Tuesday, November 15, 2011

For the Love of Soup

The seed for my lifelong love affair with soup was planted at age 5. I was a kindergartner at Kempsville Elementary in Virginia Beach, VA. Along with reading the beloved children's classic Stone Soup (which is a wonderful lesson in cooperation), my teacher decided it would be fun to have the class actually cook the eponymous soup as well.

Every student was instructed to bring an ingredient. I was assigned a rutabaga. This threw my mother into a bit of a tailspin, you see, as rutabagas were not a staple item in the Adams kitchen. We did finally wrangle one up, though. I can still recall with absolute clarity, 30 years later, each student putting our ingredients into the pot (although, in my mind's eye, it was more of a cauldron than a pot; no clue as to why, seeing as that I really like that teacher and she wasn't the least bit "witchy"...), watching it boil away.

And so it was that I came to love soup. Pine for soup. Long for soup. Just ask Hubs; all autumn and winter-long, I could eat soup morning, noon and night. The other night I was worried I might be coming down with something, feeling incredibly fatigued and a bit achy. And so, Hubs pulled out the well-worn stock pot and put on a pot of chicken soup. But not just any chicken soup, no. Hubs never does just any old thing; he imbues everything with his signature double-punch of creativity and whimsy.

The soup pictured above is the outcome of his time at the stove. It's his spin on Greek chicken soup, with fennel, spinach and dill included along with the more pedestrian carrots, celery and chicken. It's. So. Good. You want to make this soup, you really do. The recipe makes a big pot, enough for a large family or multiple meals for a hungry bachelor or bachelorette.
Glenn's Greek Chicken Soup
The Goods: 
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-2 carrots, diced
-3 stalks of celery, diced
-1 bulb of fennel, diced (reserve the fronds)
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-2 tablespoons fennel seeds
-2 pounds chicken breast, cubed
-1 teaspoon sea salt
-Several grinds black pepper
-14-ounces diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
-1 cup wine (your choice)
-Juice of 1 to 2 lemons (depending on how lemony you like it)
-3-4 quarts chicken stock (depending on how brothy you like it)
-2 teaspoons dill
-2 teaspoons thyme
-1 teaspoons marjoram
-10-ounces box of frozen chopped spinach, or 1 lb fresh greens of your choice
-5 ounces soup rings, or other small noodles
-1 bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped (half for cooking in the soup, half for garnishing the soup)
-Additional sea salt to taste
-Feta for crumbling on top of the soup

The Deal:
1) In a stock pot or dutch oven, cook the onions, carrots, celery, and fennel in the olive oil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
2) Add the garlic and fennel seeds; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
3) Add the chicken, salt, and pepper; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the chicken looks cooked on the outside.
4) Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, stock, and herbs; cook about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
5) Add the spinach or greens, the fennel fronds, and the soup rings, and cook for about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
6) Stir in half of the chopped cilantro leaves.
7) Taste to adjust salt and pepper.
8) Ladle into individual bowls, and garnish with crumbled feta and chopped cilantro leaves to serve.
Reserve some feta and cilantro leaves to enjoy on the soup all week long!


Amber Pixie Shehan said...

Sounds excellent! As a side note, I misread "Hubs never does just any old thing; he imbues everything with his signature double-punch of creativity and whimsy" as "creativity and whisky" and got excited! LOL!

The soup looks amazing. :)

Anonymous said...

I love soup too! Growing up my grandmother would make soup every day for supper and it was only after we were done our soup that we would get the rest of our dinner (usually a dumpling or some bread with butter). I now realize the wisdom in this bowl of soup every day. Thank you Oma! :)

This one looks amazing - I'll have to try it!

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

"Stone Soup" was one of my absolute favorites -- your mentioning it utterly and immediately warmed me through and through. So will, I'm sure, this awesome-sounding soup!

We're total soupheads over here in the Nervous household, too: Right now I'm in a butternut-squash phase, but I also love long-cooked broccoli soups, split pea or lentil, egg drop… Keep the soups coming!

Elaine said...

We're big soup eaters around here, especially when it turns cold. I've been having a love affair with Spanish smoked paprika lately and just about every soup I make has some in it:)) This soup sounds fabulous and a beautiful change from my paprika infused everything!!

ashley english said...

elaine-a friend recently made us this scrumptious soup, which uses cauliflower and smokey paprika: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Karfiolleves-Paprika-Spiced-Cauliflower-Soup

Amy said...

I recently stumbled onto your blog, and cannot express how happy I am to have found this space! I love soup, and would eat it all day, every day when the weather turns chilly. I can't wait to try this, it looks delicious ~ thanks so much for sharing! (Stone Soup is a family favorite around here too!)