French Onion Soup – Detroit friend, Jill Anderson
Slice 3 to 4 large Spanish onions; cook slowly in ½ cup butter for about 10 minutes
Add one clove of garlic that has been mashed with one teaspoon of salt.
Add five cups of beef or chicken broth, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon ground pepper.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add ½ cup wine (red wine for beef or white wine for chicken); simmer until alcohol evaporates
Place about ¼ cup of grated cheese (Gruyere or Swiss) in oven-proof bowls.
Pour hot soup into each bowl and top with Parmesan cheese and croutons.
Broil until cheese bubbles.
Clam Chowder – Birk’s version29 ounce can chopped clams
Peel potato and cut into ½” cubes; put cubes in bowl of water to soak. Dice onion and garlic and sauté in olive oil (use the pot in which you will make the soup.) Reduce heat and add flour to sautéed onions and garlic; stir vigorously to make a roux-like mixture of flour, onions, garlic, and olive oil. Use enough flour to coat all the onions & garlic. The amount of flour determines how thick the soup will be; use more olive oil & flour for a thicker soup. The roux mixture should cook evenly but never brown.
Add canned clams with their juice, milk, and butter and stir to get an even consistency. Season with fresh ground pepper. Add pinch of basil and/or oregano if desired. Cook until soup thickens and potatoes are done (about 45 min.)
Chicken Soup – Everyone’s ideas, Birk’s words
Background: The primary factor that determines the ultimate goodness of the soup is, of course, the chicken from which it is made. Chicken soup can be made from any parts of the chicken — except the feathers. However, the best soup is made from whole cut up chickens. Use everything except the livers — they impart a slightly bitter taste. (The livers can be used to make chopped liver, but that’s another recipe.) The quantity of chicken is determined by the size of the pot; it should be 1/2 to 2/3 full. I make it in a 10 qt. pot and freeze about 2/3 of each batch.
Rinse chicken. Put all in pot. Cover with water and turn on high heat. While pot is coming to boil peel 2 to 3 medium onions. Put in pot. Add 3 to 4 stalks of celery and 3 to 4 carrots cut in half lengthwise. Add ½ teaspoon salt. Do not add pepper. Add 1 teaspoon dill, 1 teaspoon celery seed, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. When soup comes to a boil it will generate some foam. This can be removed, but will disappear otherwise. It does not adversely affect the soup. The soup should be turned to low heat and allowed to boil slowly for 2 to 3 hours. Keep pot cover off the entire time. If soup level falls below chicken level add more water.
When soup is done pour pot contents through colander into a big bowl. Remove colander and let contents cool. Discard all vegetables. Absolutely do not put vegetables in food processor and add back to soup. Chicken meat should be picked from bones and added to soup. This is messy but is well worth it. Keep cooked chicken out of soup to be frozen; freeze the cooked chicken separately. Frozen soup can be kept indefinitely; frozen chickens no more than several weeks.
Serve soup with the cooked chicken and noodles. Noodles should be cooked separately, and then added to soup. Rice doesn’t work too well but can be used in a pinch. Matzo balls are the best accoutrement, but that’s another recipe also.
Charley’s Chowder – Detroit restaurant
In a large soup pot, heat 4 tablespoons oil till very hot. Add 3 medium-size cloves of garlic, crushed; sauté till golden, taking care not to burn. Remove garlic. Immediately add 2/3 cup onion, chopped fine; sauté for two minutes. Add a dash each of basil, oregano, thyme and cook for another minute. Add 2/3 cup finely chopped celery, cook till translucent. Add 6 oz. stewed tomatoes, chopped very fine; cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Add 3 pints water, 3 pints clam juice, 1 pound fish (turbot or pollack); cook for additional 15 minutes, uncovered at full heat. Salt to taste, cover pot, and continue cooking at low heat for 20 minutes. Stir often by whipping to break up fish and blend flavor. Add fresh parsley, chopped fine, when ready to serve. Serves 6.
Tomato Basil Soup – Nordstrom’s Cafe
Serves 12 to 141/3 cup olive oil
In a 6 to 8 quart saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots, onion and dried basil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the tomatoes, including the puree and the broth, and bring to just a boil. Reduce the hear to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes to blend the flavors.
Remove from the heat. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan, add the cream and place over medium heat. Warm until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into a warmed soup tureen or individual bowls, garnish with the basil leaves and serve immediately.
Mrs. Aarons Vegetable Soup – adapted from Bill Aarons, Birk’s friend’s, mom1 pound lean beef stew meat cut into small pieces
Using the pot in which you will cook the soup brown the beef in small batches with small quantities of olive oil over very high heat (the olive oil should be smoking.) The beef pieces should be dark brown on all sides. Add all the browned beef back into the pot after the last portion is browned, and then add the beef stock and frozen vegetables and barley. Add about 2 quarts of water and season with ground pepper, A-1 and Worcestershire sauces. Cover and cook at low boil until barley has expanded and soup has thickened – about 2 hours.