Empty Nest Day

Reader Contribution by Sue Van Slooten
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August 19th is Empty Nest Day here. That’s when No. 1 son leaves for university at the Marine Institute of Memorial University, St. John’s, Nfld. Easternmost part of North America. So much so, they even have their own time zone, one half hour ahead of anyone else. (And yes, these lucky people get to celebrate New Year’s always ahead of anyone else on the continent.) This entails driving halfway across the continent, topped off by something like a thirteen-hour ferry ride. Sounds like the adventure of a lifetime to me. This is all very well and interesting, you might say, but what’s it got to do with food and related issues? As some of you may recall, my very first blog for MOTHER involved taking back the kitchen, and making your own food. Soup, to be specific. 

So, the inevitable question came up, after No. 1 son realized his cooking skills were a little rusty, was, what’s for dinner (when on one’s own)? I made numerous suggestions, but soup came to mind first. This also involves a soup we recently had at Upper Canada Village last Sunday. Yes, this all ties together. My husband liked the hearty vegetable soup so much, I thought, I can easily put that together. So, here we are with a simple but hearty soup recipe that closely relates to that on Sunday. Did I mention taste? It is soooo good! If you happen to have a cup or two of chopped chicken meat leftover, that is certainly a tasty addition. You might need to go back to Blog 1 to see how to make the stock.

Sue’s Hearty Vegetable Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced 1/8th inch
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced 1/8th inch
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes with garlic and herbs, or some homemade with herbs you like
  • 1-2 cups chopped chicken meat, optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the veggies and cook until almost tender. Add the rest of the ingredients, using the salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve with good crusty bread and cheese or butter as we did. Preparation takes about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes and makes enough for about six servings. Refrigerate leftovers. Hint: It’s even better the next day, providing there is any, and don’t leave where the dog can get it. My ancient hound went nuts when I put a couple of tablespoons in her bowl. Still have the bowl.