24 January 2014

Market Soup for the Soul

By Kelly Merrick

This time of year, when the air is chilly, the rain is falling and the wind is blowing, my favorite meal to prepare is by far soup. There’s just something about a big bowl of soup that warms me up the way no other type of food can.

The great thing about soup is that you don’t need a recipe to make it. All you need are some basic ingredients and some time to chop up the veggies or protein you want to be the star of your soup.

Luckily, the market provides the perfect place to find the ingredients for whatever soup you want to create. In fact, if you plan it right, you can find everything you need without having to step into a grocery store.

Keeping that in mind, here are some of my favorite market combinations that make excellent soup:

If you’re a veggie lover:

  • You might consider making a kale and potato soup,
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    Waiting to become soup

    as both are at the market in abundance this time of year. My favoriteversion of the soup includes sautéing chopped mushrooms as garnish. Winters Farms, Raymond Kuenzi Farm and GroundworkOrganics and Springwater Farm should have the key ingredients for this soup.

  • Try out a squash and apple soup. My favorite squash is butternut, but if you can’t find that variety, delicata or acorn works too. If you can’t find those either, ask one of the vendors for a good substitution and they’ll be happy to help. For extra creaminess, puree the soup and add some grated goat cheese on top just before serving. Kiyokawa Family Orchards, Packer Orchards, Groundwork Organics and Goldin Artisan Goat Cheese should have the key ingredients for this soup.

If you’re a carnivore:

  • Throw together hamburger soup, with a variety of veggies, like celery, potatoes, onion and carrots. I like to bulk up soup like this by adding a grain of some type. My current favorites are millet and wheat berries. Gee Creek Farms, Pine Mountain Ranch, DeNoble Farms and Greenville Farms should have the key ingredients for this soup.
  • Experiment with a chickpea and chorizo soup that features lots of garlic and spinach. A loaf of bread and some goat cheese would complement the soup well. Gee Creek Farms, Tails & Trotters and Fressen Artisan Bakery should have the key ingredients for this soup.

While you’re mulling over these soup ideas, there are a few other non-soup related things you can find at the market this week. Cascade Naturals and Honey Mama’s will both be at the market for their monthly visit. But if you’re looking for some pre-prepared fare from The Farmer’s Feast, you’ll have to wait another week. Chef Kathryn Yeomans will be away preparing for their special truffle dinner that evening. If you just can’t go another week without some of Kathryn’s tasty food, there are a few seats left and menu and reservation info can be found on their Facebook page here.

Now that we’re done with official business, back to the soup. The first step to making a successful pot of soup, in my humble opinion, starts with the soup base. For a few years now I’ve been making my own vegetable stock from scraps leftover from previous meals, and I highly encourage you to do the same. Not only does it taste better, but it has no preservatives, unhealthy amounts of sodium and it’s practically free!

Here’s how you can do it yourself:

Kelly_Stock

Making your own stock is a cinch!

1. Start saving!
As you chop your vegetables throughout the week, save the scraps and store them in a one-gallon bag in the freezer. Once you have a full bag, you’re good to go!

2. Boil, boil, toil and trouble
Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to a boil add your veggie scraps (no thawing needed) and let it return to a boil.

3. Simmer and season

Let it simmer for about 25 minutes.

4. Strain
Carefully scoop out the large veggie chunks with a slotted spoon.  Once you’ve removed the large pieces, use a fine-meshed strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth and pour the rest of the broth into the strainer and into another pot.

5. Cool it
Let the stock cool to room temperature.

6. Store it
Pour it into freezer safe containers, label and store.

7. Enjoy it
Thaw your stock 1-2 days before you need it to make one of your amazing soup recipes with ingredients procured from the market.

If you’d like more complete instructions for how to make your own vegetable stock, you can check out the recipe on my blog, Kelly’s Sustainable Life.

Happy soup making!

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