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Museum of Natural History Soup

September 27, 2012

This tomato-vegetable soup is so hearty, even the name is a mouthful.

The first time I made this we had Teresa’s father over for dinner. He said it reminded him of the soup they used to serve one day a week (I think it was Wednesdays) at the Museum of Natural History in New York. Grandpa was born and raised in Manhattan. He says he would go to the museum just to have this soup.

Anyway, it’s become a family favourite… although the kids required a little coaxing this last time around. It should be pretty flexible in terms of ingredients. The one thing I recommend you do seek out is the black cumin. It has a very different, much smokier flavour compared to regular cumin seed. You will probably have to find this at an Indian grocery or other specialty store.

Feel free to swap some of the canned ingredients for fresh… the corn in particular would add a lot if it were fresh.

Museum of Natural History Soup

2 tbsp (or so) olive oil
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
3-4 medium-size mushrooms, diced
1 can (796 ml) whole tomatoes, with juice, chopped
1 can (796 ml) diced tomatoes, with juice
4 cups (or more) vegetable stock
1 can corn
1 can green beans, drained and rinsed
1 can yellow wax beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp black cumin seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp red wine
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup uncooked, long-grain rice (optional)
handful fresh basil, chopped

1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onion about four minutes, until it’s beginning to wilt and brown. Add the garlic, celery and carrot and cook another four minutes. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook another four minutes. Add more olive oil if the pan gets too dry.

2. Add the two cans of tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook another four minutes or so. Add the stock, the corn, the green beans and wax beans, the seasonings, wine and Worstershire. Bring back to a simmer.

3. You can add some rice at this point if you like. Then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rice is cooked. You may need to add more stock, with or without the rice. When the soup is done, remove from heat. Add the balsamic. Serve with the fresh basil.


From → Food, Recipes

  1. Hi Kerry, Love the name you’ve given this soup – makes it very much your family’s recipe:-)
    I threw together a dish based on a recipe I saw somewhere recently but couldn’t find again. It could be easily adapted to your recipe along with the availablilty of fresh seafood in your part of the country.
    Marinate some shrimp, scallops with salt, pepper, oil and a bit of cornstarch while you prepare the stock. I also seared chunks of sole and set aside.

    Do the first step of your instructions, but leave out the zuchinni and mushrooms. Add a cup of salsa, a cup of chicken stock, a splash of red wine, a tbsp or so of Lee and Perrin and chili pepper flakes or fresh chili if you want the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

    Add the seafood and continue to simmer until the seafood is cooked. Add the seared fish and pre-boiled baby potatoes (optional). Chcek for seasoning, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve with baguette.

    The salsa saves time in making the tomato sauce base, adding spices, herbs, etc. This was ready in less than an hour!

  2. Sounds terrific Sue-On, I’ll try it sometime and blog the results!

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