I think that some protein is required so I always add some red lentils, which thicken the soup slightly, and a can of beans - any will do, use your favourite.
For some tips on what to put in your bouquet garni, have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouquet_garni. I find that those little bags you get with washing tablets work quite well!
You will need:
2 tbs olive oil, or butter
bouquet garni - made from a very generous sprig of thyme, parsley stalks, mint stalks
2 litres of chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbs of red lentils
salt and pepper
As many of the following basic vegetables as possible:
1 onion, chopped
1 medium-sized potato, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1-2 carrots, diced
1-2 sticks celery, diced
1 leek, sliced - use as much of the green parts as possible. Slice it finely though as it can be tough
2 or 3 root veg, diced appropriately, as some take longer to cook than others e.g. turnips, a small swede, parsnip
1 or 2 greens, thinly sliced e.g. 1/4 white cabbage, kale, peas (don't slice those, obv.!)
1 can of cooked beans
2 tbs each parsley and mint
more salt and pepper, if required
What to do:
- Fry the stock vegetables in the oil gently for a few minutes, when they start to soften, season and add the bouquet garni. (Tie the herbs with a piece of string, or put in a muslin bag). Continue to fry for about 10 minutes - don't let the vegetables colour, though.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil, add the lentils, then allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the root vegetables and simmer until tender - around 15 minutes.
- Add the greens, beans and herbs and allow to simmers for 5 more minutes.
- Removed the bouquet garni and check the seasoning.