Everyone says their grandmother’s apple pie is the best they’ve ever tasted. I never knew my either of my grandmothers, but I can honestly say that my grandmother’s green envelope soup is the best there is.
What is green envelope soup? It’s the outline of a soup recipe that my mother got from her mother many, many years ago. She scribbled it on the back of a green envelope, that I think she still has today, and used it to create hundreds pots of soup over the decades. The soups were never the same but always filled our bellies with warm, nourishing goodness.
I don’t have a copy of the green envelope “recipe,” but I was reminded of it the other day as I tried to assemble lunch from nothing after being gone on vacation and not having much in the way of food in the house. We ended up with a pot of something warm and tasty, which was more than adequate to keep body and soul together.
Inspired by the Green Envelope Soup
1 ½ cups onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, shopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, chopped
2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp no-salt seasoning
¼ cup tomato paste
1 ½ cups cooked black-eyed peas, or other bean of your choice
Sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes in a large soup pot over medium heat, using a couple tablespoons water every now and then to keep things from sticking. Add the carrots and celery and continue cooking until things start to brown a little and you get some fond.
Add the mushrooms, broth, seasoning, and tomato paste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the beans and continue simmering until everything is hot.
Variations: Instead of beans, use ½ cup of quick-cooking barley. You could also substitute fresh herbs for the seasoning if you have some on hand. Finally, potatoes would be an awesome substitute for the beans, but you won’t be able to freeze the leftovers.