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Showing posts with label Soup/Chowder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soup/Chowder. Show all posts

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Quick Asian Pork Soup

For day 9 of Soup Month 2014 we made a Quick Asian Pork Soup that has the most amazing flavor! This soup is so easy to make it would make a great weeknight meal, and you won't spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  The leftovers will even make a delicious lunch for you to take to work.

With hints of flavor from ginger, garlic, and a bit of red pepper flakes, the real flavor booster for this soup is the fish sauce.  Although generally used for fish soups and seafood entrees, especially in Thai cuisine, fish sauce can be added to so many foods that need just a touch of saltiness and an added savory touch.  Fish sauce is a great ingredient to experiment with and it's definitely not just for Asian foods.

To add a bit of heartiness to the soup we used savoy cabbage, which is a bit sweeter than regular green cabbage, sliced mushrooms for an earthy taste, and lean pork loin cut into thin strips.

As I mentioned, this soup is very quick to make, with preparation time at just about 30 minutes start to finish.  The soup is a hearty meal by itself or can be served with Homemade Egg Rolls on the side.  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Peanut Oil
1-1/4 lb  Boneless Pork Loin, cut into thin bite-sized strips
8 oz  Button Mushrooms, cleaned and cut into thick slices
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 tsp  Minced Ginger
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/4 tsp  White Pepper
1/4 tsp  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 cups  Shredded Savoy Cabbage
2  Green Onions, thinly sliced
5 cups  Chicken Broth
2 tsp  Fish Sauce

In a medium soup pot, heat the peanut oil over medium heat, add the pork and cook 3 - 4 minutes, or until most of  the pink color is gone.  Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.

Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, salt, white pepper and red pepper flakes to the pan and saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 - 4 minutes.

Add the pork back to the pan, then add the cabbage, green onions, chicken broth and fish sauce.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the cabbage is tender, about 8 - 10 minutes.  Makes 4 - 6 servings.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Egg Drop Soup

For day 8 of Soup Month 2014 we have a simple but delicious Egg Drop Soup.  Sometimes a simple soup is just what you need after a long day at work, and this soup is one of my favorites just for that reason.  It's ready to serve in just a few minutes.

This delicate soup tastes great on its own but if you prefer a bit more spice, a generous dash of Sriracha sauce can be added, or you can increase the amount of white pepper.  We did not add any extra salt to this recipe since there is plenty of salt in the chicken broth, but you can adjust this to your own taste at the end of the recipe and add a bit of salt.  If you are watching your sodium intake, low-sodium chicken stock can also be used in place of the regular.

Serve this soup with a few Homemade Shrimp Egg Rolls on the side for a delicious Asian meal that tastes even better than carry out.  Enjoy!!

6 cups  Chicken Broth, refrigerated
3-1/2 tb  Cornstarch
1-1/2 tsp  Fresh Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp  Garlic Powder
2  Large Eggs
2  Egg Whites
3/4 tsp  Sesame Oil
3  Green Onions, sliced thin
Salt and White Pepper to Taste, optional

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the chicken stock, cornstarch, ginger and garlic powder until combined.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

While the soup is heating, whisk the eggs and egg whites in a small bowl.

Once the broth reaches a boil, remove from the heat.  Use a fork or whisk to stir the broth while slowly pouring the egg mixture into the soup.  Stir in the sesame oil and green onions until combined and season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Polish Sausage and Cabbage Soup

For day 7 of Soup Month 2014, I prepared a special soup for my husband after his request for a soup made with Polish sausage.  This Polish Sausage Soup with Cabbage is a hearty bowl of soup that will warm you up on the coldest of winter nights.

Cabbage, carrots and potatoes are a timeless combination when it comes to making soup and they are used together in nearly every ethnic cuisine.  Almost any meat can be added to turn these basics into a soup, such as corned beef, pork country ribs, kielbasa or sausage.  The choice mostly depends on what your family cooked when you were growing up.  That's what makes comfort food like this taste even better.

For this soup we were lucky to come across some locally made Polish sausage that was perfectly seasoned with lots of black pepper, garlic and just a hint of marjoram.  The seasonings in the sausage plus the tang of cider vinegar and just a bit of sweetness from brown sugar give the broth a wonderful old world flavor.  Enjoy!!

1 medium head  Cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 medium  Yellow Onion, chopped
2 TB  Minced Garlic
2 TB  Olive Oil
6 cups  Chicken Stock
2 TB  Cider Vinegar
1 TB  Brown Sugar
1 lb  Polish Sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 medium  Potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 large  Carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper, or more to taste

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, saute the cabbage, onion and garlic in the oil for 5 - 7 minutes or until tender.  In a small bowl, combine the water, vinegar and brown sugar, then add the mixture to the pot.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Creamy Broccoli Soup

For day 6 of Soup Month 2014 we made a classic Creamy Broccoli Soup.  This soup is easy to make and is a great side dish in place of the traditional vegetables.  It's also very good when served with a baked chicken, pork roast or just a simple salad.

Also, if your children are not crazy about eating broccoli as a vegetable, try it in this soup. With a sprinkle of cheese on top and a creamy smooth texture, this might be another way to get them to eat more veggies.  Adding a few croutons on top will add a little crunch, too.

