Going to pot

Irish penicillin. You knew the Irish were one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, right? True fact. The Tribe of Danny Boy.

Yes, that is a pot of chicken soup in its larval stage.

Herself has crashed and burned on the living-room couch to the stylin’ sounds of KUVO-FM (“Community, Culture, Music”). The Boo is sacked out in his kennel after a long night of behavior I’d rather not revisit while preparing food. And Turkish and Mia are dozing in their respective sunny spots in the master bedroom.

Only I remain awake to tell the tale. And I’d be on the nod too, but someone has to cook and clean and keep the cats out of the damn’ soup.

Tags: , , ,

27 Responses to “Going to pot”

  1. khal spencer Says:


  2. Geoffrey Knobl Says:

    Made some myself this weekend and am still eating it (but by tonight there won’t be any left). You ought to put your recipe in your email. Always interested in new ones.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    That is a big pot. Like it was made for menudo or a, pardon the pun, a shit pot full of chile con carne. I’ll bet Mr. Boo gets a little sumptin from the pot as well.

    Hope Herself is feeling better soon. Why don’t you give her a discount on your nursing fees? Wait, never mind. Now for a beer and the newly delivered edition of Adventure Cycling with your review of a $750 dream machine.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It is a big pot, Pat. You need one that size for a proper soup. I forget how big this rascal is, but you could boil pasta in it. I have an eight-quart that I use for green chile stew and a six-quart that I hardly use at all.

      Four-quart, three-quart, two-quart, one-quart — man, I got me some pots.

  4. Charley Auer Says:

    Patrick, interesting photo, I have never seen chicken soup made with a whole chicken and whole vegetables! I’ll have to think about it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Charley, that’s just the beginning. The chicken (4-5 pounds, plus a few extra drumsticks), an onion, two carrots and a turnip are for making the stock.

      I discard the vegetables, save the chicken, and put the stock in the refrigerator overnight. Tomorrow I’ll skim the fat and add some skinned, chopped chicken, diced turnip, sliced carrots, fresh dill, peas, egg noodles, chopped parsley and a couple tablespoons of honey.

      Yes, I said honey. It’s good.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        If you want to try an interesting taste, substitute rutabagas for the turnip. I grew up on mashed rutabagas, especially for holiday meals. I use them in stews as well. If you want to mash them, cut them in 1/2 cubes, more or less, boil for 30 minutes or until fork tender, then mash the hell out of them. Top with some butter, and Bob’s your uncle!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        There’s an amusing side trip involving rutabaga in an odd book by William Ryan called “Dr. Excitement’s Elixir of Longevity.”

        It’s about a Navy SEAL who, as Tom Waits put it in “Swordfishtrombone,” “came home from the war with a party in his head.” (Tom comes up briefly during a job interview that goes sideways.)

        Anyway, the title character, who is living both under the radar and on the ragged edge in Noo Joisey, makes a pot of rutabaga soup for a party outside his head with a couple of fellow ragged-edgers, one of who speaks thusly:

        “I’ve eaten some weird things before. I married a Greek, you know. But this is strange stuff. I like it.”

  5. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Now I have a second soup going just in case I come down with the plague too.

    This one, from Molly O’Neill and The New York Times, involves sausage and kale, among other things.

    Now we’re good to go. Two soups plus the fixings for any number of other meals. Belt and suspenders.

  6. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    There should ALWAYS be some sort of soup in the house.
    Soon as we move into a place, the wife starts the chicken broth pot going, usually overnight. Here in Siracusa we just finished some ‘Murican-style chicken soup the other day along with a chickpea and spinach zuppa yesterday.
    As soon as I can find some ITALIAN borlotti beans (instead of Canadian) the pasta e fagioli will get going.
    Hope Herself is better soon and that you avoid the plague while nursing her back to 100%.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Soup was the first thing I ever learned to cook for real. It opens all kinds of doors. And I still like it for itself.

      Herself is headed back to work today. I think she’s pushing her luck — she has a jillion hours of sick leave — but she’s one of those oddball employees who actually believes in (a) turning up and (2) working.

  7. canamsteve Says:

    Up in the far NE, rutabagas are just another form of turnip. But then, even big grocery chains don’t carry exoitc things like garlic or limes 🙂

    Unto each his own, but my chicken soup procedure is – buy a big chicken and roast it. If pressed for time, buy a rotisserie one pre-cooked. 2 – eat much of said chicken. If you cooked it, make gravy. Hot chicken sandwiches. Yum

    3 – don’t be too aggressive stripping said chicken. Place remains (the “rack”) in a large pot with spices and bay leaves, etc. only. 4 – Boil and simmer as required to liberate the goodness and remaining chicken. Strain the stock, rinse pot and then add your special selection of veggies or, as I like to call them “things I found in the fridge” plus onions, potatoes and any leftover chicken. Make soup 🙂

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      Garlic? Exotic? Mamma Mia, where do you live? I thought Iowa was bad, but?

