A promise of Spring, the return to Winter and a hearty soup to keep you going
It was only last week that the days were sunny and bright, with clear skies and a rise in the overall temps that spoke softly in my ear of lady Spring stretching her nimble fingers over us and showering the world - well, the northern hemisphere at least - with her warmth and her brightness and her promise of revival. It was only last week that, during one of my neverending schoolruns, I crossed paths with a swallow, diving high and low in the clear blue sky, giddy as only swallows seem to be able to get, a clear announcement of the blissful days to come.
I found myself craving asparagus, and tomato quiches, and a hint of salads as well. I found myself craving creamy desserts, fresh fruits, long walks. I found myself wishing away all the wooly turtlenecks and the overcoats, my eyes straying towards every flimsy eduardian blouse inside my drawers, I found myself longing for dainty shoes and no sight of wellies or boots, nor long chunky socks to go inside them. I found myself just about ready to call in Spring and dress and eat the part.
And then I was reminded, if only for a second, of the ages old adage, as I saw that one particular black and white bird - that actually scares the shit out of me!! - I was reminded as I watched it cavorting giddily across the skies above me, 'one swallow does not the Spring maketh' and I reigned myself in. Sure, there were days when it was quite warm by lunch hour, but the wind was still coming in brisk and chill in the early mornings and in the afternoons, and a walk through my neighbourhood still showed me trees bare of leaves in their limbs.
And just like that, as I was trying to curb my enthusiasm about the advent of Spring, old man Weather decided to give me a run for my money, by sending down heavy rains and cold, inclement weather, just to show me that we are still smack in the middle of Winter and Spring is about a month away. All of a sudden I wasn't craving light and fresh foods anymore, I wanted only cup after cup of strong, warm tea, and countless bowls of fragrant, piping hot soup. I longed for soup more than anything else. No surprise there, actually, as I do love my soup.
So remember when I cooked this particular pork shoulder and said the stock should be kept as it would serve well as a base for soups? You all know by now how much I detest waste, and I like having homemade stock handy for every time I make soup, or even other dishes like risottos that beg for good, flavourful stocks. We boil down the bones and the bits that would otherwise get discarded, all the carcasses, as we tend to buy the whole of the bird, and even larger pieces of meat that we then divide into what we want to use it for monthly. This said pork shoulder that had spent hours pressure cooking away left behind a fragrant, delicious stock that would have been a shame to discard. It served well for this soup, a heady one, fragrant and full of flavours. But don't just take my word for it, go ahead and try it.
For this soup you will need:
- the remaining stock from cooking the pork shoulder
- water, if there's not enough stock
- five medium potatoes
- three large carrots
- one large onion
- one medium courgette
- one medium turnip
- salt and pepper to taste