Tag Archives: soup recipes

Red Lentil Soup with Potato and Spinach…

I’ve posted a recipe for this before (a few times no doubt) but each time is slightly different. This soup is so easy to make but at the same time bursting with flavor and super-nutritious. What’s different about this version is I used a sort of slow-cooked sofrito to bring out the flavors of the vegetables and spices. And a sofrito is really as simple as that…cooking vegetables and spices very slowly until they caramelize, the liquid evaporates, and the result is an intense flavorful paste. Anyhow, here it is…

Red Lentil Soup with Spinach

Makes about 2 quarts

4 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons whole cumin seed

2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 (15 oz. Can) diced tomatoes

2 cups red lentils

8 cups chicken broth

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups (4-6 ounces) fresh spinach, chopped

¼ cup lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper; saute slowly until caramelized. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, hot pepper, and salt; cook another minute or two. Add the tomatoes, and cook them until the juice reduces and everything forms a sort of paste.

Add the lentils and broth; bring to a boil then lower it to a simmer. Cook the soup for about 30 minutes, then add the potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes or until the soup thickens and the lentils become very soft. Stir in the spinach and cook another 5 minutes. If it becomes too thick, add additional broth or a little water. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the soup from the heat.

Urban Simplicity.

Red Lentil Soup with Potato and Spinach…

I’ve posted a recipe for this before (a few times no doubt) but each time is slightly different. This soup is so easy to make but at the same time bursting with flavor and super-nutritious. What’s different about this version is I used a sort of slow-cooked sofrito to bring out the flavors of the vegetables and spices. And a sofrito is really as simple as that…cooking vegetables and spices very slowly until they caramelize, the liquid evaporates, and the result is an intense flavorful paste. Anyhow, here it is…

Red Lentil Soup with Spinach 

Makes about 2 quarts
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons whole cumin seed
2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (15 oz. can) diced tomatoes
2 cups red lentils
8 cups chicken broth
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups (4-6 ounces) fresh spinach, chopped
¼ cup lemon juice

 

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper; saute slowly until caramelized. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, hot pepper, and salt; cook another minute or two. Add the tomatoes, and cook them until the juice reduces and everything forms a sort of paste.

Add the lentils and broth; bring to a boil then lower it to a simmer. Cook the soup for about 30 minutes, then add the potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes or until the soup thickens and the lentils become very soft. Stir in the spinach and cook another 5 minutes. If it becomes too thick, add additional broth or a little water. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the soup from the heat.

Urban Simplicity.

Lebanese-Style Lentil Soup (another variation)

This is one of my favorite soups. It is so easy to make, really good for you (lentils are a really healthy food), and it is of course really delicious. There are a few variations in this recipe compared to previous ones that I’ve posted (click here for other versions). The biggest being that I used French lentils (but any lentil will suffice for this recipe), which are a little firmer, or they at least hold their shape when cooked. And also I used tomato paste rather than fresh tomatoes, which gives it a thicker and richer flavor and consistency because of the concentrated tomato. And I also used baharat, or Lebanese 7-spice mix rather than individual spices (because I have a large batch of it at work–where I made this soup–but a manageable sized recipe is listed below). Lastly, I added Aleppo pepper, which can be substituted with another crushed pepper or omitted, and also a bit of turmeric because I like the golden hue that it offers. For additional Lebanese-inspire recipes click here.

Middle Eastern Style Lentil Soup (variation)
Makes about 2 quarts

4 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Lebanese 7-spice mix
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups French lentils
8 cups chicken broth
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
¼ cup lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and bell pepper; saute for a few minutes, then add the garlic and saute another minute or two. Add the tomato paste, 7-spice, turmeric, Aleppo pepper, and salt, then cook and stir the tomato and spices for a minute or so. Add the lentils broth, bring to a boil then lower it to a simmer. Allow the soup to cook for about an 30 minutes, then add the potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes or until the soup thickens and the lentils become very soft. If it becomes too thick, add additional broth or a little water. Stir in the lemon juice a couple minutes before removing from the heat.
Lebanese Seven Spice Mix
Makes about ¼ cup

1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix the spices together and store in an airtight container, or use as needed.

