Wednesday, February 10, 2010
A method for making Soup
My idea here is not to give you specific recipes, but rather to show *how* I cook. Anyone who cooks could write a book of recipes, and of course there is plenty of room for recipe books, but when I read them (and I do, often, cover-to-cover!) I rarely have the ingredients listed. But reading them can show you HOW to cook as much as WHAT to cook. So, if you like my methods, just use what you have on hand and give it a try!
Anyone looking at this blog would think about all I ever make is soup. Hmm... that might just about be it. Well, no, actually I do make a lot of other things, but soup is the main course a good part of the time. I rarely use a recipe for soups. I just use what I have on hand, and try to make it yummy and good for us. Here is what I did yesterday:
I had a large package of frozen pork neck bones, so I put them in my cast iron dutch oven and covered them with water. I added:
1 onion, peeled and roughly sliced
3 cloves garlic, just sliced in half - not peeled
4 small carrots, scrubbed and sliced
a small handful of dried kelp
1 cup sliced celery that I pulled out of the freezer
Bring this to a boil and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Then let it cool for a little while and strain it through a cloth, reserving the broth, of course! I use a good quality cheesecloth and wash it and use it over and over. I bought it here: http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/p/71-Butter-Muslin-for-Draining-Soft-Cheese.html
Of course you can use some other loosely woven cloth or just a stainless strainer, but I like the cloth as it does a better job than a strainer.
Return the broth to the kettle (which I washed first) and add:
A few potatoes, peeled and cubed (I often don't peel potatoes, but when I cook them with cabbage, I do for aesthetic and texture reasons.)
1/2 head of a nice cabbage, cut into smallish pieces
1 teaspoon salt
The little bits of meat off of the bones
I had some leftover mashed potatoes from the other day, and so I put them through the ricer and added them to make the soup a little creamier (and so as not to waste the potatoes!)
Simmer for 1/2 hour.
Oh, this was GOOD.
Served with a nice homemade bread and butter, it's heavenly!