When fall becomes winter in New England, and cooler temps yield to actual cold, some seasonal decisions follow. Do I have enough firewood? And do I need to bring more inside so we can huddle in front of a warm blaze? Will I see if my bet on not getting a snowblower—again—will pay off? My gamble that it will be a mild winter, paired with my neighbor’s kindness of letting me borrow his after really big storms, makes me think I can go another year! But I’ve also forgotten that my trusty shoveler is off to college. Okay, my odds of back pain just increased.
Cold temperatures also create seasonal behaviors, literally bringing us closer to our firepits, for example. Chairs that were pushed away from the flames during the hot months are inched closer to warm our bones during the winter. Flannel shirts and hoodies become more than a late day cover up, and I for one spend a bit more time closer to the grill while cooking, something that could make me sweat and melt away in August, or this past November! However, my wife has told me smelling like the grill beats smelling like the fire pit.
Cooler temperatures also bring with them one easy decision—it’s time for soup! Sure, you can have soup year-round, and many do (though not this Italian who sweats just thinking about hot soup in summer), but few things warm you like soup on a chilly day.
Based on archeological evidence, soup has been around since 20,000 BC. The invention of clay pots and bowls around 6,000 BC made it an easier dish to consume and transport. This makes me think there were 14,000 very messy years in between, but I digress.
Soups can be basic, or extravagant. They can be clear, like a chicken noodle, or thickened with cream, starch, or butter. Soups can be made with all types of ingredients. Mixing and experimenting is good fun, and Lorraine from The Pretentious Pickle in Plymouth has a dandy you need to try! If you didn’t know Lorraine made a Dill Pickle soup, just walk into her shop when she’s creating it and you’ll notice its inviting scent. The aroma is always tantalizing when entering The Pretentious Pickle, but when “soup’s on” your nose immediately informs your stomach it’s time to find the source of that smell and eat!
“The recipe came from my dad to me, but the family cookbook didn’t have names attached to each recipe, so it could have started with one of my uncles or my aunts. There were 14 kids in the house they grew up in Maine. They all learned how to pickle and can to get through the winter months. It could have been any one of them who gets credit for this soup,” Lorraine explained. “Many things I make here are old family recipes.” And during this time of year one of those things is Dill Pickle Soup.
When Lorraine was in her early twenties, she helped her dad create and cook quite a bit. “I love what I do,” she says. And you can feel that love all over the cozy shop on Water Street on the Plymouth waterfront. As the weather gets colder you can now feel that same love in your own home with her Dill Pickle Soup.
The Dill Pickle Soup.
- 48 oz. of chicken broth
- russet potatoes (couple good sized, peeled and quartered)
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup flour
- 1 large kosher dill pickle diced (whole pickles available at PPC)
- 2 cups pickle brine kosher dill brine available at PPC
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ¼ cup of water
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of pepper
- ½ teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
- Simmer the broth, butter, diced pickle, and potatoes until the potatoes are tender (15 minutes or so). Add the 2 cups of brine. Add salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Stir.
- Whisk together the sour cream, flour, and water, then whisk into the pot. Stir constantly until thick.
- Add sour cream mixture to broth. Let simmer to a warm temperature, but not boiling, to avoid the flour getting lumpy, but be aware some lumps could be from the potato.
- Serve warm with a crusty bread (French or sourdough). “We serve ours with bread, not a spoon, to soak up the goodness,” Lorraine says. Refrigerate the rest, if any is left.