As I had to remind my kids a few times yesterday, this soup contains no actual Gypsies. (Or other meat products, or dairy–it's downright vegan!)
Not sure where the name comes from, other than the whimsical mind of Mollie Katzen, whose soup (via the Moosewood Cookbook
) this originally was.* I made it almost exactly as written, with a couple of exceptions: a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes (because fresh tomatoes in the wintertime are almost universally a product of slave labor)**, and pinto beans instead of garbanzos (because I was out of canned garbanzos, and the black beans I had foresightedly frozen were in far too hard and impenetrable of a frozen block to be useful in this soup).
One of the most remarkable things about this recipe is the lovely interplay of colors: golds and oranges and reds. Almost too pretty to eat. But then you taste it, and you're like "hmmm, this is not crappy-tasting at all," and then you forget about the color because your mouth is just too full.
Serves eight, roughly
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
1 rib celery, diced small
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced small
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp paprika, preferably of the sweet Hungarian sort
1 tsp turmeric
A fat pinch of red pepper flakes–probably about 1/2 tsp or so
A slim pinch of cinnamon–maybe 1/4 tsp?
4 sturdy cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (or the chopped pulp of 2 fresh tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups cooked beans–garbanzos would probably be best, but black, pinto or navy work as well
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional, for serving: sour cream
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat; add the onion, celery, carrots and sweet potato. Cook, stirring regularly, until vegetables have softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and other seasonings; cook, stirring close-to-constantly, about 2 minutes more, until spices have bloomed and become very fragrant. Add garlic; cook, stirring, one minute more.
Add water (Yes, water and not stock/broth! Isn't that uncharacteristic of me?) and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; cover and simmer until vegetables are fairly tender, about 15 more minutes.
Stir in bell pepper, tomatoes and beans. Cover and continue to simmer about 10 to 15 minutes more, until pepper is suitably soft. Taste and season as needed with salt and ground black pepper.
If you like, top each serving with a blop (yes, that's the technical term) of sour cream. Or leave it out for pure unalloyed veggie goodness.
*And who, I have just discovered, has also published an all-soups cookbook
made up of Popular Favorites from her other books. Do I need this? I just might.
** Yeah, I know I've posted this link before. Read the article anyway. It's important.