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Archive for the ‘soup’ Category


The weather in Boston has been unseasonably warm these past few weeks, with the exception of a few days here and there, including this weekend. I cannot say that I miss the biting cold, chapped hands, and red, runny noses. However, the onset of icy winds makes a fine excuse to stay inside, curled up in front of the TV, with a steaming bowl of soup and a good book.

I found this recipe for Sweet Potato, Corn, and Jalapeño Bisque from the New York Times by way of The Wednesday Chef several years ago. I’ve since made it at least a couple dozen times. This soup takes under 30 minutes to make, is wallet-friendly, and makes the perfect take-to-work lunch or quick after-work dinner.



Sweet Potato, Corn, and Jalapeño Bisque

adapted from NY Times

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (Homemade or Better than Bouillon) (You can also make this vegan with vegetable stock)

1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 tablespoons molasses

kosher salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

Black pepper to taste

Tiny pinch of ground cinnamon

Finely chopped scallions, green parts only.

1. Heat peanut oil over medium heat in a large heavy soup pot. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes). Add stock and the sweet potato chunks and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are done (about 10-13 minutes). Purée sweet potato mixture using an immersion blender until smooth (you can also use a blender or food processor, working in batches).

3. Put soup over medium-low heat and stir in molasses, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, molasses, jalapeño, and corn. Heat until corn is warmed through. If you like a thinner soup you may add a little more stock and heat through.

4. Serve topped with scallions or chives.

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I really hate brag, but someone should give me my own show. This black bean soup is just awesome flavored awesome. I know, black bean soup isn’t the sexiest meal around. It is humble, cheap, and earthy. Well, what’s wrong with that?

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. black beans, rinsed and soaked
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 1 dried red California chili, split with seeds removed
  • ½ c. cilantro leaves
  • 1 c. frozen kernel corn
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • For garnish: sour cream, cheese, avocado, scallions

Directions

  1. In a large pot, simmer black beans 1½-2 hours in about 6-8 cups water with the lid tilted. Add water as needed so the beans stay covered.
  2. In a small sautee pan (once the beans are done), sautee the onion, carrots, and celery 2-3 minutes in olive oil.
  3. Add contents of sautee pan, chiles, split red California pepper (leave split, but seeded), tomato sauce, and spices to the black beans. Cover and cook over very low heat about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the whole chili pepper and add cilantro. Using an immersion blender, blend some of the soup to thicken it. Or you can transfer about half of the soup mixture to a blender or food processor and puree it. Stir in corn and cook about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve topped with cheese, sour cream, scallions, avocado, etc.

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The rich golden chicken stock I made yesterday was calling my name, begging me to make something wonderful with it. I have been eying Ina Garten’s recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup for a few weeks and figured this would be just the dish worthy of yesterday’s project. The result was a light yet satisfying soup with just the perfect amount spice. I didn’t simmer the tortillas in the broth as the recipe required (following directions has never been my strength). Instead, I put them in the bottom of each bowl and then also garnished the soup with the homemade chips on top (homemade as in I made the tortillas and the chips… keep reading). For added flavor, I topped the soup with chopped cilantro, and just a pinch of cheddar cheese.

Read on for photos and recipes

(more…)

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Rainy Day Project

Yesterday was a dark, dreary, and rainy day. This could only mean one thing, it was time to take that picked clean chicken carcass out of my freezer and make some stock. (Sorry about the above picture, there’s nothing sexy about a chicken carcass).

And yes, homemade chicken stock is really as important as they say it is. Sure I have occasionally cheated with Better Than Bouillon (salty, but tastier than canned or cubed), but nothing compares to making your own. Alton Brown has a good recipe for stock here, but I usually wing it.

Simply drop a chicken carcass in a pot, (I prefer to use chicken carcasses over a raw bird – less waste and you spend less time skimming fat off the top), add some quartered onions, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaves, whole peppercorns, fresh thyme, and salt. Add just enough water to cover the carcass and veggies, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for several hours. Skim the fat off the top every now and again.

