Category: Soup


August 26th: Polynesian Peanut Soup

This soup comes from A Beautiful Bowl of Soup, a cookbook given to us by Aunt Debbie. I almost chose a chilled soup, as she did in July, but I love all things peanut-related and felt this was appropriate, as we live in Polynesia.

Polynesian Peanut Soup

This distinctive rich and creamy soup was inspired by a favorite peanut sauce. A friend shared the recipe with my over lunch on a South Pacific cruise. Just making it conjures up fond memories of a sunny deck, sensuous breezes, and the bright blue sea.

(makes 4 cups, 4 to 6 servings)

  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock, or as needed
  • 3/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter*
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney**
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño chili, or to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (green parts only)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • Asian sesame oil, for garnish***

*Buy natural peanut butter with oil on the top; stir in the oil before using. Many processed peanut butters are hydrogenated to prevent separation and have sugars, salt, and stabilizers added.

**Chutney is a mixture of fruit and/or vegetables, often cooked with vinegar, sugar, and spices. Usually made with mango, chutney is found in most supermarkets; look for it shelved with either the condiments or dressings.

***Buy dark, amber-colored Asian sesame oil, made from toasted sesame seeds, rather than light-colored sesame oil, which is extracted from raw sesame seeds and lacks the distinctive strong aroma and nutty flavor. Purchase toasted sesame oil in the Asian section of supermarkets or in Asian markets. After opening, store it in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to 6 months.

  1. Toast the coconut in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and ginger are very tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender. Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, peanut butter, cutney, and jalapeno; puree until smooth. (It may be necessary to add more vegetable stock if the peanut butter is very thick.)
  4. Transfer the soup to the Dutch oven and stir occasionally over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, toss together the coconut, green onions, and cilantro. Drizzle each serving of soup with sesame oil and top with a mound of the coconut mixture.

Refrigerate this soup and the toasted coconut in separate covered containers for up to 3 days. When reheating the soup, stir in water to thin as desired.

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Chilled Roasted Pepper-Mango Soup

I thought with the HOT HOT HOT summer in Indiana, a chilled soup would be perfect. In honor of the Hawaii crew, mango seemed like a good way to go. I found several choices, but liked this one as it has a twist from the other. From Coastal Living

 

  • 3 large yellow bell peppers, seeded and quartered
  • 2 large mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup mango nectar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sour cream
  • Garnish: Fresh mint

Preparation

  1. Place bell peppers on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from heat 15 minutes or until blistered. Place bell peppers in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and let stand 10 minutes to loosen skins. Peel peppers, discarding skins.
  2. Process peppers and mango in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add mango nectar and next 6 ingredients; process until smooth*. Cover and chill mixture 2 hours. Top with sour cream, and garnish with fresh mint, if desired.
  3. *Note: If desired, press mango mixture through a wire-mesh strainer, using back of a spoon to squeeze out liquid. Discard pulp and solids. Straining and discarding solids yields less volume but makes a very smooth soup.

We will gather on Sunday, July 15, at 4:00 pm Indianaplis / Florida time. If my math is right that makes it 1:00 pm in California, and 10:00 in Hawaii.

Borscht

Twice I have had borscht, a traditional Russian soup – once from a fine restaurant in Chicago and then at a crowded deli in New York City. Both times I enjoyed it immensely. The Soup Sisters will be making borscht at their web cook-along this weekend using the recipe here. We’ll let you know how it turns out.

From Food Network Kitchens

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches red beets, tops trimmed and scrubbed (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into eighths (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 medium carrots, halved crosswise (about 10 ounces)
  • 2 ribs celery, halved crosswise
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup light buttermilk
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce (a bit more than 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Makes 8 servings (about 1 1/4 cups per serving)

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Put the vegetables and garlic on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (or a doubled piece of regular), drizzle with olive oil, and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Add the rosemary. Seal the foil to make a tight package. Put the package in a roasting pan. Roast until the beets can be pierced easily with a knife, about 1 to 1.5 hours. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them—the skins should slide right off with a bit of pressure from your fingers. If they don’t, use a paring knife to scrape off any bits that stick.

Put half of the vegetables in a food processor with half of the broth and purée. Transfer the purée to a saucepan. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth. Stir in remaining 3 teaspoons salt, season with pepper, and simmer over medium heat until the flavors come together, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk and Worcestershire sauce.

Ladle borscht into bowls and garnish with dill. This soup is also delicious served chilled.

