Friday, September 5, 2014

Recipe: "Whaddya Got?" Soup

Cooking in Egypt had presented some fun challenges. Like you can't go to the store, recipe in hand (er, on screen), and expect to find everything on the ingredient list. Most often, you would find everything but one vital item and then have to rethink the whole thing. p.s. yogurt is NOT  substitute for sour cream, I don't care what anyone says. The other fun adventure was never knowing how much something was going to cost. There were rarely prices on things and you never knew if your total was going to be 50LE or 250LE. There was never any advance planning/coupons/club cards, etc. However, all of that was not a big deal when you can order things online and have them delivered for pennies! You learn to improvise. You also learn to revel in the seasonal food. Which is what we should all be doing anyway, right? 
I'm not going to lie, I have been LOVING the ease of food shopping here. But I still want to retain my "from scratch" attitude and not get lazy. Here is a VERY adaptable recipe for soup that can be made with almost anything you have on hand. I will warn you, if you are a "follow the recipe down to the quarter teaspoon" person, this may not be for you. But this is a good chance to play around a bit and learn what you like. I would also love to hear what kind of combinations and ingredients you've tried. Enjoy!

The basics...
I start most soups with olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. From there, you can go with a chicken or veggie stock, or a tomato base, or both!
3TBS Olive oil (or butter, if you prefer) 
one small onion, chopped
1-3 cloves of garlic, chopped or put through a garlic press (I like garlic, I add a lot, it's up to you though)
2 carrots, chopped
1 or 2 celery stalks, chopped. I knew people are divisive on celery in soups. I love it, but by all means, omit it if you don't.  
Saute the ingredients, adding them in the order they are listed.  I throw a little salt and pepper on each ingredient as I add it, but again, that's up to you.
From there, it's whatever you like! Earlier this week, I added 4 cups of just water, a large can of crushed tomatoes, a can of red beans, a quarter chopped cabbage and about 10 chopped baby potatoes. The week before I did 2 chicken breasts, 3 ears of corn, and few cups of noodles. It really is whatever you have on hand. I usually add 4-6 cups of water or broth, depending on how I want the ratio of broth to ingredients.  One tip; if you're planning on freezing it, don't add potatoes, they get mushy and grainy upon reheating. I hope this helps add something easy into your meal rotation. Have a great weekend!

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