Rather than another whine about our slow-to-arrive spring (although I'd have been fully justified to do so), I decided to make the most of it by making soup. I had a whole fridge full of ingredients just begging to be turned into a heavenly soup, so I granted their wish.
When building soup, it's always a plus to start with great broth. This time, mine was a gmish of the goozle left over from this meal, plus some broth made from the bones of a smoked turkey breast that I grilled on one of those precious few warmer days combined with a soupçon of lamb stock simmered from the skeleton of a gorgeous quintet of chops that we devoured last week. (Don't be afraid to mix your bones when making stock - it leads to all kinds of interesting combinations). With all those barnyard denizens taking part in this soup, it was bound to be stellar.
To flesh out a good soup, you also need lots of veggies that lend their flavors, textures and aromas, but it hardly matters which ones you use. I was aiming for an Italian sort of combo, so I started with garlic, five cloves of it, coarsely chopped and sizzled in some olive oil before adding chopped onion, fennel, celery and spring onions (red ones).
Once they had softened, I added the broth, sliced in two pre-cooked spicy Italian sausages and picked the carcass of a little chicken we had earlier in the week to add shreds of that to the pot, as well as some fresh thyme and oregano from the pot on my front steps. Oh, and a can of diced tomatoes.
All that simmered together for the better part of an afternoon. When I was ready to serve, I put a handful of frozen peas into the pot to thaw and lightly cook just in the heat of the broth. I had thought to add some pasta to the soup for extra body but I always regret it when the pasta gets too soft in subsequent servings. Instead I grilled slices of herb slab bread and rubbed them with cut garlic cloves, balancing them on the edge of the soup bowl for dunking.
The view outside the windows was socked in with fog right down to the water and a misting rain was wetting the deck but indoors the soup was warmly brown and filled with a welcome heat, both from the stove and from the spicy sausage. It was a hot ticket for a cold, gray day.