Making Magic: The broth behind it all
At a recent SOUL Food Salon event in Woodside, chef, educator and cookbook author Rebecca Katz shared her lifelong love story with soup—from the making of it to its extraordinary healing properties and flavors. We too became enthralled.
“Soup is amazing culinary alchemy,” said Katz as she explained the sorcery behind her Magic Mineral Broth. “People call it the Miracle Broth. It’s my healing elixir … my contribution to the culinary canon.” This magic potion has followed Katz through 16 years of prolific and healthful cookbooks and is the basis for a majority of her soups in the engaging and life-giving Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality (Ten Speed Press, 2016).
“One of the important things about soup is that it’s a vessel for getting so many nutrients in your body at one time,” said Katz, heating up the pot before adding olive oil followed by onions and a generous pinch of salt, “a Rebecca pinch,” she fondly called it. If you add spices while sautéing the onion in oil, “they have a chance to bloom,” she said.
We were transfixed while Katz, who refers to herself as a “soup shaman,” instinctively added diced carrots (“the stars of the show”), celery and another pinch—advising us to “salt as you layer new ingredients.”
Katz was making her Provençal Lentil Soup and the kitchen transformed into an olfactory paradise. “Soup making is aromatherapy,” she said while adding garlic, herbes de Provence, pepper and, of course, more salt.
Then the magic happened: Katz began adding the Magic Mineral Broth, the nutrient-dense nectar that mixes everything together and “gets all the yum from the bottom.” Next in went diced tomatoes, lentils, the rest of the broth and a bay leaf. “Turkish bay leaf is the one you look for,” Katz reminded us with a quick sniff. “If you can still smell them, they pass the spice litmus test.”
Once the soup ingredients marry, “this is where we do the FASS (fat, acid, salt and sweet) test, which is the key to flavor,” said Katz. A few of us tried a bite and swooned, and then she added a smidge of lemon and a little maple syrup and the flavor rounded out to perfection.
The grand finale? A chermoula drizzle—“like the pin that goes on a black dress. It takes your soup from ‘good’ to ‘oh my God.’” And that it did.
See below for Katz’s Magic Mineral Broth recipe, as well as her Moroccan Carrot Soup and Chermoula. For more information on the Provençal Lentil Soup recipe, please see Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality.
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