If you would like to make this soup a bit more hearty, add in a few sprinkles of cooked and chopped bacon or ham or any type of grated cheese would taste great in this simple but delicious soup.  Enjoy!!

2 TB Butter
1 medium  Potato, diced
6 cups  Chopped Fresh Broccoli
1  small  Yellow Onion, chopped
1  Green Pepper, chopped
2 TB Flour
6 cups Chicken  or  Vegetable Stock
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Pinch of Nutmeg, optional
3 Egg Yolks, whipped
1 cup Milk
Grated Parmesan Cheese, for garnish

In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the potato over medium-high heat for 7 minutes or until slightly tender.  Add the broccoli, onions and green pepper to the pot and cook until the vegetables are fork tender. When veggies are softened, sprinkle with the flour and stir.

Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme and pepper to the pot and cook the vegetables over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.  Use a stick blender or a regular blender to puree the soup, working in batches if necessary, to the consistency you prefer.  (Sometimes we like to leave the soup with small bits of broccoli visible, but you can also puree the soup until completely smooth.)

Return the soup to the pot and add the pinch of nutmeg and stir. Combine the egg yolks and milk or cream in a small cup, stirring to combine, then add the egg mixture to the soup and stir 3-5 minutes or until the soup is creamy and smooth.

Garnish with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 - 8.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gold Potato Soup with Chorizo and Mushroom Ragout

For day 5 of Soup Month 2014 we made a creamy Golden Potato Soup with Chorizo and Mushroom Ragout.  The soup was delicious on its own with just a hint of smoky paprika in the background, but the spoonful of sauteed chorizo and mushrooms on top brings to soup to a whole new level.

This is actually a very frugal soup to make in that you only use a half pound of chorizo, equal to about 2 sausage links, to serve 6 people.

The secret to this soup is the mushrooms, which add a nice earthy flavor to the soup, and pick up the spices from the chorizo to create an old fashioned ragout.  I love to make soups with a spoonful of something special in the center, so this was a really fun soup to create.

We chose to use Yukon gold potatoes to give this soup a beautiful yellow color, and since this variety of potato has less starch, the soup does not have a heavy taste but is full of flavor.  The paprika in the sausage plus just a hint more in the soup create a perfect balance of spices.

2 tsp  Olive Oil
1  Carrot, peeled and diced
1  Celery Stalk, chopped
1 small  Yellow Onion, finely diced
1 TB  Minced Garlic
4 medium  Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and finely diced
5 cups  Chicken Broth
1 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  White Pepper
1/4 cup  Half and Half
1/4 tsp  Smoked Paprika
1 tsp  Olive Oil
4 oz  Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 lb  Chorizo Sausage, casings removed
Chopped Fresh Parsley for Garnish

Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic and saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the potatoes, broth, salt, white pepper and paprika, and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.   Add the half and half to the pot, then use an immersion blender (or a stand blender, working in batches if needed) to puree the vegetables until smooth.

While the soup is cooking you can make the ragout.  In a small skillet, heat the olive oil then add the chorizo and brown over medium heat, using a spoon to break up the sausage into small bits.  When the sausage is browned add the mushrooms and continue to cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Ladle the pureed soup into wide soup bowls and top with a generous spoonful of the chorizo and mushroom ragout.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.  Makes about 6 dinner servings or 8 - 10 as a first course serving.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vegan Spinach and Pea Soup

For day 4 of Soup Month 2014 we made a delicious Vegan Spinach and Pea Soup that is packed with nutrient-dense vegetables.  A combination of leeks, onions, carrots and celery provided a healthy base for this soup, and the addition of spinach and peas turn this soup to a beautiful, and healthy, shade of green.

If you're trying to increase the amount of vegetables in your diet or maybe you're following a more "clean-eating" type of regimen, this is a great soup recipe to have on hand.  All of the ingredients are easy to find at your local market and the preparation time is just about 30 minutes.

Although this is a vegan soup, it's easy to transform the soup into something a little more hearty for the meat eaters in your family.  Adding a dollop of sour cream or even a sprinkle of chopped, cooked bacon or ham would be a great way to keep the non-vegans happy, too.  Enjoy!!

1-1/2 TB  Olive Oil
1 large  Leek, white part only, washed and sliced
1 medium  Yellow Onion, sliced
3 medium  Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk  Celery, chopped
1 tsp  Salt
1/4 tsp  White Pepper
1/2 cup  Water
4 cups  Vegetable Broth
1 cup  Frozen Peas
1 7-oz bag  Baby Spinach, stems removed
Garnishes:  Croutons, Sour Cream, Cooked Bacon or Cooked Ham, optional

Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the leek, onion, carrots, celery, salt and white pepper.  Saute for 3 minutes, then add the water to the pot.

When the water begins to boil add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil again.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.

Add the peas and spinach to the pot and stir until the spinach is wilted.  Remove the the pot from the  heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. (A stand blender can also be used.  Puree the soup in 2 batches, if needed.)  Taste test and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed.

Add garnishes of croutons, sour cream, bacon or ham, if desired.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp

~~~ Welcome to Soup Month 2014 ~~~

Today is the start of Soup Month, our annual series that will bring you 31 new soup, stew and chili recipes in 31 days.

We have a huge variety of soups coming your way from simple classic soups to economical soups, that will feed your family a healthy meal and allow you to stretch your budget, to elegant soups for your upcoming holiday dinners.  We will even be making a few new batches of chili to serve during football parties and winter events.

So whatever types of soups are your favorite I'm sure we will have something for everyone.  So get your soup pots ready and let's have some fun during Soup Month 2014!

For the first day of Soup Month 2014 we made a spicy Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp that is better than anything you can get from a takeout restaurant.  This is a unique version of the classic hot and sour soup in that the sour flavor comes from lemon juice instead of vinegar, giving the soup a bright flavor without the lemon being too overpowering.

We spiced up the broth with a mixture of ginger, white pepper and Sriracha sauce, then added shrimp, mushrooms and tofu to complete this hearty Asian inspired soup.  A Homemade Shrimp Egg Roll on the side was the perfect companion for this soup.

This is also a very quick to prepare soup and can be ready to serve in about 30 minutes.  The ingredients are also adjustable to suit your own preferences.  A little more lemon juice will increase the sour level, an extra teaspoon of Sriracha or pinch of white pepper will increase the heat, and more mushrooms or shrimp can be added for a more hearty soup or if you would like to stretch the recipe to serve a few more people.

2 tsp  Peanut Oil
1  Carrot, peeled and cut into small strips
1 tsp  Minced Ginger
6 oz  Fresh Mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
8 oz can  Sliced Bamboo Shoots, drained
4 cups  Chicken Broth
1/3 cup  Soy Sauce
3 TB  Lemon Juice
1 tsp White Pepper (use 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon more for more heat)
1-1/2 to 2 tsp  Sriracha Sauce (or more to taste)
12 oz  Extra Firm Tofu, drained and cut into strips or cubes
1 lb   Medium Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 TB  Cornstarch
4 TB  Water
2  Large Eggs, beaten
2 TB Green Onions, chopped

In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots and ginger and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots and cook 3 - 4 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to soften.

Add the broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, white pepper, sriracha, and tofu to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook 2 minutes or until the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink.

Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until the soup thickens slightly. Slowly drizzle the beaten eggs into pan, stirring constantly, to create ribbons in the soup.

Remove from heat and serve with a sprinkle of chopped green onions.  Makes about 6 servings.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

San Francisco-Style Cioppino

Cioppino, also know as Italian Fish Stew, is by far my favorite dish.  A combination of fish, shellfish and vegetables in a rich broth of tomato and Merlot wine, the taste is simply remarkable.  

San Francisco's Italian immigrants are credited with creating this delicious stew and there are many variations.  Some versions of this recipe use white wine in place of the Merlot, and there are some changes in the amounts of peppers, onion, garlic or tomatoes that are used.  But what is consistent for this recipe is the need for fresh, high-quality seafood.  So for your best results, try to get the freshest ingredients possible.

For our version of this dish we used large chunks of cod, but you could also substitute halibut or another firm-fleshed fish.  Next we included a generous amount of fresh clams and mussels, along with a few dozen large shrimp with the shells on.  The shrimp are butterflied down the back and deveined, but the shells is left on so they can add lots of flavor to the stew.  Lastly, the beautiful king crab legs and cleaned, cracked and quartered before being added to the pot.

This recipe is made in two steps.  First a pepper sauce base is slowly simmered to create a wonderful  base with lots of oregano and garlic, then the second step you will add the seafood which will cook pretty quickly.  This dish might seem a bit intimidating but it is actually quite fun to prepare.  Having all of your ingredients prepped and ready to cook makes the recipe very easy.

Cioppino is a hearty and delicious meal and is wonderful to serve for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  If you are tired of serving the traditional turkey or ham, your guests will love the change.  Be sure to serve with lots of crusty French Bread, a few bottles of good red wine and lots of napkins. Enjoy!!

3 TB Olive Oil
1 large  Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1 large  Green Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup  Sliced Onion
3 TB  Minced Garlic
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2 TB  Fresh Basil, chopped
1-1/2 tsp  Dried Oregano
32 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1  8 oz Bottle Clam Juice
1 cup  Italian Merlot Wine
2 cups  Chicken Stock  or  Water
12 Little Neck Clams
4 Alaskan King Crab Legs, cleaned, cracked and quartered
12 - 18 Fresh Mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1 1/2 pounds Large Shrimp, in the shell - butterflied down the back and deveined..leave the shells on
1 pound Sea Scallops, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
1 pound Firm-Fleshed Fish such as Halibut or Cod

First make the Pepper Sauce base:

Heat the olive oil in a large stew pot over medium heat. Add the peppers, onions, garlic, salt and pepper and saute until tender, about 6 minutes.  Add the basil, oregano, tomatoes, clam juice, wine and broth or water, and bring the mixture just to a simmer.  Adjust the heat to medium-low and simmer with the lid slightly ajar, for 30 - 40 minutes.

Finish the Cioppino:

The steps of adding the seafood goes very quickly so have all of your seafood ready to go.

