A Month-of-Soups Recipes

Jan. 31, 2012
A Month of Soups

I know, LAST month was National Soup Month, and that makes perfect sense. Really, it does. I have to agree that the dead of winter IS the time to pig out on soup. But when you live in the desert southwest, it’s not such the compelling argument. Oh, sure, it gets cold here. It was down to the low 40’s some nights, but when it is 70 degrees in the daytime and sunny, well, soup doesn’t come to mind as quickly as outdoor grilling does.

But, for my purposes, February is as good as it gets. I told DH I wanted to try out a recipe a day and blog about it, not quite Julie and Julia, but let’s say “inspired by”! He thought that was a great idea. Then I told him to have some cohesion, the month long blog needed to be on a theme of some sort and reminded him of Julie and Julia. He thought that was a great idea.

Then I told him the theme would be soup. Now, DH loves soup, especially my soups, I claim modestly. He blanched (not the cooking term). I mean, really, he turned white. “That would be a lot of soup,” he ventured. “When you make soup, you make a pot of it. It lasts us a long time. Do you even know how to make two servings of soup?”

“Well, no,” I responded honestly. “But we can have it for lunch and dinner that day and freeze the rest!”

“Freeze 30 pots of soup?” I took his point. The shortest month is February, but I forgot it’s Leap Year. So 29 pots of soup coming up!

Some of these recipes are old favorites I’ve made for years; others are “experiments”. Try them with me and let me know how it goes for you. Maybe this could be the NEW soup diet?

Nah. Not with some of the stuff I’m putting in!

See you tomorrow for “Sharon’s Fresh Corn Soup” and what to do when it’s not fresh corn season. Get that taste-o-meter tuned up. You’re going to need it. 
Since some of us like to make our own broth, here are some directions for making chicken stock and beef stock. For the recipes coming in February, you can make your stock and freeze it to use in recipes or buy best-quality canned stock. It DOES make a difference.

Personally, I freeze all the poultry carcasses together (turkey, chicken, game hens, etc.). It makes a more interesting broth than chicken alone. But see below for how to make stock.

Since we’re talking soup, watch this video to see how to make really flavorful soup. Click on http://yhoo.it/xmOoNc to see Fabio’s Italian Wedding Soup (and it freezes well!).

Feb. 1, 2012

Sharon’s Fresh Corn Soup (Serves 6-8)

1 c chopped onions                                   
½ c diced carrots                                   
½ c diced celery                                   
½ red pepper, chopped                          
3 T butter                                            
5-6 ears of corn                                   
4 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
2 t rosemary (or tarragon or curry)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ t red pepper flakes
1 can evaporated milk
salt/pepper to taste

In a large saucepan or skillet, saute onions, carrots, celery, and red pepper in butter until onions are translucent and other veggies al dente. Cut corn off cobs (or open packages of frozen corn kernels).

Add corn, broth, rosemary, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bring just to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Stir in evaporated milk; heat through, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

Feb. 2, 2012

Christmas Dinner Soup (6 appetizer servings)

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 small carrot, julienned
3 green onions, sliced
4 cups homemade or good quality canned chicken broth
¼  teaspoon curry powder
¼ cup cream sherry or Marsala

In the soup pot with heated olive oil, sauté carrot strips until softened. Add mushrooms and cook until slightly browned. Cut green onions into diagonal slices, both white and green parts. Add to the soup pot. Immediately pour in the broth. Stir as you add the curry powder. Bring to a slow boil and remove from the heat. Add the wine and stir.  Serve in 6 of your best soup bowls!

Feb. 3, 2012

Make this so you have the chicken and broth for the soup:
Gina’s Lemongrass Chicken (serves 6-8)

8 skinless chicken thighs  *
1 T garam masala
2 oz fresh lemongrass, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces OR 3 T lemongrass paste
1 T fresh ginger, roughly chopped
3 14.5 oz cans low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth 
1 t fresh lime juice
1 T lime zest
2 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ - ½  t red pepper flakes (these are hot!)
2 T fish sauce
16-24 Butter crunch lettuce leaves
Pkg of glass noodles, cooked or shirataki noodles, warmed

*Alli rips off as much skin as she can; Gina trims all visible fat with a knife.

