First, of course, there was the bread. Bread soak
ed - suppa! (That's latin
, y'know, for soaked.) So soup
was first the bread
that you sop
ped up your meal with. Later it came to mean your wet supper
. This brings it full circle.
So, Megan was doing some work for a food stylist, who needed stuffing for a photo shoot for a Thanksgiving cookbook. So everything needed to be done just so. This included buying beautiful crusty loves of bread and stripping them of their dignity, by that i mean their beautiful crusts, which is both time consuming and wasteful. (The stuffing recipe also turned out to be that, too. I don't want this cookbook. What good is gourmet?) This left our kitchen table covered with peels and chips of thick crust, and i left to go to bed at about 3. Megan was up until 4:30 with the recipe. The crusts remained on the table, another element in the trashed kitchen.
I have a basic aversion to throwing out food. And i felt like it would be another blow to those poor loaves that sacrificed themselves for the shoot - to just throw out their skins. The next day, the crusts were extremely hard and brittle. The only way to eat them would be if they were well and truly sopped. A job for the trusty magic pot.
2 yellow onions
1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped in big pieces. Maybe you want more. I was short on prep time.
celery - chopped. Y'know when all of the big outside stalks have been used and the color of the remaining ones is paler and yellower, like new skin would be if we were green? Chop up the whole bunch at this point.
bread crusts or not crusts, just chunks. You could probably use any ol' kinda stale bread. Ours was sourdough, so it was inherently superior!
water or broth. We didn't have any broth, so i depended on the onions.
salt / pepper (coarse, of course!) / oregano / thyme (fresh, if you've got it) / bay leaf
Ok, the main ingredient is cooking time, so don't worry about cutting the onions and garlic really big. They're pretty much going to disintegrate, and will definitely mellow out. I put these in the pot with thyme and a little bit of olive oil
to cook up, and when they got a little more translucent
i added the celery. Not long after that, the balance of the ingredients was added (except for the celery leaves, which will turn brown if you cook 'em for a long time). Then the pot was put over low heat and left cooking while we went out for Elissa
's last night in town. You want to make sure you have enough water because the bread will expand.
When you get home, stir it up, add more pepper and the celery greens (and water or stock if you need it). The whole thing, if it's cooked long enough, will be soft and kinda creamy. Soup. Sopa. Zuppa. Entirely vegan, too. And as mild as you want, unless you're like me or the dutchess and like lots of pepper in your soup.