With the pepper sauce at a simmer, increase the heat to medium-high, then add the clams, and cook covered over medium-high heat for 4  minutes or just until the clams begin to open. Add the crab legs, replace the cover and cook 2 minutes. Next, add the mussels, shrimp, scallops and fish, and gently push the seafood into the broth. Give the pot a little shake to settle the seafood into the broth, cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.  Check  to see if  until the mussels are open, the shrimp are pink and the scallops are just firm.  You might need to add about 3 minutes or so depending on the seafood you are using, but once the shrimp are pink and the fish is opaque you are ready to serve.

Ladle the Cioppino into large heated bowls, making sure to include a generous ladle of broth with each serving of seafood.  Serve with lots of crusty French bread and a bottle of Chianti or a rich Merlot.  You will also want a few large empty bowls around the table for your guests to discard their shells. Makes about 6 generous servings.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Salmon and Potato Chowder

It's the last day of Soup Month 2013, and I hope you've enjoyed all of the new soup, chowder and chili recipes.  Since today is the last day of soup month, we decided to wrap up the month with a delicious Salmon and Potato Chowder.  Salmon, in any way, shape, or form, is one of my favorite types of seafood to cook and regardless of the cooking method, salmon always tastes great.

For some reason, many people are intimidated when it comes to cooking salmon.  I'm not sure why, but they usually think this is a difficult fish to cook and that couldn't be further from the truth.  In the past we've made a Basil-Dijon Salmon over Red Lentil Puree,  a Salmon Salad with Mango Salsa, and even a super easy to make Salmon BLT Sandwich, which is wonderful.  And, all of these are easy to prepare.

So, if you've never tried to cook salmon, this is your chance, and what better way to learn to cook salmon than in a nice, warm chowder.  This chowder is real comfort food, with red potatoes, corn and just a touch of white wine to accent the fish.  The chowder takes less than 30 minutes to make and tastes great served with a small salad or a few baked scallop or clam shells. 

Enjoy and thanks for joining us for Soup Month 2013!!

1-1/3 lbs  Salmon, skinned, deboned and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 TB  Butter, divided
2 TB  Olive Oil, divided
1 large  Shallot, minced
1/3 cup  Dry White Wine
3-1/4 cups  Chicken Stock
5 large  Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1-1/2 cups  Frozen Corn Kernels, defrosted
1 cup  Half and Half
1 TB  Lobster Base (optional)
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

In a medium soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half.  Add the stock and increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add the potatoes.  Cook until the potatoes are tender about 12 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, use a large skillet to heat 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season the salmon pieces with salt and pepper, then add them to the skillet and cook until seared on all sides, but not fully cooked, about 3 minutes total.  Remove skillet from the heat and set aside.

In a blender, combine the corn and half and half and puree until smooth.  Add this mixture and the lobster base to the cooked potatoes, stir, and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. 

Add the salmon pieces to the chowder, stirring gently, and simmer until the salmon is warm. Ladle the chowder into bowls and serve. (Alternately, you could also place the pieces of salmon in the bowls, then ladle the chowder over the salmon.  Either way works great.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage and Pasta Soup

For day 29 of Soup Month 2013, we tried a new Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage with Basil from Al Fresco, and it was a great addition to this soup.  This sausage is pretty tasty, and has just the right balance of tomato and basil flavor.  When combined with onions, green pepper, tomatoes and some whole wheat pasta, you've got a healthy meal ready to serve in about 30 minutes.  The sausage is also a much healthier choice than standard sausage.  With just 140 calories and 7 grams of fat per link, each link provides 15 grams of protein.

Cooking the pasta in the broth and tomatoes allows all of those flavors to absorb into the pasta, and blends the spices throughout the soup.  This is also a great way to introduce your kids to whole wheat pasta.  With all of those flavors working together, the pasta will taste great! 

The last step of this soup is to blend in the ricotta cheese, which gives the soup a silky, cheesy texture, and thickens the soup at the same time.  I really like the way the ricotta turns this soup into almost a stew-like consistency, but, if you like your soup a bit thinner, you can skip the ricotta or add 1/3 cup more chicken broth.  Even without the ricotta, the soup is excellent.  Enjoy!!

1 small  Onion, chopped
1 small  Green Pepper, diced
2 tsp  Olive Oil
1 TB  Minced Garlic
Basil Cubes  (or 1 TB Fresh Minced Basil)
1 12 oz pkg  Alfresco Chicken Sausage with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil, casing removed and sausage sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
14 oz can  Diced Tomatoes with Italian Seasonings
3 cups  Chicken Broth  or  Italian Flavored Broth
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
8 oz  Dry Pasta (regular or whole wheat, any shape will work)
6 oz  Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese

In a medium soup pot, sauté the onion and green pepper in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and basil cubes (or basil) and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the sausage to the pan, stirring so the sausage browns slightly on the edges. 

Next, add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper to the pot and heat to boiling.  When the broth boils, add the pasta, return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is just tender.

When the pasta is cooked, stir the ricotta cheese into the broth, stirring to blend the cheese into the soup.  Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve.  Makes about 6 servings.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Portobello and Wild Rice Soup