Rub garam masala into chicken thighs. Set aside. 

Mix lemongrass, ginger, chicken broth, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, red pepper flakes, and fish sauce. Add to a slow cooker. Add chicken and stir around to coat with liquid. Cook on low for six to eight hours.

Remove chicken and shred. Return meat to slow cooker to keep warm in its juices until serving.

Serve on noodles with broth. Spoon into butter crunch lettuce leaves and top with Thai peanut sauce.

Lemongrass Chicken Soup (serves 6)

1 heaping cup cooked brown rice (or Royal rice for more color)
4 cups leftover lemongrass chicken broth, divided
1 cup carrot coins
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup shredded lemongrass chicken
1 cup frozen peas

Cook rice and set aside. Add ½ cup lemongrass chicken broth to soup pot. Add carrot coins and garlic. Cook until carrots softened. Add remaining broth, lemongrass chicken, and rice. Stir. Bring to slow simmer. Remove from heat. Add frozen peas. Let sit 5 minutes. The barely-cooked peas add a nice fresh green taste. Serve.

Feb. 4, 2012

Souper Bowl Beer Stew (serves 8-10)

2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
½ cup flour
2# round steak, trimmed of fat, cut into 2” cubes
1 c carrot coins
3 med potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
2 med onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 c beef broth, divided
2 c Guinness Stout (drink the rest as you mix up the ingredients)
1 T dried rosemary
1 T cinnamon

Heat oven to 300°.  Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to flour and mix well. Put in a paper or Ziploc bag and add meat cubes. Shake around to thoroughly coat the cube. Place cubes in hot oil and fry until all sides are brown. Remove meat from pan.

Add carrots, potatoes, and onions to the pan. Cook until onions are translucent. Add in garlic. Cook 2 minutes more. Remove veggies from pan.

Add ½ c broth to pan to deglaze it. Immediately add remaining broth and the Guinness Stout. Mix together. Add spices and mix well. Add meat and veggies back into the pan.

Cover the pan and place in oven for 2-3 hours, until veggies are . Remove and set aside to cool. The next day reheat on the stovetop and dish it up. Don’t expect many, if any, leftovers.

Feb. 5, 2012

Alli and Gina’s Pork Posole (serves 8)

1 T olive oil
1-1 ½# pork roast, cubed, fresh or leftover
2 c diced onions
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 c poultry stock or broth
1 cinnamon stick
¼ t ground cloves
½ t cumin
2 cans (15.5 oz) yellow hominy
2 cans (15.5 oz) white hominy
small can (4 oz) diced green chilies (adding other kinds of peppers can up the heat level)

If the pork is fresh, put in freezer for ½ hour to stiffen it up, then cut into cubes.
Brown the cubes in heated olive oil over medium heat. Remove.

Add onions to the pot and bring to translucence. Add garlic slices. Cook for two more minutes, stirring as you wait.

Add in pork and stir around to coat the meat.

Add broth, cinnamon stick, cloves, and cumin. Stir. Add in white and yellow hominy and chilies. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool until ready to serve. Remove cinnamon stick and re-heat. Serve.

Feb. 6, 2012

Make this so you have the beef and broth for the soup:
Annie’s Slow Cooker Machaca Beef

2 ½-3# boneless chuck roast
2 T homemade taco seasoning (or one package of commercial taco seasoning)
2 c salsa (use the heat you like--I use mild because of the taco seasoning heat)

Trim off visible fat. Rub roast with taco seasoning on all sides. Put into slow cooker. Dump on salsa. Heat on high for 6-8 hours. Remove roast from cooker and shred it. Discard fat chunks. Return shredded beef to pot liquor. Stir around and let cook another half hour.

Remove contents of slow cooker to a sieve and squeeze the juices from the meat. A 3# roast makes ~4 cups of shredded meat. Reserve 1 cup of the beef and save for later. Use remaining meat for dinner. If any is left, add to the reserved meat.

Put pot liquor into refrigerator and skim off hardened fat before using in the soup.

You might be able to do this with chicken, I don’t know why not, but I’ve never tried it.

Unfortunately (she says, head hanging), I got distracted by the Internet schtick, and the pot of soup kinda burned. Yep. Black-bottom burned. Impossible to scrub off burned. Sigh.

