Category Archives: Soup

Quick Bites: Asian-Style Noodle Soup

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On our way to get our veggie share, we randomly stopped into an Asian market. I love browsing Asian and Indian markets and checking out all the cool new foods. We left with a bunch of things including rice sticks and a spicy chile and bean paste. When we got shiitake mushrooms in our share, I knew that I would be making soup for lunch.

Here is a helpful hint for when you make chicken stock. When the stock is cooled, measure it in 1, 2, and 4 cup increments into plastic freezer bags. Then you always have stock at the ready for a quick soup for one or two people.

For this soup I cooked 1 cup of chicken stock, a few sliced shiitake mushrooms, minced garlic and ginger, and some chopped scallion. When the mushrooms were softened and the soup boiling I took it off the heat and added a small handful of the rice noodles and a splash of fish sauce and let it sit for a few minutes. I garnished the whole thing with some toasted sesame oil, a bit of tamari soy sauce, a bit more chopped scallion, and a healthy spoonful of the chili paste. It was delicious… Spicy and salty with ginger and barely chewy noodles.

Have a great weekend!

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Roasted Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

Wait, please don’t run away.  I realize that the title of this post might not rouse tons of enthusiasm and that the soup isn’t the most appetizing color.  BUT, hang with me for a few minutes because this soup is fantastic… full of roasted delicious flavor and easy to make.  It is warm and filling which, if you leave in any of the 49 states in the US that currently have at least a little snow (yes, I am jealous of you, FL), makes it a perfect soup for a winter evening.

Cauliflower ready for the oven

Cauliflower ready for the oven

The particular color of the soup is because we let our cauliflower get nice and roasted.  If you choose to roast your cauliflower to a less, er, caramelized state, your soup would be more white than tan.  However, looks aside, the taste of richly browned cauliflower mixes with roasted garlic, wine, and cheddar cheese in a really fantastic way.

Richly roasted

Richly roasted

Other than roasting the cauliflower (which takes about 40 minutes), this soup is very quick to put together.  If you are pressed for time, you can roast your veggies in advance and pop them in the fridge.  Once you are ready to make the soup, it only takes about 20 minutes of (largely unattended) time.  We used an inexpensive riesling for the wine but you could use whatever type of white wine you have on hand (or omit the wine and use extra stock).  Feel free to add a little cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes if you like a little heat or use fresh herbs if you’ve got them.  Really, have a little fun with this soup… It is rich tasting, simple, and satisfying, especially when you are looking at 2 feet of snow in your driveway!

Cheesy goodness

Cheesy goodness

Roasted Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Recipe adapted from the Tasty Kitchen Blog

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower

3 large cloves of garlic (or 6 smaller cloves) peeled and cut in half

2 tbls olive oil

3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbls chopped fresh thyme)

1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbls chopped fresh oregano)

1 and 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Make:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Chop the cauliflower into florets, discarding the core.  Place the cauliflower and halved garlic in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.  Toss with your hands until well combined and spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.  Put the sheet into the oven and roast, turning once, until the cauliflower is caramelized and is fork-tender, about 40-50 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and about two cups of the stock to a large saucepan or stock pot.  Using an immersion blender, blend until the cauliflower is smooth and creamy.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can do this in batches in a regular blender.  Just be careful that the steam doesn’t cause a blender explosion in your kitchen.  Add the rest of the stock, the wine, and the dried herbs and bring to a gentle boil (make sure you add the puree back to the pot if you are using a regular blender).  Turn the heat down and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Remove the soup from the heat and add the grated cheese, stirring until completely melted.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

To Serve:

Serve immediately with some good bread for dipping.  Serves 4.  The cauliflower can be roasted ahead of time and held in the fridge for up to a few days.  Just heat it with the stock a little before pureeing.

