Thursday, December 10, 2009

Egg Drop Soup

This has got to be one of the easiest soups known to man. With 3 basic ingredients (2 if you're my husband) and very little time, you can whip this up as an accompaniment to a larger meal or serve as a light lunch by itself.

Egg Drop Soup
Total Time: 10 minutes

4 cups chicken stock
2 eggs - beaten
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
salt to taste
powdered ginger - optional
green onion tops - sliced thinly - optional for garnish
soy sauce - optional - for garnish

1. Bring stock to a boil - add a bit of ginger if you like.
2. Mix cornstarch with 4 Tablespoons water and stir until smooth.
3. Pour cornstarch into stock - whisking constantly - until thickened.
4. Stir the thickened stock in one direction and pour the eggs into the swirling liquid so that they cook into thin ribbons.
5. Salt to taste and ladle into bowls. Add green onion and soy sauce to the top of each bowl, if desired.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Maque Choux Soup

Maque Choux Soup
Maque Choux (pronounced mock SHOE) is a Native American dish that was snagged and flavor boosted by the Cajuns. Most often I've seen it listed as a side dish, but in some areas it's also served as a soup.

I made the traditional version for to be included in a recipe section for Disney's The Princess and the Frog. If you hit that site and click on 'community' and then 'cooking' you'll find seven of my Cajun-inspired recipes there.

I took that recipe and turned it into a colorful soup. There are several things to keep in mind when making this:

1. Cut all the vegetables into a small dice - just larger than the corn kernels so that everything will cook uniformly.
2. You don't need bacon in this, but it adds a smoky dimension that I really like.
3. Other than the first boil to bring it up to temperature, do NOT boil this soup. A simmer is all that is necessary.
4. A beurre maniér is achieved by kneading together 1/4 cup all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup unsalted butter. In fact, the name means 'kneaded butter'.

Maque Choux Soup
Printable Recipe
Ready In: 50 minutes
Serves: 8

4 ounces bacon - diced small (freeze for a few minutes to make slicing easier)
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
2 stalks celery - diced small
1 cup red onion - diced small
1 cup each red, yellow and green pepper - diced small
3 cups fresh corn or frozen sweet corn
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 2 Tablespoons fresh
1 bay leaf
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomato
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups half and half
beurre maniér to thicken

1. Saute together bacon, garlic, shallot, celery, onion, peppers and corn until they start to 'sweat', or leach juices.
2. Add stock, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add tomato and cook for 10 minutes more.
4. Remove bay leaf, pour in half and half and thicken with beurre maniér by pinching off small pieces and whisking into soup. Once all the thickener is added simmer gently for 10 minutes until thick and smooth.

*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.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm-Gonna-Slap-You-With-My-Whisk Tomato Bisque

Don't worry, I haven't gone off the deep end just yet - this recipe is one from the new cookbook by Coolio, Cookin' with Coolio, 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price, which I've reviewed in full on Cooking with Anne.

Funny stuff, and a really great, and fresh, recipe.

Don't even think about reaching for that d*mn can! I will bust your head like Gallagher busts a watermelon. I'll be g*dd*amned if I feed that much sodium to my kids or to myself. That doesn't mean you can't have tomato soup that reminds you of being a kid. Here's a great recipe to make your own at home. Serve this up with some mac n' cheese or a grilled cheese sandwich to really bring back those memories.

I'm-Gonna-Slap-You-With-My-Whisk Tomato Bisque

How long it takes: 15 to prep, 50 to cook
How much it makes: enough to make 4 people really happy

What you need:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
One 15-oz can whole tomatoes
4 fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
1 dime bag salt
1 dime bag pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

What to do with it:

1. In a large saucepan, heat up your olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the onions and garlic and cook them bad boys until they're nice and soft.

2. Pour in the canned tomatoes, followed by the freshly chopped tomatoes and all your broth.

3. Get the saucepan a rockin' by bringing it to a boil. Now, reduce the heat, cover, and let it all simmer and coagulate for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove from the heat and puree.

5. Once it's lookin' like soup, drop it back to your saucepan and reheat on low heat.

6. Add the milk (or cream), give it a swirl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and carefully pour it into a nice vessel.

7. Garnish the top with some fresh basil and eat it up!

*Dime bag is equal to a tablespoon - have that much on-hand to season from - don't use the whole tablespoon!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Caldo Verde from The Un-Constipated Gourmet

For the full story on The Un-Constipated Gourmet, check out my other blog, Cooking with Anne.

This soup was so good and so simple it was really hard to believe there was so much flavor from so few ingredients. It's quick to make and disappears from bowls even quicker!

I had a photo for this - a very pretty one - but my hard-drive died just after the photos were uploaded from my camera. I haven't had a chance to make this again, but I will soon and I'll get a new photo then.

Caldo Verde
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

1 1/2 pounds kale or Swiss chard
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cubed
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
4-5 cups chicken stock
8 ounces spicy chorizo - sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash kale; strip leaves from stalk; chop leaves; discard stalks.
Place potatoes and garlic in large soup pot. Pour stock over and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Without burning yourself, mash potatoes in broth. Add kale and sausage to soup. Simmer another 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Sourcebooks Inc.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tomato Noodle Florentine Soup

I visited with my oldest daughter at college on Saturday and we stopped at a local diner for lunch. Part of our meal came with a choice of soup and I chose tomato noodle. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything I'd ask for again. It was a sort of combination of tomato soup and vegetable noodle, but lacking any real flavor. I vowed then to come up with my own, and this is it.

I use canned tomatoes all the time - it's one of those things that is sometimes just better or necessary canned, so don't feel badly about using them for this. Try to get fresh spinach, but if it's looking bad at the store or you just can't get it, frozen is absolutely fine, I've given measurements for both. As always, I prefer freshly grated Parmesan, but a quality pre-grated brand works fine, too.

Cut your prep time by making the noodles while soup is cooking and keeping warm until needed.