Now, as it turns out that gave the soup a smoky taste that, while not what I was going for, wasn’t awful. In fact, it added that outdoors, southwest vibe hard to get otherwise. Typically DH prefers soup that didn’t burn. However, read his rating below! I may be onto something!

Machaca Taco Soup (serves 8-10)

Reserved juices and meat from Slow Cooker Machaca Beef
(about 2 cups beef and 1 cup pot liquor)
2 cans diced tomatoes with seasonings
1 can Mexicorn
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 or 2 4-oz cans chilies (optional)
3 c thinly sliced lettuce
2 c fresh diced tomatoes
2 c shredded Mexican cheese
2 large avocado, diced
½ c sour cream
Tostado or taco shells, hard
Corn or wheat tortillas, soft

Mix machaca beef and juices in a pot over medium heat with diced canned tomatoes, corn, beans, and chilies (if adding). Stir. Add broth. Slow simmer for one hour.

Roughly break two taco or tostado shells into a bowl. Pour taco soup over shells. Add lettuce, fresh tomato, cheese, avocado, and dollop of sour cream on top. Serve with warm tortillas, corn or wheat or both! We have apple and orange slices as a side.

Feb. 7, 2012

Mongolian Hot Pot Soup
Today’s soup also takes planning ahead. So for dinner last night (instead of other leftover soups), we had Mongolian Hot Pot and there wasn’t even a girlfriend in sight. (See The Girlfriend Test blog entry-- http://bit.ly/A9ZJvg ). No, I did this dinner because I wanted to make Mongolian Hot Pot Soup today.

For the Mongolian Hot Pot dinner, I heat broth of some flavor with onions, carrots, and mushrooms and let it cool down. I strain out the veggies and it is ready to reheat again to boiling in a fondue pot set in the center of the dining table alongside plates of meats and veggies and a big bowl of brown rice. Save those veggies, though. They’ll go into your soup the next day.

The veggie plate has green onion stalks, whole mushrooms, bean sprouts, spinach leaves, and celery and carrot matchsticks. The meat/shrimp plate has about ½ pound of meat per person. I cut thin slices of chicken, pork, and steak. Add some raw shrimp. Put a loaf of bread out, and voilà, dinner is served.

Each person skewers what heesh would like to start with and lets the fork sit in the boiling broth until done to taste. Sometimes one loses one’s food and has to go fishing for it. And of course, your food comes in contact with others’ food, and might be considered, by the squeamish, to be contaminated.

Save the leftover broth, veggies, and meat, and you’re ready to make Mongolian Hot Pot Soup. You’ll have less than a quart of broth, but you can add more if you need to.

This soup is almost as easy as Garbage Soup (which is coming up later this month). The thing is, it is very forgiving and can be adjusted easily since you are not quite sure which ingredients you are going to have left or how much of them. So, chill. Go with the flow. Wind up your Taste-o-meter. It will be delish!

To the broth, add the leftover chicken, pork, steak, shrimp, celery sticks, carrot sticks, bean sprouts, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and any other ingredients you used for the Mongolian Hot Pot. Let it all sit for a while. I just put it all together in a pot at the end of the Mongolian Hot Pot dinner so it sits overnight. Then heat the soup gently until the meat is cooked.

Put ¼ cup of re-heated leftover rice in the bottom of a bowl. Pour the hot soup over it and enjoy.

Feb. 8, 2012

Tomato-Basil Soup (6-8 servings)
30 Roma tomatoes (about 3½ #), halved
¼ c olive oil
3 T butter
1 ½ T flour
¼ c red wine
½ c water
1 T honey
3 cans diced tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ c dried basil
¼ t red pepper flakes
4 t dried thyme
1 c vegetable broth
fresh basil for garnish

Coat tomatoes with ¼ c oil and roast at 400° for ~45 minutes. While roasting, make a roux of the butter and flour in a Dutch oven. Cook about 3 minutes stirring constantly to cook the flour. Whisk in the red wine, water, and honey until smooth. Add canned tomatoes. Add garlic and herbs. Add roasted tomatoes and mash. Add vegetable broth.

Cook on low simmer for about 30 minutes. The soup will be thick. If you want it thinner, add more veggie broth.