For day 28 of Soup Month 2013 we made a rustic Portobello and Wild Rice Soup.  This soup is a unique blend of ingredients that come together beautifully.   We started with the wild rice which is from Trader Joe's.  This blend contains brown rice, black barley and tiny daikon radish seeds, all of which taste great with the Portobello mushrooms.  The radish seeds add just a bit of crunch to the soup and work well with the tender mushrooms.

While the rice cooked, we went to work on the soup. First we added a few basics like onions, garlic and rosemary, beef stock and, to give this soup a creamy texture, we included two russet potatoes.  (Without adding too much potato flavor, the potatoes thickened the soup and gave it some extra heartiness.)  The mushrooms are sautéed separately and added to the soup just prior to serving.

Next, we pureed the vegetables and stock, (but not the mushrooms) using an immersion blender (or you could use a regular blender).  Once the soup was smooth, the cream and a touch of dry red wine finished off the broth.  The cooked mushrooms and rice are then added to the soup for a final 5 minutes of cooking.  This soup has a nice thickness to it, but if you prefer a thinner consistency, a little beef stock can be added at this point.  Garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika just before serving.

This soup tasted great served with a grilled rib eye steak and a glass of Cabernet, but it would also pair nicely with turkey or roast pork loin.  Although this soup is easy to make, it is definitely elegant enough for a holiday dinner.  Enjoy!!

1-1/4 cups  Water
1/2 cup  Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley
1 tsp  Butter

3 TB  Butter, divided
12 oz  Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 small  Onion, chopped
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
2 tsp  Fresh Rosemary, minced (or use 1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary)
2 medium  Russet Potatoes
1-1/2 cups  Beef Broth
1 cup  Heavy Cream  or  Half and Half
2 TB  Dry Red Wine
1-1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt, or more to taste
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, add the rice and 1 teaspoon of butter and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 35 - 40 minutes or until water is absorbed, then remove pan from heat and rest for 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Sauté the mushrooms until the are just tender, about 10 minutes, then transfer the mushrooms to a bowl, cover and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the same pot, add onion and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic, rosemary and potatoes to the pot, stir and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Add the beef broth to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender.  Add the cream and red wine to the soup and simmer over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the mushrooms and cooked rice to the soup, stir and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  (If you prefer a thinner soup, just add a little extra broth to the soup.)

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Apple Chicken Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup

I can't believe it's almost the end of October, and the end of Soup Month.  I hope you've all enjoyed the new soups and maybe had a chance to try a few, but we still have a couple more recipes lined up to finish off the month.

For day 27 of Soup Month 2013, we combined lots of fall ingredients into a healthy, but hearty, Apple Chicken Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup.  In the process, we also discovered a few delicious new products that we will definitely be including in future recipes.

The apple chicken sausage, with one package of 4 links, comes in at just 160 calories per link and 7 grams of fat.  Pretty healthy for a "sausage" type product, and it's also gluten free.  It was also quite tasty and I'm already thinking of lots of recipes to cook with this product.

The sausage was combined with a bottle of Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Hard Cider, and this is one unique drink.  The apple ginger hard cider added a nice background flavor to the soup with a slight tartness, and an interesting hint of ginger.  If you go to their web site (here - Angry Orchard) they actually have a recipe for a turkey brine mixture using this cider.  I'm not usually much of a turkey fan, but I've got to try this recipe!

Sweet potatoes, onion and cabbage are added to complete this great fall soup.  The apple flavor is very prominent in this recipe and, since I had never tried this brand of sausage, I was a little worried that the apple would overpower the other ingredients, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only did the flavors blend nicely, the apple, cabbage and sweet potatoes gave this soup a bit of a German twist, but in a really healthy way.

Overall, this was a very tasty soup.  I didn't add salt of pepper to my soup, but my husband added pepper to his liking, so adjust that to your own preference.  This soup is also quick to prepare and can be on the table in about 30 minutes.  Serve with crackers or slices of hearty rye bread.  Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Olive Oil
1 small Onion, chopped
1 pkg  Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 bottle  Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Hard Cider
1/2 large  Cabbage, cut into strips
3 large  Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups  Chicken or Vegetable Broth
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper, optional, to taste

In a medium soup pot, sauté onion in olive oil until softened.  Add the sausage, stirring frequently so the sausage lightly browns.  Add the cider to the pot, stir and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the cabbage, sweet potatoes and broth to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.  Serves 6.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seafood Soup with Tortellini

For day 26 of Soup Month 2013, we made a delicious weeknight soup.  If you're looking for something quick and easy to make after a long day at work, this soup will be something the whole family will enjoy.

