Tuesday, November 6, 2012

nothing soup

As I child I read variations of a folktale: stone soup, nail soup, or nothing soup.  The idea was that people pooled what little they had and came up with a soup that sustained a whole village. I love the idea of making something from what is on hand. For our little household, I made soup from semi random stuff from the fridge.

As the base I used meaty bones from a free barrel at Kurowski Deli on Milwaukee Ave in Logan Square. Kurowski's is definitely worth a trip for the homemade garlicky kabanos (thin smoky sausage), many different varieties of fresh and smoked sausages and deli meats, imported chocolate covered plums, fruit syrups, teas, pates, cheese, and any and everything else. If you buy anything there, you can get soup bones from the barrel at no charge.  I commend the store management for offering up the bones/scraps rather than having them go to waste. The barrel is located at the end of their long meat and cheese counter.  It is lined in plastic with slippery tongs on the edge.  The free sign is in Polish. I filled up a couple of bags with foot long ribby or spiny looking pieces.  I gave up on the tongs and use my hand (encased in one of the plastic bags.) OK, this bone part wasn't random.  I very deliberately remembered to pick out the prime soup making ingredient.  Not marked beef or pork, but after tasting the cooked meat I believe it was pork.

At home I rinsed the bones and forcefully crammed them in my biggest pot with onions, garlic, a bagful of semi old "baby" carrots, onions, dried white beans, cut up Swiss chard, and a yellow zucchini.  The pot simmered for hours.  After it cooled, I was pleasantly surprised at how much meat I was able to pluck off and kind of irked that the long solid seeming sections of bone had separated into big and small individual bones. The cartilage must have melted?  I dunno. I fished out the bony pieces as best I could and warned people to not bite hard.  A few slipped through. No broken teeth. Maybe next time I'll make the broth separately, strain, then add the beans and vegetable. The soup was not just rich and delicious, but super fragrant and super delicious; so full of flavor I couldn't stop raving and savoring each mouthful.  Often I don't repeat "recipes"  but this simple one I will be revisiting soon.

This is what it looked like after I poured off the soup into my favorite wide mouthed storage jars.  They were reused, previously housing sun dried tomatoes.


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