Since March is already almost half over, I thought it appropriate to post the recipe I would like to use for our April Soup Sisters Web-Cook-Along.

Food.com says this recipe will take about 30 minutes prep and 1 hour for cooking for a total of 90 minutes. I will probably use our slow cooker as suggested in Step 8 of the directions, which will add about another hour to hour and a half of cooking to my time.

I would also like to get feedback as to which weekend works best for everyone (April 7/8, 14/15, 21/22, 28/29) and time of day (last time was 3:30/12:30/10:30). I know with Daylight Savings Time starting again Hawaii is an additional hour later – I was thinking maybe using 4:00/1:00/10:00 (I know it’s about the same as last time for Hawaii, lol) start times.

http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-and-gnocchi-soup-351456

What I find nice about this site is that you can increase the number of servings and it will adjust your ingredients list. I have increased my recipe to 8 serving; this recipe doesn’t reference the ingredient amounts in the directions so we’ll be ok (the site warns that it does not adjust the ingredient amounts referenced in the directions).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups celery , chopped fine
  • 1 ½ cups onion , chopped fine
  • 1 cup carrot , grated very fine and chopped
  • 3 teaspoons garlic , minced
  • 2⁄3; cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 8 cups chicken broth or 8 cups fresh chicken stock
  • 3 cups cooked chicken (white meat works best) I will be using a rotisserie chicken.
  • 1 ½ cups fresh spinach , Julienne cut
  • 32 ounces gnocchi (potato dumpling)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan.
  2. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic and sauté until soft.
  3. Add flour mixing well, cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add heavy cream, milk and chicken broth mixing well.
  5. Cook and stir until mixture thicken and comes to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and stir in chicken, spinach, gnocchi and remaining seasonings.
  7. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  8. Cook over low heat 8-10 minutes until gnocchi become tender. (you could also place the ingredients in a Crock-Pot and cook on low for 1-1 ½ hours , this really makes the flavors come together.).
  9. Serve with Hot garlic bread sticks and enjoy.

White Chicken Chili!

I’m running off to work, so here is the ingredient list for those who shop ahead of time. I’ll post the instructions tonight.

ETA: The recipe!

My own warning — please use latex or latex alternative disposable gloves when cutting up and handling cut-up chiles! I’ve learned this the hard way when I took out my contact lenses a few hours after cutting up chiles. Soap will NOT remove the capsaicin! Christina gave me the disposable glove trick and I always make sure we’ve got a box in the kitchen. I cut them on a smaller cutting board that isn’t my main one, too. The gloves are helpful for cutting up garlic, as well, as that aroma likes to stick around. Also, Kevin and I have made chili that was way higher than our comfort level on the Scoville scale, simply by being too generous with the jalapeños. If you don’t like spicy, or will be sharing this dish with someone who doesn’t, be careful. I love spicy, but eating that chili caused my one and only case of heartburn, we both had tummy issues as a result, and we had to throw out most of it. 😦

I think they can be added safely to taste once in individual bowls (that’s just my amateur chef opinion, though).

White Chicken Chili

(from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, 2011, p 98-9)

Why This Recipe Works

Chili made with chicken promises a lighter, fresher alternative to the red kind, but most of the time, the resulting chili is bland and watery and the chicken is dry, rather than moist and flavorful. We found not one but three solutions to boring chicken chili. To solve the problem of insufficient chile flavor, we used a trio of fresh chiles: jalapeño, poblano, and New Mexican. To fix the watery sauce, we puréed some of our sautéed aromatics (a mix of chiles, garlic, and onions) and broth with beans to thicken the base. And finally, to avoid floating bits of rubbery chicken, we browned, poached, and shredded bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, which gave our chicken pieces a tender texture and full flavor.

Test Kitchen Tip No. 21: How Hot Is That Chile?

In the test kitchen, we’ve noticed that some jalapeños are searingly hot, while others are mild as bell peppers. We tracked down a number of theories to explain this great variation — and size kept popping up. According to this theory, a small chile will be hotter than a larger one. But when we arranged a tasting of jalapeños of various sizes, there seemed to be no correlation between size and heat. To investigate the matter further, we sent five similarly sized jalapeños to the lab, requesting levels of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin (the compounds responsible for the majority of the perception of “heat”). Sure enough, some chiles were nearly 10 times hotter than others — even though they all looked alike.

