I love soup. Especially this time of year. During the winter months, I make soup as often as I can – usually of the chicken persuasion. Here’s what I do. I throw a couple plugs of butter and a couple glugs of olive oil into a big pot and saute some chopped up garlic and onion. Then I throw in some chicken bones and let them cook in the butter/oil mix for a minute or two. I flip ’em around a couple times. Then I throw in a bunch of water and cook the bones for as long as I can stand it. The longer you cook the bones, the richer the broth will be. Just keep adding more water as it boils away. After a few hours, it starts smelling so good you think your head is going to explode. By the way, if you don’t happen to have any chicken bones lying around idle, you can throw a whole chicken or chicken parts in the pot and boil them up. But you’ll need to take them out again once the chicken is cooked, remove the meat and throw the bones back in the pot for more cooking. The meat will go either tough or stringy if it’s cooked too long. Throw the chicken back in when you’re nearly done with the process (after you remove the bones obvs).
The other day I was feeling like some chicken soup. As luck would have it, I did have some bones lying around idle so I put them to work. I cooked those bones for eight hours and the broth was super rich and delicious. My default when making chicken soup is to throw in whatever is in the fridge that runs the risk of going bad if it doesn’t get cooked immediately. That’s why this is known as Ruth’s Sell By Date Soup. The other day, that was some cut up pumpkin and mushrooms. After they had cooked for awhile, I whizzed the soup up with my fave kitchen toy and threw in some precooked chicken and a couple of cut up sausages. Soo good. So so good.
Nevertheless, I had made way too much as usual and, as much as I love the dogs, I felt bad wasting the leftovers on them. I felt that they would not have shown the proper appreciation and, with a soup this good, I wanted the acclaim.
So I took it to the home of The Upstairs Vegetarian. I knew that her mother and sister were visiting and they are far more sensible than she in the eating department, being happy carnivores. The soup, as expected, won much acclaim from the mother and sister. The Upstairs Vegetarian, however, was not amused. She challenged me to make an equally rich broth, using only vegetables. So that’s how I spent yesterday evening.
Roasting vegetables always seems to intensify their flavour and so I hit on the idea of roasting my ingredients before putting them in the pot. A short Google later, I learned that about a billion people had thought of this before I had. But anyway. I roasted carrots, eggplant, a red pepper, celery, zucchini, onions and a head of garlic in olive oil. Threw in a bit of balsamic vinegar for good measure. When the vegetables were very soft and almost caramelized, I stuck them in the pot with some veggie bouillon and cooked them some more before running them through the Mouli grater, which is my second most favourite kitchen toy.
The great thing about the Mouli is that, since it leaves behind all the solids, you don’t even have to peel things like garlic. As noted previously, I am very lazy. It also dispenses of the stringy bits from celery and seeds if you’ve not been too careful when cleaning the red pepper.
The soup was great. And yes, very rich. I bet it would be even better if I added some chicken and sausages. I’ll try it out on The Upstairs Vegetarian tomorrow and will let you know how that goes.