[Since I'm on deadline writing books for you to read, I hope you'll forgive me for reposting this blog from 2009.]
As I'm writing this blog, we're preparing for yet another winter storm, complete with snow, sleet AND freezing rain (sigh!), I'm craving comfort foods, warm foods. And soup fits both categories for me.
One of the hazards of writing historicals (at least for me) is my love of research and research books. I found The Original White House Cookbook 1887 Edition a few years ago on a list of clearance books. In it you can learn how to fix a tear in a lady’s silk gown, dye cloth, make Rose Water or Bay Rum, even fade freckles. The recipes are the type that would have been made in homes everywhere at that time, including by settlers out west.
This Winter Vegetable Soup is made with ingredients that would be found in the root cellar of most frontier homes. Turnips, carrots, onions and celery were common vegetables grown in kitchen gardens throughout the west.
The leeks? They may not be as common, but I’ve found evidence they can be grown in Texas - plant them in late summer and they can be harvested fresh in the winter/early spring.
As an aside, the leek is a symbol of Wales. It’s even worn as a cap badge by the Welsh Guards. The vegetable would certainly have been brought over in the 1830s by Welsh immigrants to Texas.
Now for the soup. NOTE: The directions are exactly as they appear in the cookbook.
WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP
Scrape and slice three turnips and three carrots, and peel three onions, and fry all with a little butter until a light yellow; add a bunch of celery and three or four leeks cut in pieces; stir and fry all the ingredients for six minutes; when fried, add one clove of garlic, two stalks of parsley, two cloves, salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg; cover with three quarts of water and simmer for three hours, taking off the scum carefully. Strain and use. Croutons, vermicelli, Italian pastes, or rice may be added.
I hope you enjoy the soup! Stay warm!!!