Friday, December 13, 2013

Anna's Soup

My friend Anna works with me at Book Passage in the Ferry Building, or should I say I work with her. As one of the the newest members of the staff, I depend on her advice and help, and she is always there for me. Anna is a vegetarian and she claims that she doesn't like to cook. Her husband Dave, who also works with us at the bookstore, does most of the cooking. He too is a veggie man and a great cook according to Anna.  I'm always curious about their vegetarian menus, since I often depend on chicken, or even meat to supply my proteins. He even packs a lunch for her. That's a faithful husband!

The one dish Anna likes to cook is soup, and Dave agrees that she's a pro. But when I questioned her about her soup recipes she looked at me with surprise and informed me that soup is a dish that you make by foraging in the fridge. Rather than checking cookbooks, researching recipes, going to the store to buy ingredients, (steps I do routinely), she takes the opportunity to empty the fridge of leftovers to create a soup that's different every time.

Inspired by Anna's creative spirit (did I mention that she's an artist? ) I decided to try a soup with ingredients I had on hand. And because it was the Monday after Thanksgiving, I had an advantage. The fridge was loaded with beautiful fresh vegetables and holiday leftovers, so I took them out and got to work chopping on my cutting board. What a treasure trove of produce for my impromptu soup!

Shallots, leeks, fennel, carrots, celery, Ricki's wild rice & mushroom stuffing, canned garbanzos and fresh herbs 

Stuffing Soup

 In olive oil I sauteed two chopped leeks and three shallots, added two chopped carrots, two stalks of celery and a half bulb of fennel. When the veggies gave off a lovely, fragrant aroma I poured in some TJ's chicken broth which I always try to keep on hand, and brought it to a boil. After about twenty minutes I added the leftover mushroom-and-wild rice stuffing, thoroughly rinsed garbanzos, and fresh herbs from my garden. Again I let the mixture simmer for half an hour and my soup was done.

Vegetable Stuffing Soup in a vintage Dansk casserole 

We enjoyed the reheated soup for dinner and I held off adding the leftover turkey Ricki had packed for us on Thanksgiving. This way we could enjoy a truly vegetarian meal (oops, except for the chicken broth) created entirely from on-hand ingredients, a la Anna. I can't wait to do it again!


  1. Your photos are nearly as good as your soup. That makes two of us who can't wait til you do it again!

  2. Thanks for pointing me to this blog, Taya - it's lovely! And I agree with MD Potluck, the photos are terrific!! Now I'm hungry.

  3. This makes me hungry too. There is nothing like soup in the winter. We had our first snowfall this weekend -- which meant the first shoveling. Now that's a Wisconsin memory. Don't you remember Izzy's turkey soup that she always made after Thanksgiving? Since I cooked cornish hens, I made her rice stuffing, and felt like I was channeling her. Remember the woooden chopping bowl? It cracked in two -- maybe just too many years of chopping and dry heat on top of the fridge. Memories!!