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Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea soup is one of our favorites.  It is one of those soups that is completely underrated and rarely made often enough.  Sure, lots of people think split pea is kind of boring… but that is because they aren’t making it right.  The split peas may be the body of the soup but it is smoked ham hocks that are the heart and soul.  It’s the ham hock that really delivers the kind of depth of flavor that makes this soup something special.  It’s what you smell when you walk in the kitchen.  When it’s made right, it’s the chunks of smoked and slow cooked pork that are like little Christmas presents you sink your teeth into amongst the creamy split peas.

Vegetables

Vegetables

We usually make split pea soup after a meat smoking session when we have smoked up a big bone-in cut of pork.  We use the bone and left over meat to enrich the soup.  However, this time was a special occasion.  Over the summer, we had the pleasure of purchasing a whole hog.  In addition to turning 10+ pounds of pork belly into bacon, we had the opportunity to brine and smoke fresh ham hocks.  Those delicious hocks became the centerpiece of this soup.

The Hock

The Hock

Part of the appeal of split pea soup is the simplicity.  You just need a few ingredients – split peas, carrot, celery, onion – and a few hours.  As a matter of fact, most of that time is hands off while the soup is simmering.  What’s not to love?

Simmering Soup

Simmering Soup

Split Pea Soup

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

1 smoked ham hock (if you don’t have your own on hand, you can often purchase them in the meat section of your supermarket)

4 cups of water

1/2 pound split peas (about 1 cup)

1 carrot, diced

2 small stalks of celery, diced

small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

In a large soup pot, combine the water, ham hock, and split peas. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour.  Stir in the rest of the vegetables and the bay leaf.  Simmer, covered, until the ham hock and peas are tender, about another hour (if your liquid doesn’t cover the ham hock, turn it occasionally).

Once the hock is tender, remove it from the pot, remove the skin and bone and discard.  Coarsely chop the meat and return it to the pot.  Continue to simmer the soup until the desired consistency is reached.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

To Serve:

Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving.  Serve hot with hot sauce and a side of crusty bread, as desired.  Serves 4-6 as a hearty soup course.

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Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup

Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup

Do you live in the Northeastern US?  Are you tired of the rain?  Tired of being wet and cold?  There is still enough time to make one last hot soup before the onset of spring.  Lately, we all needed something that would warm us up a bit more.  This soup does just that.  It combines the classic flavors of roasted garlic, roasted potatoes, and cheese in a comfy and tasty soup. 

The Garlic, Onions and Potatoes - Before

 The idea behind the soup was to cross several classic potatoes sides, namely, French Fries, garlic mashed potatoes and a baked potato and serve it up in a soup form.  The essence of the French Fries come from oven roasting the potatoes.  The roasted garlic brings in flavors reminiscent of garlic mashed potatoes.  The baked potato served as our muse for the final garnish toppings.  Feel free to add some bacon here.  It would be delicious.   We, unfortunately, were out.

The Garlic, Onions, and Potatoes - After

 Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup

 Ingredients:

 2 heads of garlic

 2 lbs baking potatoes

 2 medium onions

 3 tbls olive oil

 1 tbls dijon mustard

1 tbls dried oregano

1 tbls water

2 tbls butter

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup milk or half-and-half

2-3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped for garnish

4 oz colby jack cheese, shredded

2 tablespoon dry vermouth (optional)

salt and peppper to taste

To Make:

First, roast the garlic.  Remove  the cloves from two heads of garlic, but leave the paper-like-peel on the cloves.  Scatter the unpeeled cloves on a baking sheet with a rim.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt.  Place in a 375F oven for about 30 minutes.  The cloves are ready when they are tender to the touch.  When cool enough to handle, take off the peels and set the garlic cloves aside.

 Meanwhile, roast the potatoes.  Scrub the potatoes well under running water.  Cut the potatoes into 1″ cubes.  Toss the cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange the cubes on a baking sheet.  Roast in a 425 oven for 45 minutes, flipping them all between 20 and 25 minutes.