Feb. 9, 2012

Eggplant Soup (serves ~10)

1 T olive oil
1 med onion, diced
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½# eggplant, cubed
4 medium carrot, cut into coins
1 ½ ribs celery, diced
2 cans diced tomatoes with seasonings
4 c vegetable broth
2 t honey
1 t nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
end rind of parmesan cheese, 1-2” long
½ c quinoa
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
½ c Asiago cheese

In Dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium high. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Add garlic after a couple of three minutes. When onion is translucent, remove mixture from pot. Add beef and pork. Cook until no longer pink.

Turn heat to medium-low. Add eggplant and salt. Cook covered for 5-10 minutes, until eggplant has softened and reduced in size. Add in onion mixture. Cook for five minutes, stirring continually. Add tomatoes and broth. Cook until mixture comes to a slow simmer. 

Add honey, spices and end rinds of parmesan cheese. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add in quinoa and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and rinds (if you can find the pieces) and discard. Serve in bowls with parsley and Asiago cheese on top. Great with ciabatta bread and fruit slices.

Feb. 10, 2012

Seafood Bisque (serves 2-3)

8 oz fish like monkfish, sea bass, mahi mahi, or other firm-fleshed fish
2 c tomato-basil soup
¼ t red pepper flakes
1 can Mexicorn
1 can evaporated milk, undiluted

Grill or broil fish to get a nice brown on the edges. Cook until just done. Remove from heat and cut into bite-sized chunks. Set aside. Pour tomato-basil soup, red pepper flakes, Mexicorn, and evaporated milk into blender. Pulse six times to blend. Pour mixture into medium pan and heat uncovered over low heat. When bisque is hot, add in fish, stir, and serve immediately.

Variation: to the grilled fish, add in 8 oz of other seafood like shrimp, lobster, crab, or clams. Makes for a richer flavor and varied textures. It will serve more people, too.

Feb. 11, 2012

Tortilla Soup (serves ~6)

4 T butter                                   
1 lg onion, chopped                          
3 carrots, diced                           
6 ribs celery, diced                          
4 cloves garlic, minced                 
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
4 oz can diced chilies        
  t cumin                                   
1 t pepper
1# cooked, boneless chicken breasts or leftover chicken, diced        
2 T lime juice
tortilla chips
6-12 cilantro stems
sour cream
avocado, diced
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

In large pot, sauté onions in butter until translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook until they give slightly. Add garlic and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, and chilies. Stir well. Add cumin and pepper. Stir and add in chicken. Cook for 30 minutes at a slow simmer. When done, add in lime juice. Prepare bowls with tortilla chips in the bottom. Pour soup over the chips. Garnish with cilantro stems, sour cream, avocado, and cheese.

Feb. 12, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato Soup (serves ~6-8)

6 large potatoes, baked
1 medium onion, diced
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
¼ pound steak, diced
6 c Half-and-Half, divided
1½ c sour cream
¾ c sharp cheddar, grated, divided
2 green onions, sliced diagonally
6 slices of bacon, crispy-cooked and crumbled
1 T chives

Mash the potatoes, skin on, to make bite size chunks. Set aside the biggest chunks in a bowl. In another bowl, keep the smaller chunks. They should be about equal amounts.

Put the larger chunks in your food processor or blender with ½ cup of the Half-and-Half. Puree. Set aside.

Sauté the diced onion in the sizzling oil and butter in a Dutch oven or large pot. Stir to keep from burning. Remove the onions when they are translucent. Put in cubes of steak and brown on all sides. If you want your steak less rare, cook longer. Remove the steak to another bowl.

Put onions back in the pot. Add the Half-and-Half and potato puree and the bowl of small chunks of potato. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add sour cream and ½ cup of the cheese. Stir until well blended. Put soup into bowls and sprinkle with green onions, cheese, bacon, chives, and steak chunks.

