Stone Soup: The Perfect Recipe for Chilly Days
There’s no two ways about it—the weather is getting cold. However, it is not just cold but also muggy, foggy, misty, and downright disgusting.
Much as I love fall, I definitely prefer it crisp, with bright autumn colors, apple picking, and a faint smell of impending snow in the air. Fall should be the time for us to break out the cozy sweaters and cute mittens while frolicking through piles of red and orange leaves, but instead we find ourselves dragging on cumbersome rain boots and soggy rain jackets, lugging around umbrellas with us wherever we go, and compulsively checking the weather website for rain reports. On days (or weeks) like this, I don’t even want to leave my LoRise.
On days like this, all I truly want is a big, steaming bowl of soup. Give it to me in any form as long as it is a generous serving of hot deliciousness.
I love soup, pretty much no matter what. The cold vichyssoise (potato-leek), borscht (beet), or gazpacho (tomato-based, with vegetables) soups are always refreshing on a hot summer day, and in the winter, I often turn to a hearty, beef-and-noodle-filled stew. For those days with an unshakable cold, the classic chicken noodle, or even my cousin Mickey’s matzah ball soup—it’s an old family recipe—can usually get me back on the path to health. I will even add miso mix to recently boiled hot water and drink it like tea. I’ll admit it: I’m a fanatic for soup.
I am a firm believer that a warm bowl of soup on a damp day is the best remedy for any lingering downheartedness. Nothing warms your soul better than hot broth.
Although I could buy soup from Weshop, sometimes none of the options pique my interest. They’re often expensive, and their purchase inevitably requires me to leave my LoRise, which as I’ve already mentioned, I would rather not do.
Luckily, a broth-based soup is very easy to make. All you really need is some kind of broth and stuff to put in it. My mom and I love to raid the fridge for whatever we have, check the pantry for beans or grains, and toss it all into the pot.
My mom and I call what we make “stone soup,” after a favorite children’s picture book of mine. Have you heard the story? In a nutshell, two wanderers ask people in a town for a meal; everyone denies them, so they begin to make their own special “stone soup.” All they do is boil water and a stone in a pot, and they manage to trick the villagers into donating whatever they have in the kitchen to help make the soup “just a little bit better.” They get an assortment of vegetables, meats, pasta, and spices to put in the soup. In the end, it is absolutely delicious, and everyone lives happily ever after.
Use your imagination with your own stone soup. You can use any kind of vegetable, from asparagus to zucchini (go with seasonal produce), add pasta, quinoa, or rice, and some meat if you want. Beans are great in the winter, and canned tomatoes make a soup nice and thick. Also, don’t be intimidated by the spices in the recipe below. None are absolutely necessary, and you can really put in whatever you want. The same goes for the vegetables. Everything below is just a suggestion, but hopefully these ingredients will help you think of what you want in your stone soup.
Soup requires little overnight, little foresight, and lasts for days. It is also extremely easy to reheat. On an endlessly dreary week like this, soup helps make the days seem just a little bit warmer.
Makes 4 servings
1 box, or 4 cups, broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
3 carrots, shredded
1 potato (sweet or otherwise), chopped
Kale, coarsely chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup canned tomatoes
1 cup quinoa (dry)
salt, ground pepper, red pepper flakes, curry powder (all to taste)
Suggested: a dab of Greek yogurt or sour cream on top!
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the cauliflower and potatoes, then toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and curry (or other spices). Put on a foil-lined roasting pan and roast for 15-25 minutes (this step is not necessary, but it ensures the vegetables cook all the way through while in the soup without being overdone. If they are only cooked in the broth, they can get soggy).
2. Put 2 cups water, 1 cup quinoa, and salt to taste in a large saucepan and let simmer for 15 minutes (follow instructions on box).
3. Put olive oil, onion, celery, and red pepper flakes in the bottom of a stockpot. Cook until onion is translucent.
4. Add broth, shredded carrots, and kale to the pot. When other vegetables and quinoa are done, add them to the soup with the canned tomatoes. Add spices, to taste.
5. Continue stirring occasionally, and taste it. If the ratio of broth to ingredients is not to your liking, add more water. Add more spices if you want more flavor—just watch the salt, as store-bought broth is already very salty.
6. Let it simmer on low heat for at least 20-30 minutes before eating; this will ensure all of the flavors come together.