Freedom Soup

12/29

Happy National Pepper Pot day!!!

Some food shit happened between thanksgiving and now, but I’ve decided to say “fuck it” and just start again. Too much time has elapsed, too much wine has been drank, and my brain can’t handle thinking back that far. 

Anyway…

Today is Pepper Pot day. When I looked this up I can across several options: Jamaican, Guyanese, Creole, Philadelphia-style…

I’m really only familiar with one of those places, so I opted for the ‘merican version.

Apparently this version comes with historical significance also.

According to the (definitely reliable) internet, during the Revolutionary war, the Continental army (that’s the good guys, right?)  was camped at Valley Forge. The winter of 1777-1778, was cold and harsh. Conditions were deplorable. Food was often scarce. (…. this may be true of my house right now….)  George Washington asked his army’s chef to prepare a meal for the army, that would both warm them, and boost their moral. The chef found scraps of tripe (ew), small bits of meat and some peppercorn. He mixed this in with some other ingredients, and created Pepper Pot soup, also known as “Philadelphia Pepper Pot soup”. The hot, and somewhat spicy soup, was well received by the troops. It was called “the soup that won the war”.

So, naturally, after learning all this I’ve taken to shouting “we’d be British without this soup!” Followed by “it won the war!! The soup won the fucking war!!” 

Some wine was consumed during the making of this soup…

I walked up to Whole Foods this afternoon to pick up the few supplies and felt weirdly like a badass. If this soup won THE war, think of what else it could do?!?!!!!!!!! 

Maybe it could get my kids to finally clean up Nickys room! Maybe it could cure cancer!!

Or maybe it would just be a weird soup. Fingers crossed!

The recipe I found called for using tripe as the meat. I’ve never really known what tripe is so I googled it before going to Whole Foods…

Don’t do that.

Tripe is defined as:  the first or second stomach of a cow or other ruminant used as food.

No. No no no. 

No.

I’m not cooking that.

A) I didn’t need a reminder that cows have multiple stomachs and are therefore weird and creepy and 

B) No. I’m not eating, cooking, or serving my family cow stomach. First or second, doesn’t matter, not happening.

I made an executive decision that this would be “modern Pepper Pot soup” made with chicken that I already had in the freezer. Done. I win.

For some reason, the first step of the recipe was to boil the meat for approximately 1 minute. Literally. It said to put the meat in a pot with water, turn the heat on high, wait for it to boil, then turn the heat off and let it cool down. 

What?

Why is that necessary?

I mean, I did it… but  I’m not sure why…


It’s hard to see, but there are two sad chicken breasts submerged in that water…. juuuuust hanging out. 

While the chicken did whatever the hell it was supposed to be doing, I chopped up ALL THE PRODUCE. 


That’s 1/2 an onion, 3 leeks, 2 green peppers, 2 stalks of celery, a whole bunch of parsley plus two Fresno peppers I decided to use and a jalapeño that I threw in for fun.

It’s not dinner unless I throw in some ingredients that weren’t called for…


During this time (and after some more wine) I decided that I should use alllllll the produce scraps to make “vegetable stock”… even though I’ve never made vegetable stock and I’m pretty sure it’s not made with green pepper tops and jalapeño pepper stems…


But I kept adding those scraps anyway…

After 20 minutes of boiling, I had 3 cups of yellowish colored water (once I removed the scraps) and I deemed it “vegetable stock-like substance!”

While the boiling was happening, I took a good long look at the amount of parsley I had chopped up…


That’s s lot of fucking parsley.

The recipe called for “1 bunch of parsley”… so I chopped up the 1 bunch of parsley that I bought….

Then decided it was waaaay too much parsley and bagged up 1/2 of it for smoothies.

Executive decisions and what not. 

After making “stock”, chopping things willy-nilly and disregarding the ingredient list, it was time to sauté some bacon pieces. 

I’m not convinced George Washington’s army had bacon lying around but…. everything tastes better with bacon.

The recipe said to cook the bacon until it “turned clear”.

……..

I’ve never seen bacon turn clear. I don’t think that’s a thing. Bacon is bacon colored.


After poking it around in the pan, I declared the bacon “clear-ish” but mostly “beige” and decided I was ready for the next step: adding ALL THE PRODUCE!!!


Look how pretty and colorful that is!!! I was so pumped for this soup at this point!

The recipe said to sauté the vegetables until they were tender (in just the bacon fat) but I was afraid of them burning… so I added a splash of water.


Then I added some white wine because I love wine and I do what I want!


I’m relatively certain no chef has ever said “the wine ruined it!”, so I felt pretty confident about it.

Plus, I had been drinking the wine and was therefore pretending I was Julia Child…

At this point, the recipe suggested that, after adding the chicken, stock and some seasoning, I simmer the soup for 1 1/2 hours.


This would have been a good time to catch up on dishes, maybe fold laundry… take out the garbage…

Instead, I aggressively told my children (not yelling, aggressively talking at) to “just clean the room, just put the toys away. I can hear when you are not cleaning… I hear everything…” for 2 hours. Happy winter break.

Toward the end of the simmering time, I started to cut up the carrots and potatoes that needed to be added.

Because I’m not quite sure how to cut carrots…. this happened…


I can dice any other vegetable, but the damn carrots get me every time.

I managed to finish cutting them up, added the potato, 7 drops of blood and a sliver of finger skin to the pot and let it heat back up to a boil.


While it smelled mostly like cloves, it looked s little like diarrhea. Just a chunky, brownish greenish soup. Shit stew. I was beginning to doubt the magic power of this soup….

30 minutes later, I declared it finished. With some sliced baguette, it didn’t look quite so bad…


I was just wine drunk enough at this point to start shouting “THE FREEDOM SOUP IS READY!!!! FREEDOM!!!!”

Much to Ryan’s delight.

He had this to say about the whole experience:

“I wish you would just make some ramen. Just some regular fucking ramen with those bones in the fucking freezer. I mean, this is pretty okay, the breads good, but you could’ve just made some fucking ramen. I just want ramen.”

Ramen didn’t win the fucking war dear. George Washington didn’t want your damn ramen. Eat the damn Hershey-squirt soup. 

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