This has been an unusually dreary Colorado winter, and I am really missing the typical sunny days. This is the first winter here that I have experienced some seasonal affective disorder (it happened every winter when I lived in the U.P.), so I am looking forward to longer days and more sunshine. Today I had no desire to cook, so after consulting with the Facebook brain trust I decided to make one of my favorite, simple soups. I currently have a freezer full of homemade stock and for this I used shellfish stock–but chicken or mushroom or any relatively light-tasting stock will work. It isn’t a beautiful dish but it is luscious and tangy and earthy and perfect when you just need a bowl of creamy soup.
Since the salt content of stocks varies so widely, I did not specify an amount to add–just go by taste, and add it in after the lemon mixture has been added. Because I am a lemon fiend I have also given a range on the juice amounts. If you prefer less tang, go with the lesser amount. This takes minutes to prepare and when I make it I tend to eat it exclusively until it is gone. It’s one of those humble dishes that is also elegant in its lack of pretense, but you can also doctor it up if you want to add some additional texture–toss in some shrimp, some crisped shallots, some sliced, hard-cooked eggs–whatever you think will make it more substantial.
- 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon crushed and chopped fresh garlic
- 6 cups good-quality shellfish stock (or mushroom or chicken stock)
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired
- In a 4-quart pot, heat the ghee over medium-high heat and saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until just fragrant. Do not let the garlic brown.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of the stock to mix with the eggs. Pour the remaining 5 1/2 cups of stock into the pot with the garlic. Let the mixture come to a simmer.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon juice, arrowroot, white pepper, and half of a cup of reserved stock. Pour the mixture into the simmering stock and stir until it all thickens--this will only take a few minutes.
- Serve the soup hot, sprinkled with fresh cilantro or parsley.
It’s that simple, and you will have to trust me that it tastes so much better than it looks! I said that it serves four, but usually I eat most of it myself.
If you have never made your own seafood stock, that is also easy–I freeze the shells from shrimp or crabs and when I have a good amount I throw them in a stock pot and brown them in a little oil, then cover with water, bring to a low boil, and cook for about 20 minutes. Unlike bone stocks, shellfish stock does not require a long cooking time to extract the flavors. Strain out all of the bits and then freeze it until you are ready to make some soup.
Wishing you sunny days, wherever you are,