Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Winter's best soup: first make the stock.

Yes, I'm just trying to make things difficult. Make stock? Are you joking? I haven't got time to peel a potato, and you want me to make stock. Ridiculous. People are busy these days, in case you haven't noticed. Just look at any television screen. Half filled with people tweeting at broadcasts. You can't chop a carrot while you're tweeting and staring at a television screen. Ridiculous.

Yes, ridiculous. But not the stock-making. It's easy. You just dump a bunch of aromatic vegetables in a pot and boil the hell out of them. I made this during the week and it made the best soup I've ever eaten.

Tortellini soup.

Vegetable stock
In a large pot, sweat one large chopped carrot, one large chopped onion and one stick of chopped celery in a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir for a few minutes. Add one chopped leek, one whole onion studded with two cloves, some parsley sprigs, and a peeled and scored garlic clove, a bay leaf, a little dried rosemary, a spray of cracked pepper and half a teaspoon of salt. Saute for a few minutes, stirring.

Add a litre and a half of water. Bring to boil then simmer half an hour.

Then strain the stock. Purists call for cheescloth or muslin or a bride's veil or whatever; I just use a strainer. Be careful to reverse the usual instinct and not pour the stock down the drain, keeping the sated vegetables. I've done that more than once.

Now return the stock to the pot. Reduce further if you wish.

To the stock, add half a kilogram of ricotta tortellini, a cupful of finely shredded silverbeet, a cup of peas and a tablespoon of pesto (blitz basil, walnuts, parmesan, garlic and olive oil to achieve a grainy bright green texture with the flow of honey in winter).

Ready when tortellini and peas are done. Serve with more pesto and a few shards of parmesan cheese. Drink: McLaren Vale Shiraz.


Melbourne Girl said...

YUM!! Home made stock is the best because no matter what the packets say, they have to have some sort of preservative in them to keep in the cupboard for goodness knows how long...and not sure if it's me or not, but I always have weird dreams whenever I use a prepared stock/casserole base...whatever

This one sounds delicious KH. Thanks

kitchen hand said...

I find the taste of the vegetarian brand of stock too sweet and the others are just too salty.