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.
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!
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)
February 23, 2014
A soup similar to this was posted by a bunch of people on Pinterest recently, which I made and liked a lot. Then Aunt Suzy emailed me this recipe, which was very similar but looked better. Instead of using cream to make it a creamy soup, you puree some of the potatoes, which I like better. I waited a few weeks to try this one out so that we didn’t over do the potato-greens-sausage soup around here, and I’m so glad I got around to making this! It is fantastic…blows the other soup out of the soup pot. Ha! And my husband, Jason, raved about it as well, claiming it to have the “best broth ever.” He’s really good about complimenting my cooking, but this was more emotion than he usually shows about food. So I put this one in the “win” column and will be definitely making it again!
I think that you can switch out different kinds of greens/sausage/potatoes to suit your likes. I made it with spicy Italian sausage because that’s what I had on hand, instead of the chorizo. Next time I’ll make it with the chorizo probably, but the spicy Italian was still good. I prefer Yukon gold potatoes, but russet would be fine, too. And as for the greens, I would stick with tougher, bitter greens like collard, or any type of kale. I don’t think spinach or chard would hold up as well. The main thing that made this soup stand out to me was the process of taking out part of the potatoes and pureeing them to make the broth thick and creamy.
Aunt Suzy says..
As Margaux mentioned, our initial foray into the greens/potato/sausage soup arena was a recipe we saw on Pinterest that we both made exactly according to the recipe, me with chicken and Margaux with pork sausage. Then my guy Randy shared this recipe with us from Cook’s Illustrated, which we tried shortly thereafter. I’ve made the Pinterest one with regular kale and unpeeled russets and another time with Lacinato kale, unpeeled Yukon Golds and fully cooked Italian sausage from Trader Joe’s. And then I’ve made this recipe exactly as specified. All are really good, but I think this one is the winner. Pureeing some of the potatoes with olive oil creates an emulsion that makes for a very silky texture without dairy. Today, I’ve made one of our favorite stews, and Randy asked me if it included sausage – hehe, guess we’ve had enough sausage around here for a while.
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
¼ cup EV olive oil
12 ounces Spanish-style chorizo sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (fully cooked, not fresh Mexican)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock or broth
4 cups water
1 pound collard greens, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, optional
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion. Cook for a few minutes till translucent. Add the garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, another 3 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, and water; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove 3/4 cup solids and 3/4 cup broth to a bowl or measuring cup. Set aside. Add collard greens to pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chorizo and continue to simmer until greens are tender, 8 to 10 minutes longer.
Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil to solids/broth mixture that was set aside. Place in blender jar (or use immersion blender) and process until very smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute. Remove pot from heat and stir pureed soup mixture and vinegar, if using, into soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Cook’s Notes: If you live near a Whole Foods, Amylu Chicken Chorizo in a 9-ounce package works really well with this and the 9-ounces seemed like enough. You can try with or without the vinegar. AS didn’t use it and Margaux did.
November 21, 2013
Aunt Suzy says . . .
The Wall Street Journal ran this article a few weeks ago on Minestrone, including 3 delicious-looking recipes. I love making Minestrone and the message and recipes here expanded my thinking as to what this soup is all about. I love the quote “But minestrone is, ultimately, a hyper-personal and hyper-seasonal chameleon of a dish, tailored to the current harvest and the cravings of the maker. This soup embodies better than any other the enviable Italian virtue known as sprezzatura: an artful effortlessness.” When Randy and I were talking Sunday morning about what we’d like for dinner, he said he had bought the ingredients for this soup. I had planned to make roasted salmon, potatoes and broccoli, but given I had a cold, the Minestrone sounded way more appealing. Plus I didn’t have to cook – what’s not to like?! We both had seconds of this! Like many “ugly duckling” soups and stews that we’ve posted before (like this, this this and this), don’t let the bland look turn you away – this is one delicious soup, made even better by the unusual pesto.
Guest chef Randy Tatum says . . .
This recipe looked like an interesting use of seasonal ingredients, including celery root which I don’t cook with enough. I thought the soup could use even more winter vegetables, so I added rutabaga. I found this easy to make, even if it takes a little chopping. It’s one of those dishes that can really be flexible in terms of ingredients and quantities. Unlike Suzy, who always has flavorful homemade chicken stock in the freezer, I take a rather relaxed approach to creating a stock for my soups. It’s called Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base and is a more than acceptable substitute. I often use their “No-Chicken Base”, which tastes just as good but is vegetarian. The pesto is indeed unusual and I agree that it really adds to the finished product.
The Winter Vegetable Minestrone
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium celery root, peeled and cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and cubed
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed
4-5 (or more) cups chicken stock (or Better Than Bouillon per their instructions to equal 4-5 cups)
2 bay leaves
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups yellow split peas
4 (or more) cups shredded cabbage
1 small apple, peeled and cubed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the yellow split peas in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once oil is warm, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook till fragrant. Stir in celery root, parsnip and rutabaga, cooking until fragrant, another 5 minutes. Add the stock, bay leaves, beans, split peas, cabbage and apple. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot and simmer gently until celery root, parsnips and rutabaga soften, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
The Pesto, Pasta and Final Assembly
8 ounces whole wheat pasta, small shapes (we used fusilli/spirals)
1 cup leafy greens – spinach, kale or chard (we used spinach), coarsely chopped
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped (we used roasted/salted)
¼ cup fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup olive oil
Cook the pasta to al dente according to instructions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, make the pesto. In a food processor, purée the greens, pecans, rosemary, whole garlic cloves, oil and a pinch of salt until mixture is reduced almost to a paste. Turn into a serving dish.
To serve, place desired amount of pasta into a soup bowl. Ladle as much soup as you want onto the pasta. Place a dollop of the pesto onto the soup and stir to blend. Enjoy!