Tomato Noodle Florentine Soup
Printable Recipe
Serves 4-6
Ready In: 30 minutes

1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion such as Vidalia
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic - minced
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups crushed tomatoes
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach or 1 pound fresh chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces spaghetti or linguine noodles - cooked al dente and drained well
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium-high flame and add olive oil. Once oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until onion softens and begins to turn translucent. Be careful not to burn garlic.
2. Add stock, bay leaf, oregano and basil to pot. Turn heat to high and stir well. Once stock boils, add tomatoes.
3. Return soup to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Add spinach and cook for 5 minutes longer, until spinach is fully thawed or limp - depending on which you use. Add sugar and salt & pepper to taste.
5. Remove bay leaf and add cooked noodles and Parmesan. Stir well and serve.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reuben Soup

One of my favorite sandwiches has always been the Reuben. To me, the ultimate grilled cheese includes Swiss, even though the rest of my family rails and refuses to eat it.

This soup can easily go far overboard in the sodium arena, so care in rinsing the sauerkraut is vital. I also purchase the bagged variety of sauerkraut as it seems less salty. Using homemade beef stock before any salt has been added, or low-to-no sodium beef stock is also important. Season as needed at the end of cooking.

You can always put a rye crouton on top of the soup bowls, add the cheese and broil until melted, but I chose to cook the croutons with cheese separately and the result was just as good.

Of course, I made this first and then searched the web for similar soups and it seems that 'creamy Reuben soup' is the big thing out there. I like to stay true to flavors and be a little different, anyway - and this was something everyone liked - except for the cheese.

Reuben Soup
Printable Recipe
Ready In: 35 minutes
Serves: 8

1 pound deli sliced corned beef - chopped
2 pounds sauerkraut - rinsed well and drained
10 cups beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (omit if using rye bread with seeds)
8 slices rye bread (seeded or seedless if fine - see above)
8 ounces Swiss cheese - shredded
1 cup Thousand Island dressing

1. In a large soup pot, heat to boiling the stock, sauerkraut and corned beef. Reduce to a simmer, add bay leaf and caraway seeds, if using. Cook for 30 minutes.
2. While soup is cooking, heat broiler and spread one side of rye slices with 1 Tablespoon Thousand Island dressing each. Broil until golden brown.
3. Turn bread and spread the other side with 1 Tablespoon Thousand Island dressing each. Top with 1 ounce shredded Swiss cheese for each slice and broil until melted and bubbly.
4. Ladle soup into bowls and top with hot croutons. Top each with an extra dollop of dressing, if desired.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Egg Roll Soup

Egg Roll Soup
Egg Roll Soup
It's no secret by now that I am fond of de-constructing foods and putting them into soup form. Check out Pierogi Chowder and Philly Cheesesteak Soup to get an idea for what I do. I think egg rolls are one of the best foods ever and I had it in my head for some time to make a soup resembling one.

This soup is to-die-for! I mean it. It tastes exactly like the egg rolls I make and the crisp egg roll wrapper strips are so good the kids ate a tray of them without anything else. You can buy fried noodles if you wish, but there is no comparison to the ones made with egg roll wrappers. They are thinner and crispier than the store-bought ones.

There are very few ingredients here, but the flavor is huge. No need for added salt, the soy sauce and stock handle that end very well.

Egg Roll Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying
2 pounds boneless pork ribs - sliced thin (chicken is fine, too)
4 garlic cloves - minced
1 small head cabbage - shredded (about 6 cups)
2 small carrots - shredded (about 1 cup)
1 small bunch green onions - sliced (about 1/2 cup)
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce - plus more for serving
10 egg roll wrappers cut into thin strips

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot and saute pork until no longer pink.
2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
3. Toss in remaining ingredients (except egg roll wrappers) and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until vegetables are soft.
5. Meanwhile, cook strips of egg roll wrapper in hot oil in small batches until browned and crisp. This only takes a minute or so per batch.
6. Drain well on paper toweling.
7. When soup is done, ladle into bowls and top with fried egg roll wrappers and extra soy sauce, if needed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dawn Hall's Creamy Chicken and Noodle Soup

Photo and recipes used with permission by Dawn Hall and Thomas Nelson Publishers

This recipe is from Dawn Hall's newest cookbook (her 8th!) Busy People's Fast & Frugal Cookbook. Her approach to food is simple, do the best you can with what you have. A fuller look at Dawn Hall, her amazing and inspirational story, and her cookbooks can be found today at the blog: Food for Thought. The cookbook debuts today and can be found at

With these recipes there's no stone unturned. Dawn lays it out for her readers from top to bottom: Timing, equipment and shopping list. The only thing you need to worry about is who to make these delicious meals for!

Creamy Chicken and Noodle Soup

This is my best Chicken Noodle Soup recipe yet! Grandma would be so proud!


12 cups plus 1 cup chicken broth made from bouillon, divided
6 stalks celery, finely chopped (to make 2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (from a jar)
1 (12-ounce) package fettuccine
½ cup cornstarch
1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced carrots
2 (12.5-ounce) cans chunk chicken breast in water

Instructions for entrée:

In a large non-stick Dutch oven or soup pan bring to boil 12 cups of chicken broth made from bouillon.*
Finely chop 6 stalks of celery with the leaves to make 2 cups, add to broth.
Add 2 tablespoon minced garlic (from a jar) to the broth stir well.
Add 1 (12-ounce) package fettuccine into the broth; break the fettuccine in half before adding to broth.
Bring soup to full boil stirring occasionally.
Cook at a full boil soup for 12 -14 minutes or until fettuccine is tender.
Dissolve ½ cup cornstarch into 1 cup chicken broth and set aside. Pour into the soup.
Add to soup 1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced carrots and 2(12.5-ounce) cans chunk chicken breast in water. Breaking up the big chunks of chicken before putting into soup.
Stir until everything is heated through.

Yield: 16 (1 cup) servings

Calories per serving: 153 (9% fat); Total fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 19 mg; Carbohydrate: 22 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 12 g; Sodium: 541 mg

Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 very lean meat

Helpful Hint:

To make the broth: Add ¼ cup chicken granules instant bouillon to 12 cups water stirring until dissolved, and 1 teaspoon chicken granules instant bouillon to the 1 cup water stirring until dissolved.

