So Schmuckin’ Good
With a last name like ours, Schmucker, it has to be put to good use! This is my family’s way of rating an EXCEPTIONAL soup. Have some fun with your family as you enter soup season and keep striving for your best! My family has yet to give me a 10; they say it keeps me eager to achieve my greatest accomplishments. Nice. However; it seems to work. I love the process of making a good soup. What are the keys to success you ask? Well, for one…don’t be afraid to make a mistake! Some of my best soups were the result of creativity and disregard for unconventional methods. Secondly, and an important addition to improvisation, is using what you have in the fridge and pantry! If you don’t want to risk it, keep the staples on hand at all times so that you can create from scratch or from a favorite family recipe.
Keep Your Staples in the Kitchen
- Chicken, vegetable and beef stock and/or broth.
- Fresh celery, carrots, red-yellow-green onions, ginger, parsley, cilantro, red or golden russet potatoes, mushrooms, a variety of peppers, kale or spinach, garlic/ garlic/ garlic!
- Fresh & dried herbs and spices: sea salt, coarse ground pepper, parsley flakes, paprika, turmeric, red pepper flakes, chili powder, cilantro, and, of course, pecorino-romano, parmigiana, asiago cheeses.
- Basmati or Jasmine rice; pastina, orzo or ditalini or bow-tie regular or gluten free pastas.
- White, black, navy, kidney, cannellini beans.
Fresh-frozen, organic and sugar free chicken breast, thighs, ground beef, and a variety of sausages and bacon or pancetta.
On Your Mark…Get Set…Go
Sautee your carrots, celery, onion and garlic in 2-3 Tbs. of olive oil or coconut oil. Simmer on medium while constantly stirring. Gradually add in desired herbs and spices: salt, pepper, parsley, red pepper seed and paprika. Next add in your meat of choice or tofu/vegetarian options. I find that a cut up rotisserie chicken, “swingin’ chicken” as my kids use to call it, has much more flavor than chicken breasts or thighs that are fresh/ frozen. You can cut it up and freeze it in “chicken for soup” freezer packs. As you add in ingredients, follow the #1 rule of soup making…season and re-season!
Next, add in your broth. Follow the #1 rule, again! Cook any rice/pasta/potato separately and rinse them off under cold water to stop the cooking process! In potato soups, cooking the potatoes in the microwave or oven first gives a great twice-baked, yummy flavor and helps to give a creamier texture. Make all meatballs, bacon, sausage ahead of time and again, using their own seasonings! At the end of soup making, always add more fresh ground pepper, paprika for good golden coloring and flavor and fresh or dried parsley! Enjoy the fruits of your labor…but, by all means…turn on some tunes and enjoy the labor! Soup making is good for the stomach and the soul! Molto bene! Wishing You Joy in Soup Making, Jody