Best. Soup. Ever

It’s a wonder that Beth still talks to me, prone as I am to leaving her voice mail messages like this recent one:

“It’s me.  Stop.  Just stop. Whatever you are doing. Stop.  You are going to make soup.  And more specifically, you are going to make THIS soup, in precisely this manner. You will never make a soup THIS good and THIS easy. ”

“If you are inside, you will put your coat on and run.  Past that African market that doesnt have anything for sale, only bar I know still bearing “Like Cola” signage, and past that scary little graveyard where Ethan Allen’s family is buried, to that co op downtown where you shop.  You don’t even need to grab one of those undersized little “look at me I shop in fancy grocery stores” carts, and I don’t care if you push Christopher Kimball to the ground to do so, but you will hightail it around the store chop chop.”

“You will buy a 28 ounce can of tomatoes, and grab a package of baby spinach, an onion, and one of those packages of fresh tortellini.”

“You will then walk to the meat counter and buy eight ounces of Italian sausage.  You will not buy low-fat sausage.  You will not buy turkey sausage. You will not by artisanally produced charcuterie you people pawn off to the tourists from Boston and Montreal.  You will not NOT buy sausage.  You will buy Italian Sausage. “

“I know you have chicken broth and bay leaves in your kitchen so you will now pay for your items and run home.”

“You will dump the tortellini into a large bowl and cover it with boiling water for a moment.  You will then drain it. You will dice the onion, and smash the garlic. “

“You will put your large soup pot on medium-low heat, and add the sausage to it in little crumbled up pieces.  When the pork product attains a medium brown color you will remove it from the heat and add the onions and garlic.  You may add olive oil at your discretion. You will sweat the onions and garlic until they soften, making sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot.  You will add five cups of chicken broth, even though I know you are going to use that turkey broth you made last week.  Whatever. Just add it.  Then the can of tomatoes, mushing up as need be, depending on what kind you buy.  You will add the tortellini and the sausage and a bay leaf and, if you must, some red pepper.”

Now.  Here is the difficult part.  This one time, you will not adulterate this soup in any manner.  You will not gaze wantonly around your kitchen for “whatever else” might go well with this dish.  You will not search your fridge for that one extra mystical bonus ingredient as if selecting the next incarnate Lama.   You will not add tofu. Or beans. Or squash. Or dried bananas, ginger, harissa, plantains, birdseed, devilled eggs, sriracha sauce, artinsnal radishes or Dayquill tablets. None of that.

Just bring it to a boil, then simmer it for about ten minutes.  Then serve with crusty bread and realize that you are eating perhaps the most amazing soup ever.”

She never called back.

11 thoughts on “Best. Soup. Ever

  1. Love this post… very clever. And the soup sounds delish- I just would have a hard time resisting the adulterating part. I always adulterate. It’s a flaw I have.

  2. Thanks Kate!

    I’m with you, I adulterate recipes freely and openly. But this soup was so incredibly yummy I felt that, just this one time, it should have been made “to spec.”

    Looking forward to hanging out with you guys tonight!

  3. I thought about your blog when I was at Chalk the other night–have you tried the bacon wrapped bacon appetizer there? (pork belly with sage wrapped in bacon) What do you think about it–or the concept? Is there a place in town that serves the best pork belly? My husband and I have been on the lookout for it since your fabulous post.

  4. Hi Laura,

    I have never been to Chalk, but I keep meaning to go, and now I have an even more pressing incentive to do so.

    Sadly, I may not be the right person to ask about Cincinnati dining. I need to get out more. Most of the time I “Eat Out,” it’s mostly just stuff in the neighborhood. But I’ll try.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. So you know how you totally called me out on how I would make that tortellini soup? I had all the fixings to make it tonight, even bought chicken stock. Then Gaby’s friend Noah came by out of the blue, and he’s a vegetarian. And I wanted to make the soup for everyone. So instead of chicken stock it had vegetarian boullion. And instead of sausage it had mushrooms. I almost (almost!) threw in a spoonful of pesto from a jar, but I could hear your voice mocking me telling me not to adulterate it any further. I also added about 3 lbs of spinach, which I doubt you called for. . .

    Anyway it was really good but I thought you’d find it amusing that you were so right.

  6. Actually, pesto would have been great.

    As long as it was REAL pesto and not a pesto you contrived, made out of, like, fennel, macadamia nuts, melted shortening and Cheese Traders 3 year old brie.

    tee hee

  7. Thanks Amy! And, yes, this soup is amazing. In fact the friend who originally shared this recipe with me accidentally dropped some cat treats into it in her fridge… and i actually had to think about it.

  8. I’m glad you warned Beth specifically about tofu. She has only recently learned not to try to feed me that stuff, upon penalty of mockery (although the uber-hippie wheatberries with roasted veggies she made was actually really good).