a september soup tale

Soup. It’s just one of those things that once in a while you just want. There’s no rhyme or reason. Today was one of those days. This is a soup tale, not necessarily a traditional soup recipe, because I just made it up and you’ll have to follow along.

I save leftover chicken and actually bones and carcasses from roast chickens and freeze them to make bone broth . I also freeze necks and giblet that come inside a roast chicken when you purchase it from the store.

Today I also had acorn squash left over from a farm box, some fresh onions, garlic, a couple of hot peppers from my garden, and a big container of beautiful local mushrooms. So to me it said “don’t let anything go bad, make soup.”

First I got out my small instant pot and I added all my chicken bits. Then I added a sprinkle or two of kosher salt, fresh sage rosemary and thyme, a healthy dose of Lebanese Za’atar spice blend, Shawarma spice blend, and Persian Advieh.

I know, I know I have a weakness for exotic spice blends and different kinds of paprika. Paprika however was not in this recipe.

So I hit the broth setting on my instant pot after covering up my chicken parts and spices with water, leaving a gap of about an inch to an inch and a half at the top inside. After I cooked it all on the broth setting which is about 40 minutes, I added an extra five.

Meanwhile, I took out a cookie sheet pan and made a large tinfoil pouch and put inside of the pouch the acorn squash quartered, four medium to small size carrots cut into little circles, one large fresh onion chunked, and finally I added a small head of garlic, cloves peeled. I drizzled olive oil on top, tossed in a little bit of salt, folded everything up into a package and put it into a 400° oven for about 40 minutes. When the vegetables were done I turned off the oven and set it on the stove top as I waited for the broth to cool down.

When the vegetables were cool enough to handle, I scooped the squash from its skin and put it and the other roasted vegetables into a soup pot with fresh sage, thyme, rosemary. Not a lot just a little bit more, and a couple of dashes of Sherry vinegar.

After the broth had cooled down enough, I drained the broth through a strainer into my soup pot. I put the chicken parts and bits that I had used to create the broth in a metal mixing bowl to cool further. I used a hand blender and emulsified everything, adding to that believe it or not, 2/3 of a cup of creamy peanut butter.

I know peanut butter sounds odd, but when I was a kid and we first went to Historic Williamsburg one of the historic taverns in Williamsburg served a peanut soup, and it was a chicken stock base with peanut butter and it was amazing. It’s a flavor profile that I like. It doesn’t taste like a Reesie’s cup or anything like that but you do have that undertone of peanut butter flavor. Of course, if you’re allergic to nuts you can’t do this.

So what was my next step? I turned the stove on low underneath the soup. I added back the chicken I picked off the bones of the chicken I used to make the broth with. Then I sliced up all the beautiful mushrooms (baby Bella) I had, and tossed them into the soup pot, followed by two additional carrots and one apple grated. Finally, I had about a half a cup of Minnesota wild rice left over from last year, and since it only has a shelf life of so long, into the pot it went!

I have pretty much pre-cooked the soup and I will turn it off and just let it cook away in the pot with the lid on. I will let it come to room temperature and by that time it will be close to dinner, and I can then heat it up. And allowing this soup to sit hot like this will also help the wild rice cook because if you’ve ever cooked with wild rice you know it takes literally twice as long as any other kind of rice. I prefer wild rice in soup because it holds up very well.

For a made up soup of leftovers essentially, it is not bad. Sometimes I am like the kitchen sink cook, and it’s whatever is around goes in something. In this case it has worked out really well and I have to tell you the flavor profile of the soup is wonderful and emulsifying the vegetables and the broth with the peanut butter gives it a creamy texture without adding any dairy products.

Given inflation, food prices, and the economy, perhaps being a kitchen sink home cook is not so bad? I literally bought nothing special for this recipe I used everything I had around the house or in the garden.

The kitchen smells really good right now. Thanks for stopping by.

domestic diva monday

Yes I was a domestic diva today and practiced some old-fashioned housewifery.  Apparently I am falling down on the job, because I just realized I still have a bed to change.

I have always been a little Becky Home Ecky, but I have a new appreciation of the stay at home moms and housewives extraordinaire I know.  They make it seem effortless, and it’s not always that at all.