One burning question remained: Are there any visual indicators of pungency? No, says Danise Coon of the Chile Pepper Institute, who explained that capsaicin production is tied to the environment. Chiles grown in sunny, arid weather undergo a lot of stress, and stressed chiles produce more capsaicin than chiles grown in temperate climates. (Hot, dry New Mexico is known for producing very hot chiles.)

Until someone comes up with a procedure for diagnosing stressed-out chiles, then, the only surefire way to judge the heat level of a chile is to taste it. If you want more control over the heat when you’re cooking with chiles, start with an easy-to-measure heat source such as cayenne, red pepper flakes, or chili-garlic paste, then layer on modest amounts of fresh chiles, removing the ribs and seeds if you want less heat.

Serves 6 to 8

Adjust the heat in this dish by adding the minced ribs and seeds from the jalapeños as directed in step 6. If New Mexican chiles cannot be found, add an additional poblano and jalapeño to the chili. Serve this chili with sour cream, tortilla chips, and lime wedges.

3 pounds bone-in split chicken breasts or thighs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra as needed
3 jalapeño chiles
3 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
3 New Mexico chile peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into large pieces
2 onions, cut into large pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)
.25 cup minced fresh cilantro
4 scallions, sliced thin

1. Season chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and .25 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until skin is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and lightly brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; remove and discard skin.

2. While chicken is browning, remove and discard ribs and seeds from 2 jalapeños, then mince jalapeños and set aside. Process half of poblano chiles, New Mexican chiles, and onions in food processor until consistency of chunky salsa, 10 to 12 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl halfway through. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining poblano chiles, New Mexican chiles, and onions; combine with first batch (do not wash food processor).

3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from Dutch oven (adding additional vegetable oil if necessary) and reduce heat to medium. Add minced jalapeños, chile mixture, garlic, cumin, coriander, and .25 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

4. Transfer 1 cup cooked vegetable mixture to now-empty food processor. Add 1 cup beans and 1 cup broth and process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add vegetable-bean mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, and chicken breasts to Dutch oven and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken registers 160 degrees [F] (175 degrees [F] if using thighs), 15 to 20 minutes (40 minutes if using thighs).

5. Transfer chicken to large plate. Stir in remaining beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are heated through and chili has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

6. Mince remaining jalapeño, reserving and mincing ribs and seeds, and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-size pieces, discarding bones. Stir shredded chicken, lime juice, cilantro, scallions, and remaining minced jalapeño (with seeds if desired) into chili and return to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

I made this yesterday. Wow – was it good! Definitely 5 Spoons!

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 (15-ounce) cans white or yellow hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra as needed
  • 3 onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4-lb boneless pork butt roast, trimmed, cut into 1½-inch pieces (often labeled as boneless Boston butt)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Directions:
1. Puree 1 can hominy and 2 cups broth in a blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
2. Microwave onions, tomato paste, 3 tablespoons oil, garlic, chili powder, and oregano together on high power, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
3. Stir remaining 2 cans hominy, remaining cup broth, tomatoes with juice, and soy sauce into slow cooker. Season pork with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Toss carrots with remaining tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and wrap in an aluminum foil packet. Lay foil packet on top of stew. Cover and cook until the pork is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.
4. Transfer foil packet to plate. Let stew settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using a large spoon. Carefully open foil packet (watch for steam) and stir carrots with accumulated juice into stew. Let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. (Adjust stew consistency with additional hot broth as needed.) Stir in cilantro and lime juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

You may want to serve with lime wedges, minced fresh cilantro, minced onion or scallions, diced avocado, shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, rice, and/or warmed tortillas.

Evaluation:  In step 1, I pureed the chicken broth and canned hominy together. It was easy to do and resulted in a nice, thick, and flavorful base for the stew. I wish I could have found Juanita’s hominy at our store. It is a brand of Mexican-style hominy said to be lower in carbohydrates and especially delicious. I will be looking for it in the future and plan to buy a few cans to keep on hand.

For the next step I used a bag of frozen onions instead of chopping fresh ones myself. I concluded that one bag was equal to 3 medium onions. Using the frozen onions was easy, and I was perfectly happy with the results. Cooking these ingredients together in the microwave instead of sautéing them on the stove is a great technique.

