Sunday, January 22, 2012

Can There Be Too Many Veggies in Your Soup?

I don't think so.

Today I started with my old standby, Fast Chicken Soup Base.

I glommed onto half of the remaining cabbage, a serving of steamed broccoli, and a bag
of mixed veggies;

I used up the remains of the baby carrots, 2 ribs of celery, and half an onion;

And look what I ended up with. What's not to love?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Back in the Saddle

January was not a good month for soup in our house. I ate a bowl of "aged" soup and made myself sick, so soup was not on the menu for a few weeks until I got over my mad--and upset stomach. (Don't you hate it when you poison yourself like that? I seem to do it every couple years. Careless.) But I'm working all this week and all next week so I needed something quick and easy for lunches. Therefore, I'm back to making soup.

This week we have Curried Chicken Soup. As usual, I started with Pam Anderson's Fast Chicken Soup Base. (Once again I apologize for always starting from the same spot, but it's such an easy and versatile recipe that I just can't resist.)

**I used half Beef Broth instead of all chicken, and I chose the very darkest rotisserie chicken that Walmart had so that the soup broth is dark brown and rich looking.

**In with the onions, celery and carrots I added about 1/4 of a bell pepper chopped, and I sliced and sauteed a pound of button mushrooms (sorry, DIL, they were cheap) in a separate skillet to toss in.

**For the veggies, I diced a zucchini and chopped a bag of frozen cauliflower florets, and I drained a can of chickpeas to add to ramp up the protein. (One of my favorite things about Weight Watchers old Quick Start plan was that you could count dried beans and chickpeas as either a Bread Exchange or a Protein Exchange. For some reason that seemed like a luxury to me, plus it lets me make my own hummus which makes great lunches on toasted whole wheat pita with sliced cukes and tomatoes on top. Mmm.)

**And finally, I put in 1 Tablespoon of curry powder. (It could stand more, maybe 2 Tablespoons total, but Don doesn't like things spicy and I love him so I make it mild for him.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Soups

With all the rich food and multi-course meals of the holiday season, we like to take a simpler approach. We make a few pots of homemade soup a few days ahead and then reheat them when everyone comes over.

This year we had Chinese Chicken Soup (see previous post) and French Onion Soup.

For the Chinese Chicken, I splurged on a $3 bag of frozen edamame, water chestnuts, snow peas, and those weird little corns instead of just plain old green beans, along with the whole bag of bean sprouts. It was yummy.

The French Onion Soup recipe came from
The Cook's Encyclopedia of Soup that I bought at Barnes & Noble a bazillion years ago.

1 Tablespoon butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 large onions, finely sliced (~3#)

2-5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 1/4 quarts beef stock
2 Tablespoons brandy (optional)
French bread, sliced thick and toasted
3 cups grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 10-12 minutes until they are soft and beginning to brown.

Putting one garlic clove aside, finely chop the rest and add to the onions. Add the sugar and thyme and continue cooking over medium heat for 30-35 minutes until the onions are brown, stirring frequently. (Note: the sugar will stick to the pan bottom and add to the brown color of the soup)

Sprinkle the flour over and stir until well blended. Stir in the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam from the surface. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in the brandy, if using.

Heat the broiler. Rub each sliced of toasted French bread with the remaining garlic clove. Place 6 or 8 flameproof soup bowls on a cookie sheet and fill them about three-quarters full with the onion soup.

Float a piece of toast in each bowl. Top with grated cheese, dividing it evenly. Broil about 6 inches from the heat for 3-4 minutes until the cheese begins to melt and bubble. Serve piping hot.

If the crowd is bigger than 6 people, I usually make another soup, a creamy one, so that there's plenty for everyone to have a bit of each. I serve either crusty French bread or, if I have time, I make an easy refrigerator roll dough into Parmesan crescents to dip in the broth. One of these days I'll post that recipe.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chinese Chicken Soup *edited*

Once again I began with the Fast Chicken Soup Base. This time I substituted 1-14 oz. can of Vegetable Broth for the same size Chicken broth at the beginning to give it a bit of different flavor. While the bones and skin simmered I added 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder to let them infuse the broth with their distinctive flavor. I also added 1/4 teaspoon of Emeril's Essence which I put in nearly everything.( I think it doesn't flavor things so much as enhance the individual flavors of the ingredients.)

