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The Soup Topic (2005–2006)


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#1 maggiethecat

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:00 PM

My rough list of resolutions is a screed of the usual guilt and fears: Stop smoking. Make more time for friends. A thousand words a day, day in and day out. Start shopping around the six pieces I've finished this year, that are sitting in a neat stack on the bookshelf. Regain my lifetime record of fifty military pushups. Never let unfolded laundry stack up on the dryer. Pedicures every two weeks.

A fine list, but I can cross off half: it ain't gonna happen.

But I've been thinking about soup. I don't make it often enough -- maybe once a month. Soup, in its infinite variety (52 varieties in this exercise,) is the perfect stroll through history, geography, gastromomy, botany and biology. It has the added value of being cheap, nutritious and seasonal.

I usually have stock in my freezer, thanks to Barbara Kafka and Jacques Pepin. Jacques for telling us that he puts his meat and veg scraps in a washed out milk carton in the freezer, to be transformed into a delicious and essentially free Bastard Broth. (My name.) And Kafka for urging us to make stock in the microwave ---a third the time and no scum.

Did onion soup last week, split pea in November. I am perhaps the only person on earth who hasn't made squash/pumpkin soup, so that will be this week's soupe de semaine. I'm liking Mark Bittman's recipe from The Minimalist Cooks at Home but I'd love your suggestions, and your experience.

And if you add your favorite suggestions -- Asian, Latin American, Lithuanian or Hungarian, vegan or carnivore -- I'll try to make them all. Just nothing that requires reading the date on a dime in the depths of the stockpot, caviar garnish or liver.

Off to do pushups. Please tell me if my spine isn't straight.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."
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#2 Jaymes

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:22 PM

Applause, Maggie.

I absolutely love soups. Especially Mexican.

But here's one I've recently enjoyed. It's from Senegal. Thanks to Suzilightning for sharing it with me.

Senegalese Chicken Soup

2 T finely diced onion
2 T butter
2 t curry powder
1 T flour
4 C chicken stock
4 egg yolks
2 C heavy cream
1/4 finely-diced chicken
Handful toasted coconut to garnish

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, saute onion in butter until translucent. Add curry and flour and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks and cook for one minute more. Press through a fine sieve.

Serve hot, with toasted coconut to garnish. If serving cold as appetizer, chill until serving time and garnish with toasted coconut.

Edited by Jaymes, 01 January 2005 - 10:06 AM.

"KNOWLEDGE TENDS TO ELEVATE THE HORSES" - cdh


#3 Jaymes

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:26 PM

So I've been thinking this over a little more.

Every country where I've ever lived or visited has at least one great soup that they are so proud of. And of course, most countries and cultures, have many more than one.

I used to think it'd be fun to do a sort of 'Round the World in Soup' project. I actually started it once. I did the famous Greek chicken lemon soup....Avgolemono to start.

For some reason, kids and real life kept intruding upon my plans.

But your project has reminded me how fun and intriguing the subject is.

"KNOWLEDGE TENDS TO ELEVATE THE HORSES" - cdh


#4 fifi

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:26 PM

Ah, Maggie, I hear you on the resolutions. Mine are . . . Build house, cook more soup. :laugh: I love soup and it goes so wonderfully into the freezer for easy meals. I tend to freeze it in freezer zip lock baggies so that I can thaw a portion, put it into a big mug for a lunch meal. If I didn't have those, I might starve to death on working days. Alas, as of the end of March I may not have any working days due to retirement (Whoo Hoo!). Now I can have time to make all the stock I want and many other cooking adventures. Anyway . . . One of my favorite really rich soups is the mushroom soup I invented many years ago. I will copy below. The other is the Onion Soup recipe from Emeril's Louisiana Real and Rustic. Any other recipes are usually based on what I have available.

Mushroom Soup

4 Tbs butter
1 cup minced shallots
4 large garlic cloves, minced

2 lbs. mushrooms, sliced

1 Tbs flour (Wondra works well to prevent lumps but you can use all purpose)
4 tsp chicken base (Knorr is good)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Several dashes Maggi (that little brown bottle of stuff)
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces grated cheese (smoked gouda is the favorite, gouda or jack will also work)

In a heavy pot, sauté shallots in the butter until soft. Add garlic and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes longer.

Put the mushrooms in the pot. Stir around to distribute shallots and garlic. Cover and cook on low heat until mushrooms are tender and juices are released.

Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms and stir to distribute to prevent lumping. Add remaining ingredients and simmer gently 10 to 15 minutes until cheese is melted. Do not boil and stir frequently.

Notes:

This is a rich soup and is best served with salad and good bread for a “light” meal.

Feel free to vary the herbs to your taste.