Shellfish Chowder!

Super rich and creamy and chock full of shellfish, if you like seafood this is a recipe for you. This is just a basic recipe…change seafood and ingredients that you like. If you’d like additional chowder (and gumbo) recipes, along with its background, history, and lore, follow this link to an article I wrote some years ago.

Seafood Chowder

Makes 10-12 cups

2 lobster tails

1 pound shrimp

2 dozen mussels

2 dozen small clams

4 cups water

2 cups white wine

____________________

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

½ cup flour

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup sherry

1 cup heavy cream

Combine the shellfish, water, and wine in a pot just large enough to contain it. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook the shellfish for about 15 minutes. Strain the shellfish from the broth, reserving both separately. When the seafood is cool enough to handle, remove it from their shells, discard the shells, and dice the seafood as needed.

Heat the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. When it begins to bubble add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook the vegetables for a couple minutes then add flour and cook another couple minutes while stirring. Next stir in the tomato paste, paprika, and kosher salt; stirring it to blend with the flour mixture. Add the reserved broth, and using a wire whisk, mix it until smooth. Bring to a boil, then lower to a low simmer. Cook the soup for about 5 minutes, then add the cooked seafood to the pot along with the sherry and cream. Simmer the chowder for another 5 minutes before serving.

Shellfish Chowder!

Super rich and creamy and chock full of shellfish, if you like seafood this is a recipe for you. This is just a basic recipe…change seafood and ingredients that you like. If you’d like additional chowder (and gumbo) recipes, along with its background, history, and lore, follow this link to an article I wrote some years ago.

Seafood Chowder
Makes 10-12 cups
2 lobster tails
1 pound shrimp
2 dozen mussels
2 dozen small clams
4 cups water
2 cups white wine
____________________
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup sherry
1 cup heavy cream
Combine the shellfish, water, and wine in a pot just large enough to contain it. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook the shellfish for about 15 minutes. Strain the shellfish from the broth, reserving both separately. When the seafood is cool enough to handle, remove it from their shells, discard the shells, and dice the seafood as needed.
Heat the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. When it begins to bubble add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook the vegetables for a couple minutes then add flour and cook another couple minutes while stirring. Next stir in the tomato paste, paprika, and kosher salt; stirring it to blend with the flour mixture. Add the reserved broth, and using a wire whisk, mix it until smooth. Bring to a boil, then lower to a low simmer. Cook the soup for about 5 minutes, then add the cooked seafood to the pot along with the sherry and cream. Simmer the chowder for another 5 minutes before serving.

Asparagus and Roquefort Soup (Mhm, that’s right)

This is so easy to make and so delicious that I hope you try it. And asparagus is just coming into seasons. And before you ask, or at least wonder to yourself, here’s how you can alter it to a diet specific recipe…Yes you can use milk instead of cream but it will not be as rich; simply add it at the end. If you are lactose intolerant leave out the dairy completely (use oil instead of butter in the beginning) or use soy milk. To make it vegetarian, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth. To make it vegan, do the same but omit the dairy or replace it with soy milk. If you have a gluten allergy omit the flour and thicken the soup with cornstarch at the end of simmering.

Cream of Asparagus and Roquefort Soup

Makes about 4 cups

1 pound asparagus

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 small onion, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort Cheese

Trim the asparagus of their fibrous ends and slice the remaining portion into 1/2 inch lengths; reserve the asparagus tips separately to use as a garnish in the soup. Heat the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in the flour, lower the heat, and cook the flour for 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Add the sliced asparagus (not the tips), salt, thyme and pepper; sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and return to high heat. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook the soup for 10 minutes, skimming as necessary. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Add the reserved asparagus tips and bring it to a simmer and stir in the Roquefort cheese. Serve while hot.

Urban Simplicity.

