Friday, December 26, 2014

Scolipasta Soup



That's what it was called in our house growing up.  What it literally means in Italian is strainer soup.  What does that mean?  Well, it is whatever is leftover in your fridge that you feel like using up and making soup with.  Obviously, I can't really tell you how to make it because that would mean I was at your house, looking in your fridge and saying, oh, this and this and this would be good.

Instead, I will tell you my formula for making it.  I start with a broth.  It could be store bought or homemade.  For the soup above I used my vegetable broth.

Next, I almost always add onion and garlic.  They are major flavor boosters.

Then some vegetables or meat or both.  Whatever is in my fridge that I feel like adding. Sometimes I feel like adding a starch sometimes not (rice, potatoes...).

Then some seasoning.  Now, this is the part where your soup will really come alive.  For instance, if you are making a soup and decide to go the dill seasoning type route, you could use pickle juice.  Or if you were making a Mexican style soup maybe add some jalapeno juice.

For example, I will give you an idea of where my head usually goes with soup.

Italian:

Italian seasonings : oregano, basil, garlic, little bit thyme and/or rosemary.  Then I might use some hard cheeses like peccorino romano or parmesan.

I made through in some pesto at the end to brighten the soup.

Mexican:

Mexican seasonings: oregano, cumin, garlic, chili powder... Then I would add some heat (because I like it- not that it is necessarily Mexican).  If I wanted to thicken the soup I might add masa.  I might add corn chips at the end.  My absolute favorite thing to add in to Mexican type soups is fresh veggies such as cabbage, radishes, avocadoes...  

To brighten up the soup I might add lime or lemon juice.

I don't know if that helps anyone.  It really is about learning what goes with what and tailoring things to your and family's taste buds.  Or as my youngest daughter calls them, taste bugs.  You also have to experiment and have a little confidence.  Its not rocket science.

For this soup I will tell you what I did. I had some vegetable broth in the fridge and I had some spinach that was starting to wilt.  I heated up the broth, added in the spinach and let that cook a little until I had a  moment on another day to finish it.  Today I added the rest of the ingredients.  I did add some leftover coconut milk.  Really it was not a lot but it needed to be used up.  So it kind of looks like dish water.  I was very tempted to add more coconut milk but the last thing I need right now is another opened can of something.

Yellow Lentil Soup

1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
1/4 cup coconut milk (more if you have it)
1 cup yellow lentils
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sriracha salt (my new favorite "spice")
4 cups fresh spinach
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper

Cook lentils in about 3 cups water with salt, cumin, sriracha salt, garlic, onion and salt and pepper. Cook until the yellow lentils become tender.  Add in the remainder of ingredients; spinach, vegetable broth and coconut milk.  Cook for twenty more minutes.

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