I was talking to a friend about making soup, about liking soup and about kale. Yes, kale. Someone brought me what was essentially a cream of kale soup. And in principle, I have nothing against kale. I do, however, have something against cream of green vegetable soup of any kind. Perhaps as a result of working in restaurants for many years in college and law school when today’s green vegetable side became tomorrow’s cream of green vegetable soup.
And kale needs tender treatment. Too much kale is a problem. And if you don’t massage it with salt to break the fibers, it will always be chewy and unpleasant to eat. Or you can chiffonade it very fine to to avoid the problem, kind of. Or you can buy baby kale, saute low and slow and hope for the best.
But this post is not really about kale, it is about soup. I make a mean gazpacho, the recipe will be a post for another day. But generally I don’t think of summer as soup weather. I am not a huge soup person anyway and aside from that wonderful gazpacho taught me by my dad, definitely not in summer. I don’t make much soup as a rule but there is one that is always required and that is the panacea, the Jewish mother’s cure for everything, chicken soup.
Now I have tried many combinations based on many cookbooks and my favorite is roast chicken leftover bones combined with a whole chicken. Lots of carrots, onions, celery – to be removed before serving and fresh added if wanted. Cook it down a long time low and slow. Add mixed peppercorns. Then I chill, or freeze for later use, the fat will rise to the top and can be taken off easily. (The picture below is before straining and skimming!) Freezing is great because you can add whatever you want when you are ready to serve; matzoh balls, rice, noodles, fresh carrot coins or other veg, etc. Matzoh balls are yet another subject for another day.
So kale and cream soup aside, everyone needs chicken soup sometimes. It will soothe you, it will cure you, it will make you feel better; or so they tell me. Be’te avonne (eat well)!