Archive for Soups
Yesterday was the first legitimately cold day of the season in Chicago. The first taste of winter’s cold is always a shock to the system and especially in my house where my husband likes to keep the house at 60° during the day. After a brisk walk with the dogs, a long bath and hot soup were all I needed to counter the cold-both inside and out. This soup is hearty enough to serve as a main course and light enough to serve as a starter when prepared without the mussels.
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 6 large carrots, peeled and chopped into fourths
- 1 LB yams, peeled and chopped in fourths
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- ½ cup bitter ginger ale (I used Blenheim Ginger Ale http://www.blenheimgingerale.com/)
- 1.5 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups chopped Fiji apples, about 2 apples
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1.5 LB’s mussels, cleaned and debearded
- Extra salt and pepper for seasoning
Pour the broth into a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and yams and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the garlic, ginger, ginger ale and garam masala. Cover the pot with a tight fitted lid and cook for 30 minutes or until the carrots and yams are very easily pierced with a fork. Carefully pour the contents of the pot into a food processor and mix until completely smooth. This typically takes a few minutes. Return the contents of the food processor to the stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir in the milk, cream and salt and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the apples and sauté for 5 minutes. Spoon the apples and any remaining butter into the stockpot. Add the mussels to the pot, cover and let cook for an additional 5 minutes on medium heat. The soup is done once the mussels have completely opened. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
- 3 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- 4 cups corn, canned or straight off the husk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in half
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup Half and Half
- 1 teaspoon salt + extra for seasoning the chicken
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper + extra for seasoning the chicken
- Sour cream
Pre-heat oven to 375°. Place the chicken on a baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Once the chicken has cooled, use a fork to shred it into thin strips.
Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot filled half way with water to a boil. Carefully lower the sweet potatoes into the water with a slotted spoon. Continue to boil for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn and coat with the butter. Sauté for 5 minutes then add the scallions, ginger, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer all but ¾ cups of the corn mixture to a food processor. Set the other ¾ cups aside for later use. Also add to the food processor the cooked sweet potato. Mix until fully incorporated and smooth. Return the mixture to a stockpot medium-high heat. Fold in the reserved corn as well as the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the half and half. Fold in the chicken and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as you see fit. Ladle into soup bowls, top with a spoonful a sour cream and enjoy.
Because I have love-hate relationship with sushi, I often order Udon soup at Japanese restaurants. Standard Udon soup is prepared in a basic broth, accompanied by tempura and topped with a poached egg. I have no intention of messing too much with something so good, but I do like a little more flavor in my broth. I added a few spices and vegetables and the outcome was an old favorite with a wealth of new flavor.
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cardamom pods
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 star anise
- ¼ cup scallions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 cups chopped baby bok choy
- 1 cup sliced radishes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 ounces Udon noodles
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 LB shrimp, tail shell on
- 1 bundle brocolini
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼” slices
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
Start with the soup. Heat the oil over medium- high heat in large stockpot. Add the cardamom, bay leaves and star anise. Sauté for 2 minutes then add the scallions, garlic and ginger. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the bok choy, radishes, salt and cinnamon. Cook until the bulk of the bok choy is reduced by half. Pour in the broth and soy sauce, bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes. The cardamom pods, bay leaves and star anise with float to the top while cooking. Remove them and discard.
Meanwhile, start on the tempura. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet. Test the heat of the oil by carefully dripping water into the skillet. If the oil spits upon contact with the water it is ready to fry. Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl as well. Prepare the shrimp, sweet potatoes and brocolini for frying by dipping in the egg and then the bread crumbs. Carefully lower the vegetables and shrimp into the oil and fry until nicely browned on all sides. You will likely have to do this in a number of batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and lay on a paper towel to drain.
Back to the soup. Return to a boil and add the Udon noodles. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 11-14 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover.
While the noodles are cooking in the soup, bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the vinegar and reduce to a simmer. Carefully crack the eggs in one at a time. Use a spoon to push the egg whites closer to the yolk. Cover the pot, turn off the heat and let sit for 3 minutes. At this point, spoon the noodles and soup into deep serving bowls. Top with a few pieces of the tempura and one egg. Serve immediately.
I made this dish for dinner last night and my stomach is still thanking me. The coconut provides for an understated creamy base that is accentuated by a punch of tikka paste and garam masala. Serve in smaller portions for a first course or in larger portions for a main course.
Serves 4 for a main course and 6 for a first course
- 2 LB’s mussels, de-bearded, scrubbed and open mussels discarded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon tikka paste
- 1/ cup white wine
- ½ cup water
- 1 13 ounce can coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons key lime juice- about 4 limes
-1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 medium size plum tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed
- Fresh French bread, cut into ¼ inch slices and toasted
Heat oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in the tikka paste and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the wine and water and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Whisk in the coconut milk, followed by the lime juice, salt, garam masala, cumin, cilantro and cayenne pepper. Return to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the tomatoes and the mussels. Cover and cook over low-medium heat until the mussels fully open at which point they are done. Discard the mussels that failed to open during cooking. Spoon the mussels and the sauce into shallow bowls and serve with a few pieces of toast.
