…and we’re back! (We had some internet issues. It turns out to be very hard to blog w/out internet access. Someone better get on that.) Happy New Year! We welcome the new year and the end of the holiday season. We love everything about the holidays, but our waistlines suggest it’s good that they only last so long. Soon it will be time for new year’s resolutions (post coming soon, backsliding soon after), but before that we get to deal with the slightly
hungover bleary feelings that come with January 1st. Time for a big bowl of soup and the Rose Bowl. Go Stanford!
We call this soup “Holiday Hangover Soup”, but we could just as easily call it “Resolution Soup” (“Guilt Soup”?), or simply “Winter Vegetable Soup”. You could also call this soup a “Garbure”, if you want to be a bit more high-brow (we don’t). But whatever you call it, this soup combines a rich, flavorful stock and just a bit of pork with winter vegetables. It is easy to make, easy to tune to your tastes and easy to like. You get a lot of flavor and just a little fat to go with a good dose of veggies, and after the holidays most of us need a few more veggies.
This recipe is ours, but we did develop it from a Michael Ruhlman recipe for Winter Vegetable Garbure from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”. “Ruhlman’s Twenty” is a cookbook that focuses on twenty specific techniques and/or ingredients that make up the foundation fo good cooking, and then provides a few recipes to prove the point. If you are new to cooking, this is a very solid cookbook for your collection. If you are a more experienced cook, you get some extra pointers on technique and some recipes for inspiration. Worth a look.
What drew us to this recipe was a few tips that make our soup stock really sing. Ruhlman notes that a little tomato paste and a touch of fish sauce in the soup adds umami, while a splash of sherry vinegar supplies acidity for balance. We enhanced / changed the recipe to build the stock from smoked ham hocks and (optionally) add some Sriracha for smoke and spice notes. When you combine these flavors with crunchy, bright and sweet winter vegetables you get a winning dish. The soup is still light and healthy, but the depth of flavors almost makes it feel like a stew or chowder. This soup is a meal in one bowl. And it helps clear a fuzzy head…. Continue reading