A bowl of hot consommé

spring has arrivedIs there anything more comforting than a bowl of hot consommé after hours and hours of hard work in the garden? Definitely not. This is why I decided to cook it when we planned to do a loooot of work in the garden during the four-day national holiday. Days are still a little bit chilly but the first spring sunshines warm my back while I start cutting the branches and twigs which András mounted up after pruning our fruit trees. It is like a meditative activity. It takes me hours to finish the first bunch and there are still ten of them. Meanwhile Áron starts cutting down the 3.5 meters high hedge which remained untouched since it was planted ten years ago. I am watching him while he is working on the ladder and suddenly exclaims in pain when he touches an acacia which grew into the hedge long time ago. Behind the bushes suddenly we can see the crest of the hills which were so far hidden from our eyes. The sunshines reach the part of the garden next to the house which is just as perfect as we imagined it. That will be the place for our kitchen garden. I would like to go out of the kitchen simply barefoot, pulling out some carrots, cutting some parsley and picking some tomatoes which are still warm from the sun. I am dreaming about that while we start the less romantic but necessary part of this project: preparing the soil. Áron is digging, I am hoeing and raking. Beeper, our dog is digging as well feeling herself very useful and making more work for me when digging big holes into the middle of the kitchen garden. Meanwhile our neighbor, Tibor stops at the fence and tells the story that before this place was dedicated for the hens and chickens and my grandmother’s brother in law put down stones to avoid mud. At least the soil has been naturally fertilized- we say and start to laugh. “It is something really special to go to your garden and pick up a pepper or whatever just the one you like the most that day”- says Tibor and goes back to the house smiling followed by his black Rottweiler. We find big flagstones and bricks one after the other one. After the sixth huge piece Áron is grumbling a bit while I am rolling them away and try to convince him how useful they will be when we want to set up a little terrace. In the meantime our soup is slowly cooking in the kitchen and is ready just at the moment we are getting too tired to continue and feeling pain in each part of our bodies. I sieve the soup and serve it in the white soup plates we inherited with the house. At that moment at the kitchen table past and present meet while this rich soup warms up our souls and relaxes our tired bodies. We are thinking that we won’t only plant lettuce and tomatoes and carrots but also pieces of unforgotten memories of the past. We feel like we are standing again next to our grandparents watching them while pruning, digging and hoeing and we pursue their journey of traditions and old knowledge.

Meat consommé according to my mother’s recipe
Ingredients:
1 chicken back
4 chicken wings
2 chicken necks
1 smaller turkey neck
500 g beef with bone
3- 4 carrots
2 parsley root
a few celery leaves
1 onion
1 piece of pepper
1/2 tomato
1 bunch of parsley
1/4 tsp curcuma
2 pinches of grated nutmeg
1 bouillon cube
10 black peppers
1 pinch of grated ginger powder
salt according to your taste
thin pasta
parsley leaves for serving
Put the beef and turkey into a 4 liter capacity pot and put enough water to cover it then bring it to boil. Remove it from the stove, wash the pot and the meat as well. This is important to get a clear consommé at the end. Put the meat back to the pot and fill it up with hot water. Add some salt cover it slightly so steam can evaporate and cook it for 2 hours. After two hours add the chicken and bring the water again to boil. Remove any foam from the top, add vegetables and spices, taste it and add additional salt if needed. Cook for further 2 hours. Sieve the soup through a fine sieve without pouring, better to use a ladle! It is again to get the soup as clear as possible. Cook the pasta, cut the meat and vegetables. Serve the soup with the vegetables, the meat, the paste and some freshly cut parsley leaves.

spring has arrivedspring has arrivedconsommé from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenconsommé from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchen consommé from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenconsommé from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchen

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer is a food photographer, chef and writer living in a small village in Northwestern Hungary. Her bilingual blog, Taste of Memories is about life in the Hungarian countryside. While she is bringing new life into the 90 year-old house and orchard of 18 fruit trees she cooks and bakes her family’s old recipes and tries to preserve traditions and old knowledge about how to live in rhythm and harmony with nature.

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