I typically make it with the common button mushrooms but you can substitute others to your taste. Since you need 2 pounds, using all “exotic” mushrooms would be pretty pricey and probably not worth it. Do get fresh mushrooms that have not developed dark gills. I did that once with mushrooms that were on sale because they had started to open their caps and develop the spores. It tasted fine but had an ugly brownish purple color. Stay away from Portobellos for the same reason.

If you buy the Maggi seasoning just for this recipe, don’t shove it to the back of your spice shelf. Use it up adding a few dashes to a simple vinaigrette. Surprising but smashing. You can also add it to other soups and stews. Who would guess that this stuff is very common in traditional Mexican cooking?
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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#5 maggiethecat

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:29 PM

Jaymes -- and Suzy--awesome. I especially love soups that are good hot and cold.

Thanks for handing me my first interesting recipe, tested by Jaymes and Suzy, no less. I'm really excited about this project.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."
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1912-2008

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#6 Priscilla

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:32 PM

MtheC, this is a terrific wonderful great idea, not LEAST because soup is my favorite food. It just is.

Your (admirable) project(s) sent me running to Yahoo to nail down a distant Miss Manners memory. I thought Judith Martin was a funny smart writer, in addition to her etiquette righteousness.

She wrote (in a column long ago):

"Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor and sick, do you?" -- Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

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In the Daily Gullet
: Vegetables, in a Soup


#7 maggiethecat

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:36 PM

fifi:

I love mushroom soup, and I love your recipe. I also love soups that can be made with plain old button mushrooms, not cepes or dried porcini. In other words, mushrooms I can buy anywhere. I think the button mushroom is seriously underrated, but that's another thread!

Jaymes: I love the "Round the World with Soup" idea, and it could be the subtext here. In the half hour since I posted this topic I've been thinking soup --the simplicity, the complexity, the whole World Order of soup. What a lovely, impossible idea: World peace and understanding through soup.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."
Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com


#8 maggiethecat

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:41 PM

Priscilla and Miss Manners: What a winning ticket that would be in four years!

"You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor and sick, do you?" My new sig line.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."
Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com


#9 Priscilla

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:42 PM

OK, the madrilene with beet juice from The Nero Wolfe Cookbook -- I love love love it. One of the best ever, so fortifying and elegant all at the onct.

Recently I made a borscht with shrimp that eGullet's HelenaS put me onto, too, which recipe I will locate and post if you're interested MtheC.

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In the Daily Gullet
: Vegetables, in a Soup


#10 purplewiz

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:43 PM

Some suggestions off the top of my head:

Hot and Sour Soup
Egg Drop (the trick for me is getting the egg to make proper strands)
Avgolemono
Beef Barley
Cold Cucumber soup (so good in the summer)
Sausage kale soup
Clam Chowder
French onion soup
Cream of Cashew soup (from December's Bon Appetit, hopefully will be online sometime soon)
The Les Halles Mushroom Soup Recipe
Tom Kha Gai
Any of a gazillion potato soups out there
Curried carrot soup (this is SO good, and I don't like carrots!)
Tortilla soup
Roasted Garlic Soup
Chilled Shrimp Buttermilk Soup (another good one for summer)

And don't forget about good ol' chicken noodle :wub:.

I've made all these soups at one time or another and liked them a lot. I've given links (I hope they're ok!) for the recipes I got elsewhere on the net.

Marcia.
Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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#11 maggiethecat

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:47 PM

OK, the madrilene with beet juice from The Nero Wolfe Cookbook -- I love love love it.  One of the best ever, so fortifying and elegant all at the onct.

Recently I made a borscht with shrimp that eGullet's HelenaS put me onto, too, which recipe I will locate and post if you're interested MtheC.

View Post


Wow. I'm interested! Please hook me up with that recipe.

And purplewiz What a great list. Methinks I may be making soup twice a week -- and that's all good.

And, dear purple, I was thinking about carrot soup about five minutes ago -- I love carrots.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."
Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com


#12 purplewiz

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:59 PM

And, dear purple, I was thinking about carrot soup about five minutes ago -- I love carrots.

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La Boheme has a fixed menu every night, and one night when I was dining there this was the soup. I had a lot of misgivings, but I took one bite and absolutely loved it. And I truly LOATHE carrots if they taste anything at all like carrot. I can imagine that a carrot lover would really appreciate it :-).

Marcia.
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#13 SobaAddict70

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 09:04 PM

Are fruit soups fair game?

I have a watermelon-mango-ginger soup somewhere I can dig up. (for summer.)

Soba

#14 Jaymes

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 09:18 PM

Are fruit soups fair game?

I have a watermelon-mango-ginger soup somewhere I can dig up.  (for summer.)

Soba

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Ah yes the cold soups of summer. That will be wonderful, too.

