I know I still have to do part two of the Outstanding in the Field dinner. However, the weather started to turn a little wet and chilly today and my thoughts turned to our family favorite meal: Gypsy Soup. Moosewood Cookbook, page 5 (which my kids know by heart).
I laughed one day a couple of years ago when my then high-school age daughter Amanda brought a friend home to cook. Her friend brought a copy of the Moosewood Cookbook with her, that was spattered and tattered in almost the same places our family copy is spattered and tattered. I suspect that everyone who came of age in the late seventies is still carrying around their original 1977, hand-lettered edition.
Back to Gypsy Soup. The original version is vegetarian and calls for green and yellow vegetables that can be swapped around as desired. In our family, we add some meat. It is a warm bowl of love served on a chilly night.
(makes a large pot full — gets better the second or third day)
loosely based on Mollie Katzen’s recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook
1 large spanish-type onion
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
- 4 carrots
- 1 large garnet yam
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 green pepper
- 1 or 2 stalks of celery
- some green beans (I freeze these in quart bags — about one bag)
2 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
2 or 3 hot Italian sausages
1 quart stock (chicken or vegetable as desired)
1 large can diced tomatoes ( I use Muir Glen fire-roasted)
1 large (28 oz.) can or 2 small (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans
1 bay leaf
1 T paprika (I like smoky paprika, but regular will do)
2 t turmeric
2 t salt
1/2 t (or more if you wish) ground chipotle papper
dash of cinnamon
1 T tamari
In the biggest pan you have (I usually use an 8 qt stockpot), put a small amount of water (just a teaspoon or so) and the sausages, whole. Put on the cover and heat over medium heat while you chop vegetables.
I peel and chop the vegetables in the reverse order of when I need them and pile them up into an 8-cup pyrex measuring cup. Green beans, green pepper, yam, squash (seeded), carrot, celery, onion, garlic. Set aside. Cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces and set aside.
Your sausage should be steamed by this point and starting to sizzle. Remove the cover and stir around a bit. Poke the sausages with a fork or the tip of a knife so that they release their juices into the pan. When they appear nearly cooked, remove the pan from the heat and take out the sausages. Dice them — you want the flavor of the sausage but not big pieces in the soup.
Put the pan back onto medium heat. Add the sausages back to the pan with the garlic, onion, celery and chicken pieces. Saute for a few minutes, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon or other implement to get the sausage bits mixed in. You may need to add a little olive oil, but there is probably enough sausage juice to carry the day. When the chicken is colored, add the carrot, squash and yam. If some of the vegetables do not stay in their layers and escape to the pot early, do not worry about it. This is a very mellow cooking process. Stir together and saute for about 10 more minutes. Add the seasonings (except the tamari) and stir together. Add the stock. If necessary, add water (or more stock) until everything is covered. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Finally, add the green pepper, green beans, garbanzo beans and tomatoes (there is no need to drain either of these).
Simmer, uncovered, until it seems done — I like to leave it for an hour or so to let the flavors meld.
Interestingly enough, the Moosewood recipe never tells you when to add the tamari. I have never added it (mostly because I always forget), but included it here in case you think it needs a little more salty oomph. Serve with bread hearty enough to dunk in the broth, and a salad. Rustic pottery bowls will make you feel like you are back in the 70’s.
This is the most wonderful soup to bring to a sick friend.