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05 August 2008

I have a bunch of soup ingredients but need further guidance. [More:]
So it's going to be soup night here at casita mdonley, and I know I've got the right raw materials, but times/quantities escape me. Help me make soup night a tradition!

Here's what I have:

- about a pound of roasted chicken, with bones and skin, from a night or two ago
- about a pound of roasted red/white/purple potatoes, halved, from a night or two ago
- 4 oz each chopped carrots, celery, onion (yay Trader Joe's pre-chopped Mirepoix!)
- more onion, garlic, zucchini (as yet unchopped)
- bunch of dry spices
- big ol' basil plant outside
- half a stale loaf of a wheaty French boule
- big range of fancy Italian hard cheeses
- some low-sodium chicken broth, perhaps a bit less than a quart?
- flour
- butter (salted/unsalted)
- time (I'm home all day but can go to the store)
- food processor
Oh! We also have bacon.
posted by mdonley 05 August | 15:45
And rice. (Shoulda looked in the pantry before hitting "post".)
posted by mdonley 05 August | 15:49
Here is the totally most basic meal you can make from that: pull chicken from bones. Put bones in pot with water and chicken broth. Simmer to extract yumminess from bones. Add some dried herbs to broth if you want: thyme is good, Italian seasoning, rosemary, whatever you have.

Chop zucchini and dice onion. Cut potatoes into small chunks. Shred the chicken you pulled from the bone.

Cut stale bread and brush with olive oil on both sides, then scrub a cut garlic clove over them. Grill or toast in the oven.

Then, saute garlic in olive oil until fragrant, then add mirepoix and saute until softened and starting to brown. Add chopped onion and zucchini, and saute until starting to brown and soften.

[Alternatively, you could reduce the amount of olive oil and begin by sauteing bacon, using the bacon fat to support the sauteing. Personally I think bacon would be a little heavy for a chicken/zucchini summer soup, but it's a matter of taste).

Strain your stock. Return it to pot. Add sauteed vegetables and simmer to warm through. Add chicken. Add potatoes last.

Alternatively, you could add the potatoes with the stock - they will totally break down and disappear but thicken the soup base, if you want. If you want them whole add them last.

Hit the whole thing with a last blast of spices, and serve soup alongside a cheese plate and grilled garlic bread. Garnish the soup with grated cheese and a fine chiffonade of fresh basil.

You can't go wrong with this, which is similar to a regular weeknight dinner method in my house in wintertime, but someone will come along and say something a lot fancier soon!
posted by Miko 05 August | 16:02
What I would do, though I'm not a soup expert:

1. Cut the bacon into one-inch strips. Fry it over medium-ish heat, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the bacon and set aside on paper towels.

2. Sautee the mirepoix in the bacon fat until tender. Add minced garlic and sautee for an additional 30 seconds.

3. Add cut-up chicken, chopped zucchini (well, if it were me, I'd leave out the zucchini, because I don't like it, but if you want it, add it here, I think), and potatoes; mix well to cover all these up with yummy mirepoix-flavored bacon fat.

4. Add enough chicken broth to cover all these ingredients well (add water if you don't have enough broth).

5. Cook at a simmer for a while (20-ish minutes, I'd think, since your main ingredients are already cooked).

6. While the soup's simmering, slice bread, butter it, and grate hard cheese on the top; toast in oven until cheese is melted and golden and good.

7. Taste soup, add salt, pepper, and sage as necessary. Fresh lemon juice and/or zest would also be good, if it's around. (I'm not a big fan of "Dump everything in!" spicing, so I like to keep it simple.)

8. To serve, put toasted cheesed bread on the bottom of each bowl, ladle soup over the top.
posted by occhiblu 05 August | 16:06
On non-preview: Duh, right, I forgot about simmering the chicken carcass. This is why I'm not in charge of soup-making at my house!
posted by occhiblu 05 August | 16:07
Just do what our ancestors did and boil a lot of animal bones. Insects count.
posted by jonmc 05 August | 16:43
There is no wrong way to make soup.
posted by BitterOldPunk 05 August | 18:02
Step one: drill a big hole in the bottom of the pot.
posted by box 05 August | 18:09
Occhiblu has a good one. But - let's go one better.

Step 2 ammended: Instead of saute - sweat the mirepoix in the bacon grease (lower heat than saute), and add all the onion you've got (up to three or four cups, cut into ringlets), and sweat until light golden brown and very floppy.

Step 6 ammended - cut the bread in pieces that fit exactly into oven-safe bowls. Toast lightly and rub with garlic and olive oil. Grate cheese and set aside.

New step 8: ladle soup into broiler-safe bowls (eathenware or ceramic - in a pinch you can use big, wide coffee mugs). Put bread on top and cover with grated cheese. Put bowls in a pan under broiler until the cheese is bubbling. Serve.
posted by plinth 05 August | 19:08
Yay! Thanks everyone.
posted by mdonley 05 August | 19:34
A cooked chicken done already been done. Throw a couple of uncooked chicken legs in to add some lively chicken flavor.
posted by StickyCarpet 06 August | 10:16
Cat and Mouse Cuteness || Fashion question: