Archive for the Category ◊ Soups ◊

24 Feb 2017 Italian Wedding Soup

italian-wedding-soup

Italian Wedding Soup is easy to make, and is good as soon as it’s made (no need to sit overnight to intensify the flavors).  Not being Italian, I can’t claim this is just like my Nonna made. Nor can I claim to know the origin of the name, “Italian Wedding Soup”, but I did do a bit of Internet research.  Contrary to what some think, this soup is NOT served at Italian Weddings (although, because of it’s name, it is served at some Italian-American weddings in…Pennsylvania!).  Another theory is that the soup is a good “marriage” of ingredients, possibly green vegetables and meat. The most common story is the soup is easy enough for a new bride (or new groom) to make as one of their first home-cooked meals.  My non-Italian, non-traditional thought it that it’s great for a couple to make together.  One person could make the meatballs while the other makes the vegetable broth base.  Throw the vegetable broth and the meatballs together, simmer for a few minutes, and then sit down to enjoy a bowl or two of heart-warming Italian Wedding Soup.

This recipe is based upon one by Ina Garten, but I have changed Ina’s recipe somewhat.  The major change is I cook the meatballs in the broth, rather than bake them in the oven as Ina directs. I also make my meatballs out of ground beef instead of Ina’s ground chicken/ground chicken sausage combo.  I like a tastier meatball, and I think beef goes better with the Parmesan in the meatball than chicken does. I also added basil to the meatball. I don’t know why Ina forgot that!

I love soup. I can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. One tip, every time I make a pot of soup, I freeze one or two individual servings.  It’s wonderful to have a ready-made, wholesome bowl of soup in the freezer for those days when you are rushing from points A to Z with no time to spare.  A bowl of soup in the freezer can keep you away from those fast food places. Honest.

Now go on, try it…Italian Wedding Soup!

Italian Wedding Soup

For the soup base

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 teaspoons dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (use more of the parsley in the meatballs)
  • 10-12 cups chicken broth (homemade is the best, of course)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup small pasta (orzo, tubetini, small stars, mini shells..)
  • 1 batch of meatballs (recipe below)
  • 12 oz. baby spinach, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • additional grated Parmesan, optional (for serving)

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pan.  Add the onion and saute until slightly caramelized, about 6 minutes.  Stir in chopped celery and saute for another 3 minutes. Stir in carrots, dill, parsley, chicken broth, and wine and bring to a boil. While soup is boiling, stir in pasta and meatballs.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Stir in chopped spinach and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.  Turn heat off. Taste broth.  Add salt and pepper as needed. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.

For the Meatballs

  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken, but the meatballs won’t taste as good!)
  • 2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs (2 slices of bread, crusts removed, whirled in food processor OR, in a pinch, stir in bought bread crumbs or Panko)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
  • minced garlic, to taste (1 or 2 cloves, minced OR 1/2 teaspoon garlic OR onion powder)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place ground beef, breadcrumbs, basil, garlic, parsley, cheese, and desired amount of salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix lightly with a fork (don’t use hands because the resulting meatballs will be too dense).  In another bowl, combine the milk with the egg and beat lightly.  Stir the egg/milk mixture into the meat mixture, again, using your fork. When all ingredients are evenly distributed, use a small scoop or a tablespoon to portion meat and form into about 40 meatballs. Roll the scooped meat gently in palm of your hand to form into a ball. Use meatballs as directed above.

 

20 Apr 2012 Ham Bone Bean Soup

I love Honeybaked ham.  Love it, love it, love it; but have you heard the definition of eternity? Two people and a ham!  Thank goodness I have a panini press for grilled ham and Swiss sandwiches.  Thank goodness I know how to make and enjoy ham and pineapple pizza. Finally, the last of the ham appeared, the bone,  and now it’s time for Ham Bone Soup.

I could NOT find a recipe on the Internet that I liked.  I knowwww, shocking!  So I took a bit from this and a bit from that and came up with this recipe.  It tastes good,  looks good, and is fibrously good for you with lentils, split peas, yellow peas, 4 kinds of beans, tomatoes, onions, celery and carrots plus chicken broth and ham broth. The spices came from a soup on the Honeybaked Ham website, cinnamon, cumin and thyme. I knowwww, sounds odd, but it’s what gives this soup it’s depth.

Enjoy.  (BTW, The new definition of eternity?  One person and a vat of Ham Bone Soup!) This makes a LOT of soup, about 6 quarts. “Fortunately” a friend of mine broke her ankle, so I was able to take one-third of it over to her.  Now I  should check my Facebook to see if anyone has had a baby lately*

Ham Bone Bean Soup

  • 4 cups chopped ham from the ham bone
  • one ham bone plus assorted root veggies and peelings, covered with water
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup split peas
  • 1/4 cup yellow peas
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 large onion, diced ( approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (approx.)
  • 2 cups diced celery (include some leaves)
  • 1 leek sliced
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 quarts broth (mixture of ham bone broth and chicken broth)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2  teaspoon black pepper
  • salt, to taste (depends on saltiness of chicken broth) maybe about 1 teaspoonful
  • 4 or 5 16 oz. cans beans (use your favorites, of course)  I used 2 cans white beans plus one can each black beans, pinto beans, and pinquito beans (all my favorites)
  1.  First off, cut the meat off the hambone, so that you have 4 cups diced ham, set aside.
  2. Now make some stock from the ham bone. Put the ham bone in a large pot, cover with water and add a whole quartered onion (peel and all), a handful of carrots (or the peelings), some coarsely chopped celery, and any other extra veggie you have on hand.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 4 hours.  When cooked, strain the broth. Discard the bone and veggies.  Keep the broth. (The broth can be made one or two days in advance, just refrigerate cooled broth until ready to use)
  3. In another pan, boil the lentils, split peas, and yellow peas (or all lentils, or all split peas) in about 2 cups of water until very soft, about 45 minutes.  Add more water to pan if necessary.  Let cool, and then blend into a liquid.  This puree will thicken the soup (and hide the “icky dried stuff” from picky family members).
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add in chopped onion.  Gently sautee until onion is cooked through and slightly caramelized.  Stir in chopped celery and sliced leek, saute for an additional 3 minutes or so.
  5. In a large soup pot, pour in the ham bone broth and enough chicken broth to equal about 3 quarts.  Stir in crushed tomatoes and lentil/split pea puree and spices (cinnamon, cumin, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper). Bring to a boil. Stir in carrots. Simmer until carrots are almost tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Drain and rise the canned beans.  Add to simmering broth.  If soup seems too thick, stir in up to one additional quart of chicken broth.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.  Let soup cool, then refrigerate overnight (if possible, soup always tastes better if refrigerated overnight).
  7. When ready to serve, reheat soup, add diced ham, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.  Taste broth.  If necessary add more salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Serve hot with some nice bread, foccacia, or cornbread.

Hope you like this. Hope it was just the soup you were looking for but couldn’t find anywhere else on the Internet.

*Update:  Woke this morning to find the empty soup pot on the kitchen counter and three dirty soup bowls stacked in the sink along and dredges of sourdough toast everywhere.   Looks like my son and two friends had a late night snack after I went to bed.  They emptied the pan; there’s no more Ham Bone Soup left.  Should I put a happy face icon after this update, or a sad face icon?!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

 

 

30 Mar 2012 Chicken Tortilla Soup

The weather has just taken another cold turn. YES!  One last chance for a warming and comforting  soup!  Bring on the wind and the rain. We can enjoy Spring later  I have nothing against tulips and sproinging (yes, that’s a real word, and I love it, it is what lambs do), but with one last winter storm I am sure I will appreciate it that much more.

This soup is delicious, (would I post it if it wasn’t?  Rhetorical question: of course not!)  I am also posting this recipe because most everyone I know enjoys tortilla soup, but not many of us have a tried and true recipe in our repotoire.   My friend Adele made this soup  for an Ina Garden (AKA The Barefoot Contessa) themed cookbook club.  Two of us immediately re-made the soup for our families, and both to rave reviews.  I think Adele found a winner! Yay, Adele (and Ina)!

I had to twiddle with the original recipe a bit (I just can’t help myself). I added corn and black beans, plus I pureed part of the soup to make a thicker broth, which I enjoy, but you can totally skip the pureeing part if  you want fewer steps, less mess, and still have a tasty, hearty soup.

So, without any further ado, here’s my version of Adele’s version of Ina’s Garten’s “Mexican Chicken Soup” (from Ina Garten’s 2006 book, “Barefoot Contessa at Home“).

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 4 cups cooked chicken,shredded or chopped (baked, grilled, or poached chicken breast &/or thighs, or shredded  meat from a roasted chicken)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions (brown or red, or a combo, 1 or 2)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2-3 stalks)
  • 2 -4  jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1  or 2 15-oz. cans black or pinquito beans (one of each is nice, too)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (about 4)
  • approx. 2  1/2 quarts chicken broth (10 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • approx. 1 tablespoon salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 small corn tortillas (approx. 6 inch diameter)
  • for toppings (be SURE to include these!): lime wedges, chopped cilantro, grated jack and/or cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and crushed corn chips (optional)
  1. If cooking the chicken specifically for this recipe, sprinkle chicken thighs or breasts (or combo) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, turn chicken over and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.  (cooking time determined by how large the chicken pieces are and whether or not the chicken pieces have bones).  Remove chicken from oven and when cool enough to handle, dice or shred and set aside. Discard  bones and skin.
  2. Heat approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet.
  3. Add onions to hot oil in skillet.  Saute onions until translucent, 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add celery and desired quantity of chopped jalapenos  to onions and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add garlic cloves and saute for another 30 seconds or so.  Do not let the garlic brown.
  6. Remove approx one third of the onion-celery-jalapeno-garlic mixture and place in blender. Leave the remaining 2/3 in the pan.
  7. Add 1/3 of each can of beans to the blender (you can add one can of beans or two, depends on how you like your soup and how much fiber you want), along with enough of the crushed tomatoes to make a puree-able mixture (1/3 – 1/2 of the can).  Whirl on high until mixture is pureed.
  8. In large stockpot heat the chicken broth, add the pureed mixture, the reserved onion-celery-jalapeno-garlic mixture, the chopped carrots, the drained and rinsed can(s) of bean(s),and the spices (cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper).
  9. Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  10. Add shredded chicken and corn and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  11. Cut tortillas into noodle-like strips. (Cut tortillas in half and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips.)
  12. Stir cut tortillas and chopped cilantro into soup and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until chicken is heated through.
  13. Serve the soup hot, topped with lime wedges, chopped avocado, grated cheese, and crushed tortilla chips (if desired, and everyone I served this soup to, desired everything, including the crushed tortilla chips! The t-shirt people–my running addicted friends–added the most chips!!!  LOL)
Note:  If you are just going to eat half the soup, divide the soup and add half the tortilla strips.  When you eat the remaining half of the soup, add the remaining tortilla strips. The soup keeps well, but the tortilla strips, when sitting in a liquid, don’t)
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It took me so long to type, edit and insert a picture into this post that the weather has turned warm again.  Shoot!

 

 

19 Jan 2011 Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

Depending on where you live, you may or may not have a proliferation of “Pho” restaurants in your community.  If you do have a Pho restaurant nearby, I encourage you to try it out.  You’ll be rewarded with a huge bowl of broth and noodles, to which you add fresh basil, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, peppers, chili sauce, and freshly squeezed lime.  The broth is quite tasty, and with the addition of all the toppings, the Pho has a very fresh taste.   On your first visit to a Pho restaurant, stick to Beef Pho or Chicken Pho, with the parts of beef and chicken that you are familiar with.  There are some other types of Pho which might be a bit challenging to an uninitiated American palate.