Asparagus and Roquefort Soup (Mhm, that’s right)

This is so easy to make and so delicious that I hope you try it. And asparagus is just coming into seasons. And before you ask, or at least wonder to yourself, here’s how you can alter it to a diet specific recipe…Yes you can use milk instead of cream but it will not be as rich; simply add it at the end. If you are lactose intolerant leave out the dairy completely (use oil instead of butter in the beginning) or use soy milk. To make it vegetarian, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth. To make it vegan, do the same but omit the dairy or replace it with soy milk. If you have a gluten allergy omit the flour and thicken the soup with cornstarch at the end of simmering.
Cream of Asparagus and Roquefort Soup
Makes about 4 cups
1 pound asparagus
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small onion, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort Cheese
Trim the asparagus of their fibrous ends and slice the remaining portion into 1/2 inch lengths; reserve the asparagus tips separately to use as a garnish in the soup. Heat the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent. Stir in the flour, lower the heat, and cook the flour for 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Add the sliced asparagus (not the tips), salt, thyme and pepper; sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and return to high heat. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook the soup for 10 minutes, skimming as necessary. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Add the reserved asparagus tips and bring it to a simmer and stir in the Roquefort cheese. Serve while hot.

Urban Simplicity.

Vegetable Broth!

I’ve been experimenting with vegetable broth recipes for a while now, for days when I choose to not eat meat, which has been becoming more and more frequent. This is not meant to be a vegetarian substitute or imitation of a meat-based broth because nothing can substitute the richness of a well made chicken or beef broth. But it is meant to be a replacement, and a really delicious one at that. The key to it’s full flavor is using a lot of vegetables in relation to water, slow simmering, and also the cooking and browning of the onions and carrots which brings out their natural sweetness.

And when making traditional—or should I say animal based—broths, which are usually made with bones and unusable scraps, when the broth is strained the solids are most often discarded. But in the case of this vegetable broth this would seem a waste on many levels. The remaining solids can be added to a soup, pasta dish, mashed and eaten as a side dish, or mashed and mixed with a bit of flour and a few eggs for burgers or patties (or even mixed into your dog’s food). There really are plenty of options. And the finished broth can then, of course, be used in any recipe that calls for stock or broth. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this as it is simple to make and really flavorful. The recipe can be multiplied or divided, and the finished broth can be portioned and frozen as well.

Vegetable Broth 

Makes 3-4 quarts

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium onions, peeled and diced

4 medium carrots, peeled and diced

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 small head celery, diced

8 plum tomatoes, quartered

24 medium mushrooms, sliced

4 quarts cold water

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a sauce pan, then add the onions and carrots. Saute the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes, or until the begin to brown, then add the garlic and cook them for another minute or two. Then add the celery, tomatoes, and mushrooms; stir to combine. Then stir in the cold water, along with the sea salt, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring the broth to a boil, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Simmer the broth—without stirring—for 1-to-2 hours. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the vegetables with a ladle or the back of a large spoon to extract as much broth as possible. Discard the solids or incorporate them into another recipe.

 

Urban Simplicity.

Vegetable Broth!

I’ve been experimenting with vegetable broth recipes for a while now, for days when I choose to not eat meat, which has been becoming more and more frequent. This is not meant to be a vegetarian substitute or imitation of a meat-based broth because nothing can substitute the richness of a well made chicken or beef broth. But it is meant to be a replacement, and a really delicious one at that. The key to it’s full flavor is using a lot of vegetables in relation to water, slow simmering, and also the cooking and browning of the onions and carrots which brings out their natural sweetness.

And when making traditional—or should I say animal based—broths, which are usually made with bones and unusable scraps, when the broth is strained the solids are most often discarded. But in the case of this vegetable broth this would seem a waste on many levels. The remaining solids can be added to a soup, pasta dish, mashed and eaten as a side dish, or mashed and mixed with a bit of flour and a few eggs for burgers or patties (or even mixed into your dog’s food). There really are plenty of options. And the finished broth can then, of course, be used in any recipe that calls for stock or broth. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this as it is simple to make and really flavorful. The recipe can be multiplied or divided, and the finished broth can be portioned and frozen as well.

