Though incredibly simple, this soup is one of those dishes that floods me with memories and pictures of moments through the years. When I smell it or taste it, I recall an exchange in late summer from my childhood between my mom and Mamaw (my grandmother). Mamaw making sure the crates of Mason jars were scalded with hot water and clean enough before pouring the freshly pressed and strained tomato juice that’s used in this very soup. My grandmother was a stickler about sterilizing jars for canning; scarce would you make it through a run of canning something without hearing her fuss over the jars!
Food that stirs up memories is special. This soup is a pick-me-up when I’m feeling down and an elixir for a cold. I make it often during winter, but I’ve also been known to eat it year round. I’m so excited to share it with you–it’s simple and perfect and tastes like home.
Ingredients and Prep:
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped to 1/4 inch dice
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 15oz can of corn, drained and rinsed (you can also use frozen (or fresh))
- 1 15 oz can of peas, drained and rinsed (you can also use frozen)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
- 2 quarts tomato juice, plus 3/4 to 1 quart of water
- 2 handfuls (yes, handfuls) of elbow macaroni pasta
1. In a large soup pot, add the potatoes, onion, carrots, tomato juice, 3/4 quart water, and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, and cook 15-20 minutes (or until the potatoes and carrots can be easily pierced by a fork). Stir occasionally. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more water.
2. Add the peas, corn, and pasta; stir occasionally to make sure the soup doesn’t stick. Cook just until the pasta is al dente, usually about another 7-10 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning if you’d like.
3. Serve with oyster crackers or just a sprinkle of some black pepper.
Throughout the years, my mom, sister, and I have made some variations occasionally just to mix it up every once in a while. Here are some suggestions, though you can really do anything you’d like!
- A clove or two of smashed garlic adds nice flavor.
- A cup of okra (fresh or frozen) is a good addition and naturally thickens the soup.
- Barley is a good substitute for the macaroni, if you prefer a natural grain.
- Smaller pasta, such as alphabet pasta or Ditalini work well too and cook a bit faster.
- A can of kidney beans or white northern beans (rinsed and drained) add some protein; add these when you add the peas, corn, and pasta.
- A rib or two of sliced celery added with the potatoes, carrots, and onion add nice flavor.
- _________________________ (Fill-in-the-blank with your favorite vegetable! This is soup; add whatever makes you happy!)
The soup is all the better the next day!