Archive for the ‘Soups’ category

Easy clam chowder

December 21, 2011

“Easy” because you don’t need live, in-the-shell clams—although you can certainly use them.

4 slices good, smoky bacon
2-6oz cans of whole or chopped clams
1 8oz bottle clam juice
1 c minced onion
2-3 c peeled and diced potato
2 TB flour
big pinch dried thyme
3/4 c milk
3/4 c heavy cream (or sub 1-1/2 c half and half for the milk and cream)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Drain the clams and set aside. Combine the liquid from the cans with the bottled clam juice and, if needed, add water to make 2 cups.

Dice the bacon and cook in your soup put until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the onion and potato to the fat remaining in the pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring. Stir in the flour and thyme, and stir for a minute. Add the clam juice and simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened. Add the cream, milk, clams, bacon, and white pepper. Taste for salt, although you probably won’t need any because the clam juice is salty. Bring just to a bare simmer (don’t boil!) and serve.

Non-holiday turkey stock

April 30, 2011

Most people associate turkey stock (and soup) with holidays when you have a turkey carcass to use. Here’s how to do it at other times of the year using the wings or drumsticks that are available separately in most markets. Either makes great stock, but the drumsticks give you more meat.

2-1/2 to 3 lbs turkey wings or drumsticks
1/2 c chopped carrot
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 onion stuck with 2 cloves
1 whole unpeeled garlic clove
5 whole peppercorns

Rinse the turkey and place it in a baking pan large enough to hold it in one layer with some space between the pieces. Bake at 400f for 30-40 minutes until nicely browned. Put in a soup pot with all other ingredients and add cold water to cover. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the turkey and when cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones. Reserve the meat for another use and return the bones and scraps to the pot. Simmer for an additional hour or so, then strain and discard the solids.

Turkey matzoh ball soup

April 30, 2011

Matzoh ball soup does not have to be chicken-based! And, if you are used to matzoh balls being heavy little lumps, this will be a pleasant surprise.

Matzoh balls:

1/2 c matzoh meal
2 eggs, separated
2 TB chopped parsley (optional)
Big pinch of salt
1 TB chicken fat or vegetable oil.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Beat the yolks with the oil and salt, then add to the whites along with the matzoh meal and optional parsley. Mix gently until blended. At this point the mixture will be too soft to form into balls – not to worry, it will firm up during the next step. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Form into 3/4 inch balls and drop into simmering salted water or stock to cook for 20 minutes. Lift out of the cooking liquid and add to your simmering soup.

Note: Matzoh balls are usually cooked separately, as specified here, rather than in the soup because they absorb so much liquid. If you want to cook them in the soup be sure to make allowances.

Soup:

Heat 1-1/2 quarts of turkey stock (recipe) and add 1/2 c each of diced carrots and celery. Simmer until they are almost tender. Add the cooked matzoh balls, 1/2 c frozen baby peas, and (if you have it) a cup of cooked turkey meat. Heat through and serve.

Black bean soup #2

April 30, 2011

This is a hearty and flavorful soup that is a meal in itself.

Bone from 1/2 of a smoked ham plus 2c diced leftover ham
or
1 thick slice of smoked ham
1 lb dry black beans
2 bay leaves
Salt
Baking soda
2 TB olive oil
2 c diced onion
1 c each diced celery and carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*

Rinse and pick over the beans for stones and other foreign matter. Place in a soup pot with the ham bone or slice, bay leaves, a big pinch of salt, a big pinch of baking soda (helps the beans keep their black color) and about twice as much water as needed to cover the beans. Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are almost done, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. During cooking check the pot and add water if needed to keep the beans just covered. If using a ham bone, remove and discard. If using a slice, remove, dice, and reserve. Discard bay leaves.

In another pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Pour in the beans and their cooking liquid and simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes. Remove about 1/4 of the soup to a food processor along with 1 to 3 of the chipotle peppers and with some of the sauce (more peppers = more zing in the final soup). Process to a puree and return to the soup. Add diced ham and simmer, stirring, for a final 5 minutes, Check seasoning and serve garnished with sour cream, fresh cilarntro, and/or salsa.

* Available in cans in most supermarkets, look in the Mexican section. You can freeze what you don’t use.

Really good chicken stock

April 30, 2011

If you want really delicious chicken stock, the kind you can just drink from a cup, forget about using table scraps and bones. The flavor is in the meat, and you need lots of meat to make good stock. I wait for sales when I can get whole legs for a good price, then make a bunch of stock and freeze it. This recipe requires a large pot, and can be halved if needed. You’ll get about 8 quarts of stock from this.

Some chicken stock recipes get too complicated for me. You have to brown the chicken, or use old stewing hens, and so on. These recipes may give great results, but my ideas was a simple process that would give great you great stock without too much fuss. So, here we go.

12 whole chicken legs
2 medium onions, halved (don’t bother to peel)
2 stalks celery cut in large chunks
2 large carrots in chunks.
5 whole unpeeled garlic cloves cut in half
10 whole peppercorns
2 tsp salt
5 bay leaves

Put everything in your stock pot and cover by about an inch with good quality water. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat – this will take a while. For clear stock it is essential that the liquid never boil, just use a gentle simmer. Stir once in a while–after a couple of hours the chicken will be falling apart. Continue simmering for another hour or two.

Let cool for a while then strain the stock through a cheesecloth or  paper towel-lined strainer. Discard the solids. If the chicken has rendered a lot of fat, you are in luck. Skim it off the stock and strain it, if necessary. You now have schmaltz, great for sautéing potatoes and a host of other uses. Store in the fridge.

Curried butternut squash soup

April 30, 2011

A perfect soup for a chilly fall or winter day. Using half stock and half water gives the soup a nice flavor without it tasting like chicken soup. You could use all water for a vegetarian version.

1 medium (about 2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into appx. 1 inch pieces.
1/4 c Madeira or dry sherry
2 cloves garlic,  minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TB butter
1 TB curry powder
1 tsp  ground cumin
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 c chicken stock
2 c water
1/2 c heavy cream

In a large saucepan, sauté onions and garlic in butter until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add squash, curry powder, cumin, cayenne and cook another 3-5 minutes. Add Madiera and stir for about a minute. Add stock and water and simmer until squash is quite soft, about 10-15 minutes. Puree in a blender and return to pan. Add cream, S&P to taste. reheat as needed and serve.

Cold beet soup

April 25, 2011

I modified this from a recipe in The Joy of Cooking.

2 c diced peeled raw beets
1 c diced onion
1/2 c diced peeled carrot
1/2 c shredded cabbage
2 c chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
1 TB butter
1 TB rice wine vinegar

Put the beets, onion, and carrot in a saucepan with barely enough water to cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 20 minutes. Let cool slightly then puree in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may want to over-salt slightly because the saltiness will be less pronounced when the soup is cold. Chill and serve topped with sour cream and diced chervil, accompanied by buttered rye or pumpernickel bread.


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