Category Archives: Soup

Leek and Potato Soup with Pearl Barley and a Hint of Nutmeg

Potato_and_Leek_Soup1 (1 of 1)Here’s a hearty fall soup with German roots. It has two of my favorite ingredients:  leeks and nutmeg, which are key to this dish (well, so is the butter). The barley adds a very nice texture and flavor, as well. I’ve had this soup before where it is practically all white because of the broth that was used, but for this recipe, I prefer to use a dark, rich vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics). This soup is very easy to make, yet it is very flavorful — I tend to cook recipes with long ingredient lists, but I have to remind myself now and again that simple is elegant and often better! I hope you’ll give this dish a try!

8 cups vegetable stock
1 large leek, finely chopped (white part only)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb red potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into a 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add vegetable stock and stir in leek, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in potatoes, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in barley. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 45 minutes. Stir often, so that the barley doesn’t stick to bottom of pot. Stir in butter, and season with additional salt, if desired (I added another 1 tsp salt, which seemed about right). Serve hot, garnishing with parsley and plenty of Parmesan. Fresh, crusty bread is a must with this soup.

Serves 4.

Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Spices

Red_Lentil_Soup (1 of 1)Last evening was blustery and cold here in New England. We even had some snow — it was the perfect night for this delicious version of red lentil soup! Red lentil soup seems to have various versions around the world, each with its unique variety of spices. The star of this international version is the spice, fenugreek, which has a wonderfully distinctive sweet smell that is similar to maple syrup. In fact, if you can’t find fenugreek (but please try!), you can substitute it in this recipe by omitting the sugar and adding 1 tsp maple sugar. The simmering of this soup melds the flavor of the fenugreek very nicely with the other spices in the dish — I hope you’ll try it tonight!

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
1 red Thai chili, minced
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red lentils
7 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Crusty bread

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in yellow onion, garlic, chili, cumin and coriander seeds. Sauté 4 minutes. Stir in carrots and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in fenugreek, sugar, tomato paste, red lentils and chicken stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 40 minutes with lid ajar. Stir occasionally while simmering.

Remove soup from heat. Add lemon juice and adjust seasoning (I added another 1 tsp or so of salt, which seemed about right). Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with red onion and parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 6.

Greek Stewed White Beans with Tomatoes, Oregano and Olive Oil

Fasolada1 (1 of 1)My best friend growing up is half Greek. Her family often had me over for dinner. The meals were always spectacular, and typically featured Greek cuisine. This is where I tasted my first fasolada (φασολάδα). It was delicious! It’s a comfort food in Greece, and I’ve finally decided to make it myself — I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner because it is so simple to prepare, and I think this version is really good. I remember my friend’s mother’s version as having more tomatoes and less carrots, and lots of olive oil (and I’ll try that next time), but again, I really enjoy this version. Give it a try and let me know what you think! (Note:  this also does well in a slow cooker, on low, 7 – 8 hours).

1 lb cannellini beans, soaked overnight or flash-soaked by bringing to a boil in 8 cups cold water, boiling 2 minutes, removing from heat and letting stand for 1 hour, then draining
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl with hands
2 Tbsp tomato paste
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
5 cups cold water
3 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Additional olive oil for serving
Additional chopped parsley for garnish

In a large Dutch oven or similar pan, bring beans and 5 cups cold water to a boil. Add all other ingredients except salt and pepper (I’ve read that adding the seasoning during the cooking process makes the beans tough — wouldn’t want that!). Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. My version is a bit thicker than others, so add additional water if you prefer soupy. Remove from heat, season with the salt and pepper. Garnish individual servings and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Serves 6.

Curry of Chicken Soup with Rice (Mulligatawny)

Curried_Chicken_Soup1 (1 of 1)Mulligatawny is a delicious Anglo-Indian soup that has its origins in South India. The name is said to come from the Tamil words milagu (“pepper”) and thanni (“water”). Pepper water  doesn’t sound so appetizing to me, and it not representative of this great soup. If I had to pick out one ingredient that I think makes this soup shine, I would definitely say it’s the cloves — they really add to the depth of flavor of this dish. Hope you’ll try it tonight!

2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 2 large), trimmed of all visible fat
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp butter
12 black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
6 cups chicken stock
1 large apple (such as Golden Delicious), peeped, cored and diced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup cream
1 recipe steamed jasmine rice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the flour, curry powder, 1 tsp of the salt, ground ginger and ground turmeric. Rub into the chicken and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the diced apples and lemon juice; set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and any of the Curried_Chicken_Soup2 (1 of 1)spice mixture that may have fallen off. Brown chicken on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp salt, peppercorns, cloves and chicken stock to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring to deglaze the pan. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for 1 hour. Add the apples and lemon juice; cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove chicken breasts from the pan. When cool enough to work with your fingers, remove skin and discard. Remove meat from the bones and shred. Add shredded chicken back to the pan. Stir in the cream. Season to taste with additional salt.

Divide the cooked rice among 4 bowls. Ladle soup over each and top each with chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.

Serves 4.

Chiang Mai Chicken Noodles (Khao Soi Gai)

Chiang_Mai_Noodles1 (1 of 1)Chiang Mai noodles is one of my all-time favorite Thai dishes (no kidding!). It is the signature dish of Chiang Mai, Thailand, and that is where I tasted it (experienced it!) for the first time. It is said to be of Burmese origin, but it now calls Chiang Mai home. It is served soup-style in a bowl with lots of broth over noodles, together with a bit of meat, such as pork or chicken. The broth is a fantastic blend of spices, coconut milk and chicken stock, and it is on the hot side. It is typically garnished with green onions, shallots, peppers and a deep-fried nest of noodles (optional). I hope you’ll try it!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (about two breasts), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 Tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 Tbsp fish sauceChiang_Mai_Noodles2 (1 of 1)
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce (don’t substitute with regular/light soy sauce; do substitute with kecap manis, if necessary)
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1/8 tsp ground white or black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb fresh Asian-style egg noodles, cooked 2 minutes in boiling water, then drained and set aside

For garnish
3 spring onions, diagonally sliced
4 (or so) red Thai bird chilies, seeded and thinly sliced
4 chopped shallots
Some cilantro (coriander leaves)
4 fried noodle nests (optional)*

Heat about 1/3 of coconut milk in a wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, add the Thai curry paste and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 1 or 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add chicken and stir fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the rest of the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, lime juice, ground pepper and salt to the chicken mixture. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 7 minutes. Serve in bowls, over portions of the egg noodles. Garnish each serving with spring onions, chopped bird chilies, chopped shallots, cilantro leaves and fried noodle nests (if using).

Serves 4.

*To make fried noodle nests, divide 6 oz rice vermicelli into 4 “nests.” Heat about an inch of canola oil in a wok over high heat. Test oil when it is hot by dipping one of the noodles into it; oil is ready when noodle puffs up on contact. With tongs, drop one nest into the oil. It will just take a second to fry — remove from the oil as it has puffed up. Place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the rest of the nests.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean SoupThis is another simple soup that I make at any time of the year. It’s a fusion of Caribbean and South Western (U.S.) flavors (because I love both!), which I think go together pretty well. I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onions
1 tsp finely grated garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 15.5 oz cans black beans, undrained
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Sour cream as garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro as garnish
Red pepper flakes
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until onions are translucent (about 3 minutes).

Add the coriander, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Sauté for another minute.

Add the beans, chicken broth, bay leaf, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Serve with crusty French bread. Add a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro and red pepper flakes on top of each serving.

Serves 4.