 
Vegetable Broth 
Makes 3-4 quarts

4 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium onions, peeled and diced
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small head celery, diced
8 plum tomatoes, quartered
24 medium mushrooms, sliced
4 quarts cold water
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a sauce pan, then add the onions and carrots. Saute the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes, or until the begin to brown, then add the garlic and cook them for another minute or two. Then add the celery, tomatoes, and mushrooms; stir to combine. Then stir in the cold water, along with the sea salt, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring the broth to a boil, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Simmer the broth—without stirring—for 1-to-2 hours. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the vegetables with a ladle or the back of a large spoon to extract as much broth as possible. Discard the solids or incorporate them into another recipe.

Urban Simplicity.

Curried Split Pea Soup!

Ok, so here’s another recipe that is super easy, really delicious, nutritious, and also satisfying in a cold day. Yellow Split pea soup with curry. The basic recipe is below but you can also add or subtract to it as you like (it’s equally good without curry, for example, but I happen to like the spice). Tonight, in addition to the ingredients listed in the recipe I also added a diced green pepper, a diced tomato, and a bit of tandoori spice. The is also good if mad with red or green lentils rather than split peas. If the recipe is too large cut it in half; this soup freezes well also.

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Curry and Caramelized Onions

Makes about 3 quarts

Heat 3 tablespoons canola oil or clarified butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add a diced onion and cook it—stirring frequently—for about five minutes, or until it start to brown, then stir in 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Lower the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons (or more) of your favorite curry powder, and add any of your other favorite spices as well (such as extra cumin, turmeric, coriander, or chilies; all of which should be in the curry powder already). Stir the spices for a minute or so in the hot fat to bring out their flavors, then stir in 3 cups of yellow split peas and about 10 cups of chicken broth (if you want to keep this vegetarian use vegetable broth). Season the soup with a teaspoon of kosher salt (being careful if you are using canned broth which is already salted) and bring the soup to a rolling boil. Allow the soup to boil for a minute then turn it down to a simmer. Cook the soup for about an hour—stirring it frequently—and add more liquid if it becomes too thick. Just before removing it from the heat stir in about 1/4 cup of fresh lemon or lime juice and—if you have it on hand and enjoy it’s flavor—also stir in a handful of chopped cilantro.

Lentil Soup with Vegetables and Lebanese Spices

This is a variation of my more traditional Lebanese Lentil Soup recipe; in this version I added many more vegetables. This is super easy to make and yes it tastes as good as it looks. The vegetables I added are simply suggestions (it’s what I had on hand), use whatever you like. This is easily a meal in itself, and if you reduce the liquid and make it thick enough you can serve it over rice. And while it is a large-ish quantity, this soup freezes well. This soup is delicious and appropriate year-round but is especially fitting during the colder months.

Lentil Soup with Vegetables and Lebanese Spices 

Makes about 12 cups
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups diced cabbage
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Lebanese seven spice mix
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup lentils
1 (15oz.) can diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken broth
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 cups (about 5oz. Fresh spinach, chopped
½ cup lemon juice

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat then add the onion pepper, carrot, and cabbage. Sweat the vegetables for a few minutes then add the garlic; cook the vegetables a couple minutes longer. Stir in the seven spice mix, turmeric, and salt; cook for a minute or so, then add the lentils, tomatoes, chicken broth, and potato. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Cook the soup for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it becomes too thick add additional broth or water. Stir in the spinach and cook it for about 5 minutes. Then stir in the lemon juice and simmer another five minutes, or until the lentils are very soft.

Lebanese Seven SpiceMix 

Makes about 4 tablespoons
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix the spices together and store in an airtight container, or use as needed.

Urban Simplicity.

Cool as a cucumber (and avocado) soup recipe…

This soup is really delicious and really easy to make. I know…I say that all the time, right? Well, all you have to do is put the ingredients in a blender and puree them. Seriously. Easy, delicious, and healthy…what’s not to like. This is also a great recipe for the crazy heatwave that has gripped much of the country. I hope you try this…you’ll be glad you did.


Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup


Makes 6-8 cups


1 English cucumber, seeds removed

1 ripe avocado, skin and pit removed

¼ small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

2 cups orange juice

2 teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon crushed hot pepper (optional)


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth. 

Mulligatawny!

Before I talk about the recipe I have to make a few other comments. You may be wondering why on earth this guy would be posting  a recipe for soup in the middle of summer, or at least early summer. Nonetheless, it’s hot outside. Well, the answer to this is twofold…one is that it was on the menu where I work (so I had to make it), but also because I really enjoy this soup. But the less obvious reason (to most, I think) is that even though spicy food is often thought of as “warming foods” for cold weather, spicy foods originate in hot climates and are naturally eaten there. Spicy foods, in fact, act as a natural air conditioner of sorts…they make you sweat which cools you off. Spicy foods are also known to stimulate the appetite, which may be lacking during steamy weather (interesting how nature takes care of us). Anyhow, mulligatawny is a curried chicken and rice soup of British-Indian origin. It is really easy to make and really delicious (it freezes well also, in the even you make too much of it). The recipe below is a basic one; when I make it for myself I add more hot pepper or a splash of hot pepper sauce. It is, without doubt, a meal in itself.

Mulligatawny
Makes about 3 quarts.
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 slices ginger, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
4 tablespoons flour
1 apple, diced
6 cups chicken broth
3 cups diced, cooked chicken
1/2 cup cooked white rice
Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot, add the onion, celery, carrot, and red bell pepper, sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar, curry, cumin, pepper, salt, and hot pepper, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 5 minutes over low heat while stirring. Add the apple, stir in the chicken broth and chicken; simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the rice just before serving.

Carrot Vichyssoise with Curry, Yogurt, and Parsley Purée

I’ve posted this recipe before but not in quite a while. It is an excellent spring soup and can be served hot or chilled. The only variation in the recipe (there always has to be one) is that I did not include a recipe for the parsley puree. This is done easily by combining washed parsley and plain yogurt in a blender and pureeing until very smooth. And the images below illustrate how to garnish it as if it were served in a restaurant. The only tools you need are an ordinary squirt bottle and a knife. There are plenty of designs and this is a simple one. Draw lines in the soup and gently draw the tip of a pointy knife back and forth through the puree. 

Carrot Soup with Ginger, Curry and Yogurt
Yield: 2 quarts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoon honey or sugar
1-1/2 pounds peeled, diced carrots
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a heavy soup pot. Add the onion, ginger and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the curry and honey; sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrots, broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower it to a simmer; skim any impurities that may rise to the surface. Cook the soup for approximately 45 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor and purée until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and warm it, but do not boil (boiling it may curdle the yogurt). Serve hot or chilled. 

How to Make a Really Flavorful Vegetable Soup in Twenty Minutes (seriously!)

Okay, so it may take longer than twenty minutes to cut all the vegetables, but if you have them cut (or in my case–being the chef–have someone else cut them for you), this is a really quick and simple process. What is a soup anyway? Just some chopped up stuff cooked in broth, right? Well, partially, but it’s more than that. The modern English word comes from the Middle English sup or sop, referring not only to the dish but also the act…to sup is to eat; this is also from where the word supper arose. It also referred to the practice of placing a stale piece of bread in a bowl prior to pouring a thin or meager soup, giving the meal more substance. Anyhow, the way to make any vegetable soup taste really good takes three things…lots of vegetables, a good and flavorful broth (read this article on broths), and the method or sweating the vegetables; meaning covering them and letting them sort of stew or sweat in their own juices prior to adding broth. Soup is without doubt one of the world’s great comfort foods (and one of the oldest). For an actual recipe for this soup, read this post. For many other soup recipes, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

A Really Simple (but Superbly Delicious) Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe with Homemade Whole Wheat Noodles

