Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Soup

Paul got a phone call tonight for an interview tomorrow. Fingers crossed, prayers said. Please send good vibes. Details will come if he gets the job.

The season's changing. I'm rethinking what we'll be having for dinner as we approach colder days and darker evenings. The grill will have to be put away for the winter soon. Soup comes to mind as something I like to make. So, here's my Mix-and-Match soup recipe.

Mix-and Match Soup

Makes about 5 quarts.

Ingredients:

1 large can low-salt, no-fat chicken broth
or
3 small cans beef broth or vegetable broth
or
6 cups homemade stock

4 oz. orzo pasta, cooked
or
1 cup rice, cooked
or
2 cups potatoes, diced into about a half-inch dice

1 can cooked beans
or
2 cups cooked dried beans

1 package frozen vegetables
or
3-4 cups fresh vegetables

(optional) 1-2 cups chopped cooked chicken, beef, pork, ham

Salt and pepper, to taste

Any spices, herbs, seasonings that appeal to you

Instructions:

Put everything in the pot except the cooked pasta or rice and any fresh herbs you might be using. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Add the pasta or rice and fresh herbs just before serving.

Notes:

1. This is the simplest soup you'll ever make. Just combine the ingredients in any way that pleases you.

2. I often use themes. If I've got Italian green beans, I'll throw in a can of diced tomatoes. For seasoning, I'll use basil, oregano, nutmeg and maybe marjoram. If I've got a southwestern veggie blend, I'll put in chili powder, oregano, cumin and cilantro. Look at other recipes you like and see if you can adapt the seasoning to your taste.

3. You can substitute any small pasta for the orzo. Alphabet pasta is a hit with kids. And, if you have kids, you can leave out things they don't like.

4. If you don't want 5 quarts of soup hanging around, make less. The amount of each ingredient is not crucial to this recipe. That's why it's a good one to use to experiment with.

5. If you have an immersion blender, you can use it to make the soup thicker by blending it slightly. The beans or potatoes will thicken it a bit.

Mangia!