Thursday, March 4, 2010

“Put up” the soup, as only Nana can…

There is the rocking chair, the ball of yarn punctured with knitting needles, heavy bosom decorated with a cameo brooch and simmering pot of chicken soup; all images of stereotyped grandmas. Fast forward to 2010 and we Nanas trade in the rocking chair for an elliptical machine, the knitting materials for designer duds and the heavy bosoms for … well that’s another discussion. What we Nanas will not trade are the rich traditions of that pot of simmering soup; the nectar that feeds the family.

My chicken soup recipe is passed down from Grammy to Grand daughter. It’s simple, straightforward and magical. With one sip, you can breathe through your nose during a head cold, peak your appetite after the stomach flu and warm away the chill of a bleak winter day.

The beginning of this delicious chicken soup is a recipe for basic chicken broth. The broth then becomes the main ingredient in all other soups you wish to make. I had a couple of hours recently to fool around in the kitchen. I decided to “put up” some soup. I made the chicken broth first using an organic chicken, steroid and hormone free, and raised on natural feed. Beware: organically raised chickens may not be as plump as the ones you’re used to; you may have to use two chickens instead of one. I added some celery tops, carrot and onion pieces and a few sprigs of fresh herbs. I covered the chicken with water and simmered until the chicken cooked through and the broth became fragrant. I don’t add salt to the broth at this stage. I like to wait and see what flavors develop in the soup before I add salt and pepper.

I remove the chicken from the pot and strain the broth through a colander. Then it’s hunter-gathering mode for this Nana while I scour the fridge and pantry shelves to collect every soup-worthy ingredient. Ultimately, I created four different soups that afternoon. The first is a basic chicken and veggie soup. I poured half of the pot into an air tight container, added lentils to what was left and the pot simmer for 30 more minutes to create chicken and lentil soup. Sautéing some zucchini, peppers and fennel and soaking some gigantic lima beans parlayed themselves into an Italian veggie soup. Finally, I roasted a butternut squash, sautéed some leeks and added the broth. After simmering, I used my handy-dandy emersion blender to fashion rich butternut squash soup.

As it turned out, I was able to share the soups with a fellow nana, in need of a soup smile; the rest I put in the freezer to wait for a sniffly nose, a tummy ache or the next cold snap. A few hours in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon and, what do you know, this Nana is prepared for anything.

Please share your favorite soup memory by posting below, or by joining The NANA Network and posting your thoughts on the Network page.

Happy Soup Stories!

Nana Jorj

1 comment:

Rachael Bender said...

Garlic Soup with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

This soup is perfect for cold winter nights and boosting your immune system when you have a cold.

3 heads garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbs. flour
2tbs. olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced
1 head garlic, peeled
6 cups vegetable broth
3 potatoes, peeled & diced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Add olive oil to glass baked dish. Cut 3 heads of garlic in half and place cut side down in baking dish. Roast for 40 minutes. When done, remove garlic bulbs from head.

While garlic is roasting slice onions and peel remaining garlic.

Mash garlic heads in the olive oil and add the flour. Stir well.

Add remaining olive oil to soup pot. Once olive oil is hot add onion and uncooked garlic. Saute for 15-20 minutes until onion is caramelized. Add roasted garlic paste. Cook for 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are tender.

Use a immersion blender to puree soup. If you don't have an immersion blender puree in regular blender in batches.

Heat soup and add cheese.

Serve with crusty bread.

I post some of my favorite veggie recipes on Facebook -- look me up:

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