Having fond memories of Pho, I wanted to make it for myself.  I wanted to have a clear, rich, fat-free broth. I thought it would be great to have some of the broth on hand, and be able to boil it up and stir in some fresh ingredients whenever I wanted to.  I also think Pho would be a great dish to make ahead and then take to share with friends and family at a snow condo or beach house.   I found this recipe adapted from the cookbook Into the Vietnamese Kitchen at Steamy Kitchen.  It’s great!  I served it to seven friends, and three family members, and they all though it was great, too.  SCORE!

Before you make this dish, you should know how to pronounce it, “pho”  is pronounced “fuh” and not “foo” or “foe” or “poe” or  “puh” — that’s fuh-sho’!

If you have made your own chicken soup before, Pho is no more bother.  Follow the recipe below and make sure you buy good bones, start the day before, rinse and blanch the bones, have three hours to let the bones simmer. Then you can let the broth sit in the refrigerator overnight so that the hardened fat can be removed before finishing the pho.

Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

The broth

  • 2 onions, peeled, sliced across into 4 slices
  • 4″  of fresh ginger, peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 5-6 lbs of good beef  knuckle bones (beef shanks/knuckles $1.99/lb)
  • 6 quarts of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

In the soup bowls

  • 1 rice noodles (dried or fresh)
  • cooked beef from the broth
  • ½ lb flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round, sliced as thinly as possible.

On the side

  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced fresh basil
  • limes wedges (2)
  • 2-3 chili peppers, sliced
  • bean sprouts (about 1 lb)
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha hot sauce

Char:

Turn broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.

Parboil the bones:

Don’t skip this part! Fill your biggest pot (12-qt capacity would be ideal) with cool water. Boil water first, and then add the bones, keeping the heat on high. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the bones and rinse out the pot. Refill pot with bones and 6 qts of cool water. Bring to boil over high heat and lower to simmer. Using a ladle or a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top.

Boil broth:

Add ginger, onion, spices, sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef meat and set aside. Continue simmering broth for another 1 1/2 hours. Strain broth and return the to the pot. Taste broth and adjust seasoning – this is a crucial step. If the broth’s flavor doesn’t quite shine yet, add 2 teaspoons more of fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of regular sugar–and another pinch of salt, if needed (I over-salted my broth, so be careful). Keep doing this until the broth tastes perfect refrigerate broth overnight and remove hardened fat the next morning.

Prepare noodles & meat:

Slice your flank/london broil/sirloin as thin as possible – try freezing for 15-30 minutes prior to slicing to make it easier. Cut or shred the cooked meat from broth and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Guests will garnish their own bowls. Follow the directions on your package of noodles – for some fresh rice noodles, just a quick 5 – 45 second blanch in hot water is all that’s needed.

Serving:

Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, bean sprouts, shredded cooked beef and raw meat slices. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil, ladle into each bowl. The hot broth will cook your raw beef slices. Serve immediately. Guests garnish their own bowls with the mint, basil, cilantro, peppers, lime, and sauces.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do. It’s a chin dribbling, big bowl of healthy, comfort food with a fresh & crunchy twist.  One of my favorite foods I believe. I have my fingers crossed that I will taste the real thing in Vietnam next year.  I hope this measures up. Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

30 Nov 2010 Gringo Grandma’s Chili

Gingo Grandma’s chili!  That’s me!  This is my chili!  You’ve probably guessed that this is NOT serious cook-off chili.  This is big pot, throw-it-all-together, family friendly, low-budget chili. Chili that everyone likes.  Chili with ground meat =:0 and beans =:0. A recipe that makes enough for a crowd or for three days of leftovers. A chili that reheats and freezes well. Rainy-day comfort food.  Game Day staple food. Chili Dog party food.  Must have camping food.

This is an easy recipe to remember, too.  Think threes!  Three cans of pinto beans, three cans of diced tomatoes, 3 lbs of meat, three onions.  I found the original recipe in The San Jose Mercury News food section years and years and years ago.  I’ve adjusted the quantities of ingredients a bit and changed the name to fit the dish…and made it mine.  I hope you make it yours. too.

