The problem with January is that you´re supposed to be all virtuous all of a sudden, even though you are still wrapped in a million layers of clothing, and it´s so cold that the mere thought of a salad can make tears freeze in your eyes.
There´s precious little point in even pretending that a big turnaround is going to happen. You might as well be realistic and eat something good and filling, because if you don´t, you´ll just walk intoLe pain quotidien and demolish some overpriced croissants and hot chocolate, and what´s the good of that?
Also, there´s a lot to be said for making food that keeps the kitchen hot and steams the windows. You can then wipe a bit off to watch the snow, which is always fun.
The best thing to have on hand is soup, of course, which can be all things to all people; filling, nourishing and light, all at the same time. I will be doing a few soup posts, because Pía and I are living on soup at the moment (oh, and pie, too, and cake, but that´s another just recreational).
One such is Scotch broth, which, in Laurie Colwin´s version is a beauty. Not physically,really, but in a general comforting bowlful way. I have given this soup to extremely picky eaters and to lamb haters and they ate it up and had seconds.
It´s very easy, too, as long as you do it over two days. If you don´t, you won´t be able to skim the fat properly, and it won´t be so good.
Just boil some bony cheap cut of lamb, like neck, with a few parsley stalks and the green tops of some leeks, and celery and onion if you have them on hand. Do skim well in the first twenty minutes because the broth can look rather grey and disgusting. Leave it for a couple of hours, until the meat falls off the bone. Pick the meat from the bones, and put it, with the broth, in a container. Next day, defat this well.
Chop leeks and carrots, as small as you can or feel like, and sweat them briefly. Then add the broth and the meat, and either throw in some pearl barley or, if you are like me and grudge the grain drinking up all the broth, boil it separately the day you make the stock, until it´s just al dente. Then add it to the soup until it´s as you like it.
I think no clear soup is complete without a dash of sherry, and a grind of black pepper, perhaps.