After graduating from college, my husband and I moved to Bozeman, Montana where we resided for a few years. Our lifestyle was quite frankly idyllic – skiing, hiking with our dogs, open spaces and an abundance of fresh venison and pheasant for our consumption. Upon our move to the big city I was left mourning the absence of some of my favorite fresh game meals. I was therefore thrilled to find fresh pheasant at Gepperth’s Market just a few blocks away from my home in Chicago. If you can’t find pheasant use duck or chicken breast.
- 6 pounds chicken, you can use a combination of breasts and thighs
- ½ large yellow onion, skinned and roughly chopped
- 3 carrot sticks, chopped into three’s
- 3 celery sticks, chopped into three’s
- 2 large leeks, cleaned and roughly chopped, discard the green parts
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup parsley
- 1 garlic clove, chopped into four pieces
- 1 freshly squeezed tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 gallons water
- 1 ounce morel mushrooms
- 1 medium sized pheasant, about 2 LB’s, cleaned and pat dry
- Bundle of sage
- Bundle of thyme
- Bundle of rosemary
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup half and half
-1/2 cup grated parmesan
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- Truffle oil
Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
Start with the broth. Combine the onion, celery, carrots, leeks, bay leaves, parsley, garlic, chicken and water in large stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce to a simmer and cover. Continue to simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain the broth into a large bowl with a fine sieve. Discard the vegetables and the chicken. Return the broth to the stockpot removed from the heat.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in mushrooms. Let sit for 20-30 minutes or until they are soft. Roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside. Save the mushroom water for basting the pheasant.
Place the pheasant in a large baking dish, breast side facing up. Stuff the bird with the sage, thyme and rosemary and season the outside with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes per pound, basting every ten minutes with a few tablespoons of the mushroom water. Remove the pheasant from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Clean the meat off the bones and chop into ½ inch pieces. Discard the bones. Place the pheasant in a medium size bowl and toss with the parsley and cheese.
Meanwhile, make the dumpling dough by combing the flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a food mixer fixed with a dough hook. Cut the butter in one tablespoon at a time while mixing on medium- high speed. Slowly add the half and half and continue to mix until an elastic and moist dough forms. Remove the dough from the mixer and roll out to ¼ inch thickness on a floured surface. Use a knife or a circular cookie cutter to make the dumpling cut outs- they should be about 2-3 inches in diameter. Lightly brush one side of the circular cut outs with the truffle oil. Pile a small amount of the pheasant, parsley and mushroom mixture in the middle of each dough round. Carefully fold up the edges of the dough to form a pocket. Pinch the top of the pocket to ensure the contents stay in place while cooking.
Return the broth to a boil then reduce to a simmer over low heat. With a slotted spoon, gently place the dumplings into the broth. Cover and let the dumplings cook for 15 minutes. Spoon the dumplings and stock into shallow soup bowls and serve immediately. You can refrigerate the remaining broth for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
- 3/4 – 1 LB Cod fillet, sliced into 1 inch cubes
- 2 dozen clams, cleaned
- 2 dozen mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
- 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
- 2 small yellow squash necks, roughly chopped
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce
- 2 cups store bought fish stock
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
-2 teaspoons Pernod liquor
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup cream
- 1 cup homemade croutons – chopped bread lightly broiled in the oven. I like to use leftover brioche or another sweeter bread
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
Over medium-high, heat oil and butter in a large stockpot. Add shallots, stir and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in squash and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, Pernod, salt and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and whisk in tomato paste. Add cream and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Pick through the mussels and clams and discard those that are already opened, even slightly. Add fish and remaining mussels and clams to mixture and continue to cook for 4-6 minutes or until the majority of the mussels and claims have opened. Discard mussels or clams that did not open t this point. Ladle Cioppino into shallow bowls and top with a handful of bread crumbs and cheese. Serve right away.
While eating out one night, my husband ordered leek soup. When the waiter placed the soup in front of him, he declared, “There is a leek in my bowl!” The waiter frantically stumbled before realizing the leek was not a leak and the joke was on him. Unfortunately, I hear this joke anytime I cook with leeks, but this soup is worth it.
- 4 leeks, rinsed and trimmed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons Vermouth
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
- ½ -1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Crème fraich
Cut the leeks horizontally into ¼ inch disks. Discard the white part of the leeks.
In a large stockpot, heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat down if necessary. Stir in sugar and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add Vermouth and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in broth, cream and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil. Once a boil is achieved, decrease heat to a low-simmer. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Pour mixture into a food processor and blend until leeks are completely incorporated. Return mixture to the stockpot over medium heat.
In a small bowl whisk 1 tablespoon room temperature butter and the flour into a paste. Ladle a small amount of the hot soup onto the paste and whisk. Now pour the contents of the bowl back into the stockpot. Stir until the soup has thickened and serve with a touch of crème fraich.