Home Cooking Recipes
home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes
Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour


Ever heard of rock soup?

The Indians weren't dummies! That is not news but to prove the point you have only to think about how they were able to make soup without any pots or pans to put over the fire.

According to a dear old friend, Pat Gourneau, who left long ago for the Happy Hunting Grounds, the Indians would heat rocks in a campfire, make a pouch by fastening an animal hide to make a big pouch which they filled with water and meat scraps and then putting the hot rocks in to heat the water. Pretty clever!

We can do it much more easily today, but the idea is the same. Soup is a way to use bits and pieces of this and that. Each ingredient not enough to make a meal (in most cases) but together they can produce a delicious soup. My French grandmother always had a pot of soup on the back of the range. Never tasted the same two nights in a row.

Navy Bean Soup

You can use ham hocks for this but I usually use the bone from a ham and add scraps of leftover ham. If you don't have kale use frozen or canned spinach, or just skip it. To speed things up you can use canned navy beans.

2 1/4 cups dried navy beans (about 1 lb.)
6 cups warm water (skip if using canned beans)
1 small yellow onion, peeled
3 whole cloves
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 thyme sprigs, or dried thyme to taste
3 parsley sprigs
3 smoked ham hocks (about 1 1/3 lbs.)
1 bay leaf
3 cups chopped kale, or canned spinach
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
2/3 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, optional

Cover beans with water to 2 inches over beans; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans; rinse and drain again. Return beans to pan; cover with 6 cups warm water. Stud the yellow onion with cloves; place in pan. Add celery, thyme, parsley springs, ham hocks, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Discard onion, thyme, parsley sprigs, and bay leaf. Remove ham hocks from pan; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; finely chop to yield 1/3 cup meat. Discard bones, skin and fat. Add meat, kale, potato, chopped onion, carrot, salt and pepper to pan; stir well. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until beans and vegetables are tender. Stir in parsley. Makes 6 servings.


Golden Ground Pork Cauliflower Soup

Thanks go to Alma Langstraat of Hospers, Iowa for this recipe. Add a bit of chili powder or cayenne pepper with the salt and pepper before serving.

1 small head cauliflower, separated
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups water
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese, preferably Cheddar
1 pound ground pork or sausage, cooked and drained
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper

Cook cauliflower and onion in 1 1/4 cups of the water until tender; don't drain. Add milk, cheese and cooked ground pork. Gradually add 3/4 cup water to the flour stirring as you go to make a paste without lumps. Gradually stir into the cauliflower mixture. Continue to simmer slowly, stirring occasionally as the cheese melts and soup thickens. Add salt and pepper. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.


Lettuce Soup

This is a great way to use the outer leaves and the ribs of lettuce leaves, which usually go to waste. Any kind of potato and any salad greens, including lettuce, arugula, spinach and watercress (don't use the stems) work just fine. You could probably even use cabbage.

1 cup chopped onions, scallions, and/or shallots
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup diced (1/3-inch) peeled potato
8 cups coarsely chopped lettuce leaves and ribs (3/4 lb)
3 cups water

Cook onion mixture and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter over low heat, stirring, until softened. Add coriander, salt and pepper and cook, stirring 1 minute. Stir in potato, lettuce and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potato is very tender, about 10 minutes. Puree soup and transfer to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and whisk in remaining butter then season to taste. Makes 4 servings.


Chinese Chicken Soup

Make your own broth or open a can. You can even use chicken bouillon cubes. If you don't find baby corn cobs in a jar, use frozen kernels. No red chiles available? Use chili powder, until warmed to your taste,. No udon noodles? Others will do. But there is no substitute for soy sauce--fortunately it is not hard to find.

3 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake, sherry or white wine
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, or use ground ginger to taste
1/2 cup baby corn in 1-inch pieces
2 long red chilies, seeded and finely sliced into rings
2 scallions, finely sliced into rings
1 cup thawed frozen spinach
1 pound fresh or cooked udon noodles
1 cup sugar snap peas or Chinese pea pods

In large saucepan heat chicken broth. Over medium heat, cook chicken strips in skillet without any oil until they are opaque. Then add soy sauce and sake, allowing them to reduce slightly. Add chicken and sauce to the broth. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for a minute or two until vegetables are tender and noodles have cooked. Makes 2 servings.

Hot soup and a cold day are soul mates!

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