Winter Minestrone Soup

ei1b02_winter_minestrone.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape One of the best parts of Fall is undoubtedly soup. There are so many varieties to choose from. From delicate purees to hearty vegetable stews, there is something for everyone.

This has become one of my favorites for its rich yet varied offering. Do give it a try.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: If you can’t get pancetta, use bacon. If you can’t get swiss chard, use spinach. I buy my parmesan in bulk so when I have shaved off to the rind, I throw it in a bag for the freezer. It’s a great addition to any soup.

SOURCE: Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

African Peanut Soup

images This was a bit of a gamble. My husband is a staunch opponent to curry. Not that he would know what it tastes like. At least that is what I banked on when I tried this intriguing soup.

It was oh so good.

It was utterly sublime.

I’d recommend you make it.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon peanut oil, divided
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 medium onions, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and quartered
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add curry powder and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in sweet potatoes, chicken broth and tomatoes, and bring soup to a boil. Simmer, covered, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the remaining teaspoon of peanut oil. Add the turkey and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any clumps until cooked through. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Add cooked ground turkey, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, peanut butter, and coconut milk to the soup, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: substitute either pork or chicken for the ground turkey if you desire. Also, you can use smooth peanut butter, and add a 1/2 c of chopped peanuts to be added at the very end, since they will soften after a while.

SOURCE: Emeril Lagasse

Mexican Corn Soup

chicken-corn-chowder-4-16-10 If it’s fall, it’s time for soup. And for me, any soup that contains corn is a good one.

The problem can come in when you want a naturally thickened soup. Pureeing the corn can lead to problems if the hulls aren’t pulverized. It leaves a chewy residue if not.

So pay close attention to the directions to avoid the problem.

And then sit back and enjoy the taste!

INGREDIENTS

4 ears fresh or 3 cups frozen, thawed corn kernels
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 slices thick cut bacon
1/2 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup queso fresco, fresh farmer’s cheese, feta cheese, or sour cream, optional
Tortilla chips or fried tortilla strips, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If using fresh corn, scrape kernels from cobs using small sharp knife or spoon. Place half of the corn kernels in blender with tomatoes, 2 cups of broth, and oregano.
    Puree until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon, turning once until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside. Add onion to bacon fat in saucepan and cook, stirring frequently until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and stir for another minute.

3. Add tomato-corn puree to saucepan with remaining 2 cups of broth. Bring to a low boil and add remaining whole corn kernels. Simmer over medium-low heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and remove any foam as it develops with a large flat metal spoon. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Mix in half of the parsley and cream, if desired, and heat through.To serve, garnished with crumbled bacon, remaining parsley, crumbled cheese and tortilla chips or strips.

SERVES: 4

NOTES: The important thing is to use a high speed blender like a Magic Bullet. You need a powerful motor to puree the corn husk of the kernel properly. Do not use an immersion blender, it is not strong enough, and frankly I’d be concerned that even a Cuisinart won’t be enough. If you don’t have a big motored blender, then I would consider skipping the puree step and leave the corn intact.You might also consider roasting/seeding and pureeing with the rest some chiles if you would prefer a more spicy soup.

SOURCE: Simply Delicioso with Ingrid Hoffmann

Slow-Cookin’ Chicken with Chorizo and Chickpeas

chorizo This dish was totally inspired by Serious Eats, mostly for the basic ingredients. But I changed the way you fix it rather severely (they used a pressure cooker), and I added plenty of ingredients.

You should do similarly, since the basic ingredients can be added to with just about anything veggie wise you have on hand.

This was a little more soupy that stewy, but you can adjust that easily as well.

INGREDIENTS:

  • About six or so boneless chicken thighs, salted and peppered and sauteed to brown.
  • About six ounces of Spanish chorizo (not Mexican), diced
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas well-drained and rinsed
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • a cup of chicken stock (more if desired)
  • A handful of green beans cut into about 2 inch lengths
  • One medium sweet potato, diced
  • 3 tbsp of fresh parsley chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoky paprika

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. After browning the meat, remove to a slow-cooker. In the same pan, saute the onion, celery and carrots, adding a bit more oil if necessary. Cook until translucent and about half-cooked through.
  2. Add the veggies to the meat and add the stock and tomatoes.
  3. Add the chorizo and chickpeas.
  4. Add the wine vinegar and paprika.
  5. Cover and slow cook for at least 4 hours on low-medium. Just bubbling is fine.
  6. In the last hour, add the green beans and the potato.
  7. Just before serving check for salt and pepper and add the parsley.

SERVES: 4-6

NOTES: You could use a whole chicken cut up, or any other pieces you favor. The darker meat lends more flavor. Add any veggies you have, especially if you have left-over cooked ones. Just add towards the end so they can still hold up.

