Monday, March 30, 2009

Enrichment

Enrichment: It's what I do when schools call me in as an artist-in-residence. I bring in the spoken word, theatre and we - play. Enrichment is also what I do when I cook for my family. I bring them together to break bread and share their day.

But I do work - and I cannot always be in the kitchen 24/7 concocting delectables for loved ones. And after a Saturday of non-stop cooking for my "Cover Girl Recipe dinner," simple was preferable. It was one of those days when you reach deep into your freezer of odds and ends and discover, "Uh oh. The homemade broth is gone." I have discovered ways to take a can of chicken broth and turn it into something more flavorful, deeper and yes - enriched. Once I have the broth to my liking, I can add whatever my heart desires to it. I like being able to tap into "my heart's desire" from time-to-time.

Quick Stock (Brodo Rapido)
This is from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's The Splendid Table. (Makes six cups)
You need:
1 medium onion
Four 14-1/2 oz can low-salt chicken broth, chilled
1 large celery stalk with leaves - coarsely chopped
1/2 large carrot, coarsely chopped (I use a whole one)
2 medium onions, unpeeled (trimmed) coarsely chopped (I use one)
2 sprigs Italian parsley (I use more)
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Generous pinch of dried basil

Preheat the broiler. Trim the root end of the first onion but do not peel. Cut it into four slices. Arrange on a sheet of aluminum foil and put it under the broiler. Broil fifteen minutes until all is browned (turning once midway). Pour the broth into large stock pot, skimming off the hardened fat. Add the broiled onion and all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, adjust heat to simmer, pud a lid on it and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and strain the stock. Use right away or allow it too cool and refrigerate or freeze. It's not homemade stock but it is pretty good.

And then my favorite part of "enrichment" - you get to play. I added:


- some fresh tortellini (which I boil separately and leave separate for each to add their own - do not like soggy pasta!) Had freshly grated Parmesan ready to go.


Sauteed a few shiitake mushrooms. And had spinach trimmed and ready to be wilted. It's a good transition meal - not as heavy as winter comfort food and certainly not fish on the grill. But the spinach invokes spring, the shiitakes look like awkward adolescent mushrooms - all gangly and fresh. And tortellini knows no seasons. I always keep some in my freezer and it always needs replenishing.

There has been some spring comfort the last few days. The cold and ice has kept the Red River from hitting flood predictions. It lengthens the process - for the water still needs to flow and the snow and ice will melt. But it granted the upper Midwest a reprieve. More time to shore up their homes. More time for the river to move past the towns.

Spring comfort comes in all sorts of ways: the chattering robins, seedlings with promise and a soup - hearty enough for an icy spring but light and easy enough to throw off the mantle of winter cooking.


I wish I had leftovers.

26 comments:

5 Star Foodie said...

Great idea for the stock - quick and it makes it really flavorful! Fresh tortellini sound so delicious!

Sara said...

This looks like a great soup! I love adding tortellini to soup, it makes it more special without a lot of effort required.

Reeni♥ said...

I like how you improved canned broth to resemble a more home made stock. The finished soup looks delicious!

unconfidentialcook said...

This looks positively wonderful--so healthy, so comforting! Thanks for the stock recipe, and everything else!

Jen Schall @ MyKitchenAddiction.com said...

Looks delicious! I love tortellini dishes of all kinds - soup sounds wonderful!

Heather said...

homemade stocks are the best! and i absolutely adore tortellini en brodo. mmmm.

Donna-FFW said...

What a brilliant way to make a quick stock, I love that its not so tme consuming!! Fantastic! I alsoenjoy tortellini in soup!

Pam said...

A wonderful and healthy soup. Looks great!

Claudia said...

Thanks - one may prefer "from scratch" but there are times when shortcuts are a wonder!

Christina Kim said...

Claudia, thank you so much for visiting and commenting! I am still very new to blogging so I get so excited to find new food blogs to read! I look forward to reading your postings in my google reader.

Selba said...

Good soup! :)

Cakelaw said...

What a terrific sounding meal - hearty and delicious.

Culinary Wannabe said...

I wish I could keep pints of homemade stock in my freezer, but there just simply isn't room! What a great solution!

Ragne said...

This soup really is something. Last days I have found so many great recipes and this is certainly mother of all :)

Michelle @ Find Your Balance Health said...

looks lovely. you're right, it's too cold to abandon winter cooking entirely and this is something right in between!

Bellini Valli said...

I wish you had some leftovers to to send my way:D

Netts Nook said...

Thanks for visiting my blog this looks like a slice of heaven. Great job.

Claudia said...

As I watch the snow outside, I'm drawn back to the recipe. But - twice in one week?

Pearl said...

thank you for visiting my blog! that soup looks so yummy - i love spinach and shitake mushrooms anytime :). may i add you to my blogroll? i'd love to see more recipes! :D

Katherine Aucoin said...

You are so clever with the broth to stock! Your soup looks fantastic and I bet it tastes amazing!

jesse said...

Beautiful dish! How comforting... perfect for the cold, dreary weather.

Vrinda said...

thanks for visiting my blog Claudia...lots to explore in your blog..great soup

Elyse said...

What a great way to jazz up some stock!! I love your addition of such classic and homemade flavors. I'm totally going to steal this recipe and then call it "from scratch." No one will know!

Natashya said...

Oh that looks so good! I love tortellinis and spinach.. and mushrooms.. and Parmesan..

Happy cook said...

I too wish you had leftovers so then i can have them, looks yummy.

Claudia said...

Pearl: I would of course be honored. You are such a lovely, evocative writer. I am having a wonderful time going through blogs, cooking and will also be adding blogs to my blogroll. And I do cook from the blogs!