Those days come along when you maybe didn’t do much grocery shopping and now it’s late and you don’t have the muster to run out to the store because it’s pouring rain or a blizzard or your’e just too comfy by the fireplace, so you take a hopeful look into the depths of your fridge and wonder what’s there to stitch together for an evening meal.
I had some left over Pork Tenderloin from our dinner the night before and some Cabbage that had already pretty much set up camp in the fridge drawer, proving its testament to its hearty “shelf life” but now was pleading to be used. I also had some Bacon I had cooked off at breakfast the day before and the last bits of Peppers and a couple Mushrooms. Very humble beginnings, the hallmark of every soup.
Here is the moment to stress that a valuable staple to a cooks panty are Stocks and its great that now we can buy Organic tetra packed stocks that make soup making super quick, so No Excuses for Insipid Soups! (or stews, or gravies, or au Jus) If you have the time and the bones making your own stocks is a very handy skill to know- although there isn’t a lot of skill involved, just time consuming, but so worth it. I show you how in my page on Stocks.
- So I start with a pot, either a Sauce Pot or a taller Stock Pot if you have one and depending on how much soup you’re planning on making.
- Heat that pot up and add in some Oil, a couple of tablespoons or so. I use Grape Seed oil, but Canola is good too if that’s what you have. Your stove top temp should be at med-high.
- Chop up an Onion and 2 Celery Stalks and toss into the pot and Sauté for a couple of minutes, add in a good pinch of Kosher Salt and a couple grinds of Fresh Pepper. If you want to let the onion get a little caramel color go ahead- that’s flavor! Add in the Mushrooms and cook a few minutes till they begin to color too.
- Add in the chopped Cabbage and continue to cook and stir to coat with the cooking oil and until the cabbage begins to turn somewhat translucent.
- Add in the Peppers, and a mashed clove of Garlic, turn down stove to medium heat and let cook for about 5 minutes or so.
- Toss in a couple of Bay Leaves and some Thyme- I use fresh because it grows in my garden, but dried is fine too.
Here’s the thing, you don’t want to cook the vegetables till all is overly wilted and limp and the peppers look faded, but just enough that there is still a little firmness there. Pick out a piece of pepper and take a bite- if it snaps off in your mouth put it back! (the uneaten part please) and cook a little longer, and you don’t want the garlic to burn because that, a bitter soup makes!
Now the Superstar Stock makes its entrance to save the day. Careful when pouring it into your hot pot so pour a small amount in, then add all in. I used about 1 Litre (or a Quart for my U.S. friends)
Simmer this now, seasoning again with Kosher Salt and a good grind of Fresh Black Pepper and let it go for about 20 minutes or so. This is where you have to keep in mind that if you’re using left over meat here that meat is already cooked, and in the case of Pork it has a tendency to dry out terribly when overcooked, so in this instance you will add the cooked meat near the end of cooking time- in other words when the veggies and stock have simmered into bliss, add in the cooked Pork and cooked Bacon to really just heat the meat through.
Check your seasoning -perfect! Ladle out a bowl, tear off a chunk of good sourdough or baguette and get on back to that fireplace!
Now you can see I didn’t add Potatoes, no reason just didn’t, but you could certainly do that, and Parsley would’ve most definitely been in there but it isn’t growing out in my yard at this time of the year and like I said above- I ain’t goin’ to town, so it is sans Parsley.
That’s the charm and ease of soups- It will take whatever you have or don’t have! With a good stock as your base you’re good to go with your own concoctions!