Winter Vegetable Soup

This recipe is modified  from the recipe at The Sisters Cafe, where they also have a lovely recipe for Popovers to go with the soup.

2 Tb olive oil

1 1/2 onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, cut on bias
3 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 mushrooms, sliced
coarse salt and pepper - to taste
7 cups vegetable broth
1 small butternut squash (1-1.5 lbs) , peeled and cut into cubes
2 potatoes, cut into cubes
1/2 head Chinese cabbage OR 2 cups spinach, sliced
1-15oz can garbanzo beans, drained
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
several leaves of fresh mint
1 tsp dried dill weed

For the butternut squash, I sometimes buy it pre-peeling and chopped from the store. If I don't, however, I roast the squash in the oven by splitting it in half, scooping out the seeds and spraying some cooking spray on it. Place it in a baking dish and bake in 350 F oven for about a half-hour. Take it out and let it cool before peeling and chopping in chunks. This makes this task so much easier.

Heat oil in large stock pot over med-high heat. Cook onions, celery, carrots, garlic, mushrooms and 1 tsp salt, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. IAdd squash and potatoes; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cabbage/spinach and garbanzo beans and return to boil. Stir in lemon juice and herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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