The vegetables in this week's soup are:

1 small can mushroom stems and pieces,
2 cups fresh bean sprouts,
1 lb. fresh green beans, cut in 1/2 inch pieces,
and twice as many carrots as the recipe calls for.

I thought about giving it a dash of soy sauce or maybe even hoisin sauce, but it smells so good right now I can't bear to alter it. Maybe tomorrow when the flavors have melded it'll need a little tweaking, but right now I think it's just right.

*I think it needs another 1/4 tsp. of Five Spice Powder; it's got the aroma but not quite enough of the taste.*

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beefy Borscht

Our son made borscht for us when we visited him and his bride in Missoula, Montana last fall. It was delicious. So I found Emeril Lagasse's recipe on the web and reworked it so I could eat it on my weight loss plan.

Beefy Borscht

1 Tablespoon bacon grease

1 ½ pound lean beef chuck, cut into bite-size pieces

1 cup diced onion

1 rib celery, minced

2 carrots, peeled and grated

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons dried oregano

3 Tablespoons fake bacon bits

2 bay leaves

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 quarts water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds red beets, tops removed, roasted and grated

6-8 cups shredded green cabbage

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt bacon grease in Dutch oven over high heat; add the beef and cook, stirring, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.


To the fat in the pan, add the onions and carrots, cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic oregano, and bay leaves and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the red wine vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan. Return the meat to the pot and add the water, fake bacon, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered until the beef is tender, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, place the beets in a large piece of foil. Roast in oven until tender and can be pierced easily with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Trim the stem and root ends and remove the skins. Coarsely grate and set aside.


When the meat is tender and falling apart, add the beets and cabbage. Simmer over low heat for another 30 minutes. Season with additional red wine vinegar, salt and freshly grown black pepper to taste.

--Serves 8

Ladle into bowls, top with a Tablespoon of plain yogurt.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chicken Soup No. 5

I made this soup this afternoon while Don was off running errands. When he came home the soup was simmering. He said, "Something smells great in here." And I answered, "It's my new perfume, Chicken Soup Number 5." That's how the name of the soup came about.

I started with Pam Anderson's trusty Fast Chicken Soup Base. (Sorry I use it so often, but I'm losing weight and I know exactly how to make it so that it's fairly fat-free and I can put a ton of veggies in it. And change the flavor with herbs and spices so sometimes it's Italian, sometimes it's Middle Eastern, sometimes it's Southwestern.)

Fast Chicken Soup Base
Makes 3 1/2 - 4 quarts. Serves 8.

2 quarts chicken broth, plus 1 quart water
1 store-bought roast chicken
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions (2 cups), cut into medium dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds or half rounds, depending on size
2 large celery stalks, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Bring broth and water to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle. Meanwhile, separate chicken meat from skin and bones; reserve meat. Add skin and bones to the simmering broth. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until bones release their flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.
Strain broth through a colander into a large container; reserve broth and discard skin and bones. Return kettle to burner set on medium-high.
Add oil, then onions, carrots and celery. Saute until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chicken, broth and thyme. Bring to a simmer. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. Return to a simmer before adding the extras of your choice.)

Today's variation: 1 medium onion and 4 green onions instead of the 2 large onions.
Sliced thin 1 medium zucchini, peeled and thinly sliced 2 small turnips.
Cut 1/4 of a medium green cabbage into thin strips.

Once the soup is assembled place 1/2 cup combined fresh parsley and basil leaves into a food processor with 3 cloves garlic, whir until well blended and stir into hot soup.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cauliflower and Ham Soup *edited*

This soup grew out of meat left from supper and the vegetables in the quick sale bin at Woodman's.

Cauliflower and Ham Soup

1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 49.5 oz. can chicken broth
1 1/4 cup juice reserved from previously cooking ham (you can substitute 1 can of beef or vegetable broth)
1 quart water
1 3/4 lb. cauliflower florets, chopped bite size or smaller
4 large carrots, thin sliced
1 1/4 lb. cooked ham, diced
at least 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons Penzeys Bavarian Herb Blend
3 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
Pepper to taste

Saute onions and celery in oil heated over high heat in soup kettle until soft. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour.