After a preview of spring to come with two days of 70 degree temperature, a cold spell has arrived to remind us that it is March, not April and the “lion” has not yet given way to the “lamb”. Yesterday, with cold wind and rain, it seemed like a good day for soup. I awoke at 3:30am, tossed and turned a while, then remembered my chicken carcass in the refrigerator.
I had roasted a chicken Tuesday evening. We only ate half the meat for dinner and I wrapped up the carcass with remaining meat still attached, and refrigerated it. Yesterday at 4:30 am, I got the chicken, saved what meat was easily removed, and put the rest of the carcass into a pot of water to make broth. So, by 5:30 the kitchen smelled like chicken soup. Not a bad way to start the day.
I fixed chicken salad with the leftover chicken, enough for two or three, and made soup, enough for an army. I used a container of mixed beans, red, black, pinto, navy, split peas, lentils, and I don’t know what else. I did the quick soak method for preparing the beans, which I had already picked over. I boiled them for a minute, covered the pot, and let it sit for an hour. I drained the water, refilled the pot with the chicken broth made earlier in the day (about 5 cups were produced) and a few more cups of water. I added 2 ham hocks, a couple of sliced onions, and cooked the beans at a simmer, for about 3 hours. The last hour I added two stalks of celery and 1 large carrot, chopped. I cut off whatever ham I could find on the hocks and put the ham into the soup. I also added 2 cans of diced tomatoes, a red pepper cut into bits, and 2 large garlic cloves, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, a pinch of ginger, salt, and lots of black pepper. I let this simmer another hour and then we tasted it. My husband suggested adding some sugar (?) and I added about a tablespoonful for the whole pot. Then it was time to cool it down before storing it in the refrigerator. Out came the stainless steel bowls and I pour some soup into each. After it had cooled a while, I transferred it into smaller containers.
I gave some to my daughter to take home but we still have enough for twenty meals. I may freeze some, because I know we will never eat it all before it would spoil. I’ll get a loaf of good country bread, ciabatta, or sourdough, and we can enjoy a soup, cheese, bread meal or two over the weekend.
If it’s chilly where you are, maybe it’s going to be a soup day for you, too. If so, happy slurping!