Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For the Love of Soup

It began with sausage.

Alayna had instructed me to buy six Italian sausages from the butcher at the Essex Street Market, amongst other things. It was autumn. It was Monday. I had just gotten off work in midtown, from a job I don't much like, and had taken the subway downtown-- home. If I bought the ingredients we didn't already have, Alayna said, she would make the soup.

New York City is a lonely place but markets make you feel good and connected. The butcher called me sweetheart and it hit me like a flower. He slapped six slimy sausages on wax paper and rolled them tightly. The Chinese grocer's credit card machine didn't work. "Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!" she chirped running to the pastry stand, using his machine, laughing.

It cost me less than $15 to buy the ingredients we needed. Vegetables, dry beans, sausage, parsley. And Alayna made a lot of soup.

The goal of this blog is to encourage readers to make soup on Mondays. It is a lovely routine to fall into. The recipes are sized so you will make a large pot of soup for dinner-- sharing with friends and roommates-- while also allowing you to have plenty of leftovers to bring into work for lunch for several days. Most often, you shouldn't have to spend more than twenty dollars for each recipe.

I hope you enjoy your soup. And I hope you share with friends, new and old.

Mary Lorraine
My cubicle; Midtown, NY

Sausage Soup


1 package of mixed dry beans
6 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
A bit of hot pepper, crushed
2 yellow onions
1 red onion
2 or 3 cups of chopped carrots
1 head of broccoli
3 or 4 handfuls of torn spinach
3 sweet Italian sausages
3 spicy Italian sausages
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 or 3 chicken broth cubes

*Add more or less vegetables depending on your taste, if you have veggies sitting in your fridge that you don’t think you’ll ever get around to (like peppers) toss them in.

Boil package of beans for about an hour
Chop 6 cloves of garlic and sautee in olive oil with hot pepper
add some yellow and red onion, also chopped, and sautee
add chopped carrots
add broccoli
add spinach (tear this up into smaller pieces before throwing in)
in a separate dish, cook up some sausage in bite size chunks (3 sweet, 3 spicy is my favorite combo)
once veggies are starting to get soft, add rinsed beans to the mix and a can of diced tomatoes with their juice
add some water so that the beans can soak in more (this should be on medium/low heat)
add two packets of chicken broth (above spice rack)
chop up a big handful of parsley, and a big handful of basil and toss in the pot
when the sausage is cooked, throw that into the pot too, with it's juices
let simmer for another 10-15 or longer to get soft beans, adding water as necessary