 While the potatoes are roasting, caramelize the onions.  In a 10″ skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Peel and cut the onions in half.  Cut slices from each half.  Add the onions to the melted butter, season with salt and pepper.  Cook low and slow for at least one hour (I let these go almost 3 hours).  If the onions look like they are drying out too much, turn down the heat and add some liquid (a tablespoon or two) to plump up the onions a little bit.  Liquids such as a dry white wine, dry sherry, or dry vermouth bring a nice flavor to onions.  If you’re opposed to alcohol, use some chicken stock or water.

 To Make Soup

 In a stock pot, bring the stock to a simmer, add in the roasted garlic, the caramelized onions and most of the roasted potatoes (reserve about 1 cup of the roasted potatoes).  Return the soup to a simmer and let the ingredients warm through, about 10-20 minutes.  Remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.  If you don’t have a stick blender, working in the small batches, add to a blender and blend until smooth.  Return the soup to low heat and add the half-and-half, stir and heat through. 

 To Serve:

Ladle the soup into soup bowls.  Garnish each bowl with some of the reserved roasted potatoes, the chopped green onion, and shredded cheese.  

 This soup may seem like a lot of work, but much of it can be made in advance.  The garlic and potatoes can be roasted and the onions can be caramelized and set aside in the fridge.  Simply add them to the stock and heat through.  Serves 4 as a hearty first course.

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Thai-Syle Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

Thai-Style Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

I came home from work one evening in a little bit of a funk.  I was tired from a long day, it was cold outside, and it was one of those days where I drove both to and from work in the dark.  However, all of my crankiness evaporated when I walked into the kitchen.  There was a big pot of soup bubbling on the stove and the whole house smelled like a Thai restaurant tinged with lime and coconut.

Onions and garlic and ginger, oh my

Marc is a real soup nut… he would eat it everyday if I agreed to it.  On this cold night he was craving something a little different, something that was a little Asian and a little Caribbean.  This soup was the culmination of those cravings and as good as it smelled, it tasted even better.

Sweet potatoes and mushrooms into the pool

There was a nice meatiness from chicken and mushrooms, sweetness from sweet potato and coconut, a little nuttiness from peanut butter, and some tang from a lime.  It was a perfect balance of the different flavors and just the thing to return my mood to its normally cheerful state.  So if you find yourself in need of a little cheering up, just whip a pot of this soup, inhale the savory-sweet smell, and dig in.  I guarantee you will feel better immediately.

Stirring the soup

Thai-Style Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

From the mind of Marc

Ingredients:

2 tlbs ginger oil (if you don’t have any, substitute peanut or other neutral oil and add an additional tbls of minced fresh ginger)

1 tlbs fresh ginger, minced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, sliced

16 oz chicken stock (homemade preferred, if you don’t have any on hand make sure to use low sodium broth)

1 medium sweet potato, peeled, chopped in 1″ cubes

6 oz white button mushrooms, stemmed, sliced

2 tbls fish sauce

1 – 14 oz can light coconut milk

2 chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs), cooked* and chopped

Juice and zest of 1 lime

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

1/4 cup shredded coconut

Toasted shredded coconut**, chopped peanuts, and cilantro for garnish (optional)

To Make:

Heat large soup pot with the ginger oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add in the ginger, garlic, and onion and cook until softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Add the sweet potato, mushrooms, and fish sauce.  Pour in the chicken stock and add water (if needed) to barely cover the vegetables.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.

Add in the chopped chicken, lime zest, lime juice, peanut butter, shredded coconut, and coconut milk.  Continue to simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally.

To Serve:

Serve hot garnished with toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, and fresh cilantro.  Serves 4-6 as a main course.

* We brined our chicken overnight prior to oven roasting.  While this isn’t absolutely necessary, it does add a lot of nice flavor to the chicken.

** To toast shredded coconut, place coconut on a foil lined baking sheet.  Place in a 325 degree oven until browned and toasty, 8-10 minutes.  A toaster oven works well for this.