What is it about chicken soup? Even when I go through one of my “very-little-meat” phases I still welcome and crave this simple food. It’s a sort of cultural phenomenon…every culture and nationality has their own version of this humble dish. One of my favorite names for this recipe is “Jewish Penicillin,” making reference to its supposed properties to cure the common cold. And historically speaking it is likely one of the oldest recipes…next to cooking over a live fire, putting things in a vessel and boiling them is one of the oldest known cooking methods. There are plenty of ways to make this dish, and a seemingly endless variety of ingredients one can use, but this is a version I made the other day. It is easy and delicious. The homemade noodles were an added bonus, but if you want to make the recipe and use store-bought (or none at all) it will be equally delicious. This is also a good Base recipe,” meaning one in which you can add or subtract flavorings or ingredients to make it your own. The addition of chilies would make this interesting, as would a bit of fresh ginger and soy for an Oriental flare. More garlic, a splash of lemon, and a few sprigs of cilantro (and a sprinkling of curry) would give it a distinctive Near East flavor. You get the picture. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have a second bowl of soup…

Chicken Soup with Homemade Whole Wheat Egg Noodles


Makes about 5 quarts


For the soup:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of fat)

3 quarts chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

4 stalks celery, diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium turnip, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 bunch parsley, chopped
For the noodles:

1½ cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten (optional)

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons cold water

To Make the Soup:
Combine the chicken and chicken broth in a soup pot and bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook the chicken for about 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, make the noodle dough.


Combine the whole wheat flour, gluten, eggs, and water in a bowl and mix until it begins to form a mass. Knead the dough—either by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook—until it is a smooth dough (about eight minutes with an electric mixer or 12 by hand). If the dough is too dry add another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Remove the chicken from the broth to a plate and allow it to cool a bit. Strain the broth and set aside; clean the pot to start the soup.


Heat the vegetable oil in the soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion, celery, carrot, and turnip. Cook the vegetables for about five minutes while stirring. Add the garlic, turmeric, and salt; cook another five minutes. Stir in the broth; bring to a boil, then lower to a slow simmer. Dice the cooked chicken and add it to the soup.


While the soup is simmering roll out the noodle dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough very thin as they tend to plump a little when they cook. Cut the noodles as thin or thick as you like, or in whatever shape that you like. Drop them into the simmering soup, shaking off any excess flour as you pick them up.


Simmer the noodles in the soup for 5-10 minutes, or until the noodles feel tender but are not falling apart. Just before removing the soup from the heat stir in the chopped parsley.

The Soup that I Grew…

There is, I believe, nothing more satisfying than a good bowl of soup and homemade bread. Okay…so maybe there is, but you’ve got to admit the combination is really good. Anyhow, believe-it-or-not, I am still harvesting vegetables from the garden in the rear of my house (yes, in October and in Western NY). I made this yesterday and ate it with a few slices of whole wheat bread (click here for multiple recipes and pics on how to make whole wheat bread). The unseasonably warm temperatures yesterday plummeted by about 30 degrees in 2 hours, and the house sure felt–and smelled–cozy with a pot of curried vegetable soup on the stove. There’s a really basic recipe below; use it more as a guide…add or subtract whatever vegetables and spices you like (or add meat as well). Some of the vegetables that I harvested and used in this recipe are pictured below as well.

Curried Vegetable Soup
Makes about 12 cups
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 parsnip, diced
1 turnip, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 teaspoons crushed hot pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup diced cabbage
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped kale
8 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice

Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, and turnip. Cook the vegetables in the oil for about five minutes, allowing them to release their flavor but not brown. Add the garlic, curry, turmeric, cumin, hot pepper, and salt; saute for another couple minutes. Stir in the cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes and kale; stir to coat the vegetables with oil and spices. Stir in the broth. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup for 30-60 minutes, skimming as necessary; if it becomes to thick add more broth. Taste it for seasoning, and add the lemon juice just before serving.

