December 18, 2016
Aunt Suzy says . . .
It’s soup Sunday up here in Minnesota! Waking up to minus 18 degrees (FAHRENHEIT!!) demands something warming. I recently found the soup cookbook, Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Cookbook at my local library and since I’m always looking for a new twist on soup, I checked it out. This soup caught my eye because of lack of tomatoes and that fresh fennel was part of the base. I love tomatoes in soups, but it’s nice to have some tasty versions without. This was easy to make, even though it requires a lot of chopping. I made a huge pot and plan to freeze some of it, thinking it will freeze well. Enjoy with some crusty bread, a baguette or crostini and a nice white wine.
Chorizo and Chickpea Soup with Fennel
Ingredients – makes 5-8 servings
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 Spanish chorizo sausages, split lengthwise and sliced (we like Amylu Chicken Chorizo)
1 large onion
1-2 carrots, small dice
2-3 stalks celery, small dice
2-3 small fennel bulbs, cored, small dice
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
3/4-1 1/4 cup dry white wine
6-9 cups chicken stock, homemade or your favorite store-bought
Several sprigs thyme tied together with kitchen string
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (2-3 small cans or cooked from dried)
Heat a stockpot or Dutch oven to medium high and coat with the olive oil. Add the sliced chorizo and saute till slightly browned. Note, this recipe uses Spanish style fully cooked chorizo, not Mexican chorizo which is raw. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, carrots, celery, rosemary and fennel. Saute until the vegetables start to soften 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a couple of more minutes. Add the white wine and simmer for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and the thyme. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Add the cooked chickpeas and simmer 10-20 more minutes to blend the flavors. Remove the thyme bundle before serving.
January 28, 2016
Aunt Suzy says . . .
We love making this recipe for White Chili, something I learned when I moved to Minnesota 20+ years ago. It’s in both of our regular rotations in the fall/winter season. So it caught my attention when my friend Ruth brought a different version of “white” chili to a gathering recently. I thought it was delicious so asked her to share the recipe. This variation on white chili is from the Neelys, a couple I enjoy seeing on their Food Network show. They are a lot of fun to watch cook as they share recipes for good home cooking. “White” is stretching it a little with this recipe which uses ground red chili, but it is a close relative of our original and I think it’s delicious. We served it with Harvey Cornbread and a “winter ale”. What did you and your family think, Margaux?
Margaux says . . .
I think this is my new favorite chili recipe! I love how easy it was to make, because I used canned beans and a rotisserie chicken, which made it a snap. It was also very easy to adapt for my vegetarian: I made it with vegetable broth, and then took out a couple of servings for my veggie son, and then added the chicken for the rest of us. One thing I did differently than the recipe was mashing 1/4 cup of the beans before adding them to the chili as a thickener…I found it to be a little soupy for my family. We like our chili thick. We also like to load our chili up, too, so I served it with sour cream, shredded Monterey jack, chopped avocado, and crushed tortilla chips. It was a hit!
Chicken and White Bean Chili
1 3/4 cups dried white beans OR 2 small (14.5 ounce) cans -navy, great northern or cannelini (AS used dried navy beans, M used canned cannelini)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
2 medium poblano peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2-1 chipole chili in adobo sauce, rinsed and chopped
4-6 cups chicken broth (mock chicken broth, Better than Bouillon no chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian)
juice of 2 limes
2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed, omit for vegetarian
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Sliced avocado, optional
Sour cream, optional
Crushed corn chips, optional
Directions – preparation
If using dried beans, brine/soak the beans: Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in 3 quarts of cold water. Add the beans and soak overnight. Alternatively, you can bring the beans, salt and water to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Less time for smaller beans, more for larger. In either case, drain the beans and rinse well. Set aside.
If using canned beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside.
Blend the spices: Put the cumin, coriander and ground chili in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.
