Magic Stone Soup

I just made this gorgeous soup out of nothing. Or everything, rather. Maybe it should be called Kitchen Sink Soup – I used everything I could find in the kitchen. But with such a puny list of ingredients, I find myself circling back to that old folk story about stone soup.

One of my best friends from high school called me her “stone soup friend” because she said I always knew how to make something out of nothing. Tonight’s motivation: the weather is frightful (rainy and blustery) and the flu is rampant around here. So I decided to skip the store and see what I could cook up from my next-to-bare cupboards.

I can’t believe the magic: this flu-fighting bowl of goodness is one of the best soups I’ve ever made. Minestrone-like in taste and texture, with plenty of spicy flavor. Perhaps this will inspire you to make something out of nothing.

So here’s what I had staring me in the face: 3 small potatoes, fettuccine, and about half a cup of lentils. Oh, and half a bag of spring mix salad. That’s it. How did I pull it off, you ask?

I looked in my trusty pasta cookbook (with true Italian recipes, including ones with potatoes and pasta); then I compared notes with a couple of recipes online. From what I found, I knew the potatoes and lentils would give my soup richness and substance.

I was still missing a lot of ingredients, though, so I got creative with my substitutions. I used vegetable bouillon cubes to cover for the lack of celery and carrots. I used freeze-dried shallots instead of fresh onion. And an ample squirt of tomato paste and anchovy paste (from tubes I keep on hand in the fridge) to replace the can of tomatoes that I didn’t have.

Thankfully I did have fresh garlic and a knob of ginger. I pressed a couple of cloves and chopped ginger into a saut̩ pan and drizzled with olive oil Рonly to realize my drizzle was down to a drip. Are you kidding me? Out of olive oil, too? No problem, I added some coconut oil instead.

I sautéed the garlic/ginger/shallots in the oil, then added the tomato and anchovy paste. Meanwhile I simmered the lentils and diced potato in vegetable broth (two bouillon cubes and 5 cups water). I set the timer for 30 minutes.

After adding the garlic mixture to the soup pot, I added turmeric, cumin, coriander, herbs de Provence sea salt, black pepper, and a bay leaf. Did I mention I’m well stocked with spices? Whew, good thing!

After the timer went off, I broke half a handful of fettuccine into quarter pieces and threw them in the pot along with some minced spring mix (my substitute for parsley). Cooked another 8 minutes and turned off the heat.

No Parmesan here to top my soup, so I served my bowl with extra spring mix and – wait for it – turkey jerky that I found on the shelf. Man, those bits of jerky really satisfied!

So maybe I did have more than three ingredients after all, but certainly not ones that you’d normally see together on a recipe list. I’m so glad I got to stay home in my toasty apartment and make some Magic Stone Soup!

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