Introduction: Sopa De Pedra
This is the actual recipe from Portugal for the world famous "Stone Soup". I made this with my children years ago before the eldest was in Kindergarten. They absolutely loved it. I've modified this recipe for the crock-pot (slow cooker). Be sure to follow it EXACTLY as written, for the best results.
A traveler, apparently wearied, arrived one morning at a small village that lies to the north of Schauffhausen, on the road toe Zurich, in Switzerland. A good woman sat spinning and singing at the door of her cottage; he came up to her; talked first about the roughness of the roads, and then of the prospect of a luxuriant vintage along the banks of the Rhine: at last he asked her if she had any fire?
“To be sure I have! How should I dress my dinner else?”
“Oh, then,” said the Traveler, “as your pot is on, you can give me a little warm water.”
“To be sure I can! But what do you want with warm-water?” “If you will lend me a small pot,” said the Traveler, “I’ll show you.”
“Well! you shall have a pot. There, now what do you want with it?”
“I want, said the Traveler, “to make a mess of stone soup!” “Stone soup!” cried the woman, “I never heard of that before. Of what will you make it?”
“I will show you in an instant,” said the man. So untying his wallet, he produced a large smooth pebble. “Here,” he cried “is the principal ingredient. Now toast me a large slice of bread, hard and brown. Well, now attend to me.”
The stone was infused in warm water; the bread was toasted, and and put into the pot with it. “Now,” said the Traveler, “let me have a bit of bacon, a small quantity of sour krout, pepper, and salt, onions, celery, thyme.” In short, he demanded all the necessary materials.
The good woman had a store cupboard and a well cropped garden; so that these were procured in an instant, and the cookery proceeded with great success. When it was finished, the kind hostess, who had watched the operation with some anxiety, and from time to time longed to taste the soup, was indulged. She found it excellent. She had never before tasted any that was so good. She produced all the edibles that her cottage afforded; and spreading her table, she, with the Traveler, made a hearty meal, of which the stone soup formed a principal part.
When he took his leave, he told the good woman, who had carefully washed the stone, that as she has been so benevolent to him, he would, in return, make her a present of it.
“Where did you get it?” said she.
“Oh,” he replied, “I have brought it a a considerable way; and it is a stone of that nature, that if be kept clean, its virtue will never be exhausted, but, with the same ingredients, it will always make as good a soup as that which we have this day eaten.”
Assemble the following ingredients:
1 medium (about 1/4 lb) piece of granite with orthoclase feldspar
2 large cans of kidney beans
1 pig’s ear, blanched and sliced thin
1 “morcella” blood sausage
1 chouriço sausage
1/2 lbs. pork belly
1 lbs. potatoes, cubed
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
4 carrots, cleaned and sliced into 1/2 in. rounds.
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Water to cover
salt and pepper to taste
Clean the granite stone and pat it dry. Slice the meats and vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Chop the cilantro.
In a 4 qt. crockpot, place the granite centered, in the bottom of the crock pot. Layer the ingredients, in order, into the pot. Be sure not to change the order, nor mix the ingredients.
Cook on low for 8 hours, 16 minutes precisely, then turn off the heat. Immediately, remove the granite stone, clean and pat it dry. Stir the soup with a wooden spoon (do not use metal or plastic) counter-clockwise, for exactly three minutes (no more, no less).
Serve in a bowl of your choice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
The reason for the very specific type of stone: the granite acts as a catylyst, allowing the best blending of the flavors (usually, you need to the ingredients to "meld" for 12 hours or more to achieve this effect. The orthoclase feldspar (KAlSi3O8) is slightly alkaline (non-acidic), so there is a slight "sweetness" to the soup. The stone's affect, if properly cleaned, dried and stored out of direct sunlight in a cool dry location, will last indefinately, so this can be passed down from generation to generation.