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