Feb. 13, 2012

Fish Chowdah (serves 6-8)

5 large russet (or 15-20 Yukon Gold) potatoes, baked
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
½ pound firm-flesh fish, bite-size chunks
6 oz clams, chopped
12 large shrimp, chopped
2 cans evaporated milk
1 milk can of water
1 T butter
1 can corn
1 green onion, sliced diagonally

Bake potatoes. Mash half pretty well; rough chop the other half to small bite-size chunks. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven or large pan, sauté onion in olive oil. Remove when translucent. Add fish, shrimp, and clams. Cook for 3-5 minutes, turning to get color on fish. Add onion back in. Stir. Immediately add milk, water, and butter. On low heat, bring chowder to a simmer. Add corn. Bring back to simmer. Serve garnished with green onion. Serve with oyster or water crackers.

Feb. 14, 2012

Pumpkin Soup with Black Truffle Oil (serves 2-3)

¼ c onion, finely diced
1 t butter
2 c vegetable broth, divided
1 small can pumpkin pie mix
2 T chunky peanut butter
1 t curry powder
1 t black truffle oil
2 T toasted coconut
6 salted peanuts

In a medium pan, sauté onions with butter until translucent. Use your mini food processor to puree the onions with ½ c broth. Put the remaining broth into the cooking pan where the onions were. Add the pumpkin, onion mixture, peanut butter, and curry powder. Whisk together over low-medium heat. Turn off the heat and let sit until cool. Re-warm to serve.

Lightly, lightly, lightly drizzle the pumpkin soup with black truffle oil. Garnish with toasted coconut and three salted peanuts.

If you don’t have truffle oil, thin 1 teaspoon sour cream with drips of milk until it is pourable. Put a dab of honey in and stir. Drizzle over the soup and sprinkle with toasted coconut and peanuts.

Feb. 15, 2012

BLT Soup (serves 4)

1# bacon, crispy (I do mine in the oven--less mess)
1 small bag spinach
2 cans diced tomatoes, with seasonings
2 c V-8 juice
2 avocados
4 pieces of whole wheat toast
  c melting cheese, divided

Cook bacon. Crumble. Toast bread. Spread toast thickly with cheese and place under broiler until melted. Cut into toast points.

In a medium pan, heat tomatoes and V-8 juice until bubbling. While heating, slice avocados. Turn off heat. Add spinach to bubbling tomato mixture. Stir a few times to coat all spinach with tomato mixture and reduce the amount volume of spinach. Pour into bowls. Sprinkle with bacon, remaining cheese, and avocado slices. Serve with toast points.

Feb. 16, 2012

Bread Soup (Serves 2)

2 cups water
1 T pepper
1 t salt
3 cloves garlic, sliced
8 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 handsful fresh spinach
1 T fresh basil, sliced thin (or 1 t dried basil)
2 stale ciabatta rolls, or other dense bread
4 T Asiago cheese

Boil the water in a medium pan with salt and pepper. Add garlic. At full boil, remove from heat and add tomatoes and spinach. Stir. Add in basil. Pour over bread in bowls. Sprinkle on cheese and serve.

Feb. 17, 2012

Another day with two recipes. Make the veggie broth for the soup:

Vegetable Broth (makes ~4 qts)
1 gal water
whole bunch of celery, rough chopped, both ends included
6 large carrots, rough-chopped
5 parsnips, rough-chopped
3 onions, rough-chopped
5 cloves garlic, lightly crushed, skins on
2 bell peppers, rough-chopped, seeds and all
5 tomatoes, rough-chopped
+ any veggie choppings/skins/chunks in your freezer
2 bay leaves
2 T mixed peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
bunch of parsley, chopped
6 sprigs thyme, chopped

Wash any raw veggies as usual, but there is no need to trim them. All skins and root ends will be strained out and discarded.

Add everything to the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for one hour. Strain out all chunks. Cool and store in refrigerator or freezer. How easy is that?

To make the soup-du-jour, you will need 2 quarts of that broth. This is a dense soup, almost a meatless stew. Serve with a wonderful dense bread like ciabatta or beer bread.

Spring Vegetable Soup (serves 10-12)

1 c carrot coins
½ c celery
1 T olive oil
2 qts vegetable stock, divided
½ head of cabbage, rough-chopped
1 c kale, rough-chopped
2 cans cut tomatoes, seasoned
1 c spring pea pods
1 c bean sprouts
½ green onions, chopped
1 T fresh basil (or 1 t dried)
Several sprigs of parsley for garnish

Over medium-high heat, sauté carrots and celery in olive oil in the pot you’re using for the soup. Cook for about 3 minutes or until there is a slight bite of browning. Add ½ cup vegetable broth to deglaze the pan. Then add remaining broth. Stir.