MS/Meal Suggestion: 30 minutes for total meal:

Homemade Seasoned Crackers

Instructions to prepare suggested meal

Set timer for 30 minutes

30 minutes before meal:

Make the Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup according to the directions. After you put the pasta into the boiling broth, then make the Homemade Seasoned Crackers.

10 minutes before meal:

Begin making the Homemade Seasoned Crackers according to directions.(Recipe below)

5 minutes before meal:

Place the seasoned crackers in the oven. Bake until crispy, 3-4 minutes.
Finish making the soup.


Supplies List for entire meal

Large non-stick Dutch oven or soup pan

Cutting board


2 Baking sheets


Grocery List for entire meal


Celery (6 stalks needed)

1 (12-ounce) package fettuccine

1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced carrots

2 (12.5-ounce) cans chunk chicken breast in water

4 fat-free flour tortillas

Chicken broth made from bouillon (13 cups total needed)

Minced garlic


Garlic salt

Dried parsley (5 teaspoons needed)


Butter flavored cooking spray

Homemade Seasoned Crackers
(This is recommended with the Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup)

These were a huge hit with the children! They even made more independently later in the week for snacks, because they liked them so much!


4 fat-free flour tortillas
1 ½ teaspoon garlic salt
5 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon paprika


Place oven rack in middle of oven. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut 4 fat-free flour tortillas into 8 pie shaped wedges. Arrange wedges in single layer on 2 baking sheets.
Spray wedges with butter flavored cooking spray on both sides of wedges.
Sprinkle 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt, 5 teaspoons dried parsley and 1 teaspoon paprika evenly over wedges.
Place in oven and bake for
Place the seasoned tortillas in the oven. Bake until crispy, 3-4 minutes.

Yield: 16 (2 crackers) servings

Calories per serving: 31 (0% fat); Total fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Carbohydrate: 6 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 1 g; Sodium: 168 mg

Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 starch

Supplies List for cracker only

2 Baking sheets


Grocery List for crackers only


4 fat-free flour tortillas


Garlic salt

Dried parsley (5 teaspoons needed)


Butter flavored cooking spray

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ravioli and Meatball Soup

Yet another example of the fact that almost anything can be made into soup - this Ravioli and Meatball Soup is quick to get together and my kids ate it until the bottom of the pot was nearly dry. Top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for an extra flavor boost.

The best part of this is that you can go vegetarian very easily by using TVP meatballs and vegetable stock.

Ravioli and Meatball Soup
Printable Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6-8

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion - chopped
2 small carrots - peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery - chopped
2 green onions - sliced green and white parts
8 cups chicken stock
1 pound pre-cooked meatballs
1 pound small cheese-filled ravioli

1. Heat oil in a medium soup pot over med-high heat.
2. Cook and stir vegetables until fragrant and translucent.
3. Add stock and bring to a boil.
4. Add ravioli and meatballs - bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until meatballs and ravioli are heated through and vegetables are tender.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

Translated as 'pasta with beans' and known as 'Pasta Fazool' in Philly, this soup that has so many variations I can't count them. Everyone has a family favorite recipe and each one is the 'right' one. This is the way I like it - sometimes with red kidney beans and larger chunks of tomato - but always with lots of garlic.

Pasta e Fagioli
Printable Recipe
Serves 8

4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion - chopped
2 stalks celery - chopped
2 medium carrots - peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic - minced
8 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 handful freshly chopped parsley
4 cups cooked cannellini beans
1 cup crushed tomato
1 cup small pasta such as ditalini, small elbows or small shells
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic and turn the heat low. Stir and cook until softened - take your time with this step, it will add a lot of flavor. Keep the heat low - it takes about 10 minutes or so.

2. Add stock, parsley and bay leaf and bring to a boil - reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

3. Bring to a boil again and add beans, tomato and pasta. Reduce heat once more and cook until pasta is done - about 20 minutes longer.

4. Take off heat and add Parmesan. Stir well and serve with more Parmesan for the top.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Green Chili with Chicken

Chili is one of my favorite meals; warm, comforting and very filling. There are also so many different versions to choose from that chili once a week would be very doable without repeats.

This one is my own take on green chili. Although I chose to use a green salsa, you can easily use 5 small tomatillos - seeded and diced - and a jalapeno pepper - seeded and minced - to substitute for the bottled sauce. This is pretty high on the heat scale, as well, but the sour cream and cheese help to tame the spice a bit.

Green Chili with Chicken
Printable Recipe
Serves 8

2 Tablespoons neutral oil - such as vegetable
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast - cut into large chunks
1 medium white or yellow onion - diced
1 green bell pepper - seeded and diced
1 bunch green onions - sliced - green and white parts
4 cloves garlic - minced
2 large stalks celery - diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa verde
1 small can diced green chiles
2 cans (or 3 cups) cannelini beans - drained
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot and cook onion, green bell pepper, green onion, celery and garlic until fragrant and starting to soften.
2. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.
3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and chili is thickened.
4. Remove bay leaf, adjust seasoning and serve with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Soup

The soup I'm going to be sharing with you today is not just any soup. The recipe comes from my friend, Danny, the man to whom this marvelous concoction owes its existence to.

I made up a half batch of it today (and you'll see why I only made half) and the whole time I was putting it together I kept thinking that it seemed familiar, and it does. Back in the late 80's to early 90's (that's 1900's, kids) there was a soup that everyone in the world who was trying to lose weight made. It started with tomato juice and built up with veggies until it was a seething mass of who-knows-what. It wasn't bad overall, but it lacked any real flavor that would keep a person wanting more. It was rather bland, as soups go, and for all that was dumped into the pot, it really should have had more 'oomph' to it.

Enter Danny. I'll let you get the story in his own words in a moment, but - in a nutshell - he took a similar soup and morphed it into a very fusion-flavored thing that actually leaves you feeling full for longer than the requisite 30 minutes that other 'diet' soups give you.

This soup is a thing of legend among Dan's friends and acquaintances, and having not been shared until now, has been carefully guarded by Danny himself and I have been lucky enough to have him share it with me and then allow me to pass it on. I know there are people out there who have been waiting for this.

Without further ado - here's the scoop:

The story is that many years ago, my doctor put me on a very low sodium diet and, with my background as a sous in Philly, it got me back into cooking by necessity. I went back to complimenting flavors between acidic and sweet, savory and tart, etc.. Given that I needed something to fill me up, but not high-calorie, I started with a vibe of a "Hobo Stew," but without the meat. My brother had something similar in his fitness diet that seemed like a good idea, but I knew that I could blend some flavors in ways that would provide more flavor and health benefits. The idea was to take a big pot of water and start tossing fresh vegetables into it and see what happens. Personally, I use low sodium V8 and I like to toss in a few gulf shrimp at the end with a pinch of mozzarella cheese when serving, but it's great over rice, noodles or just plain, too.

Over the years, I found myself tweaking this without ever writing down what I'd done, but my doctor (who LOVES this soup, by the way) suggested that I offer the recipe to other patients online. The mix of sweetness, citrus, spicy, savory, and the ability to be seasonal made it right for anything from gumbos to curries to vegetable soup with barley so I began to cook it for friends as well. Once that happened, people began to demand the recipe and, given that I wanted to share it through someone I know and trust, I found my way to you.

I'm told that it needs to be shared and that's the nature of a good soup, I think. This, like so many soups, is one of those that gets better on the second and third days. My friends continue to say that my soup rocked their worlds and/or changed their lives (especially if they are patients of some specific care who all seem to be able to eat this with little modification), I'm very proud of this particular recipe. It is energizing, both filling and light at the same time, plus good for you. A cup in the afternoon, late at night, or as a meal in-and-of-itself. To me, it's just my soup.

Thanks mucho!!


No, Dan - Thank YOU!

Here's the soup...

Daniel East's Rock Your World Veggie Chowder
Most people THINK they may not like this...until they taste it. Don't look, just cook!
Printable Recipe


1 Lg bottle V8 juice (low sodium or regular ok)
2 cups water
4 med tomatoes diced
2 cups sliced oyster mushrooms
2 cups sliced shitake mushrooms
2 cups sliced portabella mushrooms
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 cups chopped or sliced fresh carrots
2 cup chopped broccoli
2 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
2 small cans black beans – drained (not black bean soup - if you have time to soak dried ones,
even better)
1/2 cup of finely grated fresh ginger
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp Liquid Summer Hot Sauce -
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sugar or 1 pk Splenda®
NOTE: if you must add salt, use sea salt or kosher salt to taste.


• Using a 8 qt or larger pot, pour in the V8 & water with heat on HIGH.
• Add all veggies (except ginger) and bring to a rolling boil.
• Stirring often, continue boiling until foam begins to appear.
• Add the OJ, vinegar & black beans.
• Once mushrooms have reduced, add all remaining ingredients & continue boiling/stirring for 1 hr until veggies are tender.
• Reduce to a simmer and cover. Once it thickens (approx. 1 hr.), check seasoning for taste.
• Continue stirring and serve while hot.

NOTE: DO NOT add too much pepper as it expands when heated and may get fairly spicey!
ALSO: Each time you heat and reheat, the mixture thickens and continues to break down.
ADD ONS: Great over brown rice or with a little shredded cheddar, shrimp and/or meat, etc.

Copyright ©2003-2009 Daniel M. East. All rights reserved.

*This is being posted simultaneously at Cooking with Anne today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Book Review: Love Soup

When I started this blog a year ago, my reasons then were the same as they are today; soup is frugal, soup is simple and soup is loved. Anna Thomas has made her own very similar feelings known in her newest cookbook, Love Soup, 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the Author of The Vegetarian Epicure.

Vegetarian and omnivore alike will find recipes to treasure in this book, along with tips on cooking and serving soup. I love the reasons behind the start of soup-making in Anna Thomases life, beginning with a very small temporary kitchen and ending with a renewed love for soup and renewed bonds with friends around the soup table.

Please don't let the fact that these are vegetarian recipe dissuade you from looking at this book. The soups are all complex enough in flavor to stand on their own and lest you think not, there is a whole section titled 'From Soup to Meal' that will take any one of those delicious soups to a glorious and full repast for even the heartiest of appetites.

I chose the 'Green Soup' for two reasons; first is the fact that Anna Thomas wrote often of it in the beginning of the book and with such a fondness that I found myself wanting a bowl right then. The second reason is that it's the mother of several other soups, each one as delicious as the first.

I also picked her Black Bean Quesadillas because I thought they would go wonderfully with that particular soup, and I was right. What a wonderful meal!

Here are the recipes for both, reprinted with permission courtesy of Anna Thomas, Love Soup: 160 All-New Vegetarian Recipes from the Author of The
Vegetarian Epicure, and W. W. Norton & Company.

Green Soup
The Original
Printable Recipe

This is one of the first green soups I made, and the template for many that followed: loads of greens, some caramelized onion, a potato, and a bit of lemon juice and cayenne to spark the flavors. There are many wonderful soups, but when I’m eating this one I can’t think of one I like better.

Serves 4–6 This soup can easily be doubled—and should be!

1 bunch chard or spinach, (8 oz.; 225 g)
1 bunch kale, (8 oz.; 225 g)
4–5 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
½ cup (25 g) loosely packed cilantro
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1 medium Yukon Gold potato (5 oz.; 140 g)
1 medium yellow onion (225 g)
1 ½ Tbs. (22 ml) olive oil
Marsala or dry sherry (optional)
1–2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Wash the greens thoroughly, trim off their stems, and slice the leaves. Combine the chard or spinach, kale, green onions, and cilantro in a large soup pot with 3 cups (750 ml) water and a teaspoon of salt. Peel the potato, or just scrub it well if you prefer, cut it into small pieces, and add it to the pot. Bring the water to a boil, turn down the flame to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, chop the onion, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, and cook the onion with a small sprinkle of salt over a medium flame until it is golden brown and soft. This will take up to half an hour. Don’t hurry; give it a stir once in a while, and let the slow cooking develop the onion’s sweetness. If you like, you can deglaze the pan at the end with a bit of Marsala or sherry—not required, but a nice touch.
Add the caramelized onion to the soup. Put the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in the pan and stir the chopped garlic in it for just a couple of minutes, until it sizzles and smells great. Add the garlic to the pot and simmer the soup for 10 minutes more.
Add enough of the broth to make the soup a soup—it should pour easily from a ladle—and puree it in the blender, in batches, or use an immersion blender. Don’t overprocess; potatoes can turn gummy if you work them too much.