For step 3, I added only one can of hominy instead of two in an attempt to cut down on the carb-count, and I used a three-pound roast to save some money, yet I still felt that the resulting stew had a very generous amount of meat. The most difficult part of this recipe for me was cutting the pork up. I always find cutting raw meat to be distasteful. I prepared and enclosed the  carrots in a foil packet as instructed and was very pleased with the outcome. The carrots were cooked perfectly. I will try to remember in the future to use this technique for carrots when using the slow cooker. I wonder if it would be good for other vegetables as well.

Since I wanted the stew to be ready to eat in less time than suggested, I decided to try pre-heating the broth, hominy, and tomatoes in the microwave before putting them into the slow cooker. I set the slow-cooker on high and was pleased to find that the pre-heating did speed things up quite a bit. The stew was ready to eat in just under four hours instead of 5 to 7.

Step 4 – There was not much accumulated fat to be removed, but I did spoon off what I could. The stew’s consistency was fine, so I did not add any broth. I don’t like the flavor of cilantro, so I left that out, but I did add the lime juice at the end. It was fun to squeeze the fresh lime (cost was only 33 cents), and I think it added a nice touch of flavor. I think toppings of diced avocado and sour cream would have been a great way to serve the stew. I’ll try to do that next time.

With its deep and rich combination of flavors, Dandy husband and I both liked this stew very much. It truly was delicious. Give it a try. I think you’ll like it.

Garden Minestrone Evaluation

My sister HoosierRoots and I made the Garden Minestrone soup together on a Sunday in January during a Skype session. I thought it was quite successful – very delicious, as did my Dandy husband. There were some things that I want to remember to do again, and there were a couple of things that I might do differently next time.

Roots and I began the night before by putting the white beans to soak. I am glad that I used dried beans. Next time I might use even more. Then, on Sunday, we started by microwaving the first ingredients together, as per the directions. I can’t say that I have ever used the microwave for this step before. Instead I have always sautéed the onion and other flavorings together on the stove. But this worked quite well and was easy to do. I will try to remember to use this technique when preparing other dishes. I found that I did not have any red pepper flakes, and so I had to leave that out.

We stirred the ingredients into our slow cookers as directed in step 2 of the recipe. I found that I had 2 cups of leftover beef broth, and so I decided to use it up, combining it with the chicken broth. That meant the soup stock was made of one-third beef broth and two-thirds chicken broth along with the tomato sauce and flavorings. And I will say that it was especially delicious!

After the soup cooked for several hours, Roots and I again joined together for step 3. I had a yellow summer squash already, and so I used it instead of a zucchini. It was a bit more mature than I would have liked, and so perhaps I should have cooked it a little longer. At any rate, it seemed somewhat underdone in the end. I also wish I would have cut it into smaller pieces. I quartered it, as the recipe directed, but since it was too big, the pieces were not really bite size. Maybe, too, if the pieces had been smaller, the squash would have cooked more completely.

I was happy that I was able to find swiss chard at the grocery store. Actually, I realized as I began that I could not remember ever having cooked with swiss chard before. I washed it, cut out the central ribs, stacked the leaves, and sliced them as directed. That all went well and was not too difficult, and the swiss chard was wonderful in the finished soup – one of my favorite parts! I will definitely be using it again, although next time I will probably cut the slices in half across their width so that the pieces are more bite-sized. I did not put the pasta in, as I was trying to make the soup as low-carb as possible.

When the soup was finished I stirred in the basil, but as I did not have fresh, I used dried – about 2 teaspoons. Perhaps I should have added the dried basil earlier in the cooking – maybe way back at the beginning, but it tasted fine. If it were summer, I would have loved to have used fresh basil straight from my garden. In fact, as Roots has already pointed out, it really would be best to prepare this soup during the summer, when garden produce could be used. I served the soup with grated Parmesan cheese – a nice touch. The recipe also suggests serving it with extra olive oil, but I was not sure what to do with it, and so I did not do that. I wonder if one is supposed to just drizzle some on top of the soup after ladling it into the bowls. Anyway, the soup really was quite delicious and not too difficult. And I am sure that any number of other vegetables – whatever one had on hand – could be added.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

IMG00373-20120212-1711I wanted to find a soup that needs to be pureed so I can try out my immersion blender. I chose the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Soup Stews and Chilis cookbook, but found some pieces of other recipes I liked as well. At a pre-appointed time my sister in one kitchen and nephew and niece in another joined with me via video chat as we all cooked together. The soup was declared a success by all eaters.  My main surprise was that the carrot flavor was not particularly strong.

