Essie’s Soup

It’s awfully dark out there. And although it looks like the usual gloomy morning when a hurricane-is-about-to-strike, somehow this one seems more ominous. Maybe I’ve just listened to too many news and weather reports, but I’ve prepared for Sandy like never before. Water, batteries, ice. Check, check, check. Take in the outdoor furniture. Check.  Everything is closed. Schools, stores. No government services, like garbage pickup. Judging by the lines at the gas stations, the horns honking too often when a light turns green, the empty shelves in the supermarket and number of people using ATMs, it seems as if everyone around here in Connecticut is stressed out. I’ve prepared just-in-case food. Just in case we lose power, which is almost a certainty. During hurricane Irene we were out of power for 4 days.  I fried chicken cutlets and cooked (and sliced) a pot roast so we could have sandwiches. Bought fresh carrots and other vegetables we can eat raw, canned tuna, and milk for cereal. Baked some cookies so we could nibble something sweet. And made soup. One of my favorites, which we call “Essie’s Soup,” because it was concocted years ago by my cousin Essie. When my son-in-law Jesse first tasted some he said “what’s the difference between this and cholent?” And I had never thought about that before, but he nailed it. Essie’s soup is as thick as cholent, loaded with beans and dried peas, plus a few extras like: barley, lentils, wheatberries and stuff. Sometimes I add fresh carrots, onions and celery, but didn’t this time because, to tell you the truth, I forgot. Essie’s soup is very very thick and gets thicker the more it cooks. There’s no particular recipe really, so I’ll give you the broad parameters in a recipe. This is a soup I can rewarm on my portable cooktop (which I use for cooking demonstrations). I did also buy extra butane canisters. But it’s also the kind of thing you can eat at room temperature in case that becomes a necessity. Essie’s Soup 6-8 marrow bones 2 packages Streit’s or Manischewitz packaged vegetable, split pea or lima bean soup 2 cups mixed dried beans 1 cup split peas 1/2 cup barley 1/2 cup wheatberries, farro or spelt 4 carrots, sliced, optional 2-3 stalks celery, sliced, optional 1 large onion, peeled and sliced, optional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Rinse the bones and place them in a large soup pot. Add water to within 3-inches from the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and skim the surface for a few minutes. Add the entire contents of both packages of soup (including the contents inside the seasoning packet). Add the beans, peas, barley, wheatberries, carrots, celery, onion and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for several hours (at least 5), stirring occasionally, until the soup is thick. Cook longer if desired. If soup is too thick, add water and heat through. Makes a lot, depending on how long you cook it, but about 4 quarts

It’s awfully dark out there. And although it looks like the usual gloomy morning when a hurricane-is-about-to-strike, somehow this one seems more ominous. Maybe I’ve just listened to too many news and weather reports, but I’ve prepared for Sandy like never before.

Water, batteries, ice. Check, check, check. Take in the outdoor furniture. Check. 

Everything is closed. Schools, stores. No government services, like garbage pickup.

Judging by the lines at the gas stations, the horns honking too often when a light turns green, the empty shelves in the supermarket and number of people using ATMs, it seems as if everyone around here in Connecticut is stressed out.

I’ve prepared just-in-case food. Just in case we lose power, which is almost a certainty. During hurricane Irene we were out of power for 4 days

I fried chicken cutlets and cooked (and sliced) a pot roast so we could have sandwiches. Bought fresh carrots and other vegetables we can eat raw, canned tuna, and milk for cereal. Baked some cookies so we could nibble something sweet.

And made soup. One of my favorites, which we call “Essie’s Soup,” because it was concocted years ago by my cousin Essie.

When my son-in-law Jesse first tasted some he said “what’s the difference between this and cholent?” And I had never thought about that before, but he nailed it. Essie’s soup is as thick as cholent, loaded with beans and dried peas, plus a few extras like: barley, lentils, wheatberries and stuff. Sometimes I add fresh carrots, onions and celery, but didn’t this time because, to tell you the truth, I forgot.

Essie’s soup is very very thick and gets thicker the more it cooks.

There’s no particular recipe really, so I’ll give you the broad parameters in a recipe.

This is a soup I can rewarm on my portable cooktop (which I use for cooking demonstrations). I did also buy extra butane canisters. But it’s also the kind of thing you can eat at room temperature in case that becomes a necessity.

Essie’s Soup

6-8 marrow bones

2 packages Streit’s or Manischewitz packaged vegetable, split pea or lima bean soup

2 cups mixed dried beans

1 cup split peas

1/2 cup barley

1/2 cup wheatberries, farro or spelt

4 carrots, sliced, optional

2-3 stalks celery, sliced, optional

1 large onion, peeled and sliced, optional

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rinse the bones and place them in a large soup pot. Add water to within 3-inches from the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and skim the surface for a few minutes. Add the entire contents of both packages of soup (including the contents inside the seasoning packet). Add the beans, peas, barley, wheatberries, carrots, celery, onion and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for several hours (at least 5), stirring occasionally, until the soup is thick. Cook longer if desired. If soup is too thick, add water and heat through. Makes a lot, depending on how long you cook it, but about 4 quarts