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Russian Cabbage Soup

Russian Cabbage Soup

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.  We went to my mom’s and spent a few days with her and all of my siblings (there are 5 of us).  It was a lot of fun and there was a lot of food.  After four days of eating nothing but pies, cookies, brownies, whipped cream, mac and cheese, stuffed shells, and of course, turkey with all the fixings, Marc and I were feeling a little like we had food hangovers.  Arriving back home, we both felt the need to detox a little.  For us, this means eating things like soup, fresh bread, and lots of vegetables.

Soup ingredients

Personally, I couldn’t stop thinking about cabbage soup.  While that may seem like a strange thing to obsess about, I just knew that it was exactly what I needed to cure my food hangover.  I went searching on the Internet to find myself a recipe.  I started with one of my favorite food blogger sites, Smitten Kitchen.  Indeed, there was a very interesting recipe for cabbage soup.  Using that as my starting point, I found a few other recipes with interesting components that I incorporated. 

Chopped vegetables

The result is a hearty and delicious cabbage soup with tomato, celery, carrots, onion, and (obviously) cabbage.  Beef and beef stock add meaty flavor while the inclusion of sauerkraut and some white wine vinegar add a pleasing tanginess.  The vegetables are cooked but still retain some of their texture.  While this soup takes a little while to make, it is really easy.  Served with some crusty bread, it is the perfect meal for a wintery Sunday dinner… and an excellent way to rebound from the holiday gluttony. 

Simmering soup

Russian Cabbage Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups beef stock

4 cups water

1 lb ground beef

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon marjoram

3 whole allspice berries

1 cup sauerkraut plus 2 tbls juice

1 medium potato, diced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

3 ribs celery, finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cups fresh cabbage, thinly shredded (about half a large head of cabbage)

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained (or 1 lb fresh tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped)

2 tbls white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

In a large soup pot, bring stock and water to a boil.  Add bay leaves, marjoram, and allspice.  Break the ground beef into small pieces and add it to the pot.  Turn the heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about one hour.

Remove the ground beef and set aside.  Skim off most of the fat from the stock.  Add the sauerkraut and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the potato and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the cabbage, carrots, onions, celery, and tomatoes (including the juice) and simmer for 20 minutes.  Return the beef to the pot and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the sauerkraut juice, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve:

Serve hot with additional vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and/or sour cream as desired.  Serves 6-8.

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Yummy Vegetables (and Cream of Roasted Fennel Soup)

We got our first of three winter CSA distributions on Saturday.  Look at all the great things we got!

First Winter CSA Distribution

We got about 35 lbs of produce including apples, kale, various squashes, leeks, celery, parsnips, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, peppers, cabbage, fennel, and a kohlrabi.  The bounty covered most of our kitchen island.  The biggest challenge is trying to find the right storage for all these vegetables. 

So far, everything we have eaten has been delicious.  The apples are super fresh, the carrots are sweet, and the celery has more flavor than any celery I have had before.  Tonight for dinner we made a cream of roasted fennel soup.  We didn’t take any pictures because, honestly, we weren’t really expecting much.  Fennel is one of those vegetables that I think people either love or hate.  The flavor is pretty distinct and strong.  I expected the soup to be strongly flavored of licorice.  Turns out, it was really delicious.  Roasting the fennel and cooking it with onions, potato, some half-and-half, and cumin creates a rich and creamy soup with subtle undertones of fennel.  I am posting the recipe for all those other CSA members out there who don’t know what to do with their fennel.

Cream of Roasted Fennel Soup

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Simple Soups and Stews

Ingredients:

1-2 fennel bulbs (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs)

1 large white onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 tsp kosher salt

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup half-and-half

2 tbls lemon juice

1/2 tsp ground cumin

To Make:

Trim tough stalks and bottom stem from fennel bulb.  Cut the bulb into 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange the fennel and onion on a baking sheet, toss with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.  Roast in a 375 degree oven until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 25 minutes.

Transfer the roasted fennel and onion to a soup pot.  Add the stock and potato.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Puree in a blender in batches (or all at once with a stick blender).  Return the mixture to the soup pot and stir in the lemon juice, cumin, and half-and-half.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Serve:

Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a first course.

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