I make soup. I make soup on a regular basis.
The thing I like about making soup is that it’s relatively easy. I don’t mind cooking, but I have next to no interest in making dishes that require a lot of attention, precise cooking times and/or temperatures, and so on. I like putting the ingredients together, letting everything cook, and not worrying about it otherwise.
So, I make soup.
The soup I make is sort of a bastard gumbo, apparently. I learned the basics of it from my now-ex-wife when we were still married. I take a different approach, however. Where she insisted on bringing everything to a boil before turning down the heat, I keep the heat fairly low, letting everything cook slowly for several hours. It works for me—and the friends of mine who have tasted it have had only good things to say about it.
Without further adieu, here is my current soup recipe:
Ingredients with measurable amounts
• 64 oz. chicken broth (Imagine has no added sugar)
• 1 rotisserie-cooked chicken (usually from Fred Meyer)
• 8 sausage links (chicken & apple x4, andouille x4—Aidell’s is best; Trader Joe’s will do in a pinch)
• 10 oz. frozen okra (Fred Meyer)
• Simple Truth Organic Tri-Bean Blend (15 oz. can—1 or 2)
• S&W Young Sweet Peas (15 oz. can—1 or 2)
• Kroger Cut Italian Style Green Beans (14.5 oz. can)
• one onion (yellow or white, whichever costs less) (chopped)
• one shallot (chopped)
• one container of sliced mushrooms (8 oz., I think)
Ingredients I just toss in
• thyme (a very small handful)
• rosemary (a small handful)
• oregano (a medium handful)
• cayenne pepper (a few shakes)
• red pepper flakes (a couple of shakes)
• smoked paprika (a few shakes)
• black pepper (10–12 twists of the grinder)
• white pepper (10–12 twists of the grinder)
• cinnamon sugar (usually 3 or 4 twists of the grinder)
• Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (a few light shakes)
• garlic powder (a few heavy shakes)
• Tabasco® sauce (a few shakes)
• Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (no corn syrup!) (3 or 4 shakes)
I start with the broth, chicken (including whatever juices remain in the container), sausage, sauces, onion, shallot, and spices/seasonings, which I let cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. After about two or three hours, I’ll add the beans and peas. When the soup finally starts to bubble a little bit, I’ll add the okra. (I usually don’t let the soup boil until after I’ve added the okra.)
If I start early enough, the soup will be cooking at medium-low for probably five or six hours. If I start later in the afternoon, I’ll put it on between medium-low and medium, and the soup will cook for three or four hours.
When the okra has softened up, I turn off the burner and serve. A couple of hours later, I dish the soup into storage containers, then refrigerate and freeze.
This makes enough to last me a couple of weeks.
(13 October 2014)