Yesterday, Beth made a big pot of Choriso and Kale soup. It was big even by our “farm portion” and “cook ahead meals standards” – about four gallons. The crock pot you see Jody serving out of only held about quarter of what Beth prepared.
The soup was for Soup and Bread Chicago at the Hideout. Soup and Bread has become a Chicago institution (and a national phenomena) since Martha Bayne started it in 2009. Here’s how it works – each Wednesday night over the winter guest chefs donate & serve soup and a local bakery donates bread. People from the community fill the bar to get really great soups at a “pay what you can” price. All the money collected goes to food banks throughout the city. There is a different beneficiary each week. Last night’s beneficiary was Vital Bridges, who provides nutritional support to people living with HIV/AIDS in Chicago.
Beth and I have been guest chefs every year since Soup & Bread started. We’ve served up chili (see our recipe in the Soup & Bread Cookbook), chicken noodle, pork hot pot, among others.
Sometimes, chefs are giving a theme to cook by. Last night, the unifying element was Band of Farmers our brand new CSA coalition. Member farms (Breslin Farms, Earth First Farms, Trogg’s Hollow, and Tomato Mountain) joined Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm, recently retired Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s fame and a couple of back-up soup makers.(A couple of farmer chefs couldn’t make it, so Martha brought in the reserves as this was the last event of the season and was sure to be busy.) One of the back-ups was Elliot Beier, bartender/manager from Owen & Engine – here’s cool write-up of the place – who brought a very tasty leak, potato, crimini mushroom soup (tumeric, ginger, and lots of black pepper spiced up this soup). Brian Nemtusak was the other back-up, but I didn’t get his story. He brought a spicy Sicilian Chicken soup.
It’s fun to get out – the Hideout is one of our favorite places to go in the city. We run into good friends. We eat great soups. We meet cool people. We raise money to help feed people (Soup & Bread Chicago has raised over $50,000 over the past 6+ years!)
That’s Marcy Prchal of Trogg’s Hollow serving soup to Richard Wood of the Food Animals Concerns Trust (FACT). (Jody has been working with Rich and FACT on their Fund A Farmer grant program since 2011.)
Hot Doug didn’t disappoint with his sausage and brisket chili.
Last night was the last Soup & Bread of 2015, but it will be back again next year. If you get a chance to come out next year, we’d love to see you!