Please welcome my friend and fellow foodie, the multi-published SF, paranormal, and mystery author C.J. Henderson. Tor books has just launched C.J.'s fantastic new paranormal urban mystery series: Brooklyn Knight. (You don't have to take my word for it. Check out the praise below.) ~ Cleo Coyle
Hugo Award Winner Mike Resnick: "Brooklyn Knight is everything a thrilling old-time pulp adventure should be, but told with thoroughly modern skills. As urban fantasies go, Brooklyn Knight is as breathlessly exciting as they come."
William Shatner: "C.J. and I have worked together before on a series of books called MAN O’ WAR. I know his expertise, his storytelling ability and love of words. I believe you will enjoy this book every bit as much as I enjoyed working with him."
Piers Knight is a touch older, a curator at the Brooklyn Museum and a long-time New York City resident. He initiates most of the eating in the story, and apparently he likes to eat out. But, his new assistant, Bridget Elkins, is a small town girl from Montana. When it falls to her to raid Knight's fridge and try to find something for them to eat, she makes soup. And, from what she says in the book, I know she's making a favorite of my family, one they insist on every other week in the fall.
Now, for those of you that end up reading the book, Ms. Elkins is like a lot of cooks. She doesn't mention one of the main ingredients. But, you know how it is when you want to impress someone with your cooking. However, no such tricks will follow. Here, for the first time ever, I present the full and complete recipe for...
Cold Day Soup
Turkey or Chicken (note: we're talking bones, leftover scraps, feet and butts and all the stuff that's still on the cutting board after chopping or still on the platter after a meal. Remember, dried out, tough scraps of meat left on bones make great soup)
Ham (note: same as above. Yes, you can go to the store and just grab a slice, or you can use the bone or the shank from some dinner where you put out a whole ham) Amount of meat left up to chef. For me, the more bones, the better.
3 pounds Potatoes (dealer's choice. Eastern potatoes are the safest. If you like something better, you can't hurt this soup by changing the type of potatoes)
1 head Celery
2 pounds Onions
1 small head Cabbage
2 pounds Carrots
NOTE: First off, understand that all quantities above can be raised or lowered without substantially altering the taste. 5 pounds of potatoes instead of three and only half a head of cabbage ... makes very little difference. This is a "grandma" soup, the kind of thing that you make out of what you have. The work here is not so much in the preparation as it is in the endurance of cooking to completion.
(1) First, in the biggest pot (or two) you have, get your bones and meat inside, covered with water, and get them to boiling. It takes a good while to soften and loosen all the meat on the bones, and certainly a while to start dragging the flavor of the marrow out of the bones. So, meat in pot, water on meat, pot on stove and let the simmering commence.
(2) Second, at your leisure, it's time to clean and chop the vegetables. You can easily let the meat slow boil for an hour before you throw in the rest. The cabbage is the hardest to get to break down after the meat, so it should go in first. After that, it's as-you-like-it.
(3) You're not going to be serving the veggies with the soup, this is mostly a broth only dish, so size of chunks is up to you. Your job is to get the water and the meat/bones simmering. Then, you clean and peel and chop and throw in the veggies. After that, the waiting game begins. Once the soup has everything inside and has come to a boil once more, turn down the fire to where it will keep a mild boil going, and then let it sit and cook. Check it every twenty, thirty minutes. Stir, see what's happening in the pot. After two hours a lot of juice should have boiled away. Let the soup cool a while, because you're going to have to take a spoon and get the grease off the top. It's the ham. It's going to leave too much grease floating on top for most people. So, you'll take a spoon and, as it begins to congeal on the top, you'll get it out of there before it ends up in your family's bowls.
After that, it just heat and serve. And, salt to taste (or let folks do it at the table--you know how salt conscious everyone is these days)
And, here's that next day note: If you're willing to do the work, once all those left-over soup stuff has cooled, go through it and pull out the potatoes and the meat. The meat will be soft and filled with good soup juice. Throw the cabbage, onions and carrots away because they'll be too mushy to be of any good. But, the meat and potatoes will fry up into something that, with a little salt and pepper will make everyone happy.
Thanks again for joining us today, C.J.! To find out more about C.J., his new series Brooklyn Knight, or his other books, visit his official web site by clicking here.