4.04.2012

WIAW (3) & Stone Soup

Do you remember the book Stone Soup? If you haven't read it, the premise is that a bunch of travelers, who have only a large pot, arrive in a village and ask for food. The villagers state that they do not have any to spare. However, as time goes by, each villager adds their small item (veggies, spices, herbs) to the boiling pot of water with a stone in it, and it eventually becomes soup. In the end, everyone shares the soup.

I think this story is supposed to teach children to share, and that together they will have something wonderful. However, I don't want to dwell on that. What I like is that they just throw whatever any passing stranger happens to have handy right into the pot. One of my favorite things to make is soup, and although once in a blue moon I follow a recipe, generally I just throw whatever I have right into the pot. And Voila, I have stone soup. Sometimes it's vegetarian, sometimes it's not, and sometimes it has rice, or barley or quinoa. It almost always has beans. It is a cheap and easy way to have meals throughout the week. I usually make a big pot on Sunday and eat it for several days.

Today's stone soup recipe is just a guideline. If you have the ingredients, great. If not, you can substitute any bean, rice, pasta or meat you want. The key is the base. I usually do the base the same way and then where it goes from there is a surprise to everyone. (I apologize in advance for the crappy iPhone photos this week)

Stone Soup

Ingredients for base:
1 tbsp (roughly) olive oil (or any oil you like, or butter)
1 yellow onion, diced (Want an easy way to dice an onion? Go HERE)
2 or 3 or infinity number of garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced

Ingredients for soup: 
- 2 cups (dry) mixed beans
- 4 cups (you may need more) water or chicken stock**
- 1 can of corn

Optional: 
- 1 cup cooked or uncooked quinoa/barley/rice/pasta
- 1 large chicken breast, diced or shredded (or more, or a sausage..)
- Any other veggies you have on hand. Watch out for broccoli though; it tends to overpower the others.

A few notes before we start: If you are using beans, I usually soak them overnight, or if you don't have the time or you decide to make this late, you can use hot water and soak for about 2 hours, OR don't soak them at all; you will just have to cook everything a little longer. You can also used canned beans if you prefer. Today I used dried mixed beans, which you can buy pre-packaged. It usually consists of pinto, kidney, black, white, navy, black eyed peas, lentils, and green and yellow split peas). If you are using canned beans, I would use 2-4 cans, depending on how much soup, or how many different types of beans you want.


For the water part, I usually use the bean soaking water and add a little more. You want all the ingredients to be covered with about an inch or two of extra liquid. It will cook down. If you are using canned beans, go ahead and just dump the entire can into the pot, juice and all (if you are using black beans beware, they make the water kind of grey).  You still may need to add more water. **I am currently using Trader Joes Savory Broth Chicken Flavor which comes in a concentrated liquid form. It also comes in veggie. Or you can use a few bullion cubes if you like. The sky's the limit. Most of them are 1 packet to 1 cup of water, so add accordingly. If you use liquid chicken broth, just use that in place of water.

Directions: 

- In a large soup pot, sweat the onion, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, until the onions become translucent. (a quick how to on sweating veggies)

- Add the chicken (I am usually lazy and want to "set it and forget it" so I add everything all at once. You could also add the chicken near the end, once the beans are done).


- Add the beans, corn and stock/water.

- Cook for about 3-5 hours. 

- If you are adding uncooked quinoa or other grains, add them about 30- 45 minutes before the soup is done.

You could also just dump everything in a crock pot in the morning and it would be done by dinner time! So there you have it, stone soup!

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This week's What I Ate Wednesday is the traveling alone version. When I am traveling alone, I tend to eat more healthy than if I am with someone else. Maybe because I don't go out to eat as much? Here is one of my travel meal days from Washington DC! Thanks to Jenn for hosting!

 Breakfast: Single serving cereal, Single serving milk, Banana
Lunch: Chipotle Chicken Bowl 
Dinner: 3x yogurt with strawberries / Peanut Butter Lara Bar
Snacks: 2x Apple

I ate a lot of that yogurt because I bought the big size and then was about to leave, so I decided to just finish it off for dinner (along with a lara bar). And you thought I ate weird stuff... Pshaw.

What weird thing do you eat when you are alone? Do you have a "go to" one pot meal that you throw together all the time?

6 comments:

  1. We always make a 'stone soup' type of soup the last weekend we are all at the cabin. We made it in a HUGE pot and heat it on one of those burners that is used to fry a turkey (not sure if you have seen that before, but it's this propane flame thing?

    I love soup, so I love that meal and there are always lots of leftovers so my mom sends me home with a bunch of soup. Winning! :)

    I eat a lot of pickles. A lot. Like a jar a week. And I drink the pickle juice as I eat the pickles. Yes, this is one of my quirks!

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  2. I love making a huge pot of soup!!! I tend to make the same fancy chicken noodle soup with garbanzo and kidney beans, chicken, garlic, whole wheat pasta, and tomato sauce. It is so yummy however I'm the only one in the house who eats it so I tend to bring a lot to people at school!

    I love to dip chip in ketchup....I don't do it often in fact I think it's been at least 5 years since I have. My sister and I came up with it....my hubby thinks it's weird which is probably why I wait until I'm alone to do it. Also I love yellow mustard....on mostly everything!

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  3. I love that book! Your soup sounds delicious... I can't wait to stock up on veggie packed dishes when my parents leave, we've been doing lots of meat and potatoes this week. :)

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  4. I loved that book and that soup looks amazing. I like making soup on Sunday nights and then having enough leftover that I can take it for lunches the following week. Sometimes I make a few different kinds of soup and then freeze them for quick dinners. The wierd thing I love is avocados. Some people just think I'm strange when I tell them avocados are my favorite food but they really are!

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  5. I can't think of anything I eat when I'm alone. My quick go to meals are salads or a california veggie sandwich.

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  6. I really want an apple with peanut butter now. That's one of my favorite snacks.

    And I love that story Stone Soup. It's a good one.

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Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!