Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

What time is that, you might ask? Well... This evening for dinner I made chicken soup. It was the standard, no frills chicken soup made by boiling the remains of yesterday's roast chicken. Celery, onion and carrots made up the rest, with a few savory herbs to flavor. This was our fifth soup this fall, if you don't count the ramen for lunch the other day. We started out with a lovely butternut squash soup made with kielbasa sausage and cheddar cheese. Then we had miso. A few days before Halloween I made a clam chowder. On Halloween we had a curry pumpkin soup. And now chicken soup. No dumplings or noodles tonight, as we had the remains of a sourdough loaf (thanks again Dr. Wood! Buy his cultures! They're awesome!).

Yes, it is soup season. One of the historical soups I've come across (and to be included in the book solely on the basis of its provenance) is St. Jacob's soup. This one is attributed to Benjamin Roberts. The lore is that Benjamin went on the Mormon Battalion march to California and came back with this soup. Here's the recipe, from his great-granddaughter:

1/4 lb salt pork
2 good-sized potatoes, diced
2 good-sized onions, sliced
4 fresh tomatoes (or 1 no.2 can stewed)

Cut pork into small pieces and cook until brown but not crisp. Cook potatoes and onions in boiling water until tender. Add pork with some of drippings, also tomatoes, and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with hard bread which has been toasted and cut into cubes. Seasoning should be added to taste.

So there you have it. I've seen this recipe in multiple places, always the same, with the same provenance, so it seems to be sort of famous. What baffles me though is how this recipe survived for 150+ years. You can just look at it and see that it would be rather un-notable. Try making it and see what you think might give it the merit to last so long. I'm guessing there's something missing in the "seasonings added to taste." Would it be crushed red pepper? Black pepper? Would you make a roux with the drippings? Fresh herbs? Maybe we should make some little toasts broiled with some chevre and float them on the soup? Or just season some croutons?

At any rate, send in your thoughts and reviews for this soup, and one lucky winner will get to dip into the prize bucket. Incidentally, MissC never sent her contact info to claim her prize. I can be reached at pioneerfoodie@gmail.com. Hope to hear from you soon!

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