I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here in the mid-atlantic it’s about to be soup weather—-otherwise known as Fall or Autumn. It’s rather early for us this year, but I’ll take it. Any excuse to make soup which, by the way, I eat all year around. I used to think of soup as this mysterious, complex thing that I only ate out of a can or in a fancy restaurant with multiple courses, but now I know how easy it is to make soup and why we humans have been doing it forever. Whether to stretch meager supplies or use up the leftovers of abundance (looking at you, enormous zucchini), soup really is a cook’s best friend.
This evening I made a Sausage, Zucchini, and Tomato soup because that is exactly what we had on hand. Usually, if I’m planning head, I make it a sausage, cannellini bean, kale soup, but the concept is the same. And if you have been a regular reader of this blog, you know I *usually* like to make my own stock from chicken bones, but remember what started this rad (count ’em!) blog streak? My question of what did you buy at the beginning of Covid-19 that you didn’t end up using? In addition to the huge can of crushed tomatoes, that would be two enormous boxes of chicken stock. I just finished the first box today….six months later. I am not sure what I thought I’d be doing with all that stock over the summer, but whatever it was, it didn’t happen. On the plus side, boxed stock lasts a long while, so I am well prepared for all the winter nights to come for soup-making.
Mr. Foodie isn’t always keen on eating soup as a main dish, but he loves sausage, so he’ll go for the soup. It helps (I think) that I top each bowl with a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese, cracked pepper, and basil leaves. Speaking of which, I made the final cuts to our basil plant before depositing it in the compost bin. No matter how well basil does all summer, the minute it gets even a little cold, it just struggles too much to thrive. I blame our drafty house, but c’est la vie. Seasons change, and the longer I live in a place with actual seasons, the more I come to appreciate their rhythms.
Pre-pandemic I had started to keep lists of things I didn’t want to miss out on in a particular season (go to a U-pick farm for peaches! host cookie exchange party! find a fancy garden tea!), but I fell off doing it in March. I suppose I could still do it, but so many of the things I liked doing in a particular season are off limits for the time being. I don’t have a “list” for Fall yet, but we are for sure going to do at least three things: Mr. Foodie is going to finally watch Rocky Horror Picture Show with me in October, we are going camping for four days, and we will make many batches of homemade soup.
Do you make plans based on the seasons? Anything you’re planning on doing for fall in spite of Covid?
Remove uncooked sausage from its casing (I used four links of spicy italian sausage) and brown at the bottom of a soup pot. Add diced onion and cook until it softens (you could also add diced carrot and celery at this point if you have them). Add any seasonings you like (I added red pepper flakes and garlic powder because I ran out of garlic after Wednesday’s Eggplant and Beef Stew). Then add the soft veg (kale, spinach, zucchini, tomatoes – I used canned tomatoes because it’s what I had) and the broth (one box of chicken broth plus half a box of water from the tap). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and let it cook until the soft veggies are cooked through (15 – 30 min depending on what you put in there and how much). Ladle into bowls and top with extra flavor – cheese, peppers, herbs, etc. Pair with a crusty bread if you have one or enjoy it without. I don’t have any bread today, but I do have a glass of wine with my name on it.