Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SOUP - The Ultimate Winter Comfort Food

More snow Ugh. Four inches of the stuff on the ground this morning, the temperature at 5 degrees.  

Can you believe Tom and I decided to take a short hike at Ash Cave? A mere three miles from our cabin, the park was beautiful, as you can see from my photographs.

After our walk, we needed sustenance, something hot and nutritious in our bellies. Soup! Yes, a good hearty soup.

Now I’m the kind of person who often makes soup without a tried and true recipe. I just take a quick inventory of what’s on hand and throw whatever into the stock pot. Could be I’m the reincarnate of some poor old Irish woman, who had to make-do with whatever was in the cupboard, thus Old Mother Hubbard.

Understandably, soup appeared in the civilized world about the same time as clay pots and bowls. Into a clay pot of boiling water was thrown tough grains, root vegetables, and, when available, precious meat. The result was a thin vegetable broth or a broth thickened by the fatty meat and/or starchy grains.

During the Renaissance, rich folks enjoyed soups, too, but soups, aka stew, gruel, or porridge, were eaten before the main meal, the thought being that since bowls limited table space, the soup was served separately. Even today, in a restaurant, we might order a cup of soup before our main dish to be enjoy with a fresh slice of bread.  

The word “soup” is French in origin, somewhere around the 16th century:  Sope or Soupe. Or, some historians say “soup” came from the Latin verb, Suppare, translating to bread soaked in broth.

Today, on this cold winter day, since Mother Hubbard’s cupboard is bare. I didn't want to drive the fourteen miles to town on snow-covered roads, so I made do with what I had. So, what follows is a delightful, hearty, easy-to-make cabbage soup. 



½ head of cut cabbage

1 cup cooked brown rice (I happened to have some cooked brown rice already in the fridge from dinner the night before – a great addition)

4-5 carrots (quarter each carrot lengthwise, and then cut in half – I prefer chunks of carrot)

1/2 cup diced celery

1 medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic (minced and sautéed)  

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups coconut milk

1 cup of cooked brown rice 
Or, you can cube a couple of medium-sized potatoes or a sweet potato, if brown rice doesn't appeal to you.

Optional: Sausage ½ pound precooked and crumbled - My husband thinks a soup without meat, is not soup. Shredded baked chicken would be my second choice. Today, sausage was convenient, and I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted marvelous in the soup.Of course, if you're a vegetarian, just stick with the vegetable broth. 


Pizza seasoning to taste (I get the pizza seasoning from bulk food stores – use it in many things, because the ingredients are a nice variation of seasonings: sweet peppers, oregano, chives, basil, parsley, and thyme)

Add course black pepper to taste  

Seasoned salt to desired taste

Lets Make Soup!

Basically, gather your ingredients and first sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil, add the chicken broth and sliced cabbage, celery, and carrots, bring to a soft boil, and then turn heat down to medium for about 20 minutes.

Add cooked brown rice, and then lightly season. Place lid on stock pot and let it simmer for another 20 minutes before adding coconut milk (love this in soups!).  At this point, you can add more chicken broth, if needed.

Add cooked and crumbled sausage. Taste and season as you go, because you can always add more. Remember this: making soup is a cooking and blending of ingredients to bring out the best flavor possible.

This soup, left to simmer for the afternoon, breaks down the cabbage, resulting in a delicious broth.

References and interesting links about soup that you might enjoy.

Check out another blog I found on making applesauce from scratch. I'm going to give it a whirl. I love applesauce! http://ideasfromtheheartland.wordpress.com

Sherry Hartzler is the author of Three Moons Over Sedona, Island Passage and Chasing Joe, all available on Amazon.com 


1 comment:

  1. As you know I am a soup person as well. Love opening the cupboard as you do and make soup from what I have. I love cabbage in soup and will try this next time I make soup. I tried a tomato basil, cheese tortellini soup recently from internet. It called for marinara or spaghetti sauce as a base as well as chicken broth. I didn't like. I did everything the recipe said, it just wasn't to my liking. Should have checked out your site first!!! Hugs. Love forward to your next book, whatever it might be. Loving CATCHING JOE. If anyone hasn't picked that one up, they should, on amazon. Keep writing!