In my apartment’s tiny kitchen, the whole room warms up when a pot simmers on the stove top. This is one reason I love to simmer soup and stew this time of year. The other reasons are more universal: the chance to load a bowl full of vegetables, the frugality of re-purposing odds and ends from the fridge, the sense of security I get from a freezer full of extra meals, and of course, the soothing warmth of a hearty bowl after a chilling trek outdoors.
As the holidays approach and everyone’s schedules intensify, there’s still the chance to enjoy fresh, homemade soup made with local ingredients. Our chef Chuck Smith, who wrote about the art of soup earlier this season, has been adding more and more varieties to our prepared food line this season, so that you can add them to your menu! Add these varieties this week:
- Cream of Mushroom (New THIS WEEK!)
- Potato Leek (NEW!)
- Shrimp Bisque
- Broccoli Cheddar
- Tomato Vegetable
- Beef Chili
- Chicken Noodle
- Corn Chowder
- Sweet Potato
If you do have time to start your own soup on the stove, or even get it into the freezer, here are some recipes you might try. Start with a good supply of stock in the freezer!
“Plain water is not the world’s best gift to a stew,” writes Robert Farrar Capon in The Supper of the Lamb. “What is needed in cooking is living water, water elated to new eminences, water transformed into stock.” Capon recommends making stock as a matter of habit, whenever you have saved up enough bones and/or vegetables to make a good pot.
Mark Bittman writes that, instead of using canned stock, bullion powder, or bullion cubes, cooks can “simmer a carrot, a celery stalk and half an onion in a couple of cups of water for 10 minutes… if you have any chicken scraps, even a half-hour of cooking with those same vegetables will give you something 10 times better than any canned stock.” Bittman also provides several variations on vegetable stock here.
For beef stock, check out this simple recipe.
- 4 carrots, cut up
- 4 potatoes, cut up
- 1 onion, chopped
- ¾ cup celery, chopped. Put celery tops in stew for flavor and remove when serving.
- 1 tomato, cut up, or ½ jar of tomato sauce
- Other vegetables (use whatever you have around that you need to use up!): corn, green beans, peas, lima beans, etc. If these vegetables are already cooked, add them during the last two hours.
- 1 lb. beef cubes, or round steak/bottom round cut into cubes
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp paprika
- Place all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 8 hours.
A friend shared this online recipe with me. Though it says it makes six servings, my husband and I were eating it for at least two weeks! It freezes well–check out this advice for freezing lentils.
Here is another online recipe, and a good way to add a little kick to the long winter months ahead.
- 1 lb Beef cubes
- 1 lb Beef shank
- 2 cups Frozen string beans
- Several carrots
- 2 cups barley
- 1 cubed potato
- 1 cubed sweet potato
- 1 small head of cabbage, cut up
- 1 turnip, cut up
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
- ½ can of tomato juice
- 7-8 cups water or stock
- 1 bay leaf
- salt, to taste
- oregano, to taste
- Cut up beef cubes so they are even smaller.
- In a large soup pot put beef cubes and shank, onion, bay leaf, oregano, 7-8 cups water or stock, and salt. Cook slowly for ½ hour.
- Add tomato juice, barley, and can of tomatoes. Cook slowly for ½ hour.
- Next, add other ingredients and cook until the vegetables are tender.