"Tis the Season…

Yes, whether we like it or not, it is that time of year again. The weather is getting colder. And with it lighter foods give way to heartier ones, and one of my favorites is soup. I’ve posted this recipe before, or at least variations of it, but it is so delicious and easy to make I thought I’d post it again (it is a crowd-pleaser). The recipe–and the picture above–both utilize butternut squash, but this recipe works great with nearly any hard squash…it’s great with pumpkin. I add a bit of sugar in the recipe, but if you stay away from sugar simply omit it (or add more if you’d like it sweeter). A fresh chili or two is great also (but not included in the recipe)…spicy and sweet and creamy compliment each other. I also used heavy cream in the recipe, you can make it lighter with the use of milk or no cream at all, but it wouldn’t be as rich. And lastly, if you want to make this vegetarian or vegan , substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth (don’t use water, it would be too bland) and soy milk to replace the cream. Anyhow–and just to reiterate–this recipe is delicious and easy to make…and it’s a great one to experiment with as well.

Butternut Squash Bisque with Apple and Toasted Walnuts
Yield: 6 cups
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, peeled and diced
2 tablespoonsflour
2 tablespoonssugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds peeled and diced butternut squash
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup small diced apple

Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat and add the onions. Sweat the onions over medium heat for 5 minutes or until they are translu­cent. Add the flour and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and diced pumpkin; sauté another minute. Add the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. Add the cream and simmer for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Puree in a blender or food processor. After ladling the soup into warm bowls, garnish it with the toasted walnuts and diced apple.

Urban Simplicity.

Gazpacho Blanco (receta y fotos)

All I really need to say in this post is that this soup is really simple to make and delicious and that you should make it. But I’ll say just a  few more things. I made this for a luncheon I served at work today. It is a cool and refreshing soup, but also one that is bursting with flavor and nutrition. And it is quite possibly closer to the original Gazpacho recipe than the tomato based one we have come to know. If you’re interested in what I mean by this read this article that I wrote for Artvoice last month; it also includes additional recipes for cold soups and a bit of the history behind them. What is not included in the recipe below is the bright red squiggles on top of the soup. It’s pureed roasted red peppers (with a bit of salt and garlic). If you want to see how to roast a pepper on your home stove read this previous post (which has step-by-step instructions and pics).

Gazpacho Blanco
Makes about 6 cups
1/2 cup sliced almonds
4 slices bread, crusts removed, diced
2 cups yogurt
2 cloves garlic
2 jalapeno chilies, seeds removed and minced
1 pound green seedless grapes (about 3 cups)
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Spread the almonds on a small baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven. Transfer the toasted almonds with the remaining ingredients to a bowl. Mix well and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and process until smooth. Serve chilled or at room temperature

Two Chilled Soups

Here’s a couple really simple chilled soup recipes to satisfy your appetite while keeping the kitchen cool. One is traditional and another contemporary; both are delicious. These are part of an article I recently wrote for Artvoice newspaper; to read the entire article–which includes additional recipes and the stories behind them–click here (yes, a bit of shameless self-promotion…I’m getting better at it). Anyhow, I hope you try them; they are exceedingly easy to make and really delicious.

Gazpacho
Makes about 5 cups
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 English cucumber, diced
2 slices bread, crusts removed, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until desired consistency. Let stand 10 minutes; served chilled or at room temperature. Optional garnishes include but are not limited to: diced raw onion, hard cooked egg, parsley, and olives.
 
Thai-Spiced Watermelon Soup with Riesling
Makes about 6 cups
1 cup Riesling wine
3 slices ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano chilies, seeds removed and minced
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
6 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped
6 cups diced seedless watermelon, rind removed (about 2 lbs)
the juice of two limes

Combine the wine, ginger, garlic, chilies, lemongrass, and sugar in a small pot. Bring the wine to a boil then lower it to a simmer; cook the seasonings for 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the basil, and allow the seasonings to steep for about ten minutes while the liquid cools. When the liquid is at room temperature strain it, pressing as much moisture from the seasonings (reserve the liquid; discard the seasonings). Combine the liquid with the watermelon and lime juice in a blender and process until smooth. Serve chilled or at room temperature.