Garbage Soup

I love soup.  Just the concept of it is amazing. The way I make it at least once a week from October to February and never make exactly the same thing twice.  The way almost anything can be repurposed as soup.

Dinner the other night was the ultimate “garbage soup”–not a single ingredient bought on purpose, but all of it just sort of Found somewhere in my kitchen.

We started with the broth I’d made from the organic free range chicken I roasted Thursday night.  We ate chicken for dinner, I pulled off most of the rest of the meat for the hubby and kids to munch while I was out of town, and I stuck the carcass (still stuffed with herbs and onion) into the crockpot with a bunch of water.  Strained it the next morning and had two quarts of broth. (And returned from my trip to find a good bit of the chicken still not eaten, which ticked me off a little until tonight.)

One of those quarts went into the soup pan tonight, after I sauteed the package of mushrooms I’d forgotten about that were getting a little slimy.  So did the leftover chicken bits, probably a little questionable to just eat after 4 days, but after boiling in the soup pot for two hours would surely be absolutely fine. (As usual, the disclaimer: the Greenmom will not be responsible for other people following her not-necessarily-safe food advice. Take responsibility for your own and your children’s digestive tracts.) 

Found half a bag of baby carrots forgotten in the crisper drawer, sort of dessicated and ugly but fine for soup.  Sliced them up and tossed them in.  The remains of a bag of chopped bell peppers; in they went.  Half a cup of leftover gravy from roast chicken night. In it goes. That 1/3 cup or so of leftover garlic mashed potatoes? Eh, why not? In they go. Soup thickens a little that way.  Hey, wait a minute, what’s in that container back there? Oh hell, that’s that pearl barley I cooked I don’t remember how long ago…looks fine, smells fine, what the heck? Nothing wrong with it that a couple of hours boiling in the pot won’t fix right up. (Disclaimer; read the disclaimer.) Five minutes before serving, threw in the rest of the bag of chopped spinach from the freezer.

By the time we actually sat down to eat, there was this lovely thick pot of chicken soup with barley and mushrooms, into which I think I threw a few herbs and a little salt, but otherwise it was completely a fridge-cleaner. And it was yummy.  Rosemary foccacia on the side. 

Very nice dinner. Soup rocks.

Posted on October 15, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Garbage soup was a revelation to me. I’m not much of an experimental cook, so I just freeze any leftover bits of food in a single container in the freezer, and then dump it all in the pot at once. (With my eyes closed and my fingers crossed.) It might not always turn out great, but it feels good when it results in a totally random but yummy soup.

  2. This is brilliant. I too love soup-making for using up all the leftover veggies in the fridge. Since moving to Europe I learned another soup trick too … if the soup looks a little suspect or you have someone in the house who isn’t crazy about chunks of veg, puree it with an immersion (stick) blender before serving. This makes some random veggie soup seem so much more elegant and refined! Of course this doesn’t work if you add pasta or meats, but for veggies only, it’s great! (You can even then stir in a little bit of cream – yum!)

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