Add cabbage, kale, and tomatoes. Cook until cabbage is softened. Add pea pods, sprouts, and onions. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in basil. Serve with parsley on top.

Feb 18, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup (serves ~8)

6 cups broth (half and half turkey and chicken broth is best)
2 bay leaves
1 c carrot strips, julienned
1 c diced celery
½ c diced onion
1-1½ c fettucine
2 c shredded, cooked chicken (Use leftovers in freezer or from just-picked bones)
Parsley springs for garnish and fresh green flavor.

Let the bay leaves sit in the broth for about 20 minutes prior to heating. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Bring broth and veggies to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool.

Bring broth back to a slow simmer. Add noodles. Cook for 3-5 minutes until noodles are al dente. Add chicken. Bring to a slow simmer again. Remove from heat and remove bay leaves. Serve with a parsley sprig on top.

Feb. 19, 2012

Cheeseburger Soup (serves ~6)

6 hamburger buns, toasted (We like onion buns for more flavor)
1½# hamburger
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ c catsup or Worcestershire sauce
¼ c mustard
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into rings
8 oz dark beer
2 cans diced tomatoes
12 large lettuce leaves
12 slices of fresh tomato
6 (or more) slices of favorite burger cheese
12 pickles

Toast buns. Keep warm. Mix hamburger with garlic, catsup, and mustard. Let sit while you fry up the onion rings until they just have some color. Set aside covered to keep warm. Fry the hamburger until done, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add beer and tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered.

Put a bun bottom in the bottom of each bowl. On top of the bun, put a few onion rings and one tomato slice. Distribute soup among the six bowls. On top of the soup put a slice or two of cheese, the remaining onions, a tomato slice, a couple of pickles, and a lettuce leaf. Top with bun. DO NOT PICK THIS UP!!! Serve with a knife, fork, AND spoon!

Feb. 20, 2012

White Chicken Chili (Serves 6-8)

1 large onion
2 T olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 oz can green chilies
1 qt turkey broth
½ c white wine
2 cans white beans
2 c leftover chicken, white/dark/or both

In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic slices, chilies, broth and white wine. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Add beans and chicken. Simmer another 15 minutes and it’s ready to serve.

For a special treat, try it in a hollowed out boule bowl (Make the sides pretty thick). Eat the bread bowl around as you empty it. Save the bread inside to make croutons with later.

Feb. 21, 2012

Albondigas Soup (serves 6-8)

6 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 t cumin
1 t basil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 c carrot coins
½ c celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 c zucchini, sliced
1 c kale, rough-chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, seasoned
cilantro sprigs for garnish

Put all ingredients into a Dutch oven or large pot. Bring to a slow simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Let cool. Bring back to a slow boil and add meatballs.

½# lean ground beef
½# ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ c onion, finely diced
2 t dried mint
1 t cumin
1 c cooked rice
1 egg, lightly mixed

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix all ingredients together and form into 20-24 meatballs. Place in pan with an edge and bake for 15 minutes. Add to slow-simmer broth. Cook for 20 minutes. Serve with a couple of sprigs of cilantro on top. Tell them to eat that, too. It creates a delicious, fresh green burst on the tongue.

Feb. 22, 2012

Beef Stroganoff Soup (serves 6)

2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c onion, diced
½ c mushrooms, diced
¼ c butter
¼ c flour
1 t pepper
1 can evaporated milk + ½ can of water
4 ¾ c beef broth, divided
1# London Broil, grilled and cut into thin slices
1 c mushroom, sliced
1 c sour cream
½ c noodles, cooked al dente, per person

Spray a pan with Olive Oil Pam and sauté diced mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Set aside. In the same skillet melt the butter and flour. Stir around to make a roux, about 2 minutes of cooking.

Add evaporated milk slowly, stirring to get rid of lumps. When smooth, add pepper, water, and ¾ cup of broth. Pour into the blender along with cooked mushroom mixture. Blend for 30 seconds to smooth out the biggest lumps.

