If you catch the chef eating something in his kitchen, chances are it will be a soup…
The annual Bartels Harley-Davidson Chili Cook Off isn’t so much a competition to me as a laboratory with chrome and leather. There’s no entry fee, few rules, and I can make whatever the hell chili I want. It’s a smaller event with roughly 15 entries each year. All of these traits make it invaluable for the novice cutting their competitor baby teeth.
White chili is usually a chicken thing. I prefer pork, though, because pork.
Ramps are wild onions with a strong garlic aroma and flavor that are very popular in Appalachia, where festivals are devoted to them. But many people think that they are much too strong and there is even an aphorism that goes: “Ramps are not for ladies or those who court them.” Ramps are not cultivated but are collected in the wild. Sometimes they can be found at farmers’ markets from southern Canada to the Carolinas beginning in April. They were a favorite of forager Euell Gibbons, author of Stalking the Wild Asparagus who loved them to pickle them and use them in soups such as this one.
Sharon Hudgins’ is one of our best contributors. Her travel work is top notch. Earlier this week, we ran her Baltic Bites feature at Fiery Foods & Barbecue Central’s week and this Goulash Soup was blatantly snatched from that story as an example of her work.
Really, fall could just as easily be called “soup season.” All the kids are back at school, spreading cold germs as fast as their noses can run, and sharing the bounty with their parents and teachers. Who, in spite of their heroic defense, succumb eventually. Dave DeWitt’s Fall Into Spicy Soups article is a great primer on soup in general. His Cream of Jalapeno Soup with Chicken, though, is tasty whether you’re sick or not.
I also raised sugar pumpkins from seed, coaxing a dozen good ones from some top soil in the Los Angeles heat. There’s plenty more harvesting to be done, but if the early Halloween candy at my supermarket is any indication, fall is looming just up ahead. That’s why my first experiment with all this bounty is smoked pumpkin chili.