Smoke ‘Em If You’ve Got ‘Em. Or, Pantry Soup No. One

Pantry Soup No. One

Cooking, eating… it’s kind of my thing. I’d even say it could vy for number one top hobby of mine if it had to arm wrestle photography in a dark, soggy bar after an unreasonable amount of hard liquor.

Needless to say we grocery shop – ALL THE TIME. I haven’t even tried to write down what we spend on food because it is probably a very ridiculously high number – something shameful that other women might spend on shoes.

To me, the grocery store (or the farmer’s market in better weather) is a wonderfully overwhelming realm of possibility. I am driven to  buy all of the things all at once to make every recipe I’ve ever written down, thought of, saved, or read about otherwise. This tendency is also reflected in my Pinterest page and, should you dare to venture into my digital hoard, you have proof positive of ideas wrapped with good intentions. (I am quite sure I am not the only one with a board for ONLY mac & cheese recipes… right?) To be fair, I have the same sort of issue with cookbooks, all of which currently doing their best to peacefully co-exist with my husband’s record collection. He’s perfect and wonderful and we have a quiet, if not completely unspoken understanding that we will, in fact, enable the other to add to our respective collections by exercising minimal judgement. But, I digress…

Long story short – If I don’t walk in to the market with a list and a plan, all bets are off and I end up with a random collection of ingredients that inevitably require me to go buy MORE stuff later in the week to cobble together a meal. While I am organized in meal planning, I will admit to being more than a bit scattered in the execution of the game plan.

At some point, it always comes to pass that I have a pantry and vegetable drawers full of odds and ends: sad carrots, kale that might be so sad and forgotten that it’s ready to give up and juice itself, and maybe a questionable onion or two (…if I just cut this weird gray part off – it’s totally fine, right? Don’t judge me.)

Enter one of my most-often made meals (and actually one of my favorites): Pantry Soup! It’s humble and filling, warm and reassuring, and the best part is that I get to be a little smug in knowing that I didn’t waste food I probably would have thrown out a couple of days later. I’m not making this sound very sexy, but trust me… everyone needs a good dose of Pantry Soup in their lives.

The latest incarnation was a total winner. A few days ago, I was able to use up a big bunch of kale, a medium white onion, three medium carrots (skins on, for vitamins, people!) two russet potatoes (what did I say about skins… leave ‘em!) a few garlic cloves, a few herb bombs of rosemary and oregano (this is what I call summer herbs frozen in olive oil – about two tablespoons worth), celery, parsley and about four cups of chicken stock (I always have this on hand because making it is so easy, I can’t even bring myself to buy it anymore – we’ll talk about this some time.) another four or so cups of water to even it out, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and a pinch of dry oregano to round out the flavor.

Lunch! Dinner! Snack! Pantry Soup for days? I’m in love and I can’t complain… you won’t either.