Saturday, November 5, 2011

root soup near-disaster (lyn)

I’m shopping in D’Agostino’s when I see a bunch of fresh vegetables and herbs, packaged together, to be used for making a soup.   I already have the 32-ounce Pacific Natural Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth Low Sodium.  It sells for $5.99 per box here, but $11.99 for six boxes at Costco, where I bought it.   Plus, it has to be good for you with all those healthy-sounding qualifiers in the name.  Soup is low cal,  cheap, easy to make, and should provide a week of quick lunches.  I decide to make some.

I get home and open my soup-starter package (Robyn later tells me that this is what it's called). Truthfully, I have no idea what half the things in it are.  I easily recognize the stalks of celery, the single carrot, onion, and potato.  There is also some parsley (I think) and another green thing that looks like marijuana but probably isn’t.  But then it gets difficult.   There's a hard item with the consistency of a potato, but it's covered in a pinkish-purplish skin; maybe a parsnip?  And then there's something that could easily be mistaken for a stalk of celery but it's mostly white and more limp;  could this be a leek?

I plan to follow the same method I use for making squash apple soup:  lightly brown everything in a little oil; add the broth, some salt and pepper; cover and let boil for five minutes; then uncover and reduce boil;  simmer awhile, emulsify and serve.

I do everything according to plan, right through cover and boil for five minutes.  I uncover to let the soup simmer, and go to my room to blog.  I get lost in other activities and go back to check on my soup, maybe twenty minutes later.  I enter the kitchen and smell something burning.  I look in my once-nice soup terrine and there are the root vegetables, sitting atop a very black burnt pot-bottom.  All the broth has boiled out.  I forgot the small step of reducing the heat.  While I thought the soup was simmering, it was instead boiling. 

I salvage the root vegetables, transfer them to a bowl, take out another pot, add another 32 ounces of chicken broth, and try a second time.  And again, I forget to reduce the heat.  Only this time, I am gone only about ten minutes.  I reduce the heat, cook some more, emulsify and serve.

Result:  The soup is delicious.  Okay, it only fills three bowls, since so much of the liquid has boiled away.  And it may have been very expensive if I have to replace the burnt pot.  But it is, very very good.

Lesson learned:  It is near-impossible to screw up a soup.

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