Happy Mardi Gras!
Today, we feast! While listening to the radio yesterday, I heard a priest say that Mardi Gras is for feasting and Ash Wednesday is for fasting — the party before the penance. I had no plans of doing much of anything today until I heard him say that. Given I was already headed to the grocery store, I added a few festive items to my shopping list. Then after the kids were tucked in bed, I decorated the table and mantle in Mardi Gras purple, green, and gold while Joel completed some prep work for the jambalaya. King cake is also on the menu. Looks easy enough to let Lucy go to town with it and label it science class for the week. I think all of us here at Das Schmidt Haus will benefit from feasting it up today.
Tomorrow, we fast. If you missed an earlier blog post, I shared that we are eating soups for dinner throughout Lent. Joel and I chose this in hopes it will simplify meal planning and free up more of our evenings to prayerfully experience the Lenten season. I’m also running a Lenten blog series here called Soup & Stories. Twenty or so guest bloggers have graciously agreed to submit a post for the series.
Today I kick off the Soup & Stories series with a recipe for Creamy Roasted Mushroom Soup, a dish one friend recently described as “transcendent.” Not sure about that, but it does get rave reviews wherever it goes.
Ten years ago when Joel was going through RCIA, one of his weekly meetings included an evening soup social. Potluck style, several members of the RCIA class volunteered to bring soup including Joel and me. We jumped at the chance, actually. We both like to cook; we just cook very differently. But soups? They are the one thing we do together well in the kitchen.
We quickly settled on our infamous creamy roasted mushroom soup. It’s been a staple in our repertoire from the moment we met, and we were excited to share the soup with our new friends. So excited, actually, that we poured as much soup as would possibly fit into the crock-pot. We left the house ten minutes earlier than usual because we had to weave our way through town at 20 MPH to keep it from spilling.
We showed up at church with the soup in one hand and our shiny stainless steel ladle in the other. We even made a fancy little placard to identify the soup. As usual, it was a hit with the crowd. While chatting with our friends and fielding compliments on the soup, just over the din of the background noise from the direction of our crock-pot, we heard one hungry patron say out loud to nobody in particular, “Thank goodness someone remembered the vegetarians!” Joel and I looked at each other and didn’t say a word but communicated by eye contact that we were not going to spoil the vegetarian’s evening with the truth about the soup.
The truth? Those two heaping ladles the vegetarian throughly enjoyed were largely beef broth. BEEF broth. Now in the vegetarian’s stomach.
The moral of the story? Well, we don’t know. We may very well have to answer for that one day. But if you choose to make this soup for Ash Wednesday or on a Friday during Lent, please use VEGETABLE broth.
Serving suggestion: This soup pairs well with cracked black pepper focaccia bread.