SOURCE: Inspired by Serious Eats

Mmm Good Mushroom Soup

mushroom-8 Nothing could be more compelling on a winter’s day than mushroom soup. All the earthy goodness reminds one of a season when no snow was about for sure. Yet it’s comforting and filling.

This recipe lets the goodness of the mushrooms bloom and star and this recipe also works as a light “sauce” for  say a pork cutlet too.

That makes it versatile and that makes it a keeper!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, cleaned, dried, trimmed, and quartered
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 7 sprigs thyme, divided
  • 2 small lemons, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock

INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 375°F. Place mushrooms, onions, garlic, and 5 thyme sprigs in a large bowl. Squeeze lemons into the bowl and add the squeezed lemon halves. Add olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
    2. Transfer to oven and roast until mushrooms release liquid, about 15 minutes. Carefully drain liquid into a separate container and reserve. Return mushrooms to oven and continue roasting until browned but still tender, about 30 minutes longer.
    3. Remove lemons and thyme sprigs and discard. Transfer mushroom mixture along with drained liquid to the crock of a slow cooker. Add sherry, half and half, heavy cream, sour cream, and stock, along with remaining 2 thyme sprigs. Stir to combine and cook on low for 6 hours.
    4. Discard thyme sprigs. Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender. Set blender to lowest speed and slowly increase speed to high. Blend until desired consistency is reached. Alternatively, blend with a hand blender directly in the slow cooker.
    5. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat on the stove-top before serving.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: Feel free to substitute any mushrooms you love. A combination would be great with the base being the cremini ones I think. I prefer using an immersion blender so that I can leave some chunks.

SOURCE: Serious Eats

Cajun Cabbage Stew

Cajun Cabbage Stew ServingI made this soup/stew a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out very well.

My husband thinks I could open up a soup restaurant, but truthfully soup is one easy thing to make, requiring very little measuring. You just want to get the general amounts close and then let your creativity add the rest.

Given that winter is upon some of us all ready (it’s even cold here in southern New Mexico), such dishes are welcome and hearty on cool evenings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 tablespoon of bacon drippings or butter
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 stalk (rib) of celery, chopped
  • 1 poblano or Anaheim chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
  • 1/2 pound of ground pork or beef
  • 1/2 pound of mild andouille or other spicy smoked sausage
  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 teaspoons of chicken or beef bouillon or base (like Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1  15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, halved, cored and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, scraped and diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp  of fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, or to taste
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Brown your ground pork or beef (or frankly a combo would be fine) until no longer pink.
  2. Add the vegetables except for the cabbage and potato and saute until softened.
  3. Add the water, cabbage, potato, and canned tomato
  4. Bring to a light simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
  5. Add the balance of the ingredients save the sausage and cover, letting the soup sit for a couple of hours if possible.
  6. Add the sausage an reheat.

SERVES: 8

NOTES: you can use a milder sausage if you prefer and leave out the chiles, but I wouldn’t. Also I leave the sausage out until the end because I like the taste of Andouille and don’t want it all washed out by the cooking process. This freezes up well if you have leftovers!

SOURCE: Deep South Dish

Roasted Tomato Gazpacho

RTGaspzcho (2)Gazpacho.

Oh I just love the sound of the word don’t you?

Nothing says lazy late summer than Gazpacho.

It is the queen of tomato soups, the elegant mistress of gorgeous globes of grand fragrance and taste.

Oh, stop me.

This is different than most, one that I created, and changed up to suit my own tastes.

You will notice a lack of cucumber, since I don’t like the taste of it in my soup for some reason. It always leaves me wishing I’d left it out, so I did.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lbs or so of ripe real tomatoes (the best you can get) halved and seeded.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, topped and in foil drizzled with EVOO.
  • 2 Hatch, Anaheim or Poblano chiles, sliced in half and laid cut side down
  • 1 small red sweet pepper, sliced into chunks
  • 1/2 medium onion sliced in chunks
  • 2 6-oz cans of tomato juice
  • 1 c beef stock
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp  sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 c EVOO
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • juice of one lime
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place all the veggies in a bag and pour some EVOO over and gently rotate until all are coated.
  2. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in a 425° pre-heated oven until all are charred a bit and soft. (you may have to remove some items before others)
  3. Cool the veggies and then place in a food processor or blender and whirr up until pureed. (you can pulse it if you wish to make it chunky or smooth as you choose.
  4. Pour into a bowl. Add the balance of ingredients.
  5. Adjust the tomato juice to get the consistency you desire. Check for salt and add as needed. Add as much pepper as you like. I like a great deal, up to a tablespoon is fine.
  6. Chill well or serve at room temperature

SERVES: 4

NOTES: You can of course vary the heat, adding jalapeño or Serrano peppers in addition if you like. If you don’t want the Hatch type peppers, add more sweet peppers.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton