohed and aahed; clamoring around to devour said culinary masterpiece. Oh wait..... that was just a dream (HA! HA!)!!! My only hang up with this delightful piece of cookware, is it's price tag. It costs as much as I normally spend on a weeks worth of groceries. Since most of my cookware has been purchased at thrift stores, salvaged from Grandma's shed, or is a hand me down; I could not bring myself to spend that kind of money on a dutch oven (no matter how swanky it is)! Anyway, my Dear Hubby knowing of my inner struggle on the subject, surprised me with it for Mother's Day! I was so excited I set it on the back burner of the stove (after a gave Dear Hubby a great big SMOOCH...or two) so I could admire it every time I'm in the kitchen. Who needs jewelry when you have a pretty pot?
This morning when I opened the fridge door to retrieve the milk I started counting the numerous plastic containers filled with odds and ends of veggies, meat, and pasta that have stacked up in my refrigerator. Heaven forbid, I can not throw them away (that is a SIN). Looks like it's time for a big old pot of Cream of Garbage Soup (loving named by my four delightful children. Don't get me started on their second favorite - Craperole). I have been dying to try out my new pot, so it seems like this is meant to be. This recipe is a great way to use up assorted leftovers, and since you use different leftover's each time, you could make it every week; it will taste different every time.
Cream of Garbage Soup
1/2 cup chopped onion (I mince mine fairly fine, so the whiner's don't know it is in there)
1/2 cup chopped celery (if you have it on hand)
1 cup leftover baked potato, pasta, or rice (if you have it, if not leave it out)
2 cups leftover vegetables, chopped up (this week it is cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and corn)
1/2 tablespoon garlic (if you like the taste, if not leave it out)
1 teaspoon dried basil (rub it between your palms as you add it to the soup to refresh its flavor)
1 tablespoon chicken bullion
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 - 2 cups leftover meat (chicken, pork roast, ham, bacon, or sausage are all yummy)
6 - 8 cups water (the water should be an inch above the ingredients)
1 (12 oz) can of evaporated milk (or 1 3/4 cups leftover half and half or heavy cream); divided
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Shredded cheddar or Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Combine the first nine ingredients in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until onion and celery are tender. Add butter and stir until melted. Add in 1 1/4 cups of milk. Heat to almost boiling. Combine cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup of milk until smooth. Stir into soup and continue stirring until thickened. Serve. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. (You can leave out the meat and add some cooked split peas, lentils, or canned beans for a vegetarian soup)
I like to serve my soup with a loaf of garlic bread, or these tasty BREAD STICKS from One Crazy Cookie's blog. A warning though, make those bread sticks once, and your family will be addicted!
Bon appetite everbody!