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ lbs carrots , chopped medium (about 9 carrots)
  • 4 shallots, minced (ATK used 1 medium onion)
  • 4 teaspoons grated or minced fresh ginger (do not substitute ground ginger)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (ATK does not use)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup whole milk (in ATKs Healthy Eating cookbook they use 1%)
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • salt
  • white pepper (ATK uses black)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Directions

  1. Wash, but do not peel carrots. Cut off root end. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in 375 oven until carmelized, about 45 minutes. Shake pan midway to evenly roast. (This step is not in ATK, but I think I will like the flavor it gives the carrots. ATK peels the carrots.) Allow to cool until able to handle; cut the carrots into 3" chunks.
  2. Melt 1 Tbs unsalted butter and 1 Tbs olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. (ATK used all vegetable oil.)
  3. Add the shallot (or onion, and chopped carrots IF you did not roast them); cook until the vegetables are softened, 2-3 if only shallots or onion, 7-10 if doing carrots here. (Some recipes included a couple ribs of minced celery also.)
  4. Stir in the ginger and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 – 60 seconds.
  5. Add the chopped carrots, 2 tsp sea salt, and 1/2 tsp white pepper. Add 1 qt broth and bring to a simmer. (Switch from chicken to vegetable broth if you want a vegetarian soup.)
  6. Cover, reduce the heat to med-low, and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes. (Longer if you did not roast the carrots, perhaps 20 to 30 minutes.)
  7. Using an immersion blender, or doing in batches with a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  8. In the dutch oven, mix the pureed soup,  1/4 cup orange juice, and 3/4 cup milk; cook gently over med-low heat until the soup is hot. Add extra broth as needed for consistency. (Some recipes added 1/4 cup white wine.)
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Sprinkle individual bowls with chives before serving.
IMG00364-20120212-1557 Minced shallots, garlic, and ginger
IMG00368-20120212-1611 Roasted carrots – think I will cook this way for dinner sometime
IMG00370-20120212-1618 Sautéing the shallots; already smelling wonderful
IMG00366-20120212-1605 The video chat was very successful; we loved sharing notes and discussing topics such as “how do black and white pepper differ?”
IMG00371-20120212-1649 It was wonderful to have cooking be a family affair.
IMG00372-20120212-1649 The immersion blender was a Christmas gift; now that I have it I think we will make soup a lot more.

Garden Minestrone

The Soup Sisters are “back at it” – this time with Garden Minestone in the slow cooker from the America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker cookbook.

Ingredients

  •   1 onion, minced
  •   4 cloves garlic,minced
  •   1 Tbs oil oil, plus extra for serving
  •   1/2 tsp dried oregano
  •   1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  •   6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  •   1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  •   1 cup dried Great Northern or Cannelini beans (picked over and soaked in salt water overnight)
  •   2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  •   1 zucchini (8 oz), quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  •   8 oz Swiss chard, stemmed and leaves sliced 1/2 inch thick
  •   1 cup small pasta, such as ditalini, tubettini, or mini elbows
  •   1/2 cup minced fresh basil
  •   Salt and pepper
  •   Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions

  1. Microwave onion, garlic, oil, oregano, and red pepper flakes in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Stir broth, tomato sauce, soaked beans, and carrots into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.
  3. Stir in zucchini, chard, and pasta, cover and cook on high until vegetables and pasta are tender, 20-30 minutes. Stir in basil, salt & pepper to taste. and serve with Parmesan cheese and extra olive oil.

Borscht

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) diced beets, undrained
  • 2 cans (10.5 ounces each) condensed beef broth
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, if desired
  • Chopped fresh dill weed, if desired

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients except sour cream and dill weed in 3½ to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours or high 3 to 4 hours, or until cabbage is tender.
  3. Top each serving with sour cream and dill weed. Can be served hot or cold.

* Instead of shredding cabbage, you can use cabbage slaw mix, which can be found with the bagged salads in the produce section of the grocery store.

Serves 6 bowls

Evaluation

I have had borscht only twice before, once at a fabulous restaurant in Chicago and then again in New York City. Both times I enjoyed it immensely. This is the first time I have tried making it myself. The recipe was very easy to prepare – perhaps too easy. Although I certainly liked eating this soup and felt it was nutritious and healthful (low-carb and low-fat), it cannot compete with those two restaurant soups I had. Nonetheless, it certainly is worth making and would work wonderfully as a first course or with a soup and sandwich meal.