Prepare the chicken: If using rotisserie chicken, take the meat off the bone and remove the skin. Or bake 1 or more chicken breasts (skin-on/bone-in) at 375 for 40 minutes. Let cool, then take meat off the bone and remove the skin. In either case, shred or cut into cubes for desired amount. AS used the meat from one (largish) chicken breast which equaled 2 cups. M used meat from one small rotisserie chicken which also equaled 2 cups.
Directions – making the soup
Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add the oil. When shimmering, add the onions and peppers and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two and then add the spice blend plus the chipotle pepper. Stir for a minute or so to toast the spices. Stir in the broth and the beans. Stir to blend, bring to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer. If using dried beans, simmer for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the bean until cooked firm, but not mushy. Start checking at 20 minutes and then check every 10 minutes thereafter. (The navy beans were cooked in 30 minutes.) If using canned beans, simmer 20-30 minutes. In either case, you can mash or blend part of the beans to create a thicker chili, per Margaux’s message above.
Taste the soup. Add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust the spices if necessary. Stir in the lime juice and chicken and bring back to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
Directions – serving the soup
Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Pass the cilantro and lime wedges, along with the sour cream, crushed corn chips and/or avocado slices if using.
December 20, 2015
It’s winter! Time for soups and stews. This one from our local newspaper caught my eye because Beth Dooley, creator the this recipe, is one of our local food/cooking gems here in the Twin Cities. Also, this looked so different from the soups I’ve been making with a mirepoix base. While some ingredients are familiar – squash, beans, tomatoes and kale – others sounded exotic in a soup – za’atar, orange zest and juice. Randy and I both loved this – we could hardly stop eating it! The recipe says it serves 4-6, but honestly after one meal we only had a tiny portion left for my lunch the next day. I will probably double the ingredients next time I make it. I was excited that I met Beth yesterday at one of our local indoor winter farmers markets and was able to tell her how much we liked this soup.
Here’s Beth’s note from the article in the Strib: “Note: Think of this recipe as a series of suggestions; you can add other vegetables you have on hand, substitute chickpeas for white beans, try winter squash in lieu of pumpkin. Toss in leftover turkey or chicken and call it stew. The za’atar blend of spices can be found in the spice aisle of many grocery stores, culinary shops and food co-ops. From Beth Dooley.” Check out Beth’s website for more about her and see all the great cookbooks she’s authored. A new book, a memoir, has just come out!
And here’s my note: I’ve been obsessed with using dried beans in soups these days following the Cook’s Illustrated brining method, so I’ve made some adaptations to Beth’s original which uses canned. If you want to take the quick and easy route, you can do so with Beth’s approach in her recipe. I won’t judge 🙂 (This makes me laugh because when making this soup, I texted my blog partner “I’m kicking myself for using dried beans instead of canned!”) Actually, this was pretty quick and easy using the dried beans, it just took the extra step to brine/soak them.
Serves 4 to 6.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
1 to 2 tablespoons za’atar (see Beth’s note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Generous pinch red pepper flakes
4 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
1 cup brined dried cannelinni or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices (1 1/2 cups)
3 cups roasted kabocha or butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped parsley
grated orange zest from 1 medium orange (or to taste)
juice from half the medium orange (or to taste)
2 cups thinly sliced kale
Brine the beans: Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts of cold water. Add the beans and soak overnight or up to 24 hours. Alternatively, you can bring the beans, salt and water to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour. In either case, drain the beans and rinse well.
Prepare the squash: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. I used Kabocha squash of the orange variety, but green Kabocha, butternut or pumpkin would be excellent in this recipe. Whichever you use, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Slice into 1-inch slices. Line a baking sheet with foil and then put a skim of vegetable oil on the foil. Place the squash slices on the foil and turn to coat both sides with the oil. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, turn the squash over using tongs and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Remove the skin with a knife and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside. (This step can be done up to 2 days ahead of making the soup.)
Make the soup: In a deep stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute till fragrant. Add the Za’atar, red pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir for a minute or two till fragrant.