Gazpacho
Cold Cherry Soup
Cold Avocado Soup

This is going to be one of my favorite threads.

:rolleyes:

Maggie, what an absolutely fabulous idea. :wub:

"KNOWLEDGE TENDS TO ELEVATE THE HORSES" - cdh


#15 Abra

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 10:17 PM

Me too, another soup lover! Maybe this could grow into a soupathon group grope. Would it be fun if as many of us as possible tried the same soup each week, each with our own reported-upon variations?

#16 JAZ

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 10:45 PM

I made carrot soup to start our Christmas dinner, which had a vaguely Middle Eastern theme. It was easy, cheap, low calorie and good. I'll give an approximation:

Peel and cut into chunks about 8 large carrots. Saute one small or half a very large onion, sliced, in some olive oil. Add a large can of chicken broth and about a cup of water and the carrots and cook until carrots are falling apart soft. Also add about a teaspoon each of salt and cayenne and a tablespoon of ground cumin. If you toast cumin seeds and grind them, you can add less because it's more powerfully pungent. Cool slightly (or not) and puree in small batches in the blender (small batches, because we all know what happens when you try to puree too much hot soup in your blender, don't we?).

Reheat when you're ready to serve and taste for seasoning. Garnish with a big drizzle of yogurt and some chopped fresh mint.

#17 EdS

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 10:52 PM

I made a carrot soup the other night using basmati as a thickener and some homemade brown chicken stock. It was my first test of my new Mouli food mill and I was very pleased with the result. Food mills should be more common! I swirled in a little heavy cream (next time is creme fraiche). Heaven! The basmati gave the soup a slight nut flavor that I found to be a nice change from using potatoes.

#18 Jaymes

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 11:00 PM

Me too, another soup lover!  Maybe this could grow into a soupathon group grope.  Would it be fun if as many of us as possible tried the same soup each week, each with our own reported-upon variations?


Up to Maggie, since it was her idea.... but I think it'd be fun. I'd do it.

A soupathon group grope, eh? :laugh:

"KNOWLEDGE TENDS TO ELEVATE THE HORSES" - cdh


#19 Dana

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 11:57 PM

I'm in!! This is going to be a hoot!!! Don't forget about Gumbo and Vegetable Beef, and broccoli cheese, and cauliflower and....


Happy New Year, everybody
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#20 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 11:59 PM

I love soups, too. And a new one each week is a great idea, Maggie.

#21 EdS

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 12:03 AM

...
A soupathon group grope, eh?  :laugh:

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Everyone into the hot tub...

...of soup.

#22 suzilightning

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 08:50 AM

maggie - when do your tomatoes come in? late august/september? i'm currently testing a recipe for a tomato rice soup i hope to have worked out to submit to a contest here in nj. i'll post or pm it to you to make with the best of the summer fruit.

what kind of squash soup are you interested in? i have several for pumpkin or butternut squash. i also have a recipe for hot and sour soup with shrimp from ming tsai that i've played around with. will pop that off to you if you're interested.

interesting because at work all fall/winter we take turns making soup or chili and bring it to work for lunch one day during the week. a fellow worker saved me her ham bone from christmas and i'll be making pea soup with it in two weeks. i'm toying with combining split peas and frozen added at the last minute for an interesting texture contrast. will serve this with country rye bread and cheddar beer cheese.
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#23 Marlene

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 08:53 AM

.  I am perhaps the only person on earth who hasn't made squash/pumpkin soup, .

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No you're not :biggrin:

If you're going to make French Onion Soup, make onion confit first :wub:

Love that spine Miss M. This sounds like a great idea. Have fun!
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#24 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 09:35 AM

Another Soup Junkie here. Part of me does it out of the necessity of laziness. Especially during the colder months, I make a huge vat of soup every Sunday that will ultimately feed Shawn and I for the week.

If I have an especially busy week, it is easier for both he and I to have said soup for lunch throughout the week and oftentimes dinner as well. Some of my stalwarts include:

Creamy Potato Leek
Borscht
Jeff Smith's Minestrone
Provencal Soup (Winter root vegetables with sausages and sauce verte)
Herby Turkey Mushroom (the leftover soup made after a Turkey)
Gingered Duck with Sweet Potatoes
Buddha Soup (Oriental chicken broth with fresh veggies)
Hillbilly Bean
Moroccan Chickpea

But you guys are all giving me ideas for other soups I keep forgetting to make! Can I join the club?

#25 beccaboo

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 09:36 AM

In the winter, farro-bean-and-kale soup is nice (you can throw in some pumpkin chunks, too, to add color), and borscht (has no one mentioned borscht?). For a summer cold soup, try ajo blanco!