Return the soup to the pot, bring it back to a simmer, and taste. Add a pinch more salt if needed, grind in a little black pepper, and add a pinch of cayenne and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir well and taste again. Now use your taste buds—correct the seasoning to your taste with a drop more lemon juice or another pinch of salt, and then serve big steaming bowls of green soup.

I always finish this soup with my all-time favorite garnish, a thin drizzle of fruity olive oil. This garnish is not a decoration, it is an essential part of the soup. The taste of the fresh, unheated oil is entirely different from the taste of cooked oil, and I deliberately use a modest amount of oil for sautéing so that I can add some fresh oil at the end.

Other garnishes can be added. Crumbled white cheese is a natural; I like Cotija, a dry Mexican white cheese, or feta. Croutons are great, especially if they’re made from rye or pumpernickel bread. Garlic croutons are the bomb, as my kids used to say.

Another way . . .

Rice instead of potato: I often eliminate the potato and instead add 3 tablespoons of Arborio rice to the greens when I cook them. That little bit of rice distributes its starch into the water and purees beautifully. No fear of overblending with rice, so you can have a soup of truly velvety texture.

Black Bean Quesadillas
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

Quesadillas are the food my kids lived on through most of grade school, the one thing they were always willing to eat. It is the easy, infinitely adaptable tortilla version of the grilled cheese sandwich. The most basic quesadilla is a flour tortilla folded over some melted cheese and toasted lightly on both sides. From there, the variations are endless.

This quesadilla is the basic version with delicious refried black beans added, along with a little salsa, the most frequent addition to any quesadilla.

For the refried beans:

2 cups (400 g) cooked black beans
1 medium yellow onion (250 g)
2 Tbs. (30 ml) olive oil
sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup (25 g) chopped cilantro
½ tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
¼ tsp. spicy smoked paprika
2–3 Tbs. (30–45 ml) Table Salsa (p. 442) or Simple Chipotle Sauce (p. 439) (optional)

For the quesadillas:

6 whole-wheat tortillas (180 g)
6 oz. (180 g) grated jack cheese or crumbled queso fresco
Simple Chipotle Sauce or other salsa

To make the refried beans, it is ideal to start with black beans you have cooked yourself—they taste much better than canned beans and are no trouble to cook as long as you allow the time for them to simmer. But in a pinch you can use canned beans.
Finely chop the onion and sauté it in the olive oil with a pinch of salt, stirring over medium heat, for about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, lower the heat, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the cooked black beans with about 3/4 cup of their cooking liquid (if you are using canned beans, add some vegetable broth or water), the cilantro, cumin, and paprika. Cook the beans for 10 to 12 minutes, mashing them a little with a potato masher. They should have the consistency of a soft paste, with some of the beans smashed and others whole. Add salt to taste (this depends on how salty the beans are to start with) and, if you like, a few tablespoons of salsa.

To assemble your quesadillas, first lightly heat the tortillas on a griddle or in a pan to soften them. Spread about 2 heaping tablespoons of the beans over half of each tortilla and sprinkle an ounce of cheese over that. Spoon on as much salsa as you like.

Fold the tortilla over the filling and cook the quesadillas in batches in a hot pan or on a griddle, about 1 1/2 minutes on a side, or until they are nicely browned and hot through. A large pan should hold 2 or 3 quesadillas at a time, and if you cover the pan, the cheese will melt a little faster.

Serve the quesadillas hot, with additional salsa. Cut them into wedges if you like.

Love Soup is available today at the following online booksellers:

W.W. Norton & Company

Barnes and Noble Booksellers

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Spicy Lentil Stew

Lentils are not one of those things that everyone likes. I would have to admit that my own feelings about lentils were formed by some not-so-tasty dishes I had early on in life. I distinctly recall thinking of lentils as the 'mud bean'.

Thankfully, I persevered, learned how to cook them properly, and came to love them.
Lentils don't benefit from overcooking and they are a legume that needs no soaking. On the contrary, if you soak them, you will certainly get mud for your efforts.

While there is meat in this, it's very easy to leave it out and retain the spice by adding cayenne pepper to taste. Substitute water or vegetable stock for the chicken, and you're good to go - vegetarian style.

Spicy Lentil Stew
Printable Recipe
Serves 6-8

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage - sliced
1 smoked turkey bone
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme - crushed
1 bay leaf
1 lb lentils - picked through and rinsed once

1. Heat oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers, carrots and garlic and stir. Cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add sausage and cook just until no longer pink (or, in this case - red)
3. Add turkey bone, lentils, stock, thyme and bay leaf.
4. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are done.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup

Recently I reviewed America's Most Wanted Recipes at Cooking with Anne and one of the dishes we tested from it was this soup. Honestly, one look at the ingredients made me think there was no way I would like it. I didn't want to like it, but I did. I have to admit, this is one delicious soup. With the masa added to it, it really tastes like enchiladas.

I also have to admit, that regardless of how good it was, I must insist on my own chicken stock, fresh garlic, fresh tomatoes and real cheddar cheese rather than Velveeta going forward. I also much prefer homemade tortilla strips to crushed chips. The amount is rather large, as well and I didn't cut it in half to see how it would do, so I can't tell you what a smaller yield would taste like.

Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup
Serves 16 to 20

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup chicken bouillon powder
3 cups diced yellow onions
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups masa harina
4 quarts water
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
8 ounces Velveeta, cubed
3 pounds cooked chicken breast, shredded

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 cups crushed tortilla chips
1 cup pico de gallo

1. Combine oil, chicken bouillon, onion, and spices in a large pot.
2. Saute until onions are soft and clear, about 5 minutes.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine masa harina with 1 quart water. Stir until all lumps dissolve.
4. Add to sauteed onions and bring to a boil.
5. Once mixture starts to bubble, continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
6. Add remaining 3 quarts of water and crushed tomatoes. Let mixture return to a boil, stirring occasionally.
7. Add Velveeta and stir until it melts. Add chicken, heat and serve.
8. Top with garnishes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Carrot and Zucchini Soup with Basil

This is the simplest of soups to make. Start with fresh, organic carrots (when available) and zucchini; add a sweet onion and a bit of basil to create a soup delicious both hot and cold.

I had my pick of herbs for this, and although dill seems to be prevalent in carrot soup, I really love basil paired with carrots, so I added it here and it works beautifully. The zucchini adds some depth and creaminess without any dairy needing to be added and the Vidalia is the perfect sweet note.

Carrot and Zucchini Soup with Basil
Printable Recipe
Serves 4

1 Tablespoon neutral oil
1 cup diced Vidalia onion
2 cups peeled and diced carrots (about 4 large)
2 cups diced zucchini - remove seeds if they are large
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon sweetener such as sugar, honey or agave syrup
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly chopped basil

1. In a large, heavy soup pot, saute onion in oil until translucent.
2. Add carrots, zucchini and stock.
3. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
4. Strain solids from stock and puree in a blender, with basil and sweetener added, until very smooth.
5. Add puree back to stock and stir well. Strain with a fine sieve, salt to taste and serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Collard Green Soup

I think collard greens are the best green in the world and they make a lovely soup. With small white beans added, it's substantial enough as a full-meal soup along with a fresh loaf of bread. Leave out the meat and it will still stand on its own as a vegan soup.

Collard Green Soup
Printable Recipe
Serves 4-6

1 pound collard greens
smoked meat bones such as ham hock or turkey necks
8 cups stock - vegetable or chicken works well
2 cups cooked small white beans
2 cups cooked ham - diced
1 large bunch green onions - sliced thinly
1 clove garlic - minced
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste

1. Clean collards by removing the heavy stem and center vein - chop small
2. Combine collards with stock and smoked bones. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes or until collards are tender.
3. Remove bones and add remaining ingredients. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beautiful Soup: Gazpacho

Beautiful Soup: Gazpacho
Gazpacho is a soup that screams 'summer' like no other. Bright with flavor and cool to the palate, it pairs very well with sangria on a sultry summer evening. Alice B. Toklas refered to this as, 'Beautiful soup'. This version is adapted from the one we used regularly at the school's restaurant.

Feel free to spice it up with a jalapeno pepper or a dash of cayenne.

Serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 for a light dinner

2 large very ripe tomatoes concassè (peeled, seeded and diced)
1/2 onion diced
1/2 large green pepper diced
1/2 large red pepper diced
1/2 large yellow pepper diced
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic minced
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 T lime juice
2 c tomato juice
2 c consomme or beef stock (cold any flavor of stock works)

Puree all together until smooth. Add garnish (below) and chill for several hours. Serve topped with fried croutons if desired.


1 c tomato concasse (peeled, seeded, diced)
2 c peppers (green, red, yellow) diced
1 c peeled and seeded cucumber diced
1 c scallions sliced thin
1 T fresh dill minced
1 T fresh cilantro minced

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cathy's Shrimp, Corn and Tomato Stew with Cheese Crackers

I found this recipe in a recent issue of Country Living and knew immediately I would love the finished product. I was so right; this stew is divine; rich, thick and perfectly summer. This is one of the recipes in the newly released Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana by Donald Link of Cochon and Paula Disbrowe. I haven't read it yet, but after this stew graced my dinner table, I can't wait to get my hands on it.

I thought the perfect accompaniment to this beautiful stew was these cheese 'cookies' from Costa Rica. My friend Steve (please see his beautiful work here: shared the recipe on he and his wife's return home from a vacation in Costa Rica where he had these. They are very similar to cheese crackers I make to serve with chicken stew, so I knew they would be just right with this. It needed translation, but Google Translate, Ben of What's Cooking? and Bren at Flanboyant Eats were more than happy to do that for me - Thanks, Steve, Ben and Bren!

The only thing I did differently here was to leave the vegetables a little larger than the recommended 'finely chopped'. Either way, this is fabulous.

Cathy's Shrimp, Corn and Tomato Stew
Printable Recipe
Makes 8 Servings

4 pounds medium (16-20 count) shrimp
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
5 cups shrimp stock or chicken broth
2 tablespoons salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking almost constantly, just until the roux is a light peanut butter color and the aroma of the roux starts to fill the room, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, corn, stock, salt, bay leaves, basil, thyme, pepper, and paprika and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the peeled shrimp, parsley, and scallions. Bring the stew back to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow stew to stand for 15 minutes to meld flavors, taste and adjust seasonings as desired, and serve.

I used cheddar cheese for the crackers and simply flattened them with my hand instead of using a fork. I also didn't get the 80-100 cookies that the original recipe says it should yield - I got about 50.

Original Cheese Cracker Recipe:


- 230 gramos (8 oz) mantequilla
- 1/8 cta. pimienta
- 1 cta. sal
- 1cda, paprika
- 5 gotas tabasco
- 2 tazas harina
-230 gramos (8 oz) queso gouda rallado
- 2 tazas Rice Krispis sin azucar.

Cremar la mantequilla con pimienta, sal, paprika y tabasco. Luego agregar queso, mezclar bien y agregar harina, , apartar de la batidora y agregar el Rice Krispis. batir para mezclarlo. Apretar la masa con la mano. Hacer bolitas del tamafio de una mora. Poner en cazolejas engrasadas, presionando con un tenedor cada una. Hornear a 350 degrees(F) por 11 o 12 minutos. Enfriar bien para envasar. Pueden prepararse con various dias de anticipacion para bocas. (80-100 unidades).


