I have a sore throat. It’s 15 degrees F out (-9 degrees C). It’s the afternoon and already winter dark. I want soup. Homemade soup. The pantry looks bare, but it’s not. There’s wilted celery in the vegetable drawer. I trim off the the outside ribs (into the compost pail for the chickens!) and find crisp leaves. They get washed and chopped. There’s a lone onion in the pantry, leftover from making latkes for Hanukkah. I pull out a bulb of garlic, a gift from my next-door neighbor who grows it. Both get peeled (into the compost pail!) and chopped. I find a few carrots that I pulled from my garden three months ago. They’re getting a tad hairy, but are fine once peeled. There – what I’ve found is enough to make soup. I pour a glug of olive oil in a saute pan and set the vegetables to cook on low heat. I’ll cook them until they turn golden. This step is not to be rushed. Soft, but clear veggies won’t do. When the color deepens, you’ll be able to smell the aroma change from sharp to sweet.
I have one container of home-made chicken stock left in the freezer. I turn the crockpot on high and put the broth in to thaw. What else? I rummage around in the freezer and find a bag of green beans that I blanched and vacuum-sealed this summer. There’s dried lentils and a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry. I find the dried-herb mixture bought in Rome last winter. Good sea salt. All into the crockpot!
Two hours later, this is what I have. After I ladle it into a bowl, I’ll top it with a dollop of goat cheese. I feel warmer already.