Soup and Stories

I never liked the word stoup.

Rachael Ray made it up. Thicker than a soup but not quite a stew. But the more I make soups, the more I find myself calling them stoups. Because that’s exactly how I like my soup: a little thicker, a little heartier, a little more rustic.

I also like drizzling EVOO on top of my soup.

But if you think this post will be about Rachael Ray, you are wrong.

This post is going to be about three things: 1) a food writing seminar led by one of the nation’s best food writers: Molly O’Neill. 2) a recipe for Tuscan White Bean and Chicken Sausage Stoup. I mean Soup. And 3) more Boston marathon updates.

First, the food writing seminar: Cook ‘n’ Scribble are courses, lectures, and workshops led by best-selling author Molly O’Neill. The seminars are online and range from topics such as Food Memoir, Food Writing 101, and Food Blog U, and there are other events as well such as a Food Writing Master Class Retreat in upstate New York.

I have no connection at all with Cook ‘n’ Scribble, other than the fact that I know Molly because I used to intern for her (and my adobo recipe was featured in her latest cookbook!) but I just wanted to share this incredible opportunity with you guys if you are at all interested in the food writing. You’ll get the chance to participate in weekly workshops and conversations with some of the best names in the food world (check out the course descriptions) and polish your writing skills in an actual, structured eight-week class.

I myself have taken many journalism and writing classes, but none has been as fun, exciting, and memorable as my Food Writing class at Harvard. There is something about structure and homework (yes, I’m a nerd) that helped me develop discipline. I also met some amazing writers (my fellow students and guest speakers such as Calvin Trillin) who ingrained in me a deeper fascination with the literary food world.

I am not taking any Cook ‘n’ Scribble courses this semester because of a pesky thing called grad school that’s eating up a lot of my time (and money), but I might sign up for some individual lectures. If you have the time and resources to do so – lucky you – check it out now because classes fill quickly!

Now, let me get to the winter-warming soup…

I used some spicy Italian chicken sausage, which added a lot of flavor and extra goodness to the stoup. Soup!

I was inspired by Meghan’s Chicken Sausage Cassoulet on  but I didn’t have time to soak beans overnight so I turned to my trusty Cook’s Illustrated cookbook for the Quick Tuscan White Bean Soup recipe, then combined that with Meghan’s and came up with this:

Tuscan White Bean and Chicken Sausage Soup

(recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated and Travel, Wine, and Dine)

2 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans
1 pack chicken sausage, sliced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 pack mushrooms
3 cups carrots, chopped
1 sprig rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar and olive oil, for serving

In a Dutch oven, cook onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add beans, chicken stock, carrots, chicken sausage, and rosemary. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

(Or forget to drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar before taking blog photo).

And last but not least, my latest Boston marathon news:

I had to make a very difficult decision a few days ago, but I have decided to drop out of the marathon…

I wanted to run the marathon for my sister and my family, but now I actually have an opportunity to spend time with my family again. My parents are attending a conference on disability and families with disabled children in Europe, and they are taking my two sisters with them and have asked me to come along. It coincides with the week of the marathon and as much as I want to fulfill my dreams of running Boston, I don’t know when else I will get the chance to visit Europe with my entire family – while I know that the marathon will be there year after year. While I am very disappointed that I won’t be able to run with Team Perkins this year, spending time with my family is my priority.

Please know that I truly appreciate your support and all the words of encouragement! Of course all the money that I have raised will still go to Perkins School for the Blind. I know that I will have other chances to support Perkins in the future, so I’m looking forward to other events this year.

That’s it for now :)

Oh and on another note, have you ever heard of choup?


22 Responses to “Soup and Stories”

  1. #
    Alaina posted January 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I’m sure that was a really tough decision to make, but I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time with your family in Europe! What a great opportunity! :-)

  2. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted January 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Sounds like you made the right decision for you in terms of the marathon… and there is plenty of time for you to run one in the future! This soup looks great, I love how you combined the two recipes!

