New England is a big soup region. People are really into their soups here, which is good because I love soup. A hearty fish chowder like the one described by my brother Art in his earlier post is the crown jewel of the New England regional soups. Every small cafe and seafood joint claims to have the best clam chowder in the region. But most of these people are full of crap and some of them have the nerve to open a can and try to pass it off as their own. Shame on you, can-opener guy, especially here, where good chowder is a staple in any season. I can buy my own Campbells at the store for pennies on the dollars to what you’ll charge me for your blatant huckserism!
But soup is a pretty broad category that can encompass everything from thick and hearty chili to dirty dishwater. And some cooks and restaurantuers think they are being creative and avante guarde by throwing together combos that are so far-fetched that they might make some people urp on their shoes.
Witness the menu entry I saw at lunch today…….PEANUT BUTTER PUMPKIN BISQUE!!! Peanut butter? Pumpkin? Really? C’mon, really? I thought, I don’t care how weird that is, I’m not leaving until I sample that insanity. Alas, they had just sold their last order, which means some people think that twisted combination is a good idea….or maybe they were just as curious as me and ordered some to go only to dump it down the toilet when they got back to work. I don’t know. Maybe it was delicious and when I finally do try it, I’ll have to eat my hat as well as this weirdo soup. But it sure hit my funny bone.
Since my local cafe was out of this random and bizarre delicacy, I orded a cup of their chicken adobo soup. And man, was it good! It had small chunks of butternut squash in it, which gave it a slightly viscous texture and note of earthy sweetness. It had big shreds of chicken and the adobo gave it just the right spiciness. It was a mellow and easy going little soup, unassuming and laid back. They should have served it in a tie-died cup, that would have fit it’s personality.
Soups rock….and gives home cooks a blank canvas on which to work our own brand of magic. When I get home tonight, I’m going to cleaver through a couple of big buttercup squash, roast them in the oven and make a smooth and unctuous squash soup, served with corn muffins. Yummy!!!