I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but where I am it’s a rainy, dreary day. For me this says one thing, soup. What better way to spend a rainy summer’s day then by making a beautiful summer soup? Soup is great all year round, but the bounty of summer vegetables available right now makes summer soup one of the best soups you can make. The first step for today is going to the local market and letting what produce they have dictate what goes in my soup. So, come along and join me on this rainy day as I make my favourite…
Rainy Day Soup
The second step after the market is the soup base. The base is the most important part of any dish, not just soup. For my soup today I am going to use a base of chicken stock. I have the carcass of a chicken I roasted a few days ago, as well as a few chicken backbones which I have saved from chickens I have spatchcoked (taken the backbone out and flattened).
If you want a really clear chicken stock start with your bones in cold water. Bring the water to a boil, and then strain the bones and discard the liquid. After this initial step is done refill your pot with cold water to cover the bones. Now, add your mirepoix (two parts onions, one part carrot, and one part celery) and bring to a boil. Once the pot comes up to the boil reduce the heat and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. This will give you a beautifully clear, and flavourful stock to use as the base for your soup.
The next step is to being layering flavours. The first part of this is caramelizing the onions. This is done by cooking the onions over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for about twenty to thirty minutes. Just as my onions were beginning to caramelize I added homemade sausage and gaunchale (cured pig’s cheek). Once the sausage was cooked and some of the fat had rendered out of the gaunchale I added my carrots, celery, and a few dried chili flakes.
After allowing time for the carrots and celery to being developing deeper flavour, I added my tomatoes. Once the tomatoes had been cooked and released their juices I added the stock, some potato, leek, bay leaf, and baby turnip. I also seasoned the soup with salt, pepper, and a little sugar.
Once the potatoes and turnip were cooked it was time to add the kidney beans and peas. All that was left was to wait for the soup to finish cooking as my house filled with the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen.
To finish off the soup I added some fresh cilantro and a piece of buttered toast. The soup came out very well balanced with a little spice and a little sweet. It was delicious, but I don’t want you to make it. The point of this post was not to show you how to make this soup. It was to show you how to make soup in general. In cooking there are a lot of things that you can just wing and soup is definitely one of those. Cooking soup is a chance to experiment and try new things, you just need to know the basics. That is what I hope this post taught you. Not how to make this soup, just how to make soup in general. As a note I will say that I have never made this soup before, there is no recipe, and it was delicious. That is the point. Play, experiment, and taste.
Thanks for reading. See you next week.
Chef Benjamin Kelly