If I’m not traveling, I make a giant pot of soup every Sunday. The ritual is based on my love of versatile, nutritious one-pot meals, and it ensures I have a healthy, satisfying, quick option the following week that I can customize to suit the cravings of my whole family. For my twins I add rice and grated cheese, and for Ben, I poach an egg in its broth and top his bowl with croutons. For me, I eat it as is, unless we have pesto, tapenade or romesco on hand. Then I gild my bowl with a nice big dollop.
The soup’s base is usually chicken and dried white lima beans. The two cook low and slow together until the chicken falls apart and gives everything its got to the broth. The beans do the same, adding the type of velvety body you’d expect from a roux or cream.
Since I make this soup often and don’t want to babysit it, I love using the slow cook feature on my range. This method doesn’t require an extra appliance like a slow cooker that’s going to clutter my countertops. The night before, I put my chicken and aromatics in a pot, fill it with water and tuck it in the oven and let it cook overnight.
To the base I add all kinds of things to make my soup both colorful and nutritious. In this one I’ve added kale, but I call on all kinds of greens, depending on what I have on hand. Cabbage and turnip greens are two of my favorites for their bitter qualities. Sometimes I add tomatoes; they highlight the Parm flavor and make the soup feel really substantial. Here, I use sweet potatoes because I like the sweet balance they bring to the pot, but you could use beets, turnips, rutabagas, and even apples to the same effect. What’s important is the ratio: No single ingredient should overpower the others. If you keep that in mind, you can treat the broth like a foundation for building the perfect super soup for you and your family.
When it comes to slow cooking in the oven, this feature is also great for beef stew, ribs, braised lamb shanks – anything that takes a long time and requires a really low temperature and gentle heat.