This Seafood Soup combines shrimp, canned clams and surimi with an assortment of vegetables and cheese filled tortellini pasta, so you have an entire meal in one bowl.  Although tonight we used water as a base for this soup, a fresh batch of seafood stock would also taste great.  Stock takes a little time to make since it requires time to simmer, so weekends are a great time to make a big batch of stock and then freeze it in portions for later use.  You can also add the optional lobster base to the water or broth which adds a lot of seafood flavor.

Since the shrimp and pasta cook very quickly in the broth, the cooking time is pretty fast for this meal.  The surimi crab meat and clams are already cooked and ready to go, so they are both great time savers that add lots of flavor to the soup.  Fresh spinach is another quick-cooking item that cooks in just a few minutes, but adds color and nutrition to the soup.  As a bonus, I have one daughter that doesn't care for spinach if it's cooked from frozen, but she loves fresh cooked spinach in soups, and I love that!  Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Olive Oil
1 small  Onion, diced
1 medium  Red Pepper, diced
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  White Pepper
1/4 cup  Flour
5 cups  Water or Seafood Stock
2 tsp  Lobster Base (optional)
2 cans  Chopped Clams with Juice
1 TB  Minced Fresh Chives
1 pkg  Rosetto Cheese Tortellini Pasta
1 lb  Raw Shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 lb  Sirimi Imitation Crab Meat Sticks, cut into cubes
1 cup  Half and Half  or  Cream
2 cups  Fresh Spinach, washed and stems removed

Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, red pepper, salt and pepper and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, stirring to coat, and continue to cook for 3 minutes.

Add the water or broth, and lobster base if using, to the pot and stir.  Add the clams and chives, and increase heat to medium-high.

Add the tortellini to the pot and bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring frequently.  When the tortellini begin to rise to the top of the soup, add the shrimp to the pot, cook for 2 minutes, then add the crab meat to the pot and cook 2 minutes more, stirring gently.

Add the half and half or cream to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the spinach to the soup and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh minced chives and grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, October 25, 2013

White Cheddar Potato Soup with Killian's Ale

For day 25 of Soup Month 2013 we went a little Irish tonight and made this White Cheddar Potato Soup with Killian's Red Ale.  With a cheesy and velvety texture, the Killian's adds a delicious flavor to this soup.  And besides, nothing is more fun than cooking with beer!  Just be sure to save one beer to drink with this soup. Yum!

Potato soup is a rich dish, there's no getting around that, but when the weather turns cold and you're looking for something hearty for dinner, this will be the recipe to make.  We started with a quick sauté of onions, celery and leeks.  If you're not familiar with leeks, they land somewhere between an onion and garlic, but the flavor is subtle and more on the mild side.  (You'll want to cut the leek down the center and wash it under cool water before slicing to remove any sand.)  It's a great flavor, especially with potatoes, so try not to skip the leek.

Yukon Gold potatoes were used in this soup because of their rich, creamy taste and the fact that they don't crumble when cooked.  The potatoes are added to the soup, along with the ale and stock, which allows the potatoes to capture all of those flavors.

The butter and cheese sauce is added to the pan just before serving and a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese and diced cooked bacon are added to each bowl as a garnish.  This is an excellent soup alone or serve a smaller portion as a side for roast chicken or a grilled Rib Eye steak.  Enjoy!

2 TB  Salted Butter
1 medium  Onion, diced
2 stalks  Celery, chopped
1 large  Leek, white and light green section, washed and thinly sliced
8 medium  Yuken Gold Potatoes, peeled or not, and diced
1 bottle  Killian's Red Ale
4 cups  Chicken Stock
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
3 TB  Salted Butter
4 TB  Flour
3-1/2 cups  Half and Half  or  2% Milk
8 oz  Medium-Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Crumbled Blue Cheese for Garnish
Cooked and Diced Bacon for Garnish

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and leek and sauté until soft about 6 - 8 minutes.

Add the potatoes, ale, stock, salt and pepper to the pot and bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Slowly add the flour to the pan, stirring to blend until smooth.  Slowly add the milk to the pot, whisking to blend, and cook until hot.  Add the cheese, stirring with a spoon until the cheese is melted and the sauce is slightly thickened.

Pour the cheese sauce into the pot with the potato mixture, stir gently to combine and cook over low heat for 5 - 10 minutes.  Ladle the soup into bowls and add a sprinkle of blue cheese and/or cooked bacon as a garnish.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Creamy Tomato Rice Soup with Pesto

For day 24 of Soup Month 2013 we made a creamy Tomato Rice Soup with a swirl of pesto as a garnish.  This Italian tomato soup tasted great with a simple salad and would also be delicious served with a classic grilled cheese sandwich. 

At the end of a cold winter day, there's nothing better than to have a hot bowl of soup waiting at home for you.  So to make this soup even more enticing, it's made in the crock pot.  The preparation of this soup literally takes only 10 minutes using a food processor, and after that the crock pot does all of the cooking for you. 

During the last hour of cooking, make a quick batch of rice, stir it into the soup and you are ready to add a bit of pesto and dinner is ready.   (If you don't have time to make the rice, this soup is delicious on its own.)  A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top is also tasty.   Enjoy!!

1 small  Onion, quartered
2 medium  Carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 stalks  Celery, cut into thirds
14 oz can  Diced Tomatoes
6 oz can  Tomato Paste with Oregano, Garlic and Thyme
1/2 tsp  Oregano
1/2 tsp  Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1-1/2 cups  Water
1-1/2 cups  Chicken Broth  or  Vegetable Broth

3/4 cup  Jasmati Rice (or use your favorite white or brown rice)
1-1/2 cups Water
1 tsp  Kosher Salt

Prepared Pesto for Garnish
