Ike's Homestyle Vegetable SoupPresident
Eisenhower grilling at the White House
The best time to make vegetable soup is a day
or so after you have fried chicken and out of which you have
saved the necks, ribs, backs, uncooked. (The chicken is Not
essential, but does add something.)
Procure from the meat market a good beef soup
bone, the bigger the better. It is rather a good idea to
have it split down the middle so that all the marrow is exposed.
I frequently buy, in addition, a couple of pounds of ordinary
soup meat, either beef or mutton, or combination of both.
Put all this meat, early in the morning, in
a big kettle. The best kind of is heavy aluminum, but a good
iron pot will do almost as well. Put in all the bony parts
of the chicken you have saved. Cover with water, something
on the order of five quarts. Add a teaspoon of salt, a bit
of black pepper and, if you like, a touch of garlic (one
small piece). If you don't like garlic, put in an onion.
Boil all this slowly all day long. Keep on boiling until
the meat has literally dropped off the bone. If your stock
boils down during the day, add enough water from time to
time to keep the meat covered. When the whole thing has practically
disintegrated, pour out into another large kettle through
a collander. Make sure that the marrow is out of the bones.
I advise you to let this drain through the collander for
quite a while as much juice will drain out of the meat. Shake
the collander well to help get out all of the juice.
I usually save a few of the better pieces of
meat to be diced and put into the soup after it is done.
Put the kettle containing the stock you now have in a very
cool place, outdoors in the wintertime or in the icebox;
let it stand all night and the next day until you are ready
to make your soup.
You will find that a hard layer of fat has
formed on the top of the stock which can usually be lifted
off since the whole kettle full of stock has jelled. Some
people like a little bit of fat left on, and I know a few
who like their soup very rich and do not remove more than
about half of the fat.
Put the stock back into your kettle and you
are now ready to make your soup.
In a separate pan, boil slowly about a third
of the teacupful of barley. This should be cooked separately
since it has a habit, in a soup kettle, of settling to the
bottom and if your fire should happen to get too hot it is
likely to burn. If you cannot get barley use rice, but it
is a poor substitute.
One of the secrets of making good vegetable
soup is not to cook any of the vegetables too long. However,
it is impossible to give you an exact measure of the vegetables
you should put in because some people like their vegetable
soup almost as thick as stew, others like it much thinner.
Moreover, sometimes you can't get exactly the vegetables
you want; other times you have to substitute. When you use
canned vegetables, put them in only a few minutes before
taking the soup off the fire. If you use fresh ones, naturally
they must be fully cooked in the soup.
The things I like to put into my soup are about
1 quart of canned tomatoes
1/2 teacupful of fresh peas
If you can't get peas, a handful of good green beans cut
up very small can substitute.
2 normal sized potatoes, diced into cubes of about half-inch
2 or 3 branches of good celery
1 good sized onion (sliced)
3 nice sized carrots diced about the same as the potato
1/2 cup of canned corn
a handful of raw cabbage cut up in small pieces
Your vegetables should not all be dumped in
at once. The potatos, for example, will cook more quickly
than the carrots. Your effort must be to have them all nicely
cooked but not mushy, at about the same time.
The fire must not be too hot, but the soup
should keep bubbling.
When you figure the soup is about done, put
in your barley, which should now be fully cooked, add a tablespoonful
of Kitchen Bouquet and taste for flavoring, particularly
salt and pepper and, if you have it, use some onion salt,
garlic salt, and celery salt. (If you cannot get Kitchen
Bouquet, use one teaspoonful of Worcestershire Sauce.)
Cut up the few bits of the meat you have saved
and put about a small handful into the soup.
While you are cooking the soup, do not allow
the liquid to boil down too much. Add a bit of water from
time to time. If your stock was good and thick when you started,
you can add more water than if it was thin when you started.
As a final touch, in the springtime when nasturtiums
are green and tender, you can take a few nasturtium stems,
cut them up in small pieces, boil them separately as you
did the barley, and add them to your soup. (About one tablespoon