Saturday, March 1, 2008

Stone Soup



We've all been there. You're hungry. You look at your supplies. You realize that you're about to be tested. Anyone can whip up a passable dish from a well stocked larder, but it takes vision to wring blood from a stone. On this occasion, I decided to wring fat from a bone.

It started with a pot of water and a River Rock Farm marrow bone frozen since it's purchase at the Davis Square Farmer's Market in Fall. As I've tried to stay local deeper and deeper into the winter, these bombs of fat and flavor have really helped me stretch things out. If you have a bone and some water, you've almost got a meal.

Then came a cubed butternut squash (also local, also put up since the growing season), three cubed potatoes (local to New England and remainders from a latke feast), a few bay leaves, and a cayenne you may remember me drying back in November. Once the vegetables were tender and the marrow had escaped, I added a can of pintos. It was now earthy and rich, but it lacked that snap that I and Ferguson Henderson agree every dish needs. A couple teaspoons of white vinegar and a can of crushed tomatoes took it there.

None of the ingredients had appealed to me on their own, but together they dazzled. Mostly local, mostly native, and made entirely from food I had on hand, this was the best soup of my life.

Water, bone, vegetable. It's a dish that's had little reason to change since we first made fire.

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