Arizona doesn’t really have dramatic changes seasons at least not in Phoenix. This fall, in particular, the cooler weather is taking a long time to get here. With days still averaging in the high 80s or low 90s we are having a gorgeous start to autumn.

With the mild change in season I wanted to start eating some really hearty soups for dinners or to take to work for lunch. Saturday we were out doing groceries and I somehow convince J. that it would be a great idea if I made a spicy vegetable soup for dinners/lunches through the week. J. was a little skeptical, he loves his meat and is always hesitant to have just vegetables or vegetarian dishes. To make matters worse I told him there were carrots in the soup and he hates carrots, really hates carrots.

I nevertheless convinced him it would be delicious and we bought ingredients to make my spicy vegetable soup. A bit of a warning here, this recipe makes about 2 gallons of soup. We have frozen a big portion and I have lunches for the week.

In the largest pot we have I put 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then softened 1 large onion which had been finely sliced. I added 6 cloves of crushed garlic (this is a taste thing, we like garlic a lot), 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons of dried parsley. THis is a spicy soup and makes you sweat when you eat it, not just from the temperature! I finely chopped 20 small Thai chillies, yes I did just say 20, and added them to the pot.

I cook this until it becomes really fragrant. I then added 6 large potatoes that I had cubed into bite size pieces and about 3 cups of thickly sliced carrots. I used baby carrots because it meant less chopping and they often have a slightly sweeter taste. Lastly I put in 3 cups of thickly sliced celery. I stirred all of this around for a couple of minutes just to make sure everything had been mixed through and the veggies were coated with the garlic and chilli mixture.

Next was all the wet ingredients. I put 2 cans of diced tomatoes and 2 cans of cannellini beans and stirred these gently through because I didn’t want to mash up the beans. I added 2 cups of vegetable stock and 4 cups of water so that all the vegetables were covered completely with liquid.

The final touch is just seasoning with salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. I then just let the soup come up to a simmer and added 2 bay leaves. The great thing is I could then just let it sit and simmer for an hour and then it would be ready.

I love this soup it is hot, spicy, hearty and really good for you. I find it helps at this time of year to ward of nasty flus and colds. We had bowls of the soup with some crusty bread for dinner Saturday night. Now the most important judge is J. and he said it was spicy goodness and the carrots were acceptable in the small chunks. I guess this was a winner since it won over the skeptical J. and even managed to get him eating carrots!

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