Clean Out the ‘Fridge Soup!

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I started poking through the refrigerator last night and realized I had some vegetables that were going to go past their prime if I didn’t cook them soon.  I also had a bit of chicken left from the roasted local chicken I made on New Year’s Day, so it made sense that it was time for a big pot of “Clean Out the ‘Fridge” Soup!

“Clean Out the ‘Fridge” soup is pretty simple.  It’s really just whatever you want to throw in, with some simple seasonings and an hour or two to simmer.  I started by taking inventory of the vegetables that needed to be used – and the ones that I wanted to add “just because.”

Clean Out the 'Fridge Ingredients

I started with a couple of carrots, celery hearts, mushrooms, some of the local tomatoes, and figured it was time for me to cut up and roast the local pumpkin before it got soft.  I decided to add 1/4 of it to the soup, and roast the rest for later.

Cut Pumpkin

Gorgeous inside, right?  This pumpkin came from Sejah Farm.

Soup and Pumpkin Getting Started

I chopped up the carrot, celery, 1/4 of the pumpkin, and left the pumpkin in large pieces to roast.  I put a bit of water in the pan with the pumpkin and then covered the whole pan with foil, and roasted it at 350 degrees for an hour (or until soft).

More Tasty Ingredients!

And here’s the soup with the tomato and mushrooms chopped up and added!  I decided to toss in some frozen green beans as well, and then started getting creative and went out to the garden for some japanese greens, which I gave a quick rinse in the sink before slicing them up and tossing them into the pot.

Japanese Greens and Amaranth

Last, I shredded the leftover chicken, tossed in a can of chickpeas, added some vegetable bouillon paste, salt, pepper, dried oregano, and put the pot on to simmer for a while.  I want to point out that with soup like this, I don’t worry too much about how I chop up the vegetables.  The most important thing is that they are all bite-sized pieces, and that they fit on the spoon when they are being eaten!  So some of the mushrooms are cut in wedges, other in squares…I don’t care.  Save the perfect little diced cubes for when you’re entering a cooking competition, but at home all that matters is that it tastes good and is easy to eat.

Soup Set to Simmer

And here’s the soup at the finish.  I stirred in some tomato paste because I decided to give it a bit more tomato richness, but that’s purely optional.

Clean Out the 'Fridge Soup

And, as a bonus, here’s the pumpkin puree – scooped out of the shell after cooking and popped in the freezer for future dishes…like pumpkin bread…or one of my favorites, pumpkin lasagna!

Frozen Pumpkin Puree

The best thing about making a soup like this is that it carries over for several meals, and is even better the next day.  It would also go well mixed with rice, or pasta, or a loaf of crusty bread.  I had it for breakfast.  🙂

So when your vegetables are starting to wilt, don’t throw them away…make a big pot of soup, and enjoy the abundance of flavors!

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