Add the stock and the dried beans. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to low and simmer, covered, until the beans are done. This can vary depending on type and freshness of the beans you use from 30-60 minutes. I checked after 30 minutes and the cranberry beans I used were cooked through.
Stir in the squash and the tomatoes with their juices and continue simmering for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
Stir in the orange zest and juice, and parsley and continue simmering another 5 minutes until the flavors meld. Adjust the seasonings and add the kale before serving hot.
December 3, 2015
Aunt Suzy says . . .
In our ongoing 2015 series of soups and stews, we wanted to revisit one we make regularly and love. We did this recipe a couple of years ago which was a riff on today’s Cook’s Illustrated stew. This recipe is found in THE Cookbook, as my brother John calls it – The Science of Good Cooking from Cook’s Illustrated. It’s chock full of just what it promises, cooking science! The 2013 version used Italian sausage as the meat flavoring and cabbage as the vegetable. Today’s version uses pancetta and kale. While I liked both of these spins on the stew, I think the perfect combo will be sausage and kale. We will report back!
Margaux says . . .
I love this stew, and was excited to make this variation! This stew is so hearty and delicious, I’ve made it with the sausage and cabbage several times. I agree with Aunt Suzy, though, that kale and sausage would be the perfect combo. I will definitely make it that way next time! I love serving this with a loaf of crusty sourdough and a green salad. Yum!
Brining the beans: Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Alternatively if you’re in a hurry, bring the beans in the brining water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let stand for 1 hour. For both methods, when done soaking, drain and rinse well.
Remove pot from oven and submerge rosemary sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over toasted bread, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil. Alternatively serve with a nice crusty baguette.
November 22, 2015
Aunt Suzy says . . .
It’s soup season and we love soups and stews here at S&SK! We’ve decided to do a Soup/Stew series this fall/winter season where we cook and blog about new recipes like this one and revisit old recipes to provide updates on some of our favorites. We just decided this late last week and voila! this recipe appeared in our Minneapolis paper in a regular column Sunday Supper. The Minneapolis contingent of S&SK loved this dish (slightly adapted in ingredients and method from the original), both with and without the sour cream. We served with a baguette and some dark beer. Randy and I both thought it would be really good with a sour dough bread as well.
Margaux says . . .
Jason and I loved this, too! The kids not as much, but since it was such a hit with Jason and me, I will try it again…I think the new flavors were what put the kids off, and sometimes we just need to try things a few times before they like it. The fun part about this was that my 6-year-old loves knowing what country our foods originate from, and we’ve never really had Hungarian food before, so he was really excited about this. We pulled out our world map and found where Hungary is, and then looked it up on the internet. We looked at pictures of Budapest, of the countryside, talked about traditions there, what music they listen to and different foods they eat. This is something I started last year when I was homeschooling him, and it has just become sort of the norm around here. His favorite so far is “Italian night,” which of course we do on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes we really “do it up” and make up a restaurant name, create a sign for our restaurant, put on music from that country while I’m cooking. It’s really fun!
I also served this with a baguette…I’ve been making my own bread lately with a book Aunt Suzy got me, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” which I can’t recommend enough! It makes bread making so easy, and the results are amazing. The baguette was sourdough, and it went perfectly with the stew. We had it with a cotes du Rhone, because it’s what we had on hand, and it was pretty good!
Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Stew
1 1/2 lb. ground pork, beef or dark-meat turkey (Margaux used ground pork and AS used 1 lb. ground turkey)
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 medium head regular or savoy cabbage, cut in 1/2-inch strips – about 12 cups
1-2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire or Pick-a-Peppa sauce
1/2 c. long grain rice (white or brown)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dried
Sour cream for serving
Cook meat over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from pot, drain grease and wipe with a paper towel. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion, carrot and cabbage. Sprinkle with paprika, allspice and cayenne and stir to blend. Add the browned meat back to the pot and cook, stirring, until cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes.