Pour the liquid into the slow cooker. Add the remaining beef broth and stir to blend. Add London Broil slices.

Cook on low for six hours. Add sliced mushrooms and sour cream. Blend and cook for 1 more hour on high. Put noodles in bottom of bowl and ladle soup on top. Mix and eat with garlic bread and a tossed salad.

Feb. 23, 2012

Garbage Soup (serves 6 maybe--could be more or less depending on leftovers)

1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1T olive oil

~6 c broth (leftover on, from the freezer, or on your pantry shelf) Okay to mix broths so chicken, beef, turkey, vegetable--whatever combo you have

1 T herbs (I surf my spice rack--haven’t used that “Herbs from Provence with lavender” in a while? Is the basil almost gone? Wonder what curry and tarragon will do together? Cinnamon sticks or whole cloves always add an unexpected layer of flavor. Go crazy. Why not? Expectations are low for this soup, but you have the opportunity to create something unique and tasty.)

~2 c assorted veggies (maybe that little cup of corn, spinach that is on its last legs, six green beans?--clean out the refrigerator). If you don’t have two cups in the refrigerator, check the freezer. 8 french fries? Why not? Refried beans left? Sure, dump ‘em in. You find 3 cups of leftover veggies? Use them. It just makes a chunkier soup.

~2 c cooked meats (again, an assortment or single source is fine; I’ve used pork chops and hamburger together. The only thing I don’t do is mix fish with meats. I keep fish bits together in their own Garbage Soup.)

Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat in a large pan or Dutch oven. When translucent, add garlic and stir around for about a minute. Add broth and spices. Blend well. Add whatever veggies and meats you have accumulated. Heat to a slow simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes then serve.

To class this up have an excellent bread, great cheeses, and fruit slices to serve alongside. It will then appear to be more than what it is! Garbage Soup. Prepare for a call from the school when your child shares what dinner was the night before.

Feb. 24, 2012

Spicy Carrot Soup (serves 6-8)
6 large carrots
2 parsnips
1 large bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 large onion, quartered
2 celery stalks, no trimming necessary
4 cloves garlic, in skins
2 T olive oil
6 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 cup buttermilk
1 t curry powder
1 t fresh ginger
½ t whole cloves
1¼ cup coconut milk, divided
cilantro sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. Rub carrots, parsnips, bell pepper, onion, and celery with olive oil. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet along with garlic cloves. Roast for 20 minutes until veggies show some brown and are fork-tender. Set aside. When cool, squeeze garlic from skins and discard skins.

Put ½ cup broth in blender or food processor and add roasted vegetables. Puree and strain through colander to remove skins and large chunks. Process in batches.

Combine remaining broth and strained vegetables in large pot. Add buttermilk and spices. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup coconut milk. Add remaining coconut milk to the broth mixture. Bring again to slow simmer. Fish out the cloves. Pour hot soup into bowls and drizzle the reserved coconut milk on top and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.

Feb. 25, 2012

Mulligatawny Soup (serves 8)
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 leek, diced
2 large carrots, cut into coins
2 ribs celery, cut into bite-size chunks
2 tart apples, skin-on, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large knob of fresh ginger, grated (or 1 T ginger powder)
3# chicken pieces, skin-on; all thighs and legs, or add in a breast half.
8 c chicken and/or turkey broth, divided
2 bay leaves
1 T garam masala
2 T curry powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 T whole cloves
1 T turmeric
2 cups cooked rice (Basmati is the most often used in Mulligatawny)
½ c coconut milk, + ¼ c
cilantro, shredded, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat oil in large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven. Over medium heat, sauté onion, leek, carrots, celery, and apples. Add garlic and ginger when onion is translucent. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continually. Remove vegetable mixture from pan and set aside.

Add chicken pieces to pot and brown on all sides. Put into oven and roast covered for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool. Turn heat to 275°.

While chicken is cooling, puree veggie mixture with a little broth. Leave a few chunks for texture. Put remaining broth in pan. Add veggie mixture to the broth. Add bay leaf other spices. Stir to blend. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for 20 minutes.

While broth is heating, remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Shred the chicken and discard the bones. Add chicken meat to the broth mixture. Add rice and stir well. Put pan in oven for 30 minutes, covered.

