Monday, November 14, 2011

More Soups for You!

Eating: As promised, some more soup recipes. 

Carrot Soup - The first time I had this soup was while I was working as a fill-in nanny for a crazy mean lady, taking care of her 3 adorable children while she went for coffee and to "workout".  She was an "artiste" so I think she also did some painting.  Oh, and she was a gourmet cook (according to her).  Anyway, this is a very tasty and easy soup.  This recipe has some curry in it but if you don't like curry, you can leave it out and still have a very yummy soup.
Heat 4 C. chicken broth.  Add 4 carrots (peeled and sliced), 1 small Granny Smith (or other tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped), 1/2 medium onion (chopped), 1-2 tsp curry powder to taste, and 1/2 tsp turmeric (as I type that, I don't think I have ever added the turmeric because I don't think I have ever had turmeric - feel free to leave it out).  Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Puree in small batches (no more than 1/2 blender full or you will have boiling carrot soup in your hair and on your hands and on your white t-shirt and... you get the picture).  Thin, if necessary, with additional broth.  Serve warm or cold.  Also freezes well.  Makes 4 generous servings.

Potage de Mme. Miclot - Along similar lines as the carrot soup, as far as texture and technique, is a French vegetable soup called potage (poe-tahge').  I had this soup at the beginning of nearly every meal the first 3 months or so that I lived chez Miclot in Angers, France, I think until the weather warmed up (having trouble remembering - that was nearly 20 years ago.  Good god, I am getting old.)  The recipe is written in French so I am translating as I type. 
Chop into pieces: 1/2 kg potatoes, 1/2 kg carrots, 1 onion and 1 or 2 leeks.  In a large pot, cover the veggies well with water, add a little salt and 2 bouillon cubes (or equivalent).  Cook a good half-hour until vegetables are very soft.  "Mixer et voila".  I think that means puree it and you are done.  If I remember correctly Huguette (aka Mme. Miclot) used a hand mixer.  One of those wand mixers would work well.  I would use my blender, because that is how I work.  Remember: in small batches unless you want to be scalded with soup on your face and hands.  Oh, and in case you have forgotten your conversions, 1 kg=2.2lbs.  So 1/2 kg is about a pound.

Lentil Soup - As long as I am on a roll here with soups E doesn't like, here is another.  This is a hearty vegetarian soup, which seems to me like a contradiction in terms.  Not a vegetarian (I like steak waaaay too much to eat a vegetarian diet), but I do like this soup. 
In a large pot, cook 1 large onion and 1 green pepper (both chopped), in 4 Tbls olive oil until soft.  Stir in 2 Tbls flour. Add: 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes (with the juice), 3 carrots (chopped), 2 C lentils (do not presoak), 1 Tbls salt (I prefer kosher salt unless I am baking), and 8 C water.  Cover and simmer on low for 2 hours. 

African Chicken Soup - Another soup E is not a fan of (I don't know why).  This recipe is from my mom.  She did not go to Africa to get the recipe - I think she got it at a coffee shop.  Loads of flavor,  very hearty and filling.  The secret ingredient is...peanut butter.
Heat 2 Tbls oil.  Cook 1 C cubed chicken breast in the oil 5 minutes.  Season with 1/8 tsp red pepper and 1/8 tsp black pepper and add 1 1/3 C chopped onions, until browned.  Add 1/3 C. diced green peppers, 1/3 C. diced red peppers, 1 Tbls minced garlic, 5 1/4 C chicken stock, 2 1/4 C canned diced tomatoes (28 oz can, drained), 1/3 C rice.  Simmer until the rice is done.  Stir in 1/2 C peanut butter.  Add peanuts for extra crunch and flavor.  Yum.  Soooo good.

Hamburger Soup - a slow-cooker/crock pot recipe, and one that E likes.  I got this one from Kate who I used to baby-sit for back in the mid '90s (before I gave up babysitting).  3 of her 4 little girls really liked it (ages 8, 6, and 4).  The other little one was just a baby and didn't yet eat soup.  I bet she grew up to love this one, though.  I would recommend using really good quality ground beef, very low in fat, because it cooks in the soup and you won't be draining the fat.  A trick on the onion soup mix if you have someone who doesn't like onions because of the texture - grind the contents up in a food processor so it is like dust - all the flavor but no discernible onion bits.
Crumble 1 lb ground beef into slow-cooker.  Add 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp seasoned salt, and 1 envelope onion soup mix.  Stir in 3 C boiling water, 8 oz can tomato sauce, 1 Tbls soy sauce.  Add 1 C sliced celery and 1 C thinly sliced carrots.  Cover an cook on low 6-8 hours.  Turn on high - add 1 C macaroni (cooked) and 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese.  Cover and cook 10-15 minutes.

Oven Stew - Speaking of slow cooking, here is one of my all-time favorite recipes (I may have said this about other recipes but I really mean it about this one).  E likes this one a whole lot.  I love it for many reasons - it makes the whole house smell really good and happy, it warms us from the inside, it tastes really yummy, and (maybe most of all) it is a lazy person's dream recipe.  So many beef stew recipes I have seen start with "brown the stew meat" and involve making a gravy or sauce.  Not this one!  Dump it all in the pot, and then leave it bake for 4 hours.  A bit of chopping and that is it!  The original recipe does not call for potatoes but I say, "what is a stew without potatoes?!"  Another of my mom's recipes, I have been making this one for years.
2 lbs beef chuck cut into 2" cubes (you can buy "stew meat" which is already cut up - this is my lazy option); 1 onion, quartered; 4 carrots, pared and quartered; 4 celery stalks, quartered; 4 medium large potatoes, chopped in bite size pieces; 1/4 C quick-cooking tapioca (this is NOT pudding - it is the little tapioca pearls.  The same people who make Minute Rice have a quick cooking tapioca.  The box even looks like a mini-Minute Rice box.  This is the key to this recipe - do not skip it!); 1/4 C. dry bread crumbs; 1 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp pepper; 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, undrained (you can break them up a bit if you like).  Note: I have been adding about a half a can (rinsing out the tomato can in the process) to this so it makes a less thick sauce.  Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven.  Cook at 300 degrees COVERED (do not uncover while cooking) for 4 hours.  That's it.  I told you it was easy - even the veggies are minimally prepared.

And my last soup recipe, Lazy Lasagna Chili.  I don't know why they call this one a chili but they do.  It is a Pampered Chef recipe and is pretty darn easy.  Other than browning and some chopping, hands-on work is minimal and it cooks up pretty quickly with things you might usually have on hand.
Remove the casings from1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausages (4 links).  Brown sausage with 1/2 C coarsely chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic (pressed).  Add 1 jar (26oz) of spaghetti sauce, 28 oz beef broth (2 - 14oz cans or water with beef bouillon or soup base), and 1 C. water.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in 1 1/2 C uncooked pasta nuggets (radiatore - rotelle also works).  Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 7 minutes.  Stir in 1 C coarsely chopped zucchini.  Cook 2-4 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbls snipped fresh basil.

I think that is all my usual soup recipes.  Seems I have some others but these are the main recipes I make.  Here's to a winter of warm tummies.

Soup's on!

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