Gringo Grandma’s Chili

3 16 oz. cans pinto beans

3 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes

3 onions, chopped

1 -2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 lbs ground meat (2 lbs. ground beef, 1 lb. ground sausage)

1/4 cups chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1 – 3 cups chicken broth (or water)

Pour canned pinto beans (with liquid) and chopped tomatoes into a large soup pot over a medium high heat. Bring to a light simmer.  Meanwhile, in another pan, saute chopped onion in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add onions and garlic to bean and  tomato mixture.  To the same pan, now emptied of onion, brown ground beef and sausage, about 15 minutes.  Drain fat from meat. Stir drained meat into the bean-tomato-onion mixture.  add  in chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. If desired, stir in one to three cups of chicken broth or water until the chili meets your desired preference (some people like it thicker or soupier than others).  Simmer chili for 1 1/2  hours, covered.  Uncover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve hot in deep bowls, in front of the TV, on a cold day…  I like to serve with grated cheddar cheese and corn muffins, but sliced green onions and sour cream would also be good toppings.  I think this chili is best the second day, and leftovers (or even the whole batch) freeze very, very well.

Makes approx. 16 cups, that’s one gallon of family friendly, easy to eat, chili.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Now remind me to post the recipe for corn muffins, they’re stellar!

17 Nov 2010 Wild Rice Turkey Soup

I know you are all busy making your Thanksgiving grocery list, and checking it twice; be SURE you have the ingredients for this soup on the list.  You have to make this with your turkey carcass, have to, have to, have to!  This is the best turkey soup I have ever tasted.  I made no changes to the recipe I found in “The 150 Best American Recipes” cookbook.

Mmmmm… Homey, rustic, northwoods-y…, which, with a little imagination, might just transport you to a log cabin in the snow, fire blazing, a quilt over your feet, and a good book on your knee.  The soup has wild rice, mushrooms and turmeric, yes, turmeric, which compliment the strong flavor of turkey to make a soup that, according to “The 150 Best American Recipes” is “neither exotic nor bland”.  It’s my favorite after-Thanksgiving treat.  I can’t imagine making any other turkey soup.  It’s just the thing for an-after-Thanksgiving restoration, before the Christmas craziness commences.

BTW, I like this soup so much I can’t just make it once a year.  When it’s not Thanksgiving, I start with a whole chicken which I boil or roast.  I remove 4 cups of the meat from the chicken, and then proceed as below.

Wild Rice and Turkey Soup

For stock

1 turkey carcass (remove 4 cups of meat from the carcass-set aside for the soup)
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped

Put turkey carcass in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, remove any foam from the top. Add the celery, carrot, and onion (peels and all). Simmer for at least 90 minutes (I cooked mine for about 3 hours). Strain broth into a large (4-5 qt) bowl. Discard carcass and all veggies (You will need 3½ – 4½ quarts of stock for this soup). If at all possible, refrigerate stock overnight and then remove all the hardened fat from the top of the broth. The next day continue with the directions below…

For soup

1½ cups wild rice, rinsed (the book specifies “hand harvested” but I couldn’t find that written on the package I bought from Trader Joe’s)
½ cup long grain white rice
4 T. butter
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups sliced carrots
1 diced onion
½ cup sliced green onion
2 T. chopped fresh dill
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
3 cups sliced mushrooms (8 oz. pkg sliced)
4 cups diced cooked turkey
salt and pepper to taste

Bring 3 ½ quarts of stock to a boil. Stir in rinsed wild rice and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet; add celery, carrots, onion, and green onions and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in dill, bay leaves and turmeric. Turn off heat, and set aside. Add white rice and sauteed veggies to the stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir sliced mushrooms and diced turkey into hot soup. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked. Add more broth if the soup gets too thick for your taste (I added the extra 4 cups). Season to taste with salt (I used 2 tsp. Kosher salt) and pepper. This makes a lot of soup. The recipe says the soup freezes well for several months. If you do reheat the soup, it will have thickened and you will need to add more broth or water when reheating.

You’re going to love this, I just know it!  Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.