  3. #
    Meghan posted January 8, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Cook ‘n’ Scribble sounds very interesting, going to check it out now.
    I am so excited for your opportunity to see your family again!

  4. #
    Megan posted January 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

    That “stoup” (I hate that word too) looks great! I ended up making a veggie soup this weekend.

    Sounds like you made a good decision — your family will be happy you’re there and it will be great to spend time with them!

    I have to look into those courses.

  5. #
    Michelle posted January 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    It sounds like the marathon was a tough decision to make but it will be great for you to see your family instead!

  6. #
    MelissaNibbles posted January 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I don’t like Rachel Ray either, but I do like stoup. Yours looks delicious!

    I’m sorry you had to drop out of the race, but there will be other races to run. Your family only takes a trip like this once. Enjoy!

  7. #
    Kerstin posted January 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    What a soup, it looks so rich and comforting

    And it sounds like you’ll be taking a once in a lifetime trip – hope you enjoy every minute of it!

  8. #
    Elizabeth posted January 9, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Whoa, trip to Europe? So worth it, right decision.

  9. #
    Daisy posted January 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    nice job combining the two recipes to make your own. the soup looks extremely comforting!

    As far as the marathon vs Europe with the fam, i’d say you made the right call. :)

  10. #
    Lin @ BeantownEats posted January 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I have using our Dutch oven like crazy, and also craving soup. So glad to find this recipe, looks prefect for this week!

  11. #
    Tracey posted January 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I just cant get my head around the word Stoup. Nope, dont like :). I do like the look of your hearty soup though. Also, thanks so much for the link to the writing courses. I just finished a 12 week program on Food Writing with the New York Times and Gotham School of writing. I was a great course and so helpful!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      Congrats on finishing the Food Writing program, Tracey!!

  12. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted January 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Oh Rachael. Regardless of how much she bugs me sometimes, I still buy her magazine and rely on her quick recipes. This soup looks so hearty and filling!

  13. #
    Rachel @Healthy_Chicks posted January 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Ah, this makes me want to put an apron on and make soup all day long. I also like thicker soups. I recently made a hearty turkey chili, and Jason made a thick turkey, lentil wild rice soup with crimini mushrooms in it, which was wonderful.

    I say the next blogger meet up should be a soup potluck…mmmm!

    Happy New Year! You are amazing… and I think you made the right choice about the marathon. Being with family is the most important.

  14. #
    Marina {} posted January 10, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Rachael always makes up the silliest words. I like them though :) This soup looks perfect. Yum!

  15. #
    grace posted January 10, 2012 at 4:44 am

    far be it from me to encourage ms ray’s ridiculous word creation, but i do like a thick soup.
    meanwhile, methinks your priorities are straight. :)

  16. #
    Shannon posted January 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    ha, i kind of like the word b/c i prefer my soups with a little more to it ;) but never heard of choup… boo. delicious creation though ;)

  17. #
    Kim K posted January 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    family always comes first – marathons will always be around! that soup looks divine!

  18. #
    18 posted January 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    This is a wonderful hearty soup. I love that spicy chicken sausage, sounds so good.

    I agree with your decision on the marathon…there will always be another marathon, but you never know if you’ll get the chance with family again. Jump on it!

  19. #
    19 posted January 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    BTW, I also agree with you on the word stoup… I can’t stand it either. I cringe every time I hear it, and will even change the channel so I don’t have to hear her say it. :)

  20. #
    Jen @ pretty plate posted January 16, 2012 at 8:44 am

    This soup is perfect for the cold weather we are having here in Boston.
    Also, thanks for the food writing info, I will check that out!

    : ))

  21. #
    Mary posted January 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Oh goodness, I thought stoup was silly, but choup? That actually made me laugh. I love my soups exactly as you described them. However, I just haven’t relented and called them stoups yet. This one looks fantastic. I LOVE sausage in a soup.

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