Souped Up

Question: what kind of crazy people would sleep outside, in a tent, in Seattle, in October?  If you’re familiar with Seattle politics you might answer, “the homeless people who set up camp in front of Mayor Greg Nickels’ house.”  And that would be true, but the real answer is, my husband and my daughter.  (They’re in our backyard, though, not at the mayor’s house.) 

For reasons I cannot understand, even though she is my own child, Little Bit just loves sleeping in the tent.  She puts on warm jammies and carries her pillow and her sleeping bag and her big stuffed bunny outside.  Her dad goes out too, and he reads to her, sometimes for hours, before they snuff out the candle lantern and go to sleep.  The Hobbit is the story currently in play. 

Tigger and I, we prefer the house and our own beds.  The cat would rather sleep indoors too, but she’s not allowed to do so when TGeek is not around to supervise her evil self.  So she goes to the tent, too.

If you ask me, the best thing about autumn is the soup.  I made this one last night.  It’s so good you will forget what you liked about that sunshine stuff anyway.

October Soup
21/2 quarts chicken stock
3 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
11/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 large onions, diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 fresh tomato, chopped
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked, diced chicken

1. In a large soup pot, combine the stock and the wine.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Whisk in the tomato paste and the worcestershire sauce.  Add the basil.  Drop in the potatoes.  Simmer for 10 minutes, covered.  Uncover and add the butternut squash.

2. Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a skillet and saute the onion for 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the pepper and cook for another minute.  Add the tomato and cook for another 3 minutes.  Scrape the vegetable mixture into the soup.  Deglaze the pan and add that too.  Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

2.5  If you don’t have any cooked chicken lying around, cook two or three skinless, boneless chicken breast halves in the same pan you used for the onions.  Then dice it up.

3. Add the green beans.  Add the salt and pepper.  Add the chicken.  Cook until all the vegetables are tender, but not mushy. 

4. Eat.

Note that this makes a LOT of soup.  Bring friends.


12 thoughts on “Souped Up

  1. An interesting co-incidence: my gypsy princess made chicken soup very close to this recipe last shabbat, and it turned out a tad tasteless. She explained that the wine, which she usually doesn’t use, ‘ate’ the spices. Being a culinary illiterate plus tactful to a fault and somewhat in awe these past 40 years of her beauty and cooking prowess, I chose to agree. What say?Oh, and I know, of course, why the tent. I myself am out on the 70 degree Israeli  frozen tundra, ha. every night.  Sleeping with at least seven cats and kittens who consider it a year-round mitzvah but whatever. Hag sameach to you and yours (I wish there were a less witch-like spelling of the hebrew.)

  2. Sleeping outside in the cold is just something Little Bit has to get out of her system, I suppose.  The soup sounds delish, but I’m not much for kitchen time and Barbara’s chicken soup recipe that I follow is about all I can handle.  Simple=good, for me.

  3. I KNEW I should have bought those green beans at the market.  I have everything else.  Thanks for the recipe; it looks really good.  I think it’s great that you guys encourage the adventure out back.

  4. Mmmmmm…soup.  I want to try making soup with diced sweet potatoes.  I wonder if that would work?  I love sweet potatoes in the fall.  I can’t imagine any circumstance that would induce me to sleep in a tent in the backyard, although it is still high 80s/low 90s in these parts.

  5. There is some weird thing about not staying in the sukkah when it rains, but we like it when it rains. Rain falling on the tent makes it that much more cozy to be comfy and dry inside.

  6. Hello DearI saw your nice profile,at ( and something motivated me to communicate with you’i found you worthy of acceptance and godly;My Dear in your usual time may it pleases you to write me back in email address( that i can send you my pictures and also tell you more about myself.A friendship is the foundation build on other relative things to come.May God bless you as i wait impatiently to hear from you. Your lonely friend,Linda.

  7. Your October soup sounds wonderful.   My soup specialty is opening up a can of anything labled soup….no muss…no fuss but probably not as good as yours.   Listening to the rain is wonderful…just something about it.

  8. With my husband no squash could go in the soup. With me the peppers wouldn’t like me.   Sounds good.As for tenting in the cold, no thanks. Right now it would be wet and humid here.

  9. Soup copied and pasted into word document.  Although the white wine is a little baffling (I SO don’t drink wine, I prefer wine COOLERS  because I am bourgeoisie like that), it looks like a yummy yum soup.We are reading the Hobbit to Eowyn right now. She’s a little young but insists on reading “The Monster Book”.  And she’s named her sword: Golf Club. Tents can be fun, you stick in the mud!  Especially when you can come back inside to the warmth and comfort at the slightest sign of inclement weather.  Oh, well, I guess it’s okay as long as you stay inside and make soup for us. (-:

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