Grated Parmesan Cheese for Garnish

In a food processor, shred the onion carrots and celery into coarse pieces, then add them to the crock pot.  Next, add the tomatoes, including the juice from the can, tomato paste, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, water and broth and stir.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.  When you are about ready to serve the soup, and before you add the rice, use an immersion blender to puree the pure to a smooth consistency.  Taste test and add salt or pepper, if needed.  (Since the tomatoes do have some salt, we did not add any additional salt here, so this will depend on your salt preference.)

During the last hour of cooking, prepare the rice.  Place the rice, water and salt in a small pot, cover and reduce heat to low until the water is absorbed.  Stir the cooked rice into the tomato soup and stir, adding a bit more water or broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Ladle the soup into bowls and add a spoonful of pesto and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Creamy Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup

For day 23 of Soup Month 2013, we made an incredibly seasonal Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup that would be perfect for an elegant Thanksgiving meal.  With a delicate blend of unique spices, this soup will pair nicely with roast turkey or pork and would also be delicious with a glazed ham.

I love anything pumpkin, and lentils are quickly becoming a new favorite of mine.  But by combining these two foods, you create a totally luxurious soup with somewhat of an exotic flavor.  The cinnamon and pumpkin go together nicely, of course, but then you get just a hint of cumin and red pepper flavor in the background, while the heartiness of the lentils pulls all of those flavors together.

Another great thing about this soup is that by using the red lentils, which cook much faster than the green variety, you can have this soup ready to serve in about 30 minutes.  If you are serving this for a dinner party, the soup can be prepared an hour or so in advance, then kept warm in a crock pot until you are ready to serve.  Garnish with a spoonful of crème fraiche or sour cream and Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Canola Oil
1 small  Onion, chopped
1 tsp  Minced Garlic
4-2/3 cups  Vegetable Broth, divided
1 cup  Dried Red Lentils
1 tsp  Cumin
1/4 tsp  Paprika
1/4 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp  Cinnamon
1/8 tsp  Cayenne Pepper
1 cup  Canned Pumpkin
1/2 tsp  Ground Ginger
1 TB  Lemon Juice
Crème Fraiche for Garnish

In a medium soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes.  Add 3 cups of the vegetable broth, the lentils, cumin, paprika, salt, cinnamon and cayenne to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it's very smooth.

Add the remaining 1-2/3 cups of broth to the pot, followed by the pumpkin, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the ginger and lemon juice to the soup and stir.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of crème fraiche and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beef Vegetable Soup with Barley

For day 22 of Soup Month 2013, we made one of my favorite soups, a hearty Beef Vegetable Soup with Barley.  Not only is this soup packed with lots of healthy veggies, the barley adds extra nutrients and fiber, too. 

This soup does take a little extra time to cook to create that rich tomato broth, so it's a great soup to make on a chilly Sunday afternoon.  With about 20 minutes of prep time and one hour to simmer, the results will be delicious and so worth the wait.  Just brown the meat, add the veggies and stock along with a few spices and it's time to simmer. 

This soup tastes great served with a few crackers or a loaf of crunchy French bread on the side.  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Canola or Vegetable Oil
2 lbs  Beef Stew Meat
4  Carrots, peeled and chopped
4  Russet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 stalks  Celery, chopped
1 large  Onion, chopped
32 oz  Beef Stock
2 tsp  Kosher Salt, or more to taste
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper, or more to taste
1 14-oz can  Diced Tomatoes
2 tsp  Garlic Powder
2 tsp  Oregano
3  Bay Leaves
1 cup  Quick Cooking Barley

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the beef and brown for 5 minutes, then add the carrots, potatoes, celery and onion, stir and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for one hour, or until the beef is fork tender.  Serves 6 - 8.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spanish Garlic Soup

For day 21 of Soup Month 2013, we made a rustic Spanish-style Garlic Soup.  This is a nearly clear broth soup that gets a majority of its flavor from smoked paprika, lots of garlic, and a perfectly poached egg on top.  And for such a simple soup, the flavor is extraordinary.

Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between "paprika" and "smoked paprika".  Regular paprika is very mild and is usually a blend of domestic or imported ingredients, and the taste is not really hot or sweet.  This generic paprika is great for garnishing, such as sprinkling over deviled eggs or on top of salads, but it doesn't add a lot of flavor, but mostly color.

Smoked paprika is from Hungary, where they consider paprika a national treasure, and they take this product quite seriously.  There are actually ten different varieties of smoked paprika ranging from delicate and mild, to medium and semi-sweet, to a more pungent flavor with more heat.  The color can also range from brownish to light red to bright red and even orange.  Lots of different choices.

The smoked paprika sold in the U.S., such as the one used in this recipe from Spice Islands, is a blend of chilies that are smoked over wood fires, and is perfect for adding a smoky, earthy flavor to paella, or added to dry rub mixes for beef, chicken or even lamb.  The flavor is so unique, you'll find yourself using it in more and more dishes to add just that little something extra. 

This recipe is super easy to make, uses only a few common ingredients, and it makes a perfect side dish when you don't want anything too heavy with your meal.  It is a little tricky dropping the eggs into the broth, but if you carefully slide the eggs into the soup one at a time, keeping them about an inch apart, it is easy to scoop them up and transfer to the bowls.  Enjoy!!