Once the stock is nice and golden it is done. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with a cheesecloth and refrigerate. After refrigerating a little more fat will solidify on top – skim that off. It will keep in the freezer for a couple months.

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Two nights ago, Boston Red Sox fans were cursing at their TV, their team, and those pesky Tampa Bay Rays (née Devil Rays). After losing game one of the ALDS, the Rays have absolutely spanked the Sox. Up until the seventh inning on Thursday, the Rays were winning 7-0 and it looked like the Rays would clinch the Pennant and be headed to the World Series. But in true Red Sox fashion, the team staged a comeback to end all comebacks and won game five 8-7.

Tonight the Sox face in Rays in their house. This is not only troubling because the Rays are 9-2 against the Sox at home, but also because TB fans have a fetish for cowbell and thunderstix. As if the clangor of noisemakers was not enough, tonight we have the added pleasure of another 9 innings of Chip Caray’s brilliant (snicker) broadcasting.

I know there are a lot of Sox haters out there, but what are you going to do, root for Tampa Bay?!?!?! What has Florida contributed to the culinary world besides o.j. and key lime pie? Well la-de-frick-in-da. Show your appreciation for this state, without us there would be no Boston cream pie, Fluff, chocolate chip cookies, Thanksgiving (!), and New England Clam Chowder.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 c. diced yellow onions
  • 1 c. diced carrots
  • 1 c. diced celery
  • 2 c. fresh chopped clams (not canned, you can probably get this for about $5 prepackaged in the fish section of your grocery store)
  • 4 c. clam juice
  • 3 c. fish stock
  • 3 c. potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 c. light cream
  • 8 Tb. flour (divided)
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • Red wine vinegar

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium low heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a small dish using a slotted spoon, reserving fat.
  2. Cook the onion, carrots, and celery in bacon fat until softened, but not browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add 3 Tb. flour to the vegetables, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Cook for about 3 minutes. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water if it is really sticky and dry.
  4. Pour in fish stock and clam juice. Its also fine to do all clam juice if you can’t find fish stock. I have subbed half vegetable stock before to save money and it was fine.
  5. Bring to a boil and add potatoes and thyme. Reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are done.
  6. Stir in clams, reserved bacon bits, and light cream. Season with salt and pepper. Heat slowly on low.
  7. In a separate saucepan, make the roux. Melt 4 Tb. butter and add 5 Tb. flour to it. Cook over low heat until brown. Take a couple ladles of liquid from the soup pot and whisk it into the roux. This will thin it out and make it easier to add to the chowder. Add the thinned out roux into the chowder, stirring constantly. Don’t let the chowder boil!
  8. Stir in a drop or two of red wine vinegar before serving.

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Summer is undoubtedly my favorite season. I am one of those people you will see wearing shorts and flip flops until the first frost. Summer foods own any other season – strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, corn, blueberries, the ice cream man, coronas, flav r ice… oh, wait, I was talking about fruits and veggies in season. Anyways, one of the only things that get me excited for fall is butternut squash. It’s delicious roasted, in homemade raviolis, mashed, you name it. But I had never made it into a soup until now. It was great! The one thing I will do differently next time is not process it so much in the blender so it will have a little more texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 Tb. butter (optional)
  • ½ c. diced onion
  • ¾ c. diced carrots
  • 1 large apple, cored, peeled, and diced
  • 2 butternut squash, roasted
  • 4 c. vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ground nutmeg to taste
  • Ground ginger to taste
  • 2 Tb. maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450.°
  2. Cut each squash in half and scoop out seeds. Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper then place cut side down in pan. Roast about 40 minutes, until squash is tender. Scoop out the insides when done.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and melt the butter (optional) in a large pot over medium heat. Sautee onions, carrots, and apples until softened.
  4. Add in squash and then pour in vegetable stock, and season with salt, pepper, ginger, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender.
  5. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup mixture until smooth.
  6. Heat through and stir in maple syrup.

Post-puree, heating through

Viola!

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