My family and I start every soup with a stone. We routinely host stone soup parties, where we provide the pot, water and stone while our guests each bring an ingredient. At worst, the soup is interesting; it is usually delicious. And whoever ends up with the stone in their bowl gets to make a wish.
While most of my soups vary considerably based on what I have in the larder, I have a basic recipe that is pretty much no-fail. This is a great recipe to cook with kids so they can experiment with their palate, tryng new ingredients in new combinations. They can also pretend to be different villagers as they add each ingredient to the soup.
(all amounts are approximate, of course)
- 1 soup stone (see below for some thoughts about selecting your soup stone)
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 stalks chopped celery
- 2 chopped carrots
- 2 mashed cloves of garlic
From this point on you get to play and I’d recommend you do so, this soup will be much better with more stuff in it. I always add more stuff. Make sure you have enough liquid that it remains soup and not stew.
You could add:
- chopped cabbage, kale, or other greens (cabbage adds a tremendous amount of flavor to soup)
- sliced chicken, beef, pork, tofu, leftover grilled meats, etc.
- chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
- peppers, mild or hot
- turnips, celery root, or other root vegetables
- rice, barley (which takes a long time to cook), pasta, corn, or other starches. If you plan to add a starch make more broth initially
- different spices. Be daring, sniff them and imagine what it will taste like
- on and on. Use your imagination. Pretend you are a village collaborating to make soup.
- make sure it’s a hard stone that won’t dissolve with use
- it should be large enough that it can’t be swallowed
- it should be fairly smooth so it’s easy to wash (soup does tend to get in the cracks and crevices).
(c) 2008 Laura S. Packer