Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Soup, Glorious Soup

Cooking is such an evolutionary process.  Over the last few years, I seem to be finding more and more ways to recycle things that used to end up in the trash can.  Many of them contribute in one way or another to pots of soup.
I hate to even think about how many green leaves I lopped off the top of turnips, beets, carrots, broccoli, celery and then simply discarded them.  I’ve only recently discovered they make wonderful vegetarian stocks or add nutrients to many kinds of soup.
But my biggest discovery is bones.  A turkey carcass or a leftover osso buco bone simmered slowly with onion slices makes a rich stock that far exceeds the stuff you buy in boxes at Whole Foods.  With marrow bones, don’t forget to scoop out the marrow!
My latest approach to soup-making is to make one of the above stocks and then throw in all sorts of greens (kale, mustard greens, collards, spinach, turnip greens) that have been wilted in a saute pan in a little olive oil with garlic and onion and maybe ginger.  This then forms the basis for endless variations.
Here are some of the possible additions:
-- Oven roast potatoes (either white or sweet) that have been cut into small cubes, brushed with olive oil, and baked for an hour at 350 degrees F.
-- Carrot pieces.
-- Turnip pieces.
-- Israeli cous-cous.
-- Ravioli.
-- Various fresh herbs:  dill, cilantro, basil, thyme.
You can give the soup a curry flavor by sauteing the additions in some curry powder and ground cumin.  You may want to add salt and freshly ground black pepper to suit your taste.  At any point along the way , if you want a creamier soup, use an immersion blender to emulsify some of it.  It has the same effect as adding cream without the fat or calories!
Soup has long been the food of the poor.  But instead of a thin gruel, think of thick, delicious, nutritious comfort food that can be customized to suit whatever taste you are craving!


Anonymous lr said...

Excellently timed post for me, Barbara. I LOVE soups and making soups, but I needed a new angle. Thanks for providing food for thought!

1:25 PM  
Blogger e said...

Lovely, especially since we're having some long overdue cold weather...

6:48 PM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

Yeah, these ARE some good ideas. I don't know why we don't make more soup around here. I'm going to mention this to my domestic chef!

1:53 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I'm with you all the way. I like the idea of emulsifying some of the greens to add thickness - hadn't thought of that. I usually make soups on the weekend so I can take left overs for work lunches. Will try out your idea on Saturday. (Homemade bread and soup is a meal fit for a king!)

4:19 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Yes, this sounds tempting, and I love and make soups, too,
but what I really want to say is:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Barbara! You are one year my junior, so I can always assure you how NICE your next year will be! Because I have also survived it with glory.
Wishing you all the best, girl! Have a happy new year, in both senses.

6:00 AM  

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