One of Joe's teachers has heard of the soups we make here Chez Dad, and asked for the recipe. I admitted it would be difficult. I have been making soups with varying degrees of success since 1990, and I admit now and to anyone listening that it was definitely a mistake, for example, the time I made soup from a recipe that called for a chicken to be simmered for hours. That part was fine; it was when I got to the end -- "Discard the chicken" -- that I should have averted my eyes.
But my soup-making has taken a more fervid turn since I took a cooking class near Lyon, when I learned that soup is to be made over days. The chef explained a variety of things: Any vegetable can be part of the stock, as long as it's not too starchy; any poultry or meat can be a part of the stock, as long as it's not gone bad; you can and should cook the stock for many, many hours, and probably days.
What I learned in the class, most of all, was: Don't be afraid of your soup.
This was good advice.
Following that, my friend in Cancale, France, explained that she keeps a "soup box" in her freezer, into which she tosses the trimmings and extras of her vegetables. I do the same thing, now -- I have a plastic tub into which I drop the peels from carrots, onion peels, celery ends, cores from Brussels sprouts, and so forth. It fills up faster than you would think. In essence, you are always thinking soup, and also, obviously, total use of the vegetables you're eating. The Sioux used all the bison; the soup box lets you use every scrap of vegetable that gets cut. I drop in meat trimmings, too, even the fatty bits, because I skim most of the fat off, eventually. Depending on how secret your cooking process is, you can even drop in table scraps from people's plates, because everything is going to get boiled, and those bones and bits are precious. If I ran into a bison out on Maple Avenue, and it was looking poorly, I would use all of it in soup.
(And nobody has to eat pemmican. Everybody wins.)
OK, so, now you have the context for my soup. It's time now to look at the recipe, such as it is. It continues after the jump. (That means click to see the rest of this entry.)