Archive for the ‘Soups’ category

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.


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
1 thick slice of smoked ham
1 lb dry black beans
2 bay leaves
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 (or broth or bone broth, same thing (no matter what some people tell you), the kind you can just drink from a cup and that makes great soups and sauces, 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. Wings will work too, but with the chicken wing craze they are hard to find on sale. If you can get feet and/or necks, add them too. 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 idea was a simple process that would give you great stock without too much fuss. So, here we go.

12 whole chicken legs or equivalent in wings
2 medium onions, halved (don’t bother to peel)
2 large or 3 small 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. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium low heat – this will take a while. Or to save time, heat on high until hot, then reduce heat. For clear stock it is essential that the liquid never boil, as that incorporates fat into the liquid and makes it cloudy–just use a gentle simmer. And gentle means gentle with a bubble or two coming to the surface every few seconds. Stir once in a while–after a couple of hours the chicken will be falling apart. Continue simmering for another hour or two or three, adding water as needed to keep the chicken submerged.

Let cool for a while then use a spider, slotted spoon, or tongs to remove most of the solids. You’ll have a lot of meat that is essentially tasteless. If you pick it off the bones your dog or cat might like it, otherwise discard.

There will be a layer of fat on top of the liquid. Skim most of it off and save for other uses, such as sautéing potatoes, or discard. Not down the drain, though, where it can solidify and cause a clog. 

Strain the stock through a fine-meshed strainer. For best clarity strain again thru cheesecloth. It’s now ready to use or freeze.

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.

French pork and cabbage soup

April 25, 2011

This is hearty peasant food at its best. I like to put a piece of toasted French bread, rubbed with garlic, in each person’s bowl and ladle the soup on top.

1 lb (appx) pork shoulder (Boston butt) cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 lb bacon
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 coarsely chopped onions (about 2 cups worth).
2 c dry white wine
1 qt pork or beef stock
1 qt water
Boquet garni (a big one!)
1 head of cabbage, shredded.
1 c each cubed turnip, boiling potato, and carrot
1 lb Polish sausage (kielbasa)

For best flavor you want to cook a pork bone with this soup. I like to buy a pork shoulder (bone-in, obviously) and trim the meat, using the bone and 1 lb of the meat for this soup and freezing the remaining meat for other uses. But, even without a bone this is delicious!

Cut the bacon crossways into 1/2″ wide strips. Simmer in 1 qt of water for a few minutes (to remove excess smoky flavor) then drain.

In a large, heavy soup pot, cook the bacon until it is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve, leaving the fat in the pan. Over high heat, brown the pork well in the bacon fat, and remove it from the pan. Add the onions and garlic over medium high heat and cook until softened, 5-10 min. Add the wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Return the pork and bacon to the pot, add the stock and water, the pork bone (if you have it), and the boquet garni. Cook at a very low simmer for 1-1/2 hours.

Add the cabbage and cook for an additional 30 min.

Add the turnips, carrots, potato, and sausage (whole) and cook for another 30 minutes.

Skim any excess fat and remove and discard the pork bone. Remove the sausage and slice into 1 inch pieces, and return to the pot. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve.

Church minnestrone

April 25, 2011

I learned this recipe when I was helping to make lunch for a large group. It turned out so well I decided to scalae it down for use at home.

1 c diced onion
1 TB minced garlic
1/4 c olive oil
1 c each diced carrots, zucchini, and celery
1-16 oz can tomato or V-8 juice
1-16 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 quart water or vegetable stock
1 handful chopped fresh basil (or 1 TB dried)
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb “short” pasta like shells or spirals
1 large can canneloni beans, drained, half mashed and the other half left whole

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes. Add all ingredients between the **** and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer 5 min. Add the beans and simmer another 5-8 min, stirring to mix thoroughly.

Thai-themed shrimp bisque

April 21, 2011

I devised this recipe in an attempt to replicate a soup I had at a restaurant.

1 lb shell-on shrimp, heads on too if possible, size doesn’t matter but not tiny
3 TB olive oil
1c finely diced onion
1/2 c each finely diced celery and carrots
1 TB minced fresh ginger
1 TB minced garlic
2 TB tomato paste
1/4 c brandy (optional)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 TB paprika
2 c chicken stock
1/2 c raw white rice
1c canned unsweeted coconut milk
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 c fresh cilantro, diced
1/4 c scallion tops, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the shrimp. Simmer until just done, 2-3 minutes, then drain and reserve the liquid. When cool enough to handle, shell and behead the shrimp. Set the shrimp aside and return the shells and heads to the pot with the reserved liquid. Bring to a simmer for a few more minutes then strain thru a fine sieve. Discard the shells and reserve the stock.

In a heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, celery, and carrots until just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a another few minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir until thoroughly mixed. If using the brandy, add to the pot, stir, and ignite with a match (keep your face back!). When the flames die down, add the reserved shrimp stock and the next 7 ingredients, bay leaves through rice. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely dice 1/3 of the shrimp and cut the remainder into pieces about 1/2 inch in size.

When the simmering is finished, add the finely diced shrimp, the coconut milk, and the cayenne pepper to the soup. Use an immersion blender to finely puree the soup (or do it in batches in a regular blender). Return to the pan and correct for salt, if needed. Add the remaining shrimp and heat through. Serve the the cilantro and scallions sprinkled on top.

U.S. Senate bean soup (sort of)

April 21, 2011

I don’t know if this is the actual U.S. Senate recipe but it seems close and it’s quite good.

1 lb dry navy beans
2 smoked ham hocks
3 celery stalks, diced
2 baseball-size onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4c unflavored instant mashed potatoes or 1/2c real mashed potatoes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Minced chives or parsley for garnish

Soak the beans overnight and drain. Put in a soup pot with 2 quarts water and the ham hocks. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occassionally. Add the celery, onion, garlic, potatoes, and pepper and simmer for another hour, adding a little water if the soup seems too thick. The beans will be disintegrating by this time, just what you want. Remove the ham hocks and take the meat off the bones. Dice the meat and return to the soup, discarding the bones. Add salt if needed and serve topped with minced chives or parsley.

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