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Soups

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You may omit the lobster or substitute small grilled shrimp.

This is a nice change from ham-based pea soups and also (therefore) suits vegetarians and anyone else.It's simply great; no, it's better than that: it's outstanding and hands-off easy. Serve with a fresh country bread.If you prefer a smokey taste, (minus a ham bone), add a few drops of Wright's Liquid Smoke or even a bit of smoked paprika or chipolte powder. Here's another trick: if you don't want to get a whole package of celery (since you are not a celery user) for the 1/2 cup celery this recipe calls for, use 1/2 teaspoon (or a bit less) celery powder (not salt or seed) instead. You will get the celery taste and not have any celery wastage (so to speak). Lately, I make a bowl of multi-coloured, gluten-free couscous and spoon out some in the soup bowl before covering it with a few hot ladles of this marvellous pea soup.

Most cream soups begin the same way. Simmered vegetables go into a chicken or  vegetable or water stock. This is then amalgamated with a cream base, usually made with a classic flour-butter roux, to which milk and cream is added. The soup is then seasoned, the softened vegetables and creamy broth get pureed, and voila: cream soup in any flavor you choose. You can play around with the herbs and spices but mostly, this is the sort of recipe that suits whatever vegetable you prefer or what the market or season offers.  For spring, of course asparagus is my choice. It is absolutely lovely with fresh herbs, a touch of lemon, black pepper and fleurs de sel (salt). Once you get this soup down pat, it works with whatever vegetables you like.

I am wild about turnips and always make extra roast or boiled ones for this fine potage.

 

Store bought mini round breads, scooped out, make great serving bowls. Scoop 'em out, bake to crisp them up, and fill.
Somewhere in Paris, someone is supping on something like this.
We throw nothing away. Using a roast chicken (or turkey) carcass
as a base for soup yields great flavor and body.
Rustic ingredients like these are timeless

This is my best soups. Of course, I always think and consequently declare that but this one is outstanding. The larger chunks of vegetables make it different than usual homemade vegetable soups as do the hunks of chorizo (cooked) sausage which give the soup a bit more body. You can leave that out if you like or want a vegetarian soup. I serve this in crockery bowls, with garlic croutons on top, au gratin with Asiago or small chunks of parmesan cheese broiled into the croutons, at the last minute. This is a good time to have a basil, parsley, and rosemary plant on your kitchen window sill. This is a taste of summer in any month. Mostly, this soup is a taste of legend. It is that good.

Feel free to substitute whatever greens you have lying about. A squirt of lemon, a touch of oregano and some crumbled feta give the soup some Greek overtones but this is an original concoction. You may make any leftovers into a cream soup by stirring in some warm light cream or milk.
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