Friday, September 3, 2010

Soup Season

As much as I hate to admit it, summer is morphing into fall here. I don't really recall having much of a summer at all, but that has kinda been the case since I graduated from college. There are no summers like the summers during college.

The days have started to get noticeably shorter. The nights are down-right chilly, and the roads are busier as kids are back in school. Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the smells, and most of all the yummy foods!

Last night I was lucky enough to be served up this gem:

Turkey-ball broccoli soup.

I love soup. I love homemade stock. Even more then I love homemade soup from homemade stock, I love having a live-in chef that makes it all for me. I am spoiled I know. But! But! Making soup from scratch is not as hard as you think, and perfecting the skill of making stock (either meat or vegetable) is well worth it, 1,000,000 times over. Stock does not just mean good soup, (for those non-paleo) it means good rice, good risotto, good soup with noodles. For those of us that are paleo, it means good meat and vegetable soups, good cauliflower "rice", and a good way to de-glaze pans where meat-stuff has stuck and make a quick sauce.

Stock is just basically starting with cold water, adding your flavoring agents (such as chicken bones, or other meat bones, vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaves, etc. but NO SALT!) You start the cold liquid with stuff in it on medium heat, and allow it to come to boil. Once boiling, you turn the heat down, and practice this method until you can get your pot to the "happy pot" stage, where you have a single rhythmic bubble surfacing. The longer you cook your stock, the better it will be. Plan for 2-3 hours. Occasionally scrape the schmutz off the top. You'll know what I mean. After the water has some nice rich color to it, strain the stock to remove leaves, bits, pieces, etc- discard. Let the stock cool and stick in the fridge. All the fat (if you chose to use meat bones) will harden on the top. When cool, simply scrape off and discard.

What you are left with is the most amazing liquid ever. This liquid has leeched all the flavor from the elements that you included, and is holding them hostage in the rich broth. Again, this is where combinations are endless. You can choose to do a chicken broth, a vegetable broth, a beef broth, veal, fish, even have ethnic themes, such as Asian or Indian. I suggest learning a simple basic stock (check with Martha Stewart) and then as you get good at it, start experimenting!

Turkey-ball broccoli soup was made with a basic (slightly Indian) vegetable stock. I saw the discarded flavoring agents were: carrots, onions, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, turmeric, and chili flakes.

The turkey balls were a simple turkey meatloaf recipe with some added curry (to match the Indian stock), rolled into balls, and dropped into the re-heated, and seasoned stock. You only add salt to the stock when you are using it. As the turkey balls cooked, rough chopped broccoli was added at the last few minutes so it was tender, but not mushy.

So simple, so delicious, and very comforting. Welcome fall.

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