The sun a spark,
Hung thin between
The dark and dark."
- from "January", by John Updike
There isn't much that's new to write about these days. It's still cold. It's still snowing.
It's still January.
It's inconceivable that we aren't at least a month further into the winter. Surely I've already done a full season's worth of shovelling, of scraping ice off my car, of walking with my shoulders up to my ears in a futile attempt to stay warm.
It's still January.
I do what I can to defy the weather. If I'm walking with my ears up to my shoulders, at least I'm still walking. I take some comfort from William Carlos Williams' tribute to the month:
"Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music."
- "January", by William Carlos Williams
Perhaps most pertinent to this cooking blog is Maurice Sendak's take on the month:
"In January it's so nice,
While slipping on the sliding ice,
To sip hot chicken soup with rice.
Sipping once, sipping twice,
Sipping chicken soup with rice."
- "Chicken Soup with Rice", by Maurice Sendak
On those days when I feel bookended between dark and dark, when I have to summon the strength to shake my fist at winter, there's nothing I want more than to make soup. You'll find my Chicken Soup with Rice recipe here; read on to find out how I defied winter this week with a bowl of Vegetable Beef Noodle Soup.
Vegetable Beef Noodle Soup
(from Canadian Living)
1 pound (450 grams) stewing beef cubes
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups sodium-reduced beef broth
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 cup large curly egg noodles
1/2 frozen peas
3 cups baby spinach
Sprinkle beef with pepper and salt. In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook beef, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery, onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes.
Stir in broth, 3 cups water, tomato paste, herbes de Provence and vinegar. Bring to boil; reduce heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until beef is tender, about 2 hours.
Stir in noodles and peas. Cook over medium heat until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach.