Tag Archives: soup

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

It’s not really time for stew. It’s late August, so for a Texan like me, that still means at least 3-4 weeks of hot temperatures to go. The stars were aligned for us last night, however, and a cold front blew in. The high temp yesterday? 80 degrees. It was 107 on Monday. That makes 80 degrees practically feel like sweater weather in comparison! Nearly every day in August has been over 100 degrees here, so we were a touch giddy.

Armed with fresh butternut squash from a local farm, and a desire to make a frugal, simple meal, I set off to make a stew. I cooked beans in the slow cooker while I was away at work, and when I came home, I was able to assemble this dish and have dinner in under 45 minutes. Not bad. If one was in a real hurry and bought frozen, cubed butternut squash, I imagine you could cut that time down to 15 minutes. For me, I prefer fresh – especially when it’s in season!

This stew is a lovely, spicy-sweet blend of flavors and textures. I forced myself to stop after a huge bowlful, but I could have easily had seconds or thirds, in spite of how filling it was. I brought a sample to a coworker for a taste; she loved it. Sounds like a win to me! 

I measured amounts in this recipe, but you can certainly alter as you see fit. Feel free to use canned beans if that’s your desire. Increase or decrease the jalapenos or chipotle chili powder to suit your heat tolerance. It was relatively spicy when I made it, so if you can’t handle a lot of heat, you might want to only use 1 jalapeno. If you don’t have smoked meat, a bit of cooked, crumbled bacon or salt pork might do nicely, or you could simply omit the meat altogether, and add a touch of smoked paprika. That’s what I love about stews – there really isn’t a “wrong” way to go!

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

2 T grapeseed oil

1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 c butternut squash, diced in half-inch cubes

3 c cooked black beans (about 2 15-oz cans)

2 c shredded, smoked pork or chicken

1 ½ T ground cumin

½ t ground chipotle chile powder

1 t sweet paprika

3 c chicken stock

Salt to taste

Optional accompaniments:

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cilantro

In a large, heavy pot, heat grapeseed oil to medium heat. Add onion and jalapenos and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add butternut squash and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add beans, pork, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and stock and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt. Allow to simmer until butternut squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve  topped with tomatoes and cilantro.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetables

One Last Hurrah – Tortilla Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole

That’s how I felt when eating leftovers of this soup for lunch the other day. This is my last dairy hurrah. You see, a few weeks back, I embarked on a short-term dairy-free diet as a trial, to see if it was causing some lingering issues I was having. After two weeks, I didn’t notice a huge difference, but there was a difference. When I reintroduced it back into my diet, I tried to ignore the truth – that the dairy was making me sick. After all, I didn’t want to give it up – I am a huge fan of all things cheese and butter, and I was even singing the praises of raw milk just the other day. But as much as I love it, dairy doesn’t love me back. So this tortilla soup was my last dairy-containing meal, at least for a long while. You’ll see many recipes in the future that are not only gluten-free, but also dairy-free. (Of course, those of you who can eat dairy without incident are welcome to modify your recipes accordingly!)

This tortilla soup recipe is closely based off of a Quickfire Challenge I saw on Top Chef Masters a few weeks back. Chef Marcus Samuelsson prepared a chicken soup with crispy tortilla strips and goat cheese guacamole that had me drooling. I had to make it. So I visited the recipe found here and filled in the blanks, adjusting to my tastes. And even with the near-100 degree temperatures outside, this soup hit the spot – it was just a touch spicy, bursting with flavor, and the goat cheese guacamole was cooling and fresh.

If I was to make it again (and there will be an “again”), I’d have to modify it to be dairy-free, of course. I’d have to give up the goat cheese in the guacamole, and substitute either almond milk or coconut milk for the cream, but the flavors would still be there in full force. It’s a lovely tortilla soup – no wonder Chef Marcus Samuelsson did so well in Top Chef Masters!

 

Tortilla Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole, adapted from Marcus Samuelsson

For the guacamole:

1 T olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 avocados

Juice from 1 lime

2 T goat cheese

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 T cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper

Pour the olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Scoop the avocado flesh and add to bowl. Add goat cheese and smash the avocado, onion, garlic, and cheese together with a fork. Add in lime juice, jalapeno, bell pepper and cilantro and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the soup:

4 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Canola oil, for frying

1 red onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 quarts chicken stock

4 tomatoes, chopped

4 c shredded, cooked chicken (I used leftover grilled chicken)

1 1/2 t ground cumin

1 t salt

4 eggs

2 T cream

juice from 2 limes

1 T chopped green onions

1/2 T cilantro, chopped

In a skillet, heat about a half-inch of canola oil over medium heat. Fry tortilla strips in batches until crisp, about 1 minute, and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cumin, salt, and chicken and stir, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Ladle one or two spoonfuls of the hot soup mixture into the bowl while whisking, and whisk until incorporated. Then pour the egg mixture back into the soup, whisking until incorporated. Allow to cook for another minute, and then add lime juice and half of the green onions and cilantro.