Remove from oven. Remove bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Add in ½ cup coconut milk. Blend in thoroughly and serve immediately with a drizzle of coconut milk on top and a sprinkle of shredded cilantro leaves.

Mulligatawny is even better when served with traditional naan bread. Delicious for sopping up the bottom of the bowl.

You can buy coconut milk canned. But, it is easy to make your own. Go to http://www.soupsong.com/rchickn5.html and you’ll find a quick and easy recipe that works well in this soup and other dishes requiring coconut milk.

Feb. 26, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings Soup (serves 6-8)

12 pearl onions, “x” on each end
2 qt. chicken and turkey stock (combine them for more richness)
1 c baby carrots, halved
3 stalks celery, cut bite-sized
2 bay leaves
2 c chopped chicken
2 c flour
4 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t pepper
2 t dried basil
4 T butter
1 c buttermilk

Peel paper off pearl onions and cut a small “x” in each end so they hold together while cooking.  Add onions to broth. Add carrots, celery, and bay leaves, and chicken. Bring broth to a slow boil and cook for 15 minutes.

While broth is heating, mix flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and basil together. Cut in butter to make mealy dough. Add buttermilk. Mix well. The dough should be sticky but not too loose or too stiff. It should be able to drop from the spoon back into the bowl. Add more flour or buttermilk if necessary.

Adjust heat on broth to a slow simmer. Remove bay leaves. Drop dumplings a teaspoon at a time into the broth. Try to keep the dumplings from touching by dropping dough in different places around the pot. Cover when all dumplings are added.

Check after 10 minutes to see if done. Take one dumpling out and cut into it. The middle should not be raw. Return cut dumpling to the broth. If done, remove from heat and serve. If not, poach for 5 minutes longer, covered.

Feb. 27, 2012

Three-Meat Chili (serves 8-10)

12 oz. steak, cut into chunks
12 oz. chicken, boneless, cut into chunks
3 T olive oil
2 T flour
1 kielbasa, cut in bite-size chunks
1 large onion, diced
1 large can V-8 juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can Mexicorn
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 medium Hatch chili, roasted, and cut into chunks (or 2 cans chilies)
1 T sharp cheddar cheese, grated per person

Toss chicken and steak chunks with flour. Brown on all sides in Dutch oven. Push to one side. Add kielbasa and onion. Cook until kielbasa is browned and onions are translucent. Then mix it all back together in the pan and cover. Let cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

Add a bit of the V-8 juice to deglaze the pan. Keep scrapings in the pan and add the rest of the V-8 juice and the cinnamon stick. Stir to mix well. Add meats and onion back to the Dutch oven. Stir well. Add tomatoes, corn, and beans, and chilies.

Simmer for one hour. Allow to cool down then refrigerate overnight. Next day, remove the cinnamon stick. Reheat and serve with grated cheese on top and cornbread with honey butter. We love this with a big hunk of cheese and grapes and apples.

Feb. 28, 2012

Cream of Spinach Soup (serves 2)

3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1½ c spinach, diced
1 T olive oil
1 stick of butter
½ c flour
2 c milk
1½ c veggie broth

Over medium heat, sauté garlic, onion, and spinach. When onion is translucent, remove all from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux, adding milk and broth after 2 minutes to get the flour cooked.

To the flour mixture, add the set aside veggies. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly until desired thickness. Pour into blender and pulse until chunks are incorporated. If the soup cools down too much, return to pan to reheat. Serve immediately. Or this soup can be canned or frozen for future use.

Feb. 29, 2012

Chocolate Soup (serves 4)

2 c heavy whipping cream
2 c milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
4 T sugar
~4 oz grated chocolate, at least 70% cacao
1 t vanilla
¼ t red pepper flakes
¼ c toasted coconut
20-30 2” cubes pound cake or angel food cake

Put cake cubes under broiler. Watch closely. When browned, turn over and brown the bottom. Remove to a rack to cool.

Over low heat, bring whipping cream and milk to hot. Slowly whisk in egg yolks and stir until incorporated. Stir in sugar. Slowly add grated chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and red pepper flakes. Serve with cubes of cake and a sprinkle of toasted coconut on top.