Culinary Confinement

How acquainted are you with your kitchen? Not just where the fridge is, but where the pots, pans and utensils are located?

Today we at News Views would like to start a journey toward culinary discoveries. Whether you are a novice to the routine of regularly cooking for yourself and others in your household, or a seasoned vet or semi-pro (looking at you, Ms. G), we’d like a place to share recipes and ideas to inspire you in your kitchen.

Ready? Let’s have fun, dammit!

I’m going to talk about soup, and the basics of making soup. I find making soup to be one of the most therapuetic things ever, but I’m practiced at it. If you’re unpracticed at homemade soup, I’ll offer my suggestions.

To prep, a sink of soapy water to keep your cutting board, utensils and area clean makes sense. A good chef’s knife with a nice, wide blade is also a super useful tool, not only to efficiently slice meat and veggies quickly and safely, it serves as a great transfer tool to scoop those things up and throw them in your pot.

Season your ingredients as you add them to the pot, at least lightly with salt and pepper, and think about which items will need the longest cooking time and get them in the pot first.

I start almost every soup I make with olive oil and chopped onion, just to get them softened, and chunks of celery are next, as they add tons of flavor. Meat, if you use it, goes in next, but don’t overcook it, particularly if you’ve cubed it from a chicken cutlet or beef roast — it will have plenty of time for that, and overcooking will only toughen it.

If you like garlic, add some minced, chopped or powder at this point. Chop and cook vegetables in order of density and add them to the meat and onion, remembering to season each layer lightly. The steam will start cooking each layer, and I stir them in together as I add the next layer.

Making soup to me is about cleaning out what needs to be used up in the crisper, and what I’m in the mood for. Carrots, summer squash, green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach or kale, and parsnips– parsnips add a lovely “oomph” to your broth with a peppery bite– all will not go to waste if you throw them in your pot.

Add a 32 oz. container of broth- chicken, beef, or vegetable at your discretion, and a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes. I find the canned tomatoes now with added seasonings will make seasoning your soup completely goof proof. If you want a starch added, pre-cook noodles al dente, or rice.

Fine tune your seasonings after your pot has simmered for 15-20 minutes. This could include anything from rosemary, thyme, basil, or try some of the combination seasonings like lemon pepper or Italian seasoning.

Here’s a typical Chicken Vegetable Soup recipe from my kitchen.

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2-3 chicken sausages, sliced
  • half of a large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced on a diagonal
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach, chopped rough
  • 4 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes with sweet onion
  • 1 32 oz. container of chicken or vegetable broth

We encourage you to submit your own recipes and ideas using the submit article page, and we think that this will be a series we hope to continue as inspiration strikes. We look forward to seeing what our community can share!