Serve soup topped with the remaining green onions, cilantro, guacamole, and tortilla strips. Serves 4.

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Filed under Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups

Simple Cabbage Soup (and winner of the giveaway!)

I have a confession to make. It might come as a surprise to some of you. After all, there are many flashier, sexier, and more impressive foods out there in the world.

You ready?

Here goes.

 I love cabbage.

I really do. Many times, I forget that I love it, casting it aside for more colorful, fancier, more elegant vegetables. But when cabbage and I reunite, it’s like reconnecting with a long lost friend. There’s no small talk. There’s no false airs, and there’s no subtext. It’s just cabbage and me. And besides. Cabbage goes great with butter. How could you go wrong?

Of course, today’s recipe does not use butter. (I know what you’re thinking – Why are you teasing me? You mention butter, and now you’re withholding?) Honestly, you won’t miss it. This vegetarian (vegan if you omit the cheese) soup packs such flavor, such comfort, that it needs no buttery adornment. I love the somewhat-generous helping of Parmesan on top, but that’s it. This soup is happy just being its simple self, filling my belly.

Want to know another secret? Okay, this one’s not such a secret. This soup is cheap. Really cheap. Cabbage usually sells for 50 cents a pound (sometimes 33 cents a pound!) at the grocery. A bit more if you go organic, but still…it’s one of the cheapest vegetables out there. Same goes for potatoes, carrots, and onions. I opted for a can of white beans out of convenience, but if you really want to be economical, buy dried. I used homemade stock, so it was essentially “free”, but stock (or buillion) can be purchased for little. Even with premium Parmesan, this whole meal can be made for under $5. (It cost about $3 for me.) Take that, KFC Family Meal Challenge!

Now, to the giveaway! I am excited about this giveaway, honestly. The Where Delicious Meets Nutritious cookbook is a treat. I already use agave nectar in some recipes, but I was excited to learn more. I love to bake, and have been wanting to learn to bake using agave. The Xagave nectar is really great for baking – and this book pointed me in the right direction (with their delectable recipes!). I can’t wait to continue baking from it – and I hope the winner enjoys it as much as I have.

And the winner is… Kristen of Flexy Fare! If that’s you, please contact me with your mailing info. Congratulations!

 

Simple Cabbage Soup, adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 T olive oil

1 medium Yukon Gold potato (or other white potato), skin on, diced

1/2 large yellow onion, sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thinly

4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1/2 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

6 cups vegetable stock

1 15-0z can white beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, such as navy)

1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch ribbons

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Place a large, heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl around to heat. Once oil is shimmering, add potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender, and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes, stirring a few times during cooking. Stir in the onions and carrots and cook for another minute, and add in the garlic. Cook for an additional minute, and add the stock and the beans. Bring the stock to a simmer and stir in the cabbage. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until cabbage starts to become soft. Taste and add seasoning as needed. (This will vary depending on what kind of stock you used.) Serve with a good amount of Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Serves 4-6.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Soups, Vegetarian

Kids In The Kitchen: Seafood Gumbo

Brandan immediately decided he wanted to make squid for his turn in the kitchen. Squid? Okay, but I have little experience with squid. I suggested calamari, but he wasn’t interested. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, so we simply started to google “squid recipes”. I came across a gumbo recipe, and before I even read through it, he really wanted to make gumbo with squid. The decision was made. Only then did I thoroughly read through the recipe, and decided it was not a good recipe to follow. And then I started wondering whether squid was ever used in gumbo in the first place – I can’t think of a single Cajun or Creole dish that uses squid. I would have to improvise to make this work.

I have not made many gumbos in my life. There is one gumbo that is routinely made in our household – Emeril Lagasse’s Turkey Gumbo Ya-Ya. It’s awesome. And it’s not something I usually make – this is my husband’s signature dish, made only around the holidays. But I figured, if Emeril has come through for us in this dish, and others, such as my Shrimp Etouffee, why not here? I found a Seafood Gumbo recipe, and started from there, changing it up to accomodate a gluten-free diet, to include squid, and to simplify it somewhat, so that a