Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Soupruary 16th: Breakfast Soup
Rise and shine!
I was talking to my friend Michael-from-Ireland this morning:
Michael: Pancakes and soup this evening?
Michael: You don't do pancake Tuesday?
me: What exactly is pancake Tuesday?
Michael: It is the day before the beginning of Lent. Everyone eats pancakes in anticipation of 6 weeks of fasting.
me: Never heard of Pancake Tuesday!! Guess that's what I get for not being Catholic. Missing out on so many pancakes!
So I did some 5-second internet research and decided that this UK/Ireland/Canada/Australia tradition is one that should be adopted. I mean--pancakes, people! Pancakes! I know Shiv would be in favor of this for sure--too bad he ain't here!
There's one other thing I know: I've never had good luck with making pancakes from scratch. In fact I've only tried twice, and both times have been like BLECH SOMEBODY BUY ME SOME BISQUICK. Sad but true: I have not been sprinkled with powdered-sugar dust by the pancake fairy (let's call her Queen Syropa Jemima--pretty, right?).
Then Michael informed me that Pancake Tuesday does not involve our pedestrian, fat, fluffy pancakes--Instead it is traditional to eat the more sophisticated crepe. Well, double-sign me up! Not only are crepes DELECTABLE, but this is an even better excuse to not make the pancakes myself, as I can see It's Just Crepes from my apartment window. And, ya know? Sometimes I want to make soup and not worry about the rest. Besides, as Jeff and Julie are always ready to remind me, "It's just crepes, geeeeez."
So, thank you, Michael: All this inspired me to prepare the ever-popular breakfast-for-dinner, this time in soup form. In appreciation of you taking time out from being Very Busy and Important just to enlighten me, here's a rehashed cheek kiss from six years ago:
Breakfast soup may sound odd, but it's not unprecedented--I found two bacon and egg soup recipes on the Internet. However, since I happen to think veggie sausage (yum!) is much preferable to facon (ooo, bacon-printed cardboard, just what I wanted!), I decided to do my own thang. I was tempted to do another poached egg on top instead of egg-drop style, but that's a slippery slope. If I let myself do that today, there's no stopping me from putting poached eggs on top of everything through February 28th. Self-control!
Basically, what follows is my idea of a delicious omelette and hashbrown breakfast...soup. It genuinely tasted like morning, and not just because I ate it out of my favorite breakfast bowl (snagged at a sidewalk sale in Paris):
I think a big part of the experience was trusting myself to go off completely on my own, believing it would taste how I wanted it to, and then succeeding. If you don't try this Breakfast Soup, do yourself a favor and make up your own!
1 or 2 tablespoons of butter (1 if your pot will let you get away with it; 2 if it starts getting too dried out)
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup diced mushrooms
4 vegetarian breakfast sausage patties, chopped into bite-sized chunks--or real sausage I suppose, in which case you should probably axe the butter and just throw the sausage in first, using what comes out of the sausage as your fat.
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups shredded potatoes
4 eggs, beaten well
a bit of fresh torn basil
a bit of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to serve
Sriracha sauce to taste, if desired
Melt butter over medium-low heat in your soup pot, then add shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, and some freshly ground pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
Increase heat to medium, then add mushrooms and veggie sausage. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have a good color and texture--about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add vegetable broth and shredded potatoes and bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
Keeping a steady simmer and keeping the soup continuously swirling with a spoon, pour your beaten eggs into the soup in a slow, steady stream. The egg should cook up almost instantly into long rags and smaller bits of scramble--it tastes the same either way, the rags just look prettier.
Add the basil and give it a stir. Serve topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano and as much Sriracha as you'd like, or just serve it plain: