Growing up, I learnt from Dad that a good soup never has a recipe, only a story describing its roots and evolution. At home, soup is usually born from a Sunday roast, and evolves through the week depending on the meals that grace the table.
Here in Holland, my soups are usually a little more predictable. They are usually born from a trip to the market on Saturday where I sometimes buy a chicken for a treat. Indeed, a whole chicken is not such a simple thing to find in a Dutch supermarket and I now consider it a luxury item! After it’s been roasted and nibbled at, the chicken finds its way to the pan where it becomes my stock.
Unlike Dad’s changing array of ingredients, my soup tends to contain the following ingredients – shiitake mushrooms (with the occasional chanterelle for variety), onion, ginger, the remaining chicken, pearl barley and a little chili to give it that element of surprise. When my cupboards are well stocked then a few more exotic ingredients might be added – kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass both give a nice oriental slant.