Monday, December 29, 2008

Guest Post: Caramelised Root Vegetable Soup

Annie bumped her head and decided that it was a good idea for me to write a guest post for her, how daft! Keeping it as seasonal as I can,I am writing up the recipe that I used for my Christmas day soup.

Sorry but the measurements are not in American, Annie will have to translate....

Caramelised Root Vegetable Soup
Serves 4 (ish) Cooking time : 40 minutes ish.
Printable Recipe

1 medium potato, diced. optional
2 sweet potatoes (or 1 turnip and 1 swede), diced.
2 medium carrots, diced.
1 medium red onion (or 1 leek), sliced.
1 parsnip, diced.
2 sticks of celery, diced. optional
426ml (3/4 pint) vegetable stock.
25 g (1 oz) butter.
1 tablespoon honey.
salt and freshly ground black pepper (or cupboard stuff).
1 teaspoon ground Chilli (or 1/2 fresh red chilli) optional.
1 teaspoon ground Cumin optional.

  • Add a little oil to pan so vegetables don't stick, then add all celery, parsnip and onion. Followed by half the carrot and sweet potato. If using potato, just add half of it at this stage. If using swede, just add half the swede at this stage. If using turnip, add all of it at this stage. If using Leek, add all of it at this stage.

  • After sweating the vegetables for a few minutes add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Blend until smooth and keep to one side.

  • Melt the butter in a pan, add the remaining sweet potato and carrot. If using swede, add the rest here. Same goes for potato.

  • Gently cook until lightly browned.

  • Add the honey and allow to caramelise on a medium heat for 7 minutes.

  • Add to the blended soup and season with salt and pepper (optional cumin and chilli).

  • Stir well and serve.

  • Optionally you can blend it further at this stage, if you prefer a smoother soup.

  • For extra naughtiness, I add cream at this stage, if your in the UK use about half a carton of elmlea single cream.

  • Eat it.

Oh just in case you dont know this is a Swede

This has caused confusion before, read here This is a bloody swede.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Soups

Each and every year after I was married my mother, Carolyn Knowles, would invite my brothers and I back home for a Christmas party. There were three of us in Pennsylvania for a short period of time and we would get together with our mom and step-father and his family for an afternoon meal.

Without fail, my mother would make two soups to start off the dining. My brothers would sneak off to the kitchen to try and get a bowl of soup before anyone else, and they most often succeeded. No matter, mom made enormous batches of food, as if she were feeding the Army single-handed, and so there was always more than enough to go around.

This first soup was known simply as "Fish Chowder" in my family because my mother wasn't able to afford the lobster for it - nor can I. I've never known it any other way than made with surimi, so I don't know that the flavor would be as memory-evoking made in any other fashion.

It seems rather heavy on the butter and flour roux, especially for a mere 8 cups of milk (half a gallon), but lesser quantities have yielded a thinner chowder, so I just do what mom says - this time, at least.

This was first posted to the internet by my sister-in-law, Krista at her blog, In the Kitchen with Krista.

Lobster Bisque
Printable Recipe

2 sticks plus 2 Tbs. butter, divided
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced thin
1 cup carrots, small dice
1/2 cup green and red pepper, small dice
1 cup flour
1/2 gallon milk
1 to 1 1/2 lb. fish flakes (surimi) or lobster
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt 2 Tbs. butter in a saute pan. Saute vegetables until well softened and set aside.
2. In large stockpot, melt the 2 sticks of butter and add the flour. Whisk together (making a roux). Once smooth, mix for a minute or two to bring out the nuttiness of the flour.
3. Pour in the milk and continue whisking. Cook until thick (coats the back of a spoon).
4. Stir in the sauteed vegetables. Add the fish flakes. Stir to combine and cook over a very low flame for about an hour to allow the flavors to blend very well.

This second soup is a cheese soup that is unlike any other I've ever had. While everyone else was at the fish chowder pot, I was off at the cheese soup one.

Cheese Soup
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup butter + 2 tablespoons - divided
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced red and green pepper
1/2 cup flour
1/2 gallon milk
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy soup pot. Add vegetables and cook over low heat until softened.
2. Add remaining butter and flour. Stir until smooth.
3. Add milk in a thin stream, whisking the entire time.
4. When soup begins to thicken, add cheese and stir until melted.
5. Cook over very low heat for 15 - 20 minutes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Philly Cheesesteak Soup

Philly Cheesesteak Soup

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe on Cooking with Anne for Philly Steve'steak, a friend's recipe for really awesome cheesesteaks. Ever since then I've been wanting to turn cheesesteaks into soup.

I made this on Sunday when my brother Mike and his girlfriend Betty were here. They thought it was great, and so did I!

This is similar to French Onion Soup - but I stopped short of it because that particular soup is so delicious in its own right that I want to post about it as well someday soon; besides, I have a story to go with it!

Philly Cheesesteak Soup

Philly Cheesesteak Soup

Serves 4
Printable Recipe

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 large green pepper, slide thinly
4 cups beef stock or broth
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic - minced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 pound sandwich steaks - sliced into thin strips (NOT the pressed fake meat type)
4 thick slices Italian or French bread
8 ounces shredded provolone cheese

1. Saute onion and pepper in olive oil until onions begin to caramelize.
2. Add sandwich steak strips and cook until no longer pink and beginning to brown.
3. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, pepper and stock. Simmer until heated through.
4. Salt to taste.
5. Toast bread slices in the oven until lightly browned.
6. Ladle soup into bowls and top with crouton and cheese - place under broiler and heat until cheese is melted.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fennel and Chicken Soup

I love this soup for its simplicity. Once this was done, I knew I'd come up with yet another soup that would be on the top of my favorites list. There are so few ingredients, and yet the flavors blend together so well that nobody will know that it didn't take hours to achieve it.

Fennel and Chicken Soup
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer
Printable Recipe

1 large bulb fennel - without leaves or stems
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cooked chicken breast - diced small
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut fennel in quarters - lengthwise - and remove hard core.
2. Slice fennel into thin strips.
3. Bring stock to a simmer and add fennel. Cook until fennel is tender - 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add chicken and cream - simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Thicken with beurre manier*. Simmer for several minutes to cook out any flour taste before serving.

*Note- Beurre Manier is French for "kneaded butter". It consists of equal parts four to butter. Combine flour and butter and knead until well combined. Add a small amount at a time to a simmering liquid and whisk until smooth. Add more as needed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Green Soup

This soup comes from my friend Kate. They call it Green Soup because of the pretty green color it takes on the day after it's made. It's a Mulligatawny of sorts - without the lentils - and I think this version is absolutely perfect. My kids thought so, too. I can tell you this; if you have a cold right now, this would certainly kick it right out of you, in the most delicious way. It was so quick to cook that I'll be making often here.

Green Soup
Printable Recipe

4 bouillon cubes
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp butter
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (2-3 breasts)
2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
2 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley
1 tsp curry
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
10 cups water

Boil chicken in water until cooked through. Drain water, then shred chicken.

Cook onion in butter until soft. Add chicken, apples, carrots, celery, flour & spices. Slowly add water & bouillon cubes. Stir well. Simmer 30 minutes, minimum, before serving.

This was first posted at Cooking with Anne on May 8, 2008.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Black Bean and Salsa Soup

Black Bean and Salsa Soup
Black Bean and Salsa Soup

This is just the first of many soup recipes I have that use black beans. I love black beans in soup and this particular recipe is super quick and easy making it perfect for this ultra-busy time of year.

The salsa adds tomato, onion and pepper to this all at once so there's no chopping or dicing at all. This can also go vegan easily - just leave the garnish off of the top and use vegetable stock as a base.

Black Bean and Salsa Soup

Serves 4-6
Printable Recipe

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
4 cups cooked black beans
1 to 2 cups prepared salsa - this depends on your tastes
1 clove garlic - minced
sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese

1. Toss everything into a pot and simmer until heated through.
2. Garnish with sour cream and cheese.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup
The best part about this recipe is this-you can use almost any combination of the ingredients that you want and still get almost the same results. You can use dried or fresh herbs, dried or fresh onion, a whole roasting chicken or a whole frying chicken or even just parts as long as the bones are attached. You can add turnip in small amounts or even parsnips. Chicken soup is incredibly versatile and forgiving and almost everyone has their own favorite version.

I sometimes strain the veggies and leave them out altogether because I have several family members who won't eat the soup with the veggies in it.

Chicken Soup
Printable Recipe

1 whole chicken-2 to 3 lbs or more
1 large onion-cut in eighths
3 large carrots-cut in chunks
4 large celery stalks-cut in chunks
1 small bunch fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
5-6 whole garlic cloves-peeled
1 tsp dried dill
rice or noodles - uncooked
salt to taste

1. Place all in a large pot-add cold water to cover.
2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for several hours until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are soft.
3. Strain all and chop veggies and chicken to add back to the broth in the pot.
4. Add noodles or rice and simmer until done.