2 TB  Olive Oil
2 TB  Minced Garlic
2 tsp  Fresh Rosemary, finely minced
5 cups  Progresso Tuscany Broth (or regular chicken broth)
3/4 tsp  Genuine Smoked Paprika (not plain paprika)
3/4 tsp  Dried Oregano
2 tsp  Sea Salt (or more to taste)
5 large  Eggs
Large Croutons or Thick Toasted Bread Squares

In a medium soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt.  Sautee for 2 minutes or until the garlic begins to brown.

Add the stock, paprika, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high and carefully crack the eggs onto the top of the simmering soup.  Simmer for about 4 minutes for a soft yolk, or add 2 minutes extra if you prefer the yolks to be set.

Place several croutons or toasted bread squares into the bottom of each soup bowl.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer a poached egg to each bowl, then ladle the soup over the eggs.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Seafood Chowder

For day 20 of Soup Month 2013, we made a creamy Seafood Chowder with shrimp and swai fish fillets.  My plan for this chowder was to combine a light, vegetable and herb broth with spicy shrimp placed in the center.  Then I got to thinking how tasty the swai fillets would be with the same Sriracha-based marinade. I decided to add the fish to the mix, and it was a delicious success.

To create the flavorful broth, the onion, celery and carrots are sautéed with a bit of white wine and a tablespoon of lobster base, which adds a deep layer of flavor to the soup.  The soup is then pureed and the cooked seafood is placed in the center of the bowl to provide a burst of spicy flavor to the chowder.

This chowder makes an excellent dinner on its own, but it would also be perfect served in smaller portions as a first course, or even as an appetizer.  Serve with crunchy French bread and a glass of chardonnay.  Enjoy!!

Marinade for Seafood
4  Fish Fillets
3/4 lb  small  Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 TB Olive Oil, or enough to coat
1 TB  Minced Garlic
2 Basil Cubes or 2 TB Fresh Chopped Basil
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 TB  Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp  Sriracha Sauce
1 tsp  Paprika
1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

2 TB  Butter
1 TB  Olive Oil
1 small  Onion, finely chopped
2  Carrots,  finely chopped
2 stalks  Celery, finely chopped
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 tsp  Dried Thyme
3  Bay Leaves
1 TB  Lobster Base
1/8 tsp  White Pepper
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 cup  Dry White Wine
5 cups  Chicken Broth
1/2 cup  Heavy Cream

In a medium glass bowl, combine the marinade ingredients with the fish and shrimp, stirring to coat the seafood.  Set aside for 15 - 20 minutes.

In a large soup pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lobster base, pepper and salt, and cook for 2 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high, add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, add the cream and cook for 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Remove the pot from the heat and carefully use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the fish and shrimp mixture to the skillet, including the marinade, and stir gently, cooking until the seafood is fully cooked, about 7 - 8 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat and keep warm, if needed, until ready to prepare the soup bowls.

Ladle the soup into bowls, place several pieces of fish and shrimp into the center of each bowl, top with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Quick Chicken Mole Chili

For day 19 of Soup Month 2013 we made a spicy Chicken Mole Chili with bold flavors and a rich, dark sauce.  The term "mole", (pronounced mo-lay) is a popular Mexican sauce that consists of cooked onions, garlic and chilies, various spices, plus a small amount of Mexican chocolate or, in this case, cocoa.  The chocolate might sounds a bit odd, but it actually adds richness to the chili without adding overt sweetness.

This is a pretty spicy bowl of chili, which I love, but adding a little crumbled queso fresco cheese on top was just the right thing to balance out some of the heat.  My daughter, who doesn't like too much spice, added sour cream to her bowl and she loved the chili.

We saved a lot of time preparing this chili by using the canned black beans instead of soaking the dried beans and we used already cooked chicken.  These shortcuts allowed us to keep the cooking time to just over an hour.

This would be a perfect chili to serve for a football party, but it is spicy.  If you have some guests that prefer a more mild chili, just serve both!  Make two batches of chili the day before, then heat each of them in crock pots the day of your party.  Use the same assortment of toppings that would work for both types of chili, such as grated cheese, sour cream, avocado slices and corn chips, and you have something for everyone, and your guests will love you!  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Olive Oil
1 medium  Onion, diced
1 TB  Minced Garlic
4 oz can  Diced Jalapenos (use just 1/2 can for less heat)
1/2 tsp  Cumin
1/2 tsp  Chipotle Powder
1/2 tsp  Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp  Cinnamon
1 tsp  Chili Powder
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 TB  Cocoa Powder
1 TB  Sugar
14 oz can  Diced Tomatoes
14 oz can  Black Beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups  Chicken Stock
2 - 3 cups  Cooked Chicken
1 medium  Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 cup  Frozen Corn
1 cup  Chicken Broth
2 TB  Cornmeal

In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, then add the onions, garlic and jalapeno, then cook 5 minutes until tender.

Add the dry spices and the sugar to the pot and stir to blend into the vegetables, cooking for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, black beans and 3 cups chicken stock to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the chicken, red pepper, and corn to the pot and stir to combine and increase heat to a low boil.  In a small bowl combine the 1 cup chicken broth with the cornmeal, stirring to form a paste.  Add the cornmeal paste to the soup and stir until fully dissolved, then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese or crumbled queso fresco, avocado slices and tortilla chips on the side.