Associate Director/Chef Shepherd University Dining Services Shepherdstown, WV
“ADD TO THE POT SOUP is a combination of pinto beans, vegetables, meats — just what you happen to have around. It's a tradition that got started during my own college days. My fraternity brothers and I would throw together cost-effective meals whenever possible for as few as five people or as many as 150.
“I WOULD GET THE SOUP started and as friends dropped by, each would bring along something to ‘add to the pot.’ The fun was seeing how a truly delicious soup developed after everyone added their ingredients.
“YOU CAN ADD root vegetables, legumes, cooked rice, chorizo, sliced steak or even wild game. Beans can thicken a soup if you add them early and let them cook down. If you want the beans to stand out as an ingredient, add them last.
“THE BEST COMPLEMENTS to the flavor of beans include cumin, curry powder, cilantro, chili peppers, roasted garlic and grilled onion (selectively used, not all at once!).
“TO GARNISH BEAN SOUPS, add pico de gallo, fresh minced vegetables, shredded artisanal cheeses and offer a very high quality bread on the side.”
Director of Culinary Sodexo B&I
“LONDON PARTICULAR is a great yellow split pea soup with a lot of history and it's the perfect pick-me-up for a cold day. The name comes from the thick soot and smog (particles) that blanketed London in the early 19th century. It's a delicious blend of yellow split peas, vegetables and smoked ham simmered together and finished with a bit of mint.”
“I HAVE MENUED this in both traditional staff restaurant self-service cafes as well as a la carte settings. It also can accompany a promotion on British food that might include Bangers and Mash, a traditional roast with Yorkshire pudding or fish and chips.
“USING HAM HOCKS and bones from a carving make a great soup. Time it right and schedule a ham carving a few days before so you can use the bones and scraps in the soup.”