Okay here is a quickie for any hungry stomachs. Now normally I don’t blog about food – leaving the culinary exploration of deliciousness to sites like Pink Kitchen, etc. But this soup has carried me across the past nine months. It is the comfort soup of champions, and coupled with a comfort grilled cheese, or comfort chips, or a comfort sandwich, it has never failed to make me feel more human.
Therefore, whether you’re going through treatment, have a cold, or are just plain peckish – consider this very easy recipe. It’s the soup that keeps on giving. And I’m eating it right now.
Please treat this recipe as an Aesop fable. Read to the very end, get the moral of the story, and then make this soup however you remember. I find that’s a far easier way to cook.
Righto. You’ll need some/all/or a variation on the following list of ingredients:
One big carrot (or a couple small – peeled, or scrubbed well, and sliced into flat pieces. They don’t have to be tiny, or even small, but you’ll need one flat surface on the carrot)
One onion (peeled, whole)
Few stalks of celery (chopped into bite sized pieces)
One potato (peeled, whole)
Half a red pepper, cleaned (not sliced)
A clove of garlic (peeled, whole)
Handful of fresh parsley (if you don’t have fresh parsley, try one of your favorite dry, leafy spices. This is an easygoing recipe, choose the flavour you prefer to cook)
A few pepper kernals.
Eros Pista (optional secret ingredient alert! Also known as ‘Strong Steve’ in English. If you live in Ottawa, this amazing pepper paste can be found at the Budapest Deli in the Market. If you live in the UK – hop a plane to Hungary and visit a local Spar. If you live in the US, I don’t know where this stuff can be found, but it’s worth a Google search.)
Hock of Ham (Ham on the bone) OR chicken thighs. The key here is to have something with meat and bone combined. Zsolt and I really prefer the Ham, but it’s a matter of taste.
Paprkia, pepper, turmeric, & salt
Right – now this is what you do. First get the carrots ready and find your soup pot. In the pot add a gulp of oil (like 1.5 tablespoon) and place the carrots flat side down. Heat those up so the oil turns yellow and the carrots brown. As this happens, prep the remaining ingredients. Once the carrots look nice and toasty (a little caramelized), add all the veggies, parsley and meat of choice into the pot. Fill with water. Add salt, a scoop or two of paprika, a dash of pepper and a bit of turmeric . . . not sure if you actually need to turmeric, but ever since cancer I just stick it into every recipe (turmeric cupcakes?).
Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least two hours. Rule of thumb: the longer it cooks, the better it tastes. AND once it’s been served and there’s only half in the pot – add MORE water, a bit more of the spice, and stick in the fridge over night. Tomorrow you’ll have another pot of delicious soup waiting for you. But be sure to leave the majority of veggies and bone in the pot- otherwise you remove the source of flavour.
If you like, boil some fine noodles on the side and serve with the soup (soup poured over noodles).
Now looking over this document it appears as though this wonderful miracle soup will take forever to make. But don’t be fooled by word count. As a writer, I get very long-winded on things that please me, in reality it takes about 15 minutes effort to get this soup on the boil. Afterwords it’s just a case of waiting.
I used to make this every week before chemo, and it was the first thing I had when coming home from my taxol treatment (weekly treatments, so my stomach could handle food). Now that chemo is long gone, I still eat this soup. It’s a great comfort.
And if you don’t believe me, believe my husband. Zsolt’s verdict: “It’s pretty good soup.”