Image via Sara Snow.
It's happened to me a thousand times or more so I'm sure it's happened to you as well. Dinnertime is looming, you look in the refrigerator, the pantry, the cupboards...and nothing. Not a can of beans or bundle of beets jumps out and says, "Look at me, I can be a tasty meal for dinner."
So now what?
We remember the fairy tale that told the story of two travelers passing through a village. They were weary, dirty, and very hungry. But with only a pot and a stone they had picked up along the way, they hadn't a clue how they'd turn it into dinner. So then how'd they do it?
They built a fire and hung the pot over the flame. They put in the only things they could find - their rock and some water from a nearby well. And they waited.
One by one villagers came out to see what the strangers with the pot where up to, and as they looked they ran back to their homes to grab potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, spices, and more. Gradually, the soup took on shape, it began to smell like dinner, and the villagers, along with the weary travelers, all sat down to a delicious dinner of Stone Soup.
How does that help you and me? We remember, when the cabinets stare back like empty eye sockets, we have faith that dinner can be made...even from nothing. So we pull out a pot, we fill it with water (and a stone, if you'd like), and one by one we throw other ingredients into the pot. Trust me, you'll be surprised.
And, for good measure (or in case you get stuck), here's my recipe for Stone Soup.
Stone - scrubbed and disinfected
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb turkey sausage or ground beef - browned (optional - omit for a vegan soup)
8 cups water (you can also use chicken or vegetable stock if you'd prefer)
1 tablespoon vegetable bullion (particularly if you're using water instead of stock)
2 15 oz cans great white beans OR 4 small potatoes, cubed
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
1 bay leaf
1 big pinch of dried sage
1 big pinch of dried thyme (substitute oregano if you don't have sage or thyme)
A few cranks of pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Additional S&P; to taste
**Throw in anything that looks like it will add to the heartiness and tastiness of the soup.
- Scrub and disinfect your stone.
- Brown meat in olive oil over medium heat.
- Add water (or stock) and bullion and bring to a boil.
- Add potatoes and remaining ingredients.
- Add in any vegetables or other ingredients that you think will add good flavor or bulk to the soup. Rice would be a nice addition if you're not choosing to use potatoes.
- Taste your soup often and add more seasonings (particularly if you're making this from water instead of stock) when needed.