Week 22: In Swoops Soup
Here we are in the last few days of October, 6 weeks into fall, and heading into the “fall back” Daylight Saving Time (DST) clock change. Do you ever wonder why we mess with our clocks? We’ve learned that it was created for the farmers… but that is actually a MYTH! Globally, DST roots are in war and energy, first being implemented in Germany in 1916 as a way to conserve coal usage during World War I. The U.S. followed suit in 1918, and the implementation has come and gone over the years.
DST was never adopted to benefit farmers. In fact, farmers had a strong lobby opposing DST. Dairy farmers were particularly upended as cows adjust to schedule shifts rather poorly. So how in the heck did DST get linked to farming? Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, suggests that because farmers were such vocal opponents of DST, they became associated into the popular image of daylight-saving and it got inverted on them. And now you know.
After falling back with DST we are going to need extra comforting food while our bodies reset their clocks. In swoops soup, yes soup! And no, not that canned salt-lick soup... a real homemade pot of soup. Is there really anything that can be defined as more comforting than soup?? Not only that, soup is a perfect fall food – it can shine as the main dish along a nice side salad or slaw, or be the warm start to a heartier meal. There are endless ways to enjoy a wonderful fresh and bright soup before the cold winter sets in. Hope you enjoy this week’s post, In Swoops Soup!
CARAMELIZED CABBAGE SOUP
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
10 cups finely sliced green cabbage (1 large head)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp drfief thyme
2 quarts chicken or beef stock
1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stale baguette, cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
Make the soup: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the cabbage and onion and cook, stirring often, until the cabbage wilts, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is golden and shrinks by at least half, 35 to 45 minutes.
Add the thyme and cook for a few more minutes. Pour the stock into the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a low boil, use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot and incorporate them into the broth. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pot. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the tamari and season with salt and pepper.
While the soup cooks, make the toasts: Preheat the broiler to 450F or medium-high depending on your broiler options. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with cheese. Keeping a close eye on the toasts, broil until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve the soup in big bowls, with a few toasts floating in each one.
PORTUGUESE KALE SOUP (CALDO VERDE)
2 pounds potatoes peeled
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lb Chorizo, cooked and sliced
4 cups kale, collards, or mustard greens chopped into thin strips
8 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper
In a heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat, add the potatoes, onion, garlic olive oil, and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat to medium low and cook until the potatoes are tender and ready to be mashed (~20 minutes).
Mash the potatoes and bring them back to the pot.
Blend the soup until smooth using a hand blender.
Add the greens, stir and keep cooking for 15 minutes.
. Add the sausage mixture to the soup and cook until the soup boils again.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes: Add more pound of potatoes if you like your soup creamier.
CHICKEN SOUP FROM SCRATCH
For the broth:
1 chicken, 3-3.5 lbs
3 stalks celery, with leaves, cut into chunks
1 large carrots, cut into chunks
2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
About 1 dozen large springs parsley
About 1 dozen black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Kosher salt, more or less to taste
To Finish the Soup:
3 Tbsp reserved chicken fat, more if needed
3 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, rinsed and sliced crosswise into half-moons
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
Kosher salt and ground black or white pepper
Egg noodles (fresh or dried), partially cooked to al dente
Finely chopped herbs, such as parsley, scallions, dill or a combination
Place the chicken, celery, carrots, onions, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt in a large soup pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to very low. Adjust the heat until the soup is “smiling”: barely moving on the surface, with an occasional bubble breaking through. Cook uncovered, until the chicken is very tender and falling off the bone, 1 to 1.5 hours.
When cool enough to handle, use tongs to transfer chicken from the pot to a container. Taste the broth and continue to simmer it until it is concentrated and tasty. Strain broth through a fine sieve (or a colander lined with cheesecloth) into a separate container. Discard all the solids from the strainer.
Refrigerate chicken pieces and broth separately for at least 8 hours (or up to 3 days), until a thick layer of yellow fat has risen to the top of the broth.
When ready to finish the soup, use your fingers to separate chicken meat from bones and skin. Discard bones and skin. Use two forks to pull the meat apart into soft chunks, or use a knife and cut into bite-size pieces.
Skim chicken fat from top of broth and set aside. Place 3 tablespoons of the fat in a soup pot with a lid. Add leeks, stir to coat, and heat over medium heat until leeks begin to fry. Then reduce the heat to a gentle sizzle and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
Add carrots, sprinkle with salt, stir, and cover the pot. Cook until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes more. (Keep in mind that vegetables will continue to cook in the soup.) Do not brown.
Pour broth into pot with vegetables and heat to a simmer. Add noodles and simmer until heated through, soft and plumped with chicken broth. Add the meat, then taste broth and add salt and pepper to taste. For best flavor, soup should have some golden droplets of fat on top; if needed, add more chicken fat one teaspoon at a time. Serve immediately.
Notes: Instead of noodles, almost any starchy garnish can be used here: matzo balls, partly cooked dry pasts, rice or other gains; or cooked white beans. Add them when you would add the noodles and simmer until heated through.