As we have known for ages, soups and stews are endlessly various Essay

As we have known for ages, soups and stews are endlessly various

In the world’s cuisines, soups and stews are probably as
ancient as they are widespread. Economical, they use everything
–bones, vegetable trimmings, and juices–and can absorb the odd
leftover very nicely. Nourishing, they are great pick-me-ups. Almost
endlessly various, they range from delicate to sturdy.

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This month, two chefs devise their own adaptations of well-known
ethnic stews. Another ladles forth a simple-sounding but richly complex
mushroom soup.

To the young, Menudo signifies a Puerto Rican rock group. Elders
with any experience below the border will recall it as a thick stew
based on tripe, posole (a kind of dried corn), and chilies. Said to be
a sure cure for the effects of overindulgence, it is a New Year’s
Day tradition for certain inhabitants of northern Mexico and the

Our tasters felt that anyone who could handle menudo for breakfast
had a stomach that didn’t need coddling. The dish, they also
assured us, is more treat than treatment.

Gringo Menudo

3 pounds tripe

1 1/2 to 2 pounds pigs’ feet, pork neck bones, or pork tails

1 1/2 cups dry posole or 1 large can (1 lb. 13 oz.) yellow hominy,

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 can (about 1 lb.) tomatoes

1 bay leaf

3 to 4 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons dry oregano leaves

1 can (12 oz.) beer

3 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) regular-strength chicken broth


Fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves

Thoroughly rinse tripe (trim off fat), pigs’ feet, and posole
(if using hominy, add later). Cut tripe into 1-inch pieces. In an 8-
to 10-quart pan, combine tripe, pigs’ feet, posole, onion, garlic,
tomatoes and their liquid (break up tomatoes with a spoon), bay, 3
teaspoons of the chili powder, oregano, beer, and broth. Cover and
bring mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer until
tripe and posole are very tender to bite, 6 to 7 hours. Skim off and
discard fat. (If made ahead, cover and chill as long as 2 days; to
continue preparation, lift off solidified fat and reheat.)

If using canned hominy, add it and simmer until hot, about 10
minutes. Season to taste with salt and remaining chili powder, if
desired. Spoon into bowls to serve. Offer cilantro to add to
individual servings. Makes about 4 quarts, or 8 to 10 main-dish

Ben B. Eastman, Jr.


The esteemed chanterelle is to the common mushroom what brioche is
to a hamburger bun. Its very name sings of Paris, spring, romance.
Chanterelles do grow in the West and have been available in some
specialty markets during the rainy season the past few years. But
canned chanterelles serve very well here. In fact, many of the canned
chanterelles with foreign labels were harvested here and sent abroad for
processing–a migration that’s confusing even to the gastronome.

Eric Davenport has always gathered his own chanterelles; we suggest
that you do so only under the guidance of a trained mycologist. If this
person will take you to where they grow, you have a true friend; few
such experts divulge their hunting grounds.

This recipe’s name alludes, without any culinary point, to
Chantilly lace.

Chantrelly Lake

1/4 to 1/3 pound chanterelle mushrooms or 1 can (8 oz.) chanterelle

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon dry thyme leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) regular-strength chicken broth

1 tablespoon madeira or dry sherry

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon liquid hot pepper seasoning


Rinse fresh mushrooms; if using canned mushrooms, drain, reserving
the liquid. Let mushrooms drain well on paper towels, then cut into
very thin slivers.

Melt butter in a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium heat; add mushrooms
and thyme and cook, stirring, just until fresh mushrooms are limp, about
2 minutes, or canned ones are hot.

Add flour to pan and cook stirring, until bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Gradually stir in the broth and reserved mushroom liquid (if used).
Cook, stirring, until bubbly and thickened. Blend in madeira, cream,
and liquid hot pepper seasoning. Season to taste with salt and simmer,
stirring occasionally, until hot through and flavors are blended, about
10 minutes. Makes 4 cups, or 4 or 5 first-course servings.

Erir Davenport

Juneau, Alaska

Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but no one said that too many
ingredients spoil a stew–especially the Mediteranean masterpiece known
as bouillabaisse. With this dish, more is better; any fish or shellfish
adorns the final melange.

Nevertheless, shopping for the classic ingredients takes time and
considerable cash. And if you live far from a big city market, you
might have trouble finding some items.

Ralph Look has simplified the recipe and the shopping: you find a
good white fish, and catch the rest at the store. Hook a bag of
potatoes, dig a can of clams and another of oysters, and net some
shrimp– fresh, frozen, or canned. Diners needn’t know you
didn’t spend a day at the wharf.

Supermarket Bouillabaisse

1 can (15 oz.) spaghetti sauce with mushrooms

1 pound thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 1/2 pounds rockfish fillets (such as red snapper) or lingcod, cut
into 2-inch pieces

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed

1/2 teaspoon each dry thyme and dry oregano leaves, dry basil, and
dry rosemary

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried hot red chilies

1 can (about 6 oz.) chopped clams

1 jar ( 10 oz.) fresh-shucked small Pacific oysters

1 can (12 oz.) beer

1 cup water

3/4 cup (1/4 lb.) or 1 can (4 1/4 oz.) small whole cooked shrimp

Salt and pepper

Lemon wedges

Pour about 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce into a 4- to 5-quart kettle,
tilting to coat bottom. Evenly layer potatoes, fish, then about half
the onion, green pepper, celery, and parsley. Add half the remaining
spaghetti sauce, all of the garlic, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, and
crushed chilies. Top with remaining onion, green pepper, celery, and
parsley. Add clams and oysters and their liquids. Pour over the
remaining spaghetti sauce, beer, and water.

Cover and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat,
and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 30 minutes.
Stir in shrimp (drain and rinse if canned and season to taste with salt
and pepper. Ladle into soup plates to serve. Offer lemon wedges to
squeeze over individual portions. Makes about 3 quarts, or 6 to 8
main-dish servings.

Ralph G. Look

Ventura, Calif.


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