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Larry, I don’t know if you get the Adventure Cycling email eDigest. If not, here is their article about Italian micro-brewing.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          Interesting idea I guess? But as the author writes, “Italy has no true indigenous beer styles, Italian brewers borrow heavily from other beer cultures”
          Sorry, but in a country known for some of the best wines in the world I think it’s a crime to waste much of one’s time on beer in Italy. I’ll leave the brews to those who have it in their DNA like the Belgians, etc.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Or the Irish perhaps? Sandy loves good wine, and I like good beer. Sounds Italy is now made for us, but Seattle or Portland is closer.

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            To me going to Italy for the beer is like going to Australia for the sushi. Seattle/Portland? They might have some great beer but they have that awful espresso! A friend of mine makes that Pacific NW-style sour, acidic crap (with a $3K+ machine and Italian beans I supply) and then tells me “That’s what it’s supposed to taste like.” to which I reply, “Says who? You need to come over to where espresso was invented (and perfected) and try it here, then explain to me why that Seattle/Portland s–t tastes so awful!”
            I think the DNA of some things involves the territory and people and can’t be simply exported with the same results.

          • canamsteve Says:

            Portland, Maine (the Other Portland) is pretty good for food, but go 20 miles and you fall off a food supply cliff. You know those Boursin soft cheeses – the ones that cost about $1.50 in France (where there will be ten different types)? $7 in Maine, *if* you can find one. Heroin must be half the price of real parmesan. (May have to retire that example, what with the War on Drugs being so successful…)

            Espresso is a funny thing. I’ve been roasting for 20 years or so. I’ve met lots of commercial coffee roaster and worked with a few. Like any food product, they make what you buy, in general. So *$ has that over-roasted west-coast “burnt” roast that both is what customers expect (and who then mask it with all sorts of added crap) and which also probably masks staleness and/or bean and roast (and barista) defects. Sort of like “That may have been a good sirloin, but at very well done, who could know?”

            Italians produce and prefer a much lighter roast, and of course blend at least four different beans to achieve a reliable taste profile from different sources. And just having good equipment does not guarantee good coffee – many fancy restaurants prove that. Too hot, or too cold portafilters, stale beans, wrong grinder settings, not enough coffee or too long or short extraction are just the most common mistakes.

            I keep saying I’m going to get a business card printed that says “I can help you with your coffee”

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            We are not coffee coniseurs, but we love this coffee. Bought 2 pounds of whole bean Arabica yesterday,and it was roasted on December 23rd. We get it at a local church which sells it to raise money and help the farmers and roasters in Mexico.

            just coffee.org

        • Pat O'Brien Says:


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That’s how I ordinarily do a poultry soup, especially turkey. Chuck a meaty carcass in the pot with onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, water, whatever, and let ‘er simmer.

      After a while of that, strain, refrigerate, skim, add some more whatever, reheat, and serve. Use up ever’ last bit of that bird, the way the Native A’s did the bison.

      Doing it Bob Sloan’s way yields not only a metric shit-ton of chicken noodle soup, which can be shared with the neighbors, but more chicken meat for side projects — enchiladas, quesadillas, chilaquiles, Boo food, breakfast burritos, potato-and-pepper hash, etc.

  8. Libby Says:

    Sorry that Herself and the Boo are down. Quick recoveries I hope. Homemade soup is very cheering!

  9. canamsteve Says:

    Maine – I have had to point out to produce clerks that, no, the garlic should not have long green shoots coming out the top. Limes become progressively scarcer and more expensive as you move away from cities. There might be three whole tins of coconut milk. You can buy thousands of types and flavors of coffee, but even the largest supermarket will not have Illy or equivalent espresso. Lots of things *called* espresso, but no actual espresso.

    Wine? Well, as long as you like something with a truck or a duck on the label, you’re fine. And I actually overheard a discussion at the service desk in one large regional chain (and in a trendy town) over just what whisky (could have been whiskey – can’t tell from the sound) *was* and if Bourbon was whisky or not. Nobody knew…

    My wife torments me by sending me off to buy shallots. Three stores later…

  10. khal spencer Says:

    If anyone wants a good read, go here. Jim Melcher’s “American Perestroika” on John S. Allen’s blog site.

Leave a Reply to Pat O'Brien Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: