No Soup For You Project

In 1995, a man began selling soup in the Upper West Side. New Yorkers were stunned. Stunned by soup. He was truly a genius. The bisques, the broths. Diners were enchanted. He was truly one of the finest soup artisans of the modern age. You couldn't eat this soup standing up, your knees would buckle! The line outside his stand grew every day, despite his notoriously fastidious behavior. Some customers referred to him by a derogatory nickname for his facist demands.

One day, his recipes were discovered by a disgrunteld customer on handwritten notes inside an old armoire. His secret was out. He packed up his soup stand in shame and departed for Argentina. Now, for the first time, these lost recipes will be published!

Week by week, we will be revealing the recipe to one of the soups on the menu inside his restaurant, as seen in the screenshot above. We will be posting each soup recipe each Sunday in the order it appears on the menu, starting with mulligatawny on October 8th. See below for updates and refer to @ChampagneVideoStore on Instagram for updates.

Week #11: Tomato Rice

Tomatoes are such a versatile fruit. Tomato juice, marinara sauce, ketchup. I mean no big salad is complete without tomatoes the size of volleyballs. Hell, tomato sauce will even defunkify your hair if it smells bad. You ever have a Hampton tomato? You can eat them like apples. Hey, how come tomatoes never took off as a hand fruit? I don't get stuff like that.

This soup really brings out the natural sweetness and tartness of tomatoes. The rice thickens the soup, making it a much more filling meal. If you like to make your tomato sauce hot and spicy, you can add some red pepper to kick it up a notch (just make sure you're wearing a shirt when you cook it).

All soups need a bread on the side. We had to go with the ultimate combo and made a grilled cheese to serve with it.


Week #10: Mushroom Barley

You don't have to be a podiatrist to love fungus. I love mushrooms. I deal in fungus. I'm knee-deep in fungus. This guy knows fungus. If you're like me, you'll love this mushroom barley soup. It has a savory, earthy, complex flavor. The pearl bearley thickens the soup, turning it into a nice hardy meal. So, leave your fungicide in the cabinet and get yourself another bowl.

Every soup needs a bread. We paired the mushroom barley soup with a three cheese semolina bread. This fresh bread is great at soaking up the mushroom broth.

When Elaine confronts Yev Kassem with his written recipes, he starts reading aloud the recipe for "Wild Mushroom." Oddly, Wild Mushroom is not on the menu visible in the soup stand, which is what we're following for this project. I'm assuming Wild Mushroom is distinct from Mushroom Barley and that he probably rotates items on the menu frequently. He holds himself to such a high standard that he would probably want to tailor the menu to whatever ingredients were in season. Funny enough, the Seinfeld writers bring up mushroom barley soup in a different episode. When Jerry is recounting the "soup is not a meal" encounter he had with Kenny Bania, Elaine somewhat agrees that Bania's order of consomme is not really a meal: "I mean if he had gotten Chicken Gumbo, or Matzah Ball, or Mushroom Barley. Then I would agree with you. Those are very hardy soups." I'm guessing one of the writers must have been a big fan of mushroom barley.

This recipe started with a similar one in the Official Seinfeld Cook Book, but we made some changes: added bouillion, reduced the volume of stock, and modified the spices.



Week #9: French Onion

Are you an onion buff? I am. I once took a bite out of an onion like an apple. And even though I once told a woman I coined the phrase "Pardon my French onion soup," there are no excuses needed for this amazing soup. This recipe uses 4 whole pounds of onions that have been concentrated and caramelized to create a savory, sweet, complex flavor.

Bread is incorporated into this soup by adding two slices of french baguette onto the surface, that are then sprinkled generously with Gruyere cheese. Cheese, George! The cheese surface to this one is a game changer. It'll be years before they find more places to hide cheese in a soup.

This recipe was taken directly from the wonderful and charming Sip and Feast blog and Youtube channel.



Week #8: Split Pea

Do you hate peas, but love pea soup? Then we got something for you. This recipe for split pea soup is bursting with country-fresh flavor. It uses a whole pound of peas. So, if you eat your peas one at a time, this one could take you a while to finish a bowl.

This soup cooks down for a while and uses a ham bone to get a heartier texture and pleasantly salty flavor. Is ham bone harder to come by because your delicatessan under communist rule? Well, you don't have to be part of the Politburo to complete this recipe. You can substitute ham hocks for the ham bone.

All soups need a good bread. We went with crescent rolls here. Being so soft and buttery complimented the split pea soup well.

This recipe was inspired by the Striped Spatula's recipe for split pea, with a few modifications.


Week #7: Clam Bisque

Another bisque? On this menu, there's crab bisque and there's clam bisque. Clam takes a backseat to no bisque. People love clams. It should be on tables at restaurants, along with salt and pepper. Anytime anyone says, "Oh, this is so good! What's in it?" The answer invariably comes back: clam. Clam. Again and again. Lesser bisque? I think not. be really honest and open up the vault, the clam bisque is not quite our favorite item on Yev Kassem's menu so far. It's not like the stomach-upsetting Clams Casino that George gets from Monks ("Chef recommends"), but just not quite as sensational as some of the other soups. It's big on seafood flavor, but not quite as hearty as clam chowder. You can say it's clam chowder's ugly cousin.

You can convenitently get cans of chopped clams at most grocery stores. Which is good because the last time I went clamming, I forgot to hose off my boots and it made my mattress smell like the East River. Yeah, I clam. And scallop. I clam and scallop.

We went with oyster crackers to provide the bready accoutrement every good soup needs. Now, it's a meal!


Week #6: Chicken Broccoli

This hearty soup is packed with rotisserie chicken. It's the wood that makes it good. It's balanced by cheddar and broccoli. Vile weed? I think not. I like broccoli. It adds a nice texture to this soup. While the block of cheese that goes into this one isn't quite as big as a car battery, the cheddar provides so much cheesey goodness.

We've been trying to serve each soup with a good carb and it's about time we explored the bread bowl. A bowl of bread! Bread bowl, George! First you eat the soup, then you eat the bowl. There's nothing more satisfying than looking down after lunch and seeing nothing but a table. We just picked up a small loaf of sourdough bread and carved out the middle. This paired so well with the chicken broccoli soup, as the soup had the right consistency to get absorbed into the bread with each bite.



Week #5: Black Bean

If you've been filling up on mutton or lamb chops, this is a pretty good lighter option. This black bean soup is vegetarian, but is packed with earthy, savory flavor. The ingredients are fairly simple too. You can even buy the generic brand of black beans. Rip off the label. You can hardly tell the difference! In place of bread, this soup pairs great with tortilla chips or Fritos to give it a little crunch.

We started with the recipe from the Official Seinfeld Cook Book, but added some additional spice with oregano and chipotle. Using a lager to deglaze adds an extra dimension too. Plus, then you have the rest of the beer to drink with your soup. Here's to feeling good all the time!



Week #4: Jambalaya

Is jambalaya actually considered a soup? Well, a wise man once said "soup's not a meal." And while that controversial claim has been challenged (especially if crackers are crumbled into said soup), this jambalaya is absolutely a meal. It combines chicken, sausage, and shrimp in a spicy broth with rice.

Jambalaya is Newman's favorite from the soup stand. In the episode, we see him diligently follow Yev Kassem's etiquette when ordering a bowl of it. Then he giddily purrs "jambalaya" before scurrying away. One of the great little random Newman moments in the show. At the episode's end, we see Newman panicking that the soup stand is closing and is fetching a big pot from his home to grab whatever soup is left. You know he was hitting up that jambalaya.

We went with French bread to serve with the jambalaya to match the dish's origins in New Orleans' French Quarter. New Orleans? I spent a month there one night!

This recipe was based on looking at lots of different published recipes for jambalaya. In paritcular, inspiration was drawn from GypsyPlate, Gimme Some Oven, and the Official Seinfeld Cook Book.



Week #3: Turkey Chili

Chili is perfect for a Sunday afternoon in fall. It's full of so many ingredients that gives it a rich, complex flavor. This chili isn't too spicy either, so someone with a gastro-intestinal discorder like Poppie could still eat it.

When George first goes to the soup stand, this is what he tries to order. It's unfortunately taken away from him after he asks for bread. George seems to be a big chili fan, because he also orders it at Reggie's in another episode. We understand George being hung up on bread with this order. Chili needs some bread on the side. We recommend cornbread. The recipe for this was just from Jiffy!

This recipe was adapted from the wonderful Julie Tremaine's Official Seinfeld Cook Book, with a few personal tweaks, like adding cinnamon. People love cinnamon. It should be on tables at restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime anyone says, "Oh, this is so good. What's in it?" The answer invariably comes back: cinnamon, cinnamon. Again and again.



Week #2: Crab Bisque

This appears to be Jerry's favorite soup at the stand. It was the bisque so good that it caused Jerry to dump Schmoopie. After Yev Kassem excoriates Jerry's girlfriend Sheila for being overly affectionate in line ("Nobody kisses in my line!"), Jerry just plays dumb and acts like he doesn't know her.

    Elaine: So, essentially, you chose soup over a woman?

    Jerry: It was a bisque.

Funny enough, Jerry seems to have converted George to Team Crab Bisque as well. After George is first denied soup for asking for bread, we hear that Jerry shared a taste of his bisque with him. Later in the episode, when George returns to the stand in full Soup Mode, he orders a large crab bisque.

This recipe was adapted from other crab bisque recipes published by Evolving Table and My Forking Life, with a few personal tweaks and preferences.

Every soup needs bread. Nothing goes better with crab bisque than cheddar bay biscuits. Turns out those are pretty easy to make at home as well! We followed the recipe published by Cozy Cook.


Week #1: Mulligatawny
Ah, yes, an Indian soup simmered to perfection. This soup appears to be Kramer's favorite: he asks Elaine to pick him up a bowl of it in return for watching her armoire.

This recipe was adapted from the wonderful Official Seinfeld Cook Book by Julie Tremaine, with a few personal tweaks, like adding garam masala. Garam masala is a spice with many tastes. A dizzying array of textures...and moments. 

What's soup without bread? Yev Kassem was known to charge $2 extra for bread, but you can provide your own. A piece of traditional garlic naan goes excellent with this soup.