I started out thinking I would make Ratatouille. And really, I guess that is what this soup is. The french dish is essentially a vegetable stew of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, garlic and onions, all sauteed together together and seasoned with herbs. It can serve as a main course or a side dish. And sometimes as a filling for crepes.
Mine is essentially a "garbage soup." Open up the crisper drawer and start pulling stuff out.
GET OUT YOUR BIGGEST POT! This soup is like taco salad...it just runs away from you.
In olive oil, saute garlic, onions and diced carrots, if you are using them, until they begin to soften. I then added celery, eggplant, leftover savoy cabbage, and green peppers. I also threw in a jalapeno pepper because I had them and my guys like a little zip. I drizzled a little more olive oil in there and stirred it around just so the veggies were coated and woudn't stick to the pot. I also seasoned with kosher salt and pepper and sprinkled in some Black & Red pepper blend (This is from Penzey's and is a wonderful blend of ground red pepper and black pepper. Yeah, I could do that myself. But why?)
I sprinkled just a little dried oregano, basil and thyme in the veggies, slapped on the lid and let them cook on medium-low for about 6-8 minutes.
Then I poured in some Harris Teeter version of V-8. Here's why: 12-year-old Taylor talked me into buying a big jug of it two weeks ago and then decided he didn't want it. After it'd been opened, of course. No sense in letting it go to waste. I also dropped in a bay leaf.
And that's how my ratatouille became SOUP!
After I brought it back to a simmer, I tossed in some FRESH basil, thyme and oregano from my little herb pots on the patio. If I hadn't had fresh ones, I would have put in more of the dried versions earlier.
So I tossed in the chopped fresh herbs, 1 medium zucchini cut up into chunks, stirred it, waited about 5 minutes, and then served it with crunchy french-style bread.
The veggies were a nice mix of al dente and soft. And there were hardly any leftovers. My guys love this stuff.
If you don't care about how the chopping goes...if you can just let yourself go mad and chop like a fiend...you can throw this thing together in about 30 minutes.