Me, I have a habit of spilling on myself while cooking.  And that is after my morning French Press.

After gardening and straightening up and all that good stuff, I decided to play in the kitchen.

It’s summer, so I do indeed like to use local and cook fresh.  Part of this fresh cooking pays homage to my Pennsylvania German Grandmother and Italian Great Aunts and Grandmother.  Of course from them I get the little of this, little of that, what do you mean I have to write it down style of cooking.

First I made a couple of marinades.  One on little steaks being grilled this evening, and boneless pork chops tomorrow.  The steak marinade was made extra fun with the addition of a couple of the masala blends I have and chili powder mix from Jayshree Seasonings.  The pork is brewing in a marinade made from leftover homemade barbecue sauce.  BBQ sauce is SO easy to make.  And tastes so much better.

Now when I think of BBQ sauce I think of Southern Cooks.  Not just the queen of butter Paula Deen, but ones I have known personally (who are not on Food Network or the Cooking Channel!).

Speaking of the Food Channel, who watches Food Network’s The Next Food Network Star? Well I am and I am rooting in particular for a lady from Alabama named Martie from Team Alton.

So her name is Martie Duncan and she has a food blog called Martie Knows Parties.  Martie is the only true home cook in the bunch.

I found out today that in the weird small world of it all she is a close friend of a woman I am in a blogging network with who tells me she’s  “known her since 2002, and she’s just so nice. She’s completely self-made. She put herself thru college by working as a cop. She did wedding planning, did set design on My Best Friend’s Wedding movie, ran a successful online startup called WeddingPoints.com.

When WeddingPoints went out of business, she was devastated. But she reinvented herself and started from scratch as a blogger with nothing because she (as well as her investors in this business) used  personal savings to give severance pay to her employees.

She’s blogged for MyRecipes and MSN and run her own blog.   She auditioned for Food Network Star even though (and they don’t say this on the show) most of the contestants were actually picked/recruited by the network. She cooked her entry dish in a fire station in Chicago after driving all night from Alabama.”

Is she a perfect person? Doesn’t matter and you can see she is putting her all into this.  And I would rather watch someone like her versus that chick Nadia G. from Bitchin’ Kitchen on The Cooking Channel.  Nadia’s voice and her set assail the senses and I don’t mean that in a positive way.

But back to my kitchen.  I was playing around and cooked up this thing I do with fresh fruit every summer that is like a town with no name.  It has no name.  It is part cake and part cobbler.

I took some cherries and peaches (I am aces at pitting cherries now), tossed them in some orange juice, fresh grated ginger (tip: you can freeze fresh ginger nicely and grate it easier that way), sugar (brown and white), a couple of tablespoons of corn starch.

I tossed that into the bottom of a buttered pan. 

I did not feel like rolling out a crust for a pie (a tip I forgot to share  I think on pie crusts – Martha Stewart says brush your crust in the pan with egg white before adding filling, well I saw on some show of using butter instead and butter works better as far as keeping the pie crust bottom from going mushy but I digress). So anyway in the spirit of desert with no name, I threw some flour in a bowl, added baking powder, one egg, sugar, cinnamon and ginger, a little oil and whisked it up into a cake batter kind of sort of.

Poured the batter over the fruit in the pan, and went to the crumble topping: brown sugar, little bit of flour, butter, cinnamon and ginger and oatmeal.

Crumbly topping added to the fun as third and top layer.  Pan placed in Bain Marie and put in a 350 degree over for I forget how long.  Probably 45 minutes or so.

In between I husked a few ears of the first sweet corn of the season for tonight and tossed together a little potato salad for tomorrow.  The potato salad is with new red potatoes from West Chester Grower’s Market mixed with flat parsley, sweet onion and a dill and herb mayonnaise mustard mix that has a little malt vinegar to it.  This is a potato salad I will add capers and celery and cucumber to if I have them in.

I have to run as I still need to saute a few mushrooms for my steaks and make a salad.  The salad will be fresh greens from the farmers’ markets – bitter and regular, with a vinaigrette of my own creation.

See ya!

(Remember, if you like or love chestercountyramblings, please consider nominating this blog for a Blue Ribbon Blogger Award with Country Living Magazine.)