Thursday, April 28, 2011

Minestrone? More Like...

Chicken and rice soup. And a tasty one, if simple, but not minestrone. So I went back and tried the minestrone soup from the "Hearty" section of Mark Bittman's soup guide. Things started off promisingly; the smell of the onions sautéing with the celery was very fragrant, and a particular smell I hadn't really come across before. Well, the carrots and garlic were sautéing at the same time, but I think what I was trying to identify was a blending of the onion and celery's scents. Then in went the potatoes, salt and pepper. A moment later in went the tomatoes and water, too. Finally, a while later, I added the green beans. I made sure to add enough salt and pepper at the end. But still, when I tasted the broth it really was missing something--like the other soups from the guide. I thought I had it figured out when I left the lid off to allow for more reduction of the soup and concentration of flavor, but no. Maybe that's just the way things are with vegetable broths if you don't load up on tomatoes and/or mushrooms. There was flavor, but it felt thin. Also, all the minestrone soups I ever had growing up had beans in them (in addition to green beans). Probably other herbs or spices, too. [I mean, I like Bittman's minimalist approach a lot, but in this case something seems lacking.]

And so I added the canned chicken breast...

Instantly--instantly!--the soup was fuller in flavor, with more body and depth of flavor. Alright, instantly plus some stirring and bringing up to heat. I'm actually surprised at how quickly adding the chicken transformed the flavor. I would have thought long boiling needed to render the stock. Well, I don't know, but it worked. Wonders.

I'm going to try the straight up vegetable broth from the guide. I note that the vegetable broth recipe calls for a lot of mushrooms, as well as larger quantities of the vegetables involved in the other recipes in general. Hmm.

1 comment:

  1. Just reading the description made me hungry. I can wait to try it!