Two years ago I started a fall/winter tradition: Souper Saturday. This started because I often did not have a plan for supper on Saturdays, and was just throwing together some sandwiches or scrambled eggs or something, and I wanted to be a little more proactive without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. The kids were anti-soup, so I never made it and Handsome and I missed it. Thus a regular Saturday supper of soup was born during the cool months, and that way I could even do it in the crockpot if we were running around during the day. I figured if that's what the kids had to eat, eventually they'd warm up to it (get it? warm up? oh, never mind).
They have, kind of. It's still not their absolute favorite, and some soups are more well received than others. Nevertheless, I like it. Soup is simple, warming, comforting food and it doesn't take a lot planning or time on my part. Tonight was the first Souper Saturday of the year. As you may recall, I had the leftover roast chicken waiting in the fridge.
First, I pulled off most of the remaining meat and set it aside, then broke up the bones a little and put them in a pot covered with water. I added an onion cut in half, with its skin, a big carrot, unpeeled and in large chunks, a bay leaf and a couple peppercorns. Usually I would put in some celery, but I didn't have any, so I tossed in a little sprinkle of celery seed. Doesn't that look homey?
I let this simmer for about an hour, then I removed and discarded all the bones and veggies and strained the broth through a sieve. That left just broth, or technically stock. There are ways of clarifying the broth, and you can refrigerate it until the fat solidifies and skim it off. I did neither. There wasn't too much fat, and in any case this was a free-range organic chicken I got straight from the farmer, and the fat is actually good for you. For more on that, visit Kelly the Kitchen Kop and peruse her blog.
Now, I do not really have a collection of tried and true favorite soup recipes. You would think after two years of this I would, but usually what I end up doing is searching Allrecipes and finding a recipe with good ratings that sounds good and for which I have the ingredients. Tonight I ended up with Spicy Chicken Rice Soup, although I didn't have a few of the ingredients (celery, green pepper, crushed red pepper flakes), but they wouldn't have gone over well with the kiddos anyway.
I prefer to use brown rice, but didn't have enough, so went ahead with regular white rice; I also added a dash of cayenne in place of the pepper flakes. I chopped up the reserved chicken and added it at the end of the rice cooking time, as I just wanted it heated up and not cooked more. BTW, I will not review this recipe for Allrecipes, as I always think it's a little silly when people say a recipe was either great or terrible and then list all the changes they made, basically ending up with something different all together.
Both boys said it was "actually good, Mama" (victory!). I thought it was good, but not fantastic. Probably not a do-over. But all in all, a successful kick-off to Souper Saturdays '08-'09.
Afterwards, in another fall tradition, we went out in the back yard and made s'mores. I love these firepits which became popular 2 or 3 years ago and allow us city-slickers to play with fire. Happy Fall!