Wow. I had predicted an abundance of bread for this week’s Soup and Bread. Little did I know the soup makers of Chicago would rise to meet the challenge.
We had not four, not five, but eight different soups this week.
Let’s start at the beginning:
Daniel Shumski was the first to arrive, bearing long, thin loaves of chewy pain a la ancienne and a few fetching twists of crumbly pane Siciliano. Note helpful tasting notes. He’s sent along the recipes, and some much more attractive photos. Stand by for those.
Turtle meat being scarce around these parts, Chuck Sudo set chunks of sirloin, oxtail, and ground veal to simmer in a vegetable broth: the result? Mock turtle soup, aka “carnivore’s delight.” He’s also already shot me the specs, so that recipe should be up soon as well.
Fearless alderman Scott Waguespack was too busy protesting the bullshit privatization of our parking meters to cook, and wisely outsourced his soup duties to his Iraqi neighbors Najim and Khawla Shuhayib. The ladies brought a pair of tasty traditional dishes: shorpa aadas, a vegetarian lentil soup, and marak bamra, meaty okra and chunks of lamb on the bone in a rich, spicy broth. Our correspondent Mike Sula was in the kitchen and took notes; he’s promised to send the recipes along shortly.
Next up was Hideout sound man Pierce Doerr with a delicate — and vegetarian — onion soup that was gone before it had a chance to pose for a portrait. But Pierce (overachiever that he is) also brought some delicious homemade bread. As you can see. Recipes for both should be forthcoming.
Wild card Joshua Westlund, a loyal Hideout patron who contacted me out of the blue, knocked it out of the park with his contribution: kale, chickpea, and merguez in a rich, smoky, complicated broth built on a base of slow-roasted chiles. Said one dude at the bar, “You could put hot dogs in this and it’d still be delicious.” This recipe is in hot demand, Joshua, so pony up.
Our neighbor Dan Blue has been promising since day one to make a seafood chowder and this week, to everyone’s great delight, he did just that. To make it even more of a neighborhood affair, the folks around the corner at Plitt Fish donated the crab, scallops, and pollock. That’s local eating, Goose Island-style.
Amy Lombardi still hasn’t sent me the recipe for her yummy split pea with ham, which she dished up way back in January. So when she called me Wednesday afternoon to say, “Hey — I’ve got some more ham to get rid of. Can I bring soup again?” I said, “Bring it on.” Now, we just have to wrestle the damn recipe out of her.
Last, but definitely not least, an emissary from Swim Cafe turned up around 6:30 with a steaming pot of ultracreamy potato-leek. Thanks, again, Swim. You guys are so the best.
Thanks to yet another snowstorm (why, oh why, does it always snow on Wednesday?) turnout was slow but steady. We raised $130 for the GCFD, but there was still a fair amount soup (not to mention bread) left over at the end of the evening. What to do? Lacking any Tupperware, I fretted over it a bit, and finally left the crocks going, with instructions to stash the leftovers in he walk-in, en crock, at the end of the night, to be dealt with on Thursday.
This turned out to be a crafty plan on my part, as Thursday morning I got an email from Jessica, the late-night bartender. Subject header: “The jazz people ate all the soup!”
And finally, as if this Soup and Bread couldn’t have gotten any better, the day saw the return of an old friend. Welcome back, penguin. You have been missed.