Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just a thought ...

I have spent the greater part of this afternoon making a soup according to the principles inculcated to me by my grandmother. Growing up poor has culinary advantages, among them knowing how to turn whatever is left in the refrigerator into something tasty and nutritious. (I have long thought there is something in common between putting together a good soup or stew and arriving at an authentic, personal philosophy.)
What I had in the fridge was a capon carcass, some sauerkraut, and one knockwurst. So I took off what meat was left on the carcass and used the rest to make a stock. While that was proceeding, I cut up the capon meat and the solitary knockwurst, along with onions, celery, and carrots. I also chopped a blend of parsley, lavender, basil, and rosemary (all from the garden).
Once the stock was dark and thick, I strained it and put it aside. Then, I put some butter in the pot the stock had been made in, then sautéed the onions, added the carrots, then the celery, and finally the herbs. I also sprinkled in some ground cumin and grated a very small amount of nutmeg. Once the veggies were softened a bit, I added about a cup of dry marsala, turned up the heat and let the marsala reduce to a syrup. Now it was time for the stock to be added.
Once that came to a simmer, I added the sauerkraut, then the meat. From there on it was mostly simmering and making sure the texture - and the flavors - were just right. I added a small bay leaf and in a few minutes started tasting. It needed a bit more salt. Next came some Spanish goat cheese (capricho de cabra). It still needed something, but I was almost there. Finally, I splashed in some more marsala. That did it.
I decided to recount this in order to explain why I might not do much more blogging today, and also to do a sort of blogging different from what I usually do, expanding my horizons, as it were. I get tired of just posting links.


  1. This sounds so coming :)

  2. Post more of this sort of thing, please.

    As to soups and suchlike, we must be on the same wavelength. I have no idea why anyone would open a tin or packet. My principle is perhaps a bit simpler than yours - or just lazier - i.e. throw in whatever is on hand and add the odd adventurous herb/spice/nuts (almonds are a favourite at the moment, also a chunk or two from my glut of quinces), simmer, maybe puree. The soup is usually tasty, and a great way to get kids and now grandkids to eat vergetables. But I can't say it's helped me to arrive at an authentic personal philosophy. Sadly.