I’m not sure how it chemically comes together, but a saute of celery, onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil can be one of the best tools ever in your cooking toolbox.
Called mirepoix in French and soffritto in Italian (means fried softly), this makes a delicious base for broth and creamy soups alike. Leave the vegetables slightly firm with some crunch for a brothy chicken or vegetable soup. Or cook until soft and puree for the base of chowder or bisque.
Chop a small onion, small carrot and a couple of stalks of celery. Saute gently in two tablespoons of olive oil until somewhat soft but not browned. While sauteeing, add seasonings and herbs to allow them to “bloom” in the oil. This process releases the flavors to infuse your soup.
If you are making a cream soup or bisque, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of flour and slowly stir in about two cups of milk or chicken stock. Or, puree white beans and add to the soup. If making a broth-based soup like chicken noodle, simply add stock.
Then, use your imagination and add other vegetables and greens as desired, cooked beans, mushrooms, cooked grains or pasta, leftover roasted chicken or cooked beef. So many possibilities!
Mama’s chicken noodle soup
½ onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ t. dried basil
½ t. freshly ground pepper
1 cup diced or shredded roasted or rotisserie chicken
½ t. salt
1 cup dumpling style dry noodles (or plain egg noodles)
Saute vegetables in 2 T. olive oil until tender-crisp. Add basil and pepper and allow to bloom for about 30 seconds. Stir in 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Add chicken and salt and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add noodles and simmer about 20 minutes more, until noodles are tender. Be adventurous and add spinach, peas, kale, broccolini or any other vegetables that sound good.