Add stock, tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire or Pick-a-Peppa. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until cabbage is tender, 20-40 minutes to taste. (AS likes things more al dente so cooked for just 20 minutes.)
Add rice and season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, until rice is just tender (it will cook more off the heat), about 15 minutes. If using brown rice, put in when you add the stock, etc.
Stir in dill. Serve in soup bowls with dollops of sour cream.
Vegetarian directions – from Margaux:
I have one vegetarian in my family, so any time we have a dish with meat, I have to make a veg version. This one was really easy. Cook the stew according to directions, just eliminating the meat at the beginning (and using vegetable stock, of course). When you add the rice, also add one can (or two cups cooked) great northern beans. We thought the beans were a great addition to the stew!
March 31, 2015
Aunt Suzy says . . .
This winter, Randy and I had what we called “Downton Abbey Dinner Date”. We would record DA and I would cook a soup which we would have while we watched the latest installment, usually Wednesday evenings. It was a lot of fun and great to have warming soups during our coldest months. While I made a few standbys, I tried some new recipes including this one. Margaux had pinned this recipe a while back and while searching for something to cook it caught my eye. I thought it looked really good and that it would be a really quick weeknight meal. We made a number of adaptations to up the deliciousness, but still keeping fast and easy in mind. How quickly you can make this is determined by how much you cook from scratch (chickpeas, e.g.) or how much you use canned/frozen ingredients.
Margaux says . . .
I don’t remember pinning this recipe, but I’m really glad Aunt Suzy brought it to my attention! I just made it last night and it was a hit with the whole family. My son loved that it was spicy, too…he’s very proud that he has a taste for spicy food. If you have someone in your family that is sensitive to spicy things, I would cut the red pepper flakes back to 1/4 tsp. I used fresh chard because I couldn’t find frozen in my grocery store, but I think using frozen is a great idea as a time saver, and I’ll be keeping my eyes out for frozen for the next time I make this.
5 1/2-6 cups cooked chickpeas (four 14-oz cans or 2 cups dried, cooked)
6-7 cups chicken stock, homemade or boxed (or Better than Bouillon no chicken broth for vegetarian)
3 tablespoons EV olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, small dice
1 celery rib, small dice
Swiss chard stems, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Small Parmesan rind, optional
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into 1-inch pieces or 1-2 bags frozen chopped Swiss chard (see above note about stems)
Salt & pepper
Cooked small pasta – elbows, fusilli or shells, optional (we like whole wheat shells)
If using dried chickpeas, cook according to directions. 2 cups dried will produce the amount of cooked called for in this recipe. If using canned, drain and rinse.
Combine 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas and 1 cup chicken stock. Using a hand or regular blender, process until the texture is like oatmeal. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery, chard stems, if using, and rosemary. Saute over medium heat for 5 or so minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the pepper flakes. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add the pureed chickpea mixture, the remaining chicken stock, cooked chickpeas, bay leaf and the Parmesan rind, if using. The amount of stock you will use depends on whether you like your soups on the thick or thin side. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the Swiss chard and cook for another 10-15 minutes until cooked but not mushy. Remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaves before serving.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions until al dente.
To serve, place a little pasta in the bottom of the soup bowls and ladle the soup into the bowl. Serve with baguette if desired.
February 5, 2015
Aunt Suzy says . . .
It’s early February and that means cold where we live – perfect weather for soup. This week, I felt I might be coming down with a cold, so I thought a soup with ginger in it would really hit the spot. I recently filed away this recipe from Bon Appetit, so when I searched for something to make it was at the top of the pile. Randy and I both agreed that we would make this again. Once the ingredients were assembled, it came together in about 45 minutes. Who can ask for more on a cold weeknight?!
Ginger-Spiced Chicken Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced in half-moons
1/2 to 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 quarts chicken stock or broth
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups baby spinach
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Cooked small pasta, optional
Lime wedges (for serving)