#26 Jinmyo

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 09:58 AM

Do get fresh mushrooms that have not developed dark gills. I did that once with mushrooms that were on sale because they had started to open their caps and develop the spores. It tasted fine but had an ugly brownish purple color. Stay away from Portobellos for the same reason.

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Portobellos are quite easy to peel. Scoop the dark gills with a grapefruit spoon.

edit:
Oh, and re soups.

Miso shiru.
Lobster bisque.
Leek and potato potage.
Pho.
Congee.
Roasted corn chowder with poblanos and smoked chicken and chipotle creme fraiche.
Pea soup with prosciutto shank.


And yes, yes, yes: mushroom soup of any kind.

Edited by Jinmyo, 01 January 2005 - 10:03 AM.

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#27 chow guy

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 10:25 AM

And, dear purple, I was thinking about carrot soup about five minutes ago -- I love carrots.

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[/quote]

I made the"Umami Carrot Soup" from "The Herb Farm Cookbook" a few weeks ago.Traunfelds' trick for achieving umani (peak of perfection) in early winter, worked quite well. You caramelize the carrots and leeks first, use freshly squeezed carrot juice instead of stock and thin with a fresh spearmint tea. I garnished it with sour cream thinned with mint tea, orange juice and zest.
It was outstanding, both hot and cold.

#28 Fat Guy

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 10:31 AM

What a wonderful project, Maggie. I hope you will report in on each week's soup. And, lucky you, your friends here on the eG Forums will no doubt nag you if you fail to complete any given week's assignment.

Let me cast my vote, during the cold months, for lentil soup. No need for fancy lentils with French names; the Goya lentils from the supermarket are entirely sufficient (and, to me, sometimes preferable) for delicious soup. Working from a base of lentils and basic aromatics (a little onion, garlic, carrots, maybe celery), you can take the soup in many directions, depending on what you have at hand. My favorite is to make lentil soup from the leftovers of a braised meat dish, like brisket, short ribs or pot roast. Save a small percentage of the meat, especially the bits that don't make for neat serving slices. Strain the cooking liquid from the braising project (or half or a quarter of it, if you're making a sauce from the rest) and refrigerate overnight. Defat it and use it as the liquid base for cooking the lentils (along with the aforementioned aromatics). You may need to supplement with some water or some stock from inventory. Depending on how "loose" you like your soup, you can either leave the lentils in a mostly liquid broth or you can remove about half the lentils, puree them in a blender and use them as a thickener. Season with salt and pepper, and maybe some paprika. Towards the end of cooking, mix the leftover bits of meat in with the soup, add fresh herbs and maybe a little acid (like a very small amount of Sherry vinegar).
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#29 maggiethecat

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 12:29 PM

My sisters and brothers in soup: Happy New Year! Big old pot, check. Mouli, check. Immersion blender, check. A request to all my friends and relatives to donate their hambones, check. 2005 will be my Seasons of Soup, and I'm so tickled to find so many buddies to stir along with. Though, duh! this is eGullet. The eGullet Society of Soup.

Abra: I love the idea of a virtual soup kitchen, and I also like your idea of choosing a soup-of-the-week, and all of us reporting our theme and variations. I'm going to choose the soup o' the week, post my method and ingredients, and hope to hear about your tips and the results of your versions. Damn, I'll have to find out what's wrong with my camera and get it fixed.

It looks as if there will be no death of receipes or suggestions--if I count upthread we've probably got half a year of recipes right there. But Steven's mighty powers must extend to mindreading. I peered into the pantry this morning and found two bags of Jack Rabbit lentils, practically crying out to be transmogrified into potage. So this week, it will be lentil soup. (By the way, the recipe on the back of the bag, tarted up, is a family standard.)

Steven, your recipe sounds spot-on, but in our household the chances of having leftover brisket or short ribs are slim to none. I think I'm going to go with a leaner version, unhappily sans brisket or even the golden hambone. I do have some bacon, which I'll sub to achieve the lovely smoked pork undercurrent that I love with legumes. Hmmm, maybe I have some leftover gravy in the freezer from the Christmas standing rib. And I love your idea of the acid finish - I usually do a rich finish, like sour cream. Maybe I'll do both.

I'm thinking that January will shape up something like this: Lentil, squash, mushroom, leek and potato. I'm excited that so many of you are interested in coming along for the ride.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."
Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com


#30 foodie52

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 12:38 PM

I've been making fish soup at least once a week lately. I start with a fish stock (my grocery store carries a good frozen one) and add sauteed onions, Swiss chard, diced potatoes, a handful of diced, stewed tomatoes and a touch of Tabasco. I throw in some diced white fish, a handful of mussels and a couple of sliced scallops. Last week I also tossed in a gre itty bitty baby squid...for effect!

I serve it with a classic rouille, which keeps well in the fridge for another use a couple of days later.