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SOUP’S ON!
By Dennis Linden


Here’s a simple, very basic broth recipe that will take the chill out of any cold November day deliciously. Submitted by Elizabeth Weinstein in Melissa’s Marketing Department, this one-pot brew of a short list of ingredients steeps into an incredibly flavorful stock that can be enjoyed standalone in a mug or as the start of a more complex soup. Elizabeth’s broth’s distinct yet subtle take-away flavor pairs well with an assortment of components from fish to fowl, noodles to root vegetables with very little prep time.

“I this broth for a cold, upset stomach, as a base for noodles, or just to sip and enjoy,” Elizabeth explained. “I wouldn’t say it cures everything that might ail you, but it seems to soothe almost anything. I’ve even been known to let this broth simmer overnight—it’s very forgiving. It matters to me that a recipe is as approachable as possible, so this broth is as easy as putting everything in a pot and coming back to something heartwarming and wonderfully delicious.”

And I must agree! Never have I worked so little at a cutting board and gotten so much flavor in return! While I chose Elizabeth’s more lengthy prep suggestion of roasting the garlic and onions with the chicken for about an hour before adding all to the soup pot, enticed by the promise of a more pronounced flavor (see option “B” in recipe)ce, the ingredient list still took just a few minutes of prep time. The richness of flavors really depends upon the length of simmering time. For me, I was able to endure about four hours before the aromas that had enveloped my kitchen became just too tempting not to ladle up a first taste. Per Elizabeth’s suggestion, that first serving also included some of the strained out chicken as well as pieces of soft onion and garlic – ridiculously delicious!

While Elizabeth’s broth was delightfully tasty that first time around, it got even better with a little age. That is, I chilled it overnight, then skimmed off the small amount of fat that had coagulated at the surface (I used skinless chicken thighs) and this time served it up as a simple cup of broth garnished with a sprinkle of cilantro, a squirt of lemon juice and, most timely, a rainy day. In fact, for the rest of my week, it was my pleasure to use Elizabeth’s brew as the base for several altogether different lunchtime soup dishes; its versatility is limited only by one’s own culinary imagination!



Elizabeth Weinstein has been a member of the Melissa’s family for a little more than four and a half years. Like many talented members of the staff, she wears several hats that all that focus around promoting the company’s many fresh and made-from-fresh product lines in the context of eating healthy, whole foods.

“I do a lot of writing, including copy for our product profiles, signage and all sorts of assorted materials. I spend a lot of time looking at published information about demographics, food or product trends as well as the company’s own internal databases. It’s all about looking for new ways to help further the business by inspiring the consumer to eat more fruits and vegetables. I also work with our great team members on building and strengthening programs that will serve and motivate specific customers and consumer groups.”

Elizabeth says that her passion for promoting eating fresh was undoubtedly inspired as a small child growing up in Hollywood, California very near to the iconic Hollywood Farmer’s Market. She clearly remembers being immediately taken by the range of colors, shapes, sizes and smells that make fresh produce so special.

“If I am lagging in the middle of the workday, I sometimes put on my hairnet and hat to visit one of the large walk-in refrigerated rooms in the warehouse where the wet vegetables are stored. The chill in the air mingled with unique aromas of a roomful of fresh vegetables brings back those childhood memories and gives me an energy boost better than any cup of coffee ever could!”

Outside of the office, Elizabeth has many interests that include cooking, gardening, jewelry-making and spinning, as well as yoga, meditation and regular visits to the gym. She also makes a point of spending as much quality time as possible with valued friends, her fiancé and the couple’s two cats, who Elizabeth admits rules the household with iron-clad paws! Maybe so, but can those cats ladle out this tasty soup? Enjoy!

SOUTHEAST ASIAN SIPPING BROTH


Ingredients

10 Lemon Grass stalks
4 oz. Ginger, chopped into 1” x 2” long, thin slices
2 Whole garlic bulbs, halved along the equator¹
2 Yellow onions, halved¹
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Star anise
1 tsp. salt
2 lbs. chicken parts²

Chef notes:

¹Rinse the garlic and onions thoroughly as the papery skins go right into the soup pot.

²Leftover bones work just fine. For a richer broth, use collagen-heavy parts such as feet, necks and backs with as much skin removed as possible. For a leaner broth, use skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs.

Preparation



Remove the outer couple of layers of lemongrass stalks, cut in half lengthwise, and gently pound with a hammer or mallet to release oils.



Option “A”: Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and cover with 5 quarts of water.



Option “B”: For a richer, more caramelized flavor, first roast the onions, garlic and chicken parts at 350°F until chicken has browned and veggies are toasty (30-60 minutes) before adding them to the soup pot.



Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 3 hours, skimming off any gray foam that emerges throughout the process. Broth will develop a stronger flavor the longer it simmers.



Strain the broth when it has a wonderful aroma and a full-bodied flavor. This broth can be separated into more convenient serving sized containers that can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 4 months.

Serving: Enjoy the warm broth by itself in a mug. Add a sprig of cilantro and some chopped green onion along with squirt of fresh lime if desired. Make it more of a proper soup by tossing in some of those delicious soft onions, garlic and chicken that were strained out. ENJOY!