What I Cooked Last Night

Sometimes I make up these crazy meals that turn out to be wonderful. When that happens, i think it is worth sharing. Occasionally something turns out to be a total disaster, then it is the story, rather than the recipe that is worth sharing. My kitchen creativity is best used on leftovers. I can work tasty magic with leftovers. Be sure to read the first post, "About My Cooking Style" which will help in following recipes when given, or to recreate meals from my prose.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Refrigerator Soup

Refrigerator Soup is a popular dish at my house. It is different every time we make it, and is delicious almost every time. As you may have guessed, it is made from whatever bits and pieces, odds and ends, that are in the refrigerator. It happens either when I am craving soup and just use what I have, or when I need a way to use up leftovers. There are a few staple items that I use to enhance or fill out different soups, and I always have them on hand. Refrigerator Soup can always benefit from the addition of one or more of the following staples: onions, garlic, bell peppers, celery, canned beans (kidney, black or pinto beans rinsed & drained), canned diced tomatoes, canned tomato sauce. Jarred minced garlic and frozen bags of sliced onions and/or bell peppers will do if you don't keep the fresh versions on hand.

So this timeI i had a bunch of stuff in the icebox. I had a ton of raw vegetables leftover from a party, and some cubed steak, about half a pound, in the freezer. I sliced into strips and browned the cubed steak and tossed in the soup pot with two cans of diced tomatoes. Then I added chopped garlic. I mixed up a batch of "trinity" which is chopped onions, bell peppers and celery, sauted together. (If you substitute diced carrots for the peppers, you will have "mire poire" and it also makes a dandy aromatic base for soups and other dishes) I added a small can of tomato sauce to thicken and flavor the broth, then began to add other vegetables. Carrots went in first, then a bit of jarred roasted red peppers I found in the door of the fridge. Lastly, I dealt with the seasonings. As always, a dash or three of Tabasco went into the pot. Then some freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of kosher salt. A couple of bay leaves went in, and then a bit of fresh basil from the plant in the window. A sprinkling of thyme finished up the herbs, and then I added a spoon of beef base to bring in a nice beef flavor. The very last ingredient in the pot was a rind from a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to soup up the flavor, if you will.

The soup simmered until the carrots were to my desired tenderness. It was delicious and made about six servings. It could have been stretched further by serving it over rice, preferably brown rice. The perfect end to random veggies left from a party. They went out in style, and we enjoyed a very tasty supper.

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