The other day, I walked home from one of the local butcher shops with about 10 lbs of chicken feet, like ya do. It’s soup swap time.
Do you know about soup swaps? The basic premise is:
- Make and freeze 6 qts of soup.
- gather with at least 6 other people who have done the same
- exchange soups
- have a variety of great soup to get you through the winter
The Kitchn offers a write-up of how to host a swap with a bit more detail. In the next week, I’m going to two different swaps, with three different soups. Thus, chicken feet*, because they make really good stock.
Soup the first: Tomato w/ Parmesan stock
This one is kinda cheating. The truth is, tomato soup is super easy to make if you have stock on hand. It goes like something this:
Sauté an onion in olive oil or butter. Maybe add some thyme or oregano. Add a large can of crushed tomatoes. Add about half a can of veggie, parm, or chicken stock (by pouring it in the tomato can so you can also get more bits of tomato out). Blend. Bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Maybe add a dash of sherry. Serve with a dollop of cream or good olive oil and crunchy croutons if you’re feeling fancy.
So why bring tomato soup to a swap? Because parmesan stock** is really, really good and because tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side is one of the ultimate winter comfort meals. If you already have the soup in the freezer, it’s even easier. Yum.
Second Soup: Anna Thomas’ Green Soup w/ chicken stock
This one? This one is winter’s answer to summer’s green smoothie. It’s 5 gallons of greens & 10 lbs of chicken feet*** made into 7 qts (plus some extra stock) of superfood. It’s chicken soup to heal what ails you with all the green veggies you know you should be eating, but you probably aren’t because it’s winter and who wants salad, blended in. Plus! it actually tastes good. I used Anna Thomas’ recipe with chives instead of green onions and parsley instead of cilantro and chicken stock instead of the water and veggie stock. So far everyone likes it except my youngest, and, well, my youngest doesn’t like much.
Last Soup: Classic French Onion
You know what takes a very, very long time and might just drive your children away from the first floor of the house***? Caramelizing 10 lbs of onions does. I’ve never made French Onion soup at home because it’s always seemed like so much hassle for something most of my family won’t eat, but now that there is the promise of a comforting, easy, slightly fancy winter meal just waiting in the freezer, I’m happy I did it. I’m envisioning the folks who select this at the swap settling in one winter evening with French Onion Soup Gratinée and a good white wine, maybe with a simple baby spinach salad on the side.****
Bonus, I actually broke out my copy of Julia Child’s The Way to Cook for this recipe, and I love consulting Julia.
*and beef shanks and parmesan rinds and …
**a variation on this recipe from epicurious, though I use more water and don’t reduce it as much. (Note: Many stores which sell in-house grated parmesan will also sell parmesan rinds, for much less than than the cheese. It’s worth asking!)
***Don’t worry, I didn’t leave the chicken feet in. I used them to make the stock and strained them out.
***”Mom!! Stop cooking onions!!!”
****With this one, I managed to make 8 quarts, so I’m also envisioning myself doing this, some evening. Hooray!