Stone Soup tale meets the farmers market
A farmer's-market-inspired stone soup.
Mel’s Farmer’s Market Inspired Stone Soup
In lieu of using a chicken in this recipe, try substituting cauliflower, turnips, collard greens and leeks for the poultry. The resulting vegetable dumpling soup will be just as lovely as the chicken variation provided below.
1 whole chicken
12 cups of cold water
The leaves from 1 small bunch of celery
1 yellow onion quartered and pierced with 3 whole cloves
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
½ Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet onions, diced
6 bunches of small carrots peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch coins
The stalks from one small bunch of celery, chopped
Salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and diced
4-6 fingerling potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch coins
2 cups cauliflower florets
3 Swiss chard leaves, stems removed and chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 cup flour
½ cup milk
Place the chicken breast side up in at large stock pot and cover with the water. Add the celery leaves, studded yellow onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns. Bring chicken to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle. Discard the skin and bones from the chicken and shred and reserve the meat. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Cool the broth and refrigerate until fat solidifies. Remove the fat and discard. Recipe can be completed to this point 1 day in advance.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot and add the chopped onion, carrot and celery. Reduce heat and allow the veggies to sweat without coloring for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and add the minced garlic. Stir in the dried herbs and the reserved chicken stock. Bring soup to a boil and add the butternut squash and sliced potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow soup to simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are nearly tender. Add in the cauliflower and allow mixture to simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Mix in the Swiss chard and 1 1/2 cups of the shredded chicken and increase the heat to medium.
Meanwhile combine the egg, flour and milk in a small bowl. Drop dough, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, into the simmering soup and allow the dumplings to cook through for about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Save the date for Stone Soup!
Where: The Oak Park Farmer’s Market, 460 Lake St.
When: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, October 27 (the final market of the season)
Details: Fresh seasonal vegetables from the farmers market vendors will be turned into a community stone soup by chefs from Maya del Sol. Soup samples are free to market patrons while supplies last. Plan to get there early; the soup usually runs out by 10:30am.
Updated: November 8, 2012 9:12AM
In the time honored folk tale, Stone Soup, a weary traveler enters a village looking for food.
He is turned away at house after house and told there is no food available for miles around. Undeterred, the hungry traveler produces a pot and an unremarkable stone and begins to make a batch of stone soup in the center of town.
Curiosity gets the better of the locals and they can’t help but wonder how soup made from nothing more than a rock and a little water could be as delicious as the traveler claims, but he is a grand salesman. He avows that the sublime soup can only be improved by the addition of a few simple ingredients. The townsfolk begin offering carrots, cabbage and bits of beef to enhance the dish and before anyone has figured out the traveler’s ruse, they have concocted enough tasty soup to feed the traveler and the entire village.
Last weekend, I took a metaphorical stone and an open mind to the Oak Park Farmers market. I looked to individual vendors to drive my ingredient list for a seasonal soup. I ended up gathering a small bag of fingerling potatoes from Ellis Farms and found myself clutching a bird from Wettstein Organic Farm. I meandered over to Genesis Growers to procure a bunch of vibrant carrots before snapping up a leafy bunch of tender celery and a brainy looking cauliflower from Geneva Lakes Produce. Seasonal butternut squash, pleasantly bitter Swiss chard and super sweet candy onions caught my eye at the stand run by Iron Creek Farm.
I brought my beautiful bounty home from the market and in keeping with the spirit of the fairy tale, started my soup with nothing more than a pot full of water. Making a herbaceous chicken stock seemed like a logical place to start and adding a combination of carrot, celery and onion didn’t break with tradition.
The ability of a couple of purple carrots to change the color of a soup entirely provided an unexpected surprise. The soup took on a warm amber hue and the addition of the cauliflower and chard helped to bring out a complex earthy flair in an otherwise simple dish. Small Dutch dumplings known as rivlets added a homey finishing touch to my stone soup.
All it takes is a rock and an empty pot for the folk tale to deliver a savory message about cooperation and community and all any home cook needs is a top-notch farmers market and an open mind to create a soup that celebrates harmony and wholesomeness. Try making your own version of stone soup before the growing season comes to end; I guarantee you’ll find your happily ever after!