Cheese Biscuits with Rice Krispies
Printable Recipe

8 oz. butter
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. paprika
5 drops of Tabasco sauce
2 cups flour
8 0z. grated Gouda cheese
2 cups Rice Krispies without sugar

Cream butter with salt, pepper, paprika and Tabasco. Add cheese, blend well while adding flour. Add the Rice Krispies and knead mixture with hands. Make balls the size of a blackberry. Grease your baking sheet and place balls on them, giving them enough room to separate. Using fork, press each ball down. Bake on 350 (f) for 11-12 minutes. Refrigerate. You can make these a few days in advance.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Reminiscent of pho, I find this soup just as satisfying with far less work. There are versions all over the 'net and in countless cookbooks. I like my own version, packed with bok choy, sno peas and rice noodles.

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
Printable Recipe
Serves 4

4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 clove garlic - minced
2 Tablespoons mirin
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup fresh cilantro - chopped
4 large green onions - sliced thinly
12 ounces cooked chicken breast - diced
2 cups bok choy - chopped (I like more green than white)
4 ounces sno peas - each cut in half
8 ounces rice noodles - soaked for 15 minutes in cold water

1. In a large stock or soup pot add stock, garlic, mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
2. Add remaining ingredients and continue simmering until bok choy is just tender - about 15 minutes (I like mine to have a little bite left to it).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ravioli, Spinach and Pesto Cream Soup

What to do with leftover pesto and heavy cream? Combine it and do something delicious with it! That's what the impetus for this soup was. Gotta love leftover moments.

Ravioli, Spinach and Pesto Cream Soup
Printable Recipe
Serves 4

4 cups chicken stock
2 cups frozen ravioli
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb or 1 clove minced garlic

1. Heat stock to a rolling boil and drop in ravioli.
2. Reduce heat to a simmer and add spinach and Mrs. Dash.
3. Cook for 15 minutes until ravioli are heated through.
4. Combine pesto and cream in a jar and shake well.
5. Remove soup pot from heat and stir in pesto cream.
6. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Soupe Au Pistou

Soupe au pistou is a classic Provencal soup made with Provence's version of pesto; pistou. Rather than pine nuts and Parmesan, pistou is made with basil, garlic, olive oil and often times tomato. If you want authentic pistou you must grind the ingredients by hand with a mortar and pestle; hence the name pistou - which means 'pounded'. The soup itself is white bean and vegetable, most commonly made with zucchini, but sometimes with a dark leafy vegetable such as kale.

There are many variations on this soup, but this is the one I made today.

Soupe au Pistou
Printable Recipe
Serves 8

1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 clove garlic - minced
1 cup onion - diced
1/2 cup celery - diced
1/2 cup carrot - diced
2 quarts water or stock of your choice
2 medium red potatoes - peeled and diced
4 cups cooked white beans - preferrably small navy beans
2 cups fresh green beans - cut in 1-inch lengths
3 plum tomaotes - peeled, seeded and diced
2 cups zucchini - diced
1 cup small pasta such as small shells
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 cup grated cheese such as Gouda or Parmesan


4 cups basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomato
1/4 cup olive oil

1. In a large heavy soup pot saute garlic and shallots in olive oil briefly.
2. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook for several minutes until onions are translucent.
3. Add water and potatoes, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender - about 20 minutes.
4. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Keep warm.
5. To make pistou, combine basil, salt, olive oil, tomato and garlic in a blender. Puree until smooth.
6. Add 1/3 cup of pistou to soup along with grated cheese. Stir well to combine.
7. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with remaining pistou and goat cheese topped rounds of French baguette.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rich Meatball Stew

Stew is a favorite around here when the weather turns cooler and meatballs are a constant favorite, so this stew is well received. Any red wine can be used, but try not to get the store-bought 'cooking wine'. It's full of sodium and lacks the body of a good wine. Buy something you like to drink because this only uses a cup of wine and you'll want to put the rest to good use.

Rich Meatball Stew
Serves 6-8
Printable Recipe

2 lbs meatballs 2" in diameter each
2 lbs red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into quarters
1 lb baby carrots, peeled
1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (I like a large grind)
2 cloves garlic - minced (if not already in the meatballs)
5 cups beef stock or broth
1 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
several sprigs of fresh thyme
flour and water to thicken, if necessary

Brown meatballs and drain well. Add remaining ingredients except flour and water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender and meatballs are done, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove bay leaf and thyme and thicken liquid with flour and water if needed.

This was first posted at Cooking with Anne on September 25, 2008

Friday, February 20, 2009

Anne's Chicken Gumbo

This is the gumbo I've been making for over 15 years. It was something my dad liked and everyone who has had it raves about it. I'm not sure how it would stand up in NOLA, but up here in the northeast it's pretty good chow. This one has an addition of hot sausage to it, add that in to the beginning vegetables and it will work well.

Anne's Chicken Gumbo
Printable Link

1/2 cup butter or oil
1/2 cup flour
1 large onion - medium dice
4 stalks celery - medium dice
2 large green peppers - medium dice
1 red pepper - medium dice
1 yellow pepper - medium dice
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup tomato puree
4 tomatoes concasse (peeled seeded diced)
2c. okra cut in 1" slices
1 pound boneless skinless chicken (breast or thigh) cooked and diced
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 Tablespoon dried basil
1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano
pinch Thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 Tablespoon filé powder (ground sassafras leaves)
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf
cooked rice for serving

1. Heat butter or oil in a large pot - add flour and cook until mixture is the color of a copper penny - not a new penny - an old one - nice and dark.
2. Add onion, celery and peppers - cook for several minutes until they begin to 'weep'.
3. Add stock slowly while stirring and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender - about 20 minutes.
4. Add all tomato products and simmer for another 10 minutes.
5. Add chicken, okra and all seasonings except filé powder.
6. Bring to a boil - reduce heat and simmer 15 min.
7. Turn heat off and add filé powder - stir well, remove bay leaf and serve.

For seafood gumbo:

Use 1/2 pound shrimp and 1/2 pound scallops in place of
chicken. Add during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Use fish stock if available (otherwise chicken is fine) and replace parsley with chervil and add 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning.

