Foodie Tuesday: Soup of the Evening, Beautiful Soup!

I’ve been a bit stuck on a theme, lately: it’s cold outside, winter’s here, let’s all eat comfort food, blah blah blah.  So it’s probably not a surprise–and goddess knows I hope it’s not a foray into Dullsville–that today’s Foodie Tuesday post is about soup.

Soup is the very embodiment of “making much from little”: water, vegetables, and a gentle flame join forces on the stove to create a meal far greater than the sum of its parts.  Soup will welcome the odds and ends from your produce bin, exalting lowly root vegetables and leafy greens, however wilted they may be. In our home, soup has soothed frayed nerves and mended wounds.  Ladled hot into a bowl after a long, busy winter’s day, soup can seem like a benediction.

One of my favorite things about soup is its adaptability.  Last night, for example, I made a vegetable soup with leeks, potatoes, kale, fennel, and tomatoes.  To the broth, at the direction of the inimitable Diana Henry, I added a generous pinch of saffron, a ribbon of orange zest, and a few sprigs of thyme…et voilà! Niçoise stew.

Homemade rouille, bolstered and brightened by tomato paste and lemon juice, respectively, added body and nuance to the soup.  And the Gruyère at the bottom of my bowl melted into the hot broth and clung to the vegetables in silky strands.  Was I gilding the lily?  Maybe, but then again, when is cheese ever a bad idea?

As I head out into this New York day filled with appointments and obligations, it does my heart good to know that a pot of leftover soup is waiting in the fridge. As Louis Carroll wisely wrote:

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Beau – ootiful Soo – oop!
Beau – ootiful Soo – oop!
Soo – oop of the e – e – evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

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