Garbage Soup

Dinner: February 26, 2010

The doldrums drag on. Work has been busy, the weather in New England has been damp and grey, and I’ve been struggling with a nasty bug that kept me home and in bed on Thursday under a pile of blankets and slumbering kitties. I made it to work on Friday, hacking and coughing through the day, and when I came home all I could think about was soup. Small problem: we were fresh out of stock, and I absolutely didn’t have it in me to make more. I could have made that old standby Potage Parmentier, but we were also out of potatoes, so I took a page from my dear Grandma’s playbook and made a version of a little thing we like to call “Garbage Soup.” It’s a clean-out-the-fridge-freezer-and-cupboards kind of soup, endlessly adaptable, and better than it has any right to be.

This batch was built on the last three links of Hill Farm sweet Italian sausage I had in the fridge, crumbled and cooked until deeply browned, then lots of onion, carrot, celery, garlic, a can of San Marzanos with their juice, a parmesan rind, and plenty of thyme and parsley. I added some cooked red beans to the mix, as well as corn, peas, and green beans from the freezer, and several big handfuls of torn kale. With a hunk of bread from Olga’s and some sea salted butter, this soup made for a humble but totally satisfying meal.

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10 thoughts on “Garbage Soup

  1. My mom and my grandma were both amazing at making these kind of soups. Except we always call them “Kitchen Sink Soups” as in everything but the kitchen sink goes in.

  2. Nothing wrong with random-leftovers-soup, it’s one of my favorites. Yesterday’s version was leftover lemon-olive chicken, shredded and dumped in a pot with leftover couscous and a can of chickpeas. Other times it’s odd mixtures of curried meat and roasted vegetables, or cassoulet and a bunch of kale. Easy, delicious and sanity-saving.

  3. Looks delicious. The most frustrating thing about a soup like this, is you can never recreate it, no matter how great it was. They’re sorta like a soupy snowflakes: each one different and beautiful in its own way.

  4. This brings up a question I’ve had about quick pantry soups; I’ve always been wary of using canned tomatoes, because I don’t want it to taste too much like, y’know, canned tomatoes! But this looks amazing – do you recommend using them, or do you have any tips that might help me overcome my fear?

  5. Kelly says:

    This is a perfect example of why I think you’re so wonderful. You already don’t feel good and then go on to make one of the most delicious sounding soups you’ve ever posted. Your blog is one of the most inspiring I read, been a fan for several years. Hope you’re feeling better.

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