I know in August, I’ll be thinking of snow and cozy nights in, but right now, all I want to do is ride my bike. Instead, I made some soup and spent Saturday chatting with one of my oldest and bests.
It was supposed to be a Portuguese fish stew, but ended up being more of a spicy soup. I couldn’t find linguiça, and someone drank the white wine I was planning on using, so I substituted some dry vermouth that’s been rolling around in the fridge for awhile. We ate it pretty quickly, and then I was tired (cava) so I didn’t take any pictures. But, I’ll tell you how to make it anyways. I know my technique isn’t always sophisticated, and a lot of stuff is just chopped up and cooked, but I’ll try to wax more poetic once in awhile. For instance, in this soup, I added one star anise pod (fruit?) to the broth. It made all the difference. I don’t like when people call food sexy, and I’m not about to do so. However, the perfume that the star anise added to the soup made all the difference, like a chipped tooth or smudged eyeliner left over from the night before. That’s stupid writing, but you know what I’m going for? It almost smelled weird, but then the weird turned back to good. Sort of like on LOST where the world is in a precarious balance? The star anise added another layer that made everything much more interesting. I don’t want to talk about the star anise “elevating the dish.” because I’m tired of people talking about “elevating dishes.” Am I going through an existential crisis in regards to food in our culture? Yes, probably, more on that later. Cohesion, harmony, agreement.
Loosely based on the recipes on the link’s page.
Let’s call it End of Winter Soup. It’s really easy, and you should make it tonight or tomorrow for dinner.
1 bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup clam juice
1 cup dry vermouth OR white wine
1 pint chix stock
Olive Oil, as needed
15 ounce can of diced tomatoes (i know it’s winter. canned is better. and cheaper)
2 pounds baby potatoes, halved
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo split and loose.
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 whole star anise pod
3 bay leaves
1/2 pound frozen shrimp
1/2 pound thawed white fish, in chunks
1. Using a large stock pot, coat the bottom of it with olive oil.
2. Heat and saute your onions and garlic until fragrant and soft. Add your bay leaves.
3. Add the chorizo.
4.Add your potatoes. I like this idea because, typically this kind of stew is thickened with bread. Try to caramelize some of your potatoes, the crust will taste nice later… Don’t do it to all of them though, some of them should remain soft and almost buttery on the inside.
5. When enough of your potatoes are roasty, add your chopped bell pepper. Cook until you can smell the bell pepper.
6. Add your star anise.
7. Add your vermouth and clam juice.
9. Add your tomato product. There should be some fond on the bottom of your pot from all of the high heat cooking you’ve been doing. The vermouth and tomato product are pretty high acid, so they will effectively deglaze the pan, which is what you are going for.
10. When the pan is deglazed, add the chicken stock.
11. Simmer until the flavors are married. I did it for about 2 hours. Remember to taste your stuff.
12. About 15 minutes before serving, add your thawed white fish. About 5 minutes before serving add your shrimp. You might need to turn the heat up a little bit to cook the fish.
13. S&P TT- might not need that much salt since some of the ingredients are pretty salty.
* You can make this without shellfish or fish. You could make it without meat, and use rocks instead. The possibilities are endless.
I’ve mentioned this before, but the Mexican grocery has cheap spices which are good and fresh. As a side note, they also have really cheap flax seed, which is handy in gf baking.
Another thing, this afternoon I interviewed my friend Thomas about food in contemporary Norway (his Mom is Norwegian and he’s been there lots of times) I WANT TO MAKE THESE. Vant some vaffles? And candy. How do Norwegians feel about long winters?