The classic folk tale “Stone Soup” was a favorite of my daughter’s when she was a preschooler. We read that book endlessly, yet neither of us grew tired of the story, with its wise messages of cooperation and community through the lens of sharing food.
So imagine how excited Ava was when her after-school “Cooking in the Garden” teachers decided to make “stone soup” one cool Monday afternoon in October! At pick up time, she couldn’t stop raving about how delicious the soup was, how healthy, how she loved it DESPITE the (judicious) addition of canned tomatoes (not a favorite), and how thrilling it was to share some with me. “Stone soup” was the topic of conversation all evening long and could not be laid to rest until I promised to make some at home. So we did. As luck would have it, the soup fit all of our respective criteria for a successful dinner: the girls loved how “good” it tasted and emphasized that making it was “fun!” The soup became a veritable rainbow of vegetables – that holy grail of healthy kid cooking. Add a side of bread and cheese, and you’ve got yourself an easy weekday meal.
“Stone Soup” (Adapted from “Cooking in the Garden” after-school class, Grattan Elementary School)
Dice carrots, celery and onion and saute this mirepoix with olive oil in a soup pot until soft, about 10 minutes.
Rough chop a variety of vegetables* and add to the base.
Add a bit more olive oil for flavor, a bay leaf if you desire, about 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt, a dash of pepper and enough water or broth to cover all of the vegetables plus an inch. Bring to a boil then reduce to a rolling simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add ½ cup of chopped, canned tomatoes (or more/less to taste) and any quick-cooking vegetables like spinach and mushrooms toward the end of cooking. Enjoy!
* This is the perfect soup to empty out the miscellaneous vegetables floating around in your crisper drawer or pantry. All you need is 1-2 of each, with the emphasis on variety and color. Suggested options include but are definitely not limited too: purple/red/white new potatoes; sweet potatoes; rutabagas; parsnips; kale; yellow/red/orange beets; corn; spinach;
(I originally posted this on my friend Simran’s excellent blog, A Little Yumminess)