My husband keeps encouraging me to post recipes on my blog. My thoughts always were that I don’t know enough to tell other people how to cook. Then recently, my grandchildren told me that they liked my soup “the best”. So I guess they are the real taste test.
In my last blog I suggested a way to cut cooking time by chopping several days worth of certain vegetables, incorporate them into different recipes and use the last of these in a soup. Now if I had my way I would choose my vegetables and herbs like Alice Waters, fresh from the garden. But living in northern Nevada, I only have that opportunity a few months of the year. So I choose my vegetables from the best available at the grocery store and use the dried herbs from my last summer’s crop.
The soup that I make for my grandchildren starts with the left over chicken including bones of the roast that was dinner and lunch for a couple days. I always add some (1-3 TBS.) white vinegar to leach the most calcium out of the chicken bones. This also starts the flavor. After boiling a couple hours then cooling the leftover chicken, I pick the meatiest portions off the bones, run the broth through a strainer and discard the rest. Into every pot of chicken starter soup, I add ½ cup each of celery, onion and carrots that I have simmered in 1-2 TBS. of olive oil. This, plus a bay leaf is the standard starter for most soups. I also add garlic because my family likes it that way.
Now, my soup starts to change in flavor from the beginning stage. I add many herbs, especially the fresh ones I have on hand. My husband likes a big flavor boost from oregano, and he’s not even Italian. I know many people add their herbs and spices tied inside a cheesecloth or bouquet garnish. I add 1/2cup of each of the herbs directly to the soup, and remove only the bay leaf when soup is finished cooking.
The other herbs I use every time are parsley and basil ½ cup of each, and the spices are 1/2Tsp. turmeric and sometimes ½ tsp. ground ginger or marjoram. Late in the cooking I add ¼ Cup fresh or bottled lemon, taste the soup and add more lemon if it needs it. If the chicken stock from the leftover chicken seems a little bland, I add low sodium chicken base. I finish with pepper, but no salt because by this time, the full flavor of the spices have taken over. At this point, I add more vegetables, usually more carrots and celery. but only cook these for ten minutes so the veggies are still crunchy. If I am adding rice, I will cook it separately and add it to each bowl as I am serving. This way it doesn’t get mushy and gives me the option of using other grains or pastas.
The soup does not take as long as it sounds, and when I am done, I have 3-4 meals, some of which I freeze. Saves me time, money and is healthy.Tags: low sodium, lunch, healthy soup