Even when not faced with crises like the 2010 Snowpocalypse, it is good to have a few flexible, vegetable bin-clearing recipes that, regardless of the inputs, will result in something tasty. This vegetable soup is one of those things. Of course, being somewhat profligate in the produce-buying department does help, but I like to think that most refrigerators would provide enough variety to make this work.
More of a technique than a recipe, I started out wanting to add body without adding dairy. Cream is a many-splendored thing, particularly for thickening and enriching soups and sauces, but is definitely what Cookie Monster would call a “sometimes food”. (And for some of us more like a “really probably almost never food”.) Pre-cooking and pureeing the onions, garlic, and potato seemed an appealingly cleaner, lighter method of adding body without resorting to cream, cornstarch, or a roux. All of those methods have their place, certainly, just not in my soup. Then, in goes everything else. Cut your ingredients into even pieces, and add them in order of cooking time, most to least.