Originally posted at Cooking with Anne on September 15, 2005.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

White Bean and Sausage Chili

What Bean and Sausage Chili
White Bean and Sausage Chili
If you missed the Illick's Mill Winter Nook and Chili Cook-Off held at Bethlehem's Municipal Ice Rink, I'm really, really sorry. There were some awesome chilis there this year and although I wasn't in it to win (that honor rightfully went to The Tally Ho Tavern) I made a terrific chili anyhow and wanted to share the recipe here.

I have to share with you the fact that there were also three kick-butt bands there this year, too: Steve Brosky (still doin' his thing as great as ever after all these years), Eighteenth Hour (they started off the night and I didn't hear as much of them as I wanted as I was buried back in the chili-tasting room) and my favorite, the Paul Thiessen Band - man are those guys tight! Self-proclaimed 'Face-Melting Folk Music', they deliver just that and more. I missed my chance to pick up one of their cd's at the last Illick's Mill function so I laid in wait this time (and probably looked like that, too between trying to enjoy the band and watch the kids from the window as they ice skated) and got their 'Stop. Hear.' CD. Awesome and awesome - can't say more. All of this was broadcast LIVE by WMUH as well.

The whole event benefits the Illick's Mill Project, of which my daughter, Megan is a part.

On to chili - this isn't a very spicy one, it's more mellow and smoky, but so full of layered flavors that it's hard to stop at one bowl.

White Bean and Sausage Chili
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

2 slices bacon - diced
1 cup diced tavern ham
1 shallot - minced
1 white leek - sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic - minced
1 medium onion - diced
1 large green pepper - diced
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 pound bulk sausage
4 cups cooked white beans such as cannellini, northern or navy
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried and crushed oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sliced and fried green onion (a.k.a. scallions/spring onion) and leeks and sour cream for garnish

1. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp.
2. Add ham, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add shallots, leeks, garlic, onion and peppers. Stir well and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Crumble sausage well and cook until no longer pink - stirring often to break up.
5. Add stock and beans and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
6. Stir in oregano and cayenne and simmer for another 10 minutes.
7. Serve with sour cream and fried green onion and leeks.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper and Cheddar Soup

This is the soup that I served at my Foodbuzz 24,24,24 dinner last week and everyone loved it. I didn't make enough for the help (my other kids and I) to have any and I was really sorry I hadn't.

Roasted Red Pepper and Cheddar Soup

Serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 for a meal
Printable Recipe

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh red pepper
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper (a.k.a. pimento)
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Extra roasted red pepper - diced fine - for garnish

1. Melt butter in a soup pot and add onion, celery and fresh red pepper. Saute for several minutes until onion and celery are translucent.
2. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add stock and 1/4 cup roasted red pepper.
3. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until vegetables are tender - about 20 minutes.
4. Strain soup with cheesecloth and return to pot.
5. Return soup to simmering and add milk and cheddar cheese.
6. Whisk until cheese is melted. Thicken if needed with a flour and water slurry.
7. Salt to taste and serve with chopped pimento on top.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bean and Pepper Soup

I have this thing for peppers and the more colorful they are, the better. I've combined 3 colors with white beans for a pretty and tasty bowl!

Bean and Pepper Soup
Serves 6-8
Printable Recipe

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
3 large peppers - one red, one yellow and one green - chopped
1 large carrot - peeled and diced
1 large tomato - seeded and diced
1 pound navy beans - cooked
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 teaspoon dry oregano
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large heavy soup pot. Add onion, garlic and peppers. Saute until softened.
2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes until flavors blend. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vietnamese Pho

What in the world is Pho (properly pronounced, 'fuh')? According to everyone who has ever had it, it's near Heaven on Earth. Pho is Vietnamese noodle soup, commonly eaten for breakfast but equally good at any moment of the day.

Pho is one of those dishes that spurs on much discussion, from how long to cook the broth to exactly which garnishes are best and whether or not chicken Pho counts as 'real Pho'.

Never mind all that - the answers to everything you'd like to know about Pho are at Andrea Nguyen's website. Andrea Nguyen is the author of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors and keeper of Viet World Kitchen. For Pho, there are three separate posts; the history and evolution, the secrets and techniques and the beef Pho recipe. I highly suggest reading all three, in the order given, before you undertake the making of Pho.

I'll let you get the recipe there and I'll simply tell you what I did that may or may not be different from the recipe that Ms. Nguyen offers.

1. For beef bones, I purchased cows feet. They are full of marrow, fat and flavor and the stock I got from them was perfect.

2. I didn't only char the onions and ginger, I also charred the bones. It may be habit from my own beef stock making, but I think the char on the bones adds to the overall flavor.

3. The rice noodles I used were labeled as 'Pad Thai' - which you can certainly use them for, but don't be fooled by the name, they're the same rice noodles used for many, many dishes.

4. There are no peppers in my photo, that's simply because the kids aren't big on the heat factor and that was one of their bowls.

5. Ms. Nguyen is RIGHT about the 3-hour simmer for the stock. The only reason it seems as if simmering longer is more flavorful is that there is evaporation and consequent concentration of the stock. If the full amount of liquid were to remain, you'd see that 3 hours is sufficient to extract the necessary flavors for this.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chicken Florentine Soup

I really enjoy Chicken Florentine (anything Florentine for that matter!) so deconstructing it for soup seemed like a good idea. It was! Don't leave out the shallots or garlic or the flavor won't be the same. Shallots are like a perfect blend of garlic and onion or leek and add a depth you don't get from just garlic. Even equal parts garlic and onion wouldn't be the same, so please try to find them for this.

Chicken Florentine Soup
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
All-purpose flour for coating
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 6-ounce package baby spinach - chopped

1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and toss with flour to coat each piece.
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot. Add shallots and garlic and cook briefly.
3. Add chicken and cook until browned.
4. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.
5. Pour the wine into the pot and stir and cook, breaking up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
6. Add chicken stock, spinach and chicken.
7. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
8. At this point you can thicken the soup with a flour and water slurry. Once thickened, add cream, and simmer for another 10 minutes before serving.