28 October 2011

Becoming My Mother, Part I

I think I'm becoming my mother. All summer long, all she'd ever eat was salad. All winter long, it was soup. Garbage pail soup, she called it. She'd pull odds and ends out of the freezer, throw it all in a stockpot, and cook. Then she'd eat it every day for a week, and start all over again.

The past two weekends, I've done just that, prompted in part by an ongepotchket batch of CSA vegetables cluttering up the fridge. There's a method in my madness, though, and the soup has been excellent, if I may, you know, say so myself.

Let it be known: this isn't a recipe, this is a manifesto. It almost doesn't matter what you put in it, it matters that you do it. What do you have?

Start with an onion. Everything savory always starts with an onion, chopped, and sweated in a few glugs of olive oil. Red onion, white, no matter. While the onion grows translucent and oh so fragrant, chop a carrot and a stalk of celery. Mince a jalapeno, just one, for a tiny tingle of hotness. How about some squash? A small butternut squash, peeled and seeded and diced, that'll work. When the onion is nice and ready, add a quart of stock - beef, chicken, pork - and all the chopped vegetables. Add some tomatoes - puree from a can, fresh chopped, whatever you've got. If you're incapable of tossing the Parmesan rinds and you have some in the freezer, now's the time to stick one in the soup pot, like you always say you're going to do. Simmer gently until all the vegetables are soft. Fish out the Parm rind (and throw it away). Whir the soup a bit with a hand blender, or use a potato masher - you want to get some of the solid chunks broken down to thicken the soup. Toss in a 1/4 cup of uncooked bulgur, or that dried out leftover rice. Finally, cut up some turnip greens, mustard greens, beet tops, anything green - slice them into ribbons and throw them in the pot. Turn off the heat. Cool it down and plan to eat it tomorrow - it'll be better then.

This will make enough for dinner, with leftovers for lunch for a day or two. Gussy it up at the table with a salad and some bread, and maybe grate a little cheese over the top. Garbage pail soup.

12 comments:

Heide said...

"Let it be known: this isn't a recipe, this is a manifesto."

Love it! Mine usually has some split peas or beans of some sort out of the crock pot.

Amanda said...

The scent of suntan lotion, grass and wet-from-the-sprinkler skin in the summer, simmering onions in the winter—all that I could ever need.

Jody said...

mmmmm

We are having soup tonight as a matter of fact.

readersguide said...

All right -- I'm making this tonight. We have all those things in the fridge right now. Perfect.

liz said...

Oh! Yum! And I do have a parmesan rind or two in the freezer, why do you ask?

Mary G said...

I just made goulash. Much the same.

mayberry said...

Sounds wonderful. Why am I married to someone who doesn't like soup? (Who doesn't like soup???)

Sara said...

Inspired by the bowl of leftover quinoa medley on the counter, I think I'll go do this right now.

Antropóloga said...

Never heard of the parmesan rind thing before!

I make a lot of soup, often involving black beans. Best thing about the winter.

nonlineargirl said...

Pesto. Ada brought home the idea of adding a dollop of pesto to a veggie soup before serving. Delicious!

leanne said...

I have soup in the fridge that I'll be eating tonight before heading out with the kids for some trick or treating. Mmmmm...

jo(e) said...

Yep. That's pretty much the soup I make. Except I don't use any beef or chicken stock -- just tomatoes.