The Soup Gods
I’m one of those people who plan my daily errand run according to right turns and trip time. Yes, it is rather frightening. While keeping that in mind and the fact that I basically cook for a living, one would assume that prepping and packing up the ingredients for a Minestrone soup to take and make for a friend would be a breeze. Well, we all know what happens we assume. This is a good one!
So, this friend of mine had been sick for quite some time and I got the brilliant idea of making him a little homemade soup. Since I hadn’t seen him in quite some time I thought it would be a hoot to bring the goodies with me and make it in the comfort of his kitchen. Ah, the best laid plans.
Anyhoo, I can make a pretty mean Minestrone with my eyes closed, but I wanted to try something a bit different and found a new recipe online:
Ground Beef: Check
Tomato Puree: Check
Mire Poix: Check
Diced Tomatoes: Check
Garbanzo Beans: Check
Stock, Garlic, Herbs, Spices, Wine: Check, Check, Check, Check and Check
Sounds like we’re off to a great start, right? Wrong. OK, so I cook off the bacon and drain the fat; add the mire poix and sauté. The 1/3 pound bag of ground beef I snagged from my freezer starts to really, really smell like lamb. Yipes! OK, I can deal with this, we’ll just add a few more spices and a teensy bit more wine.
Follow this up with a blind grab from my pantry of tomato paste instead of tomato puree. Um, more wine…more stock. Shit! It’s getting a little too red and a little too thick for my taste, but I forge ahead. I begin to think aloud, “Oh, God, this is going to suck! All I wanted to do was make some really good soup for my friend.”
My friend is all like, “Relax, it’s going to be fine. Here, let me pour you a glass of wine.” So, I add a little more wine (to the pot), turn up the heat, and we retire to the patio…..Chat! Chat! Glug! Glug!
Upon return, this mean ass Minestrone of mine is still quite red AND very bland. Think, think, think. I know, just a touch of red chili flakes. Crossing my fingers I add that, and the final ingredients; garbanzo beans, chopped zucchini and 3 Cups of fresh spinach. A dash of salt and pepper, do a little Tebow, grab a tasting spoon and my friend says, “Mmmm, can I have a bowl right now?” “Sure,” says I, as the corners of my lips slowly curve into a smile. He brings his heaping, steaming bowl of soup onto the patio and I watch in wonder and joy as he devours every last drop and then starts to sweat. When he gets up and heads to the kitchen for a second helping, I hear that his cough is sounding better.
While he digs in we dig back into each other’s lives. We laugh, and talk and then we talk and laugh some more. On my way out the door, he tells me that was the best soup he’s had yet! He’s kidding, right? That was either some serious luck, or the soup Gods were looking over my shoulder. Let’s go with Gods, shall we? While that Minestrone certainly wasn’t a classic, he is most definitely one classy guy. Thanks, Matthew ~ I hope you’re feeling better…I am!!!