The recipe said “SERVES 8.” I thought, “Great! 2 servings each tonight. 2 servings each Wednesday night. And I won’t have to cook for awhile.”
I was looking for a recipe that used up the rest of my bag of potatoes and took advantage of cabbage which was on sale without heading down the corned beef road. Thanks to Allrecipes.com’s ingredient search I found my answer: Portuguese Soup. Cabbage and potatoes were major players, which made me happy, and it called for smoked sausage, onions and beans which spoke to Will. Cheap, probably decent if not good, and a big ol’ dose of waste not, want not. I baked bread last weekend, and that would be the perfect accompaniment with some fallish beer.
Cut to later in the evening:
WILL (to bro in law): Betsy made too much soup again. Come on over.
I always make too much soup. WAY too much soup. I just follow the recipe! I mean, I know I could do those “Cook for Two” recipes but then there aren’t leftovers and we eat leftovers for lunch and dinner and then I can cook way less (when I’m not feeling it) or freeze it for a crazy night. Crazy like schedule. Not like I find leftover soup exciting. Oh hell, maybe I do. Shut up.
But this time I made way too much soup. Ridiciulously too much soup. Insanely too much soup. Comically too much soup.
Coming to my own defense, I followed the recipe. To a t. Perhaps I should have paused when I saw it called for an entire HEAD of cabbage and 2 2/3 qt’s water, but I didn’t. I was just so happy I was going to use up all those damn potatoes.
Before I had even finished completing my mise en place, the kitchen had already begun to feel like a scene out of Beetle Bailey (ignoring how phallic that particular link is…). As my grasp of the situation grew, I began to rename the recipe: Portuguese Fiasco Soup. I looked at my hardworking respectable Calphalon Dutch Oven. It was waving a white flag. I had only put in the onions, sausage and liquid and it was shouting mayday. The broth was threatening to edge over the top and I still had my BIGGEST hilarious mixing bowl filled with cabbage, beans and potatoes waiting to take a dip.
Oh shit, I thought, this is a fiasco. Am I going to have to get out the Ridiculous Stock Pot?
I had to get out the Ridiculous Stock Pot. We bought the stock pot for one reason only: to cook a hell of a lot of pasta for our friends when I make Sunday Gravy with ribs and meatballs. That’s it. Even when I make stock I use the Dutch Oven.
I have to say, for such a small country, the Portuguese had certainly overwhelmed my kitchen.
Will took one look at the pot and called his brother for gastro-backup.
But Portuguese Fiasco Soup became Portuguese Fiasco Peace Soup as the night went on. Will mentioned giving some leftovers to some homeless guys who hang out down the street from where he works. I felt peace and gratefulness that I was lucky enough to be overwhelmed by too much nutritious (albeit treacherously high in fiber) food. That’s a rare thing in this world. I felt assured that, come a blizzard, or bad financial times, or an unexpected crowd, I can feed us and whoever shows up. It was a stone soup/ loaves and fishes feeling.
BRO IN LAW: What about this is Portuguese?
ME: I have no idea.
Portuguese Fiasco Peace Soup
SERVES (A hell of a lot more than) 8
- Get a bigger pot than you can even conceive of needing.
- Don’t skip the vinegar. It makes all the difference. (However, I found just splashing a little in individual bowls worked just as well. Try the red wine or white wine kind.)
- If you have someone particularly averse to vinegar, and I do, try splashing in some hot sauce (per individual serving). It helps add a bit of much needed acidity and kick. I feel that lime or lemon juice could also do the trick.
- Goes great with homemade bread. I think cornbread or biscuits would work, too. Even an Irish soda bread would be good. Salad might too much roughage for even the most dedicated fiber connessieur.
- Serve with a darkish beer or ale. I had hard cider. Added to the acidity. It was good.