Food on Friday – Gypsy Soup


This recipe is one of my very favorites and I have made it at least 100 times.  It is from the original Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen which I bought in the late 70s – probably shortly after it was published.  This cookbook has since been revised with some “corrections” to the recipes, but I still use the original book – as you can see from the condition of the recipe page in the book.

This recipe is more a guide than a straight up recipe in that you can alter it depending on the vegetables you have on hand, or add to it.  It is really the combination of sweet vegetables with the listed spices that makes it so unique and I think incredible.  So, on one of those November days that there was a kick of cold in the air, Vash and I set out to make Gypsy Soup.

I always make at least double the recipe and sometimes I pay no attention to quantities at all and just start cutting vegys – always including the sweet potato which I believe is the essence of this soup.

I find that by chopping all the vegys first, the rest of the preparation just flies by and this recipe becomes easy.

The colors are essential to this soup as you want alot of bright colors to come through in the bowl.  That is why you see the orange in the sweet potato, the green in the celery, the white in the onion, the red in the tomato and sweet peppers and I add frozen corn for a splash of yellow (but I tend to add corn to every recipe I can so that’s not so unexpected :)).  A bright flavorful soup.

So we start by sauteing the vegetables – always starting with the onions and building from there.

Next you add the celery and sweet potato along with some chopped garlic (I use the garlic in the jar – I know – nowhere near as good – it is just one of those shortcuts I give myself where garlic is not the star of the meal) and continue to cook them for about 5-10 minutes (depending on the quantity of vegys in your pot).

Here are the spices!!

It is this amazing spice combination that is the essence of what makes this soup great.  Cinnamon and Paprika and Basil and Tumeric!!  Are you kidding me?!!  I would not have ever thought of that combination – but Mollie did and it is out of this world.

So now you add in your spices and the melding of the flavors begins.

Vash measured and added the spices.

My boys know to “rub” in the basil.

After the flavors have blended, I add a good organic vegetable stock to the soup.  Again – this is a shortcut for me because I don’t have the room in my frig to collect vegetable stock.

Now I get my soup cooking and let it cook until my sweet potatoes are fork ready – about 15 minutes from when the heat reaches a simmer.  Then I add my tomatoes, peppers, corn and garbanzo beans.  My other shortcut is using canned garbanzo beans well rinsed and drained instead of soaking dried beans – which I did in the 70s and 80s.

As the recipe says, simmer until all of your vegys are well cooked, and your soup is ready.

We usually have this with a loaf of sourdough bread because you are going to want to sop up every bit of this soup from your bowl.

Here you can see how inviting and colorful a bowl of this soup is.

Try this one.  This is one of the family’s favorite soups and I think you will like it too.

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About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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3 Responses to Food on Friday – Gypsy Soup

  1. pentalia says:

    What a marvelous idea! I rushed off to grab my copy of Moosewood, and I have the recipe in my hot little hands. Very interesting combination of spices… can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for posting this!!!

  2. Shelly R. says:

    Oh Amanda, you will love it!!! It is my go to soup for virtually every occasion. Casual dinners with company or just home with the family. The toughest part of the recipe is cutting the sweet potatoes if they are big but other than that, its a breeze. We will also be posting a Food on Friday on her Chilean Squash which I made with pumpkin this time because we had it but I usually do with butternut squash. We also made the Solyanka and the Spanakopita this week. It is still my favorite (and most worn) cookbook!

  3. Barbara Antonelli says:

    I love that cookbook but mine’s packed and the library didn’t have that one. I can read your recipe from your blog though. I have a quart of Raymonds chicken/vegetable/ soup. I can use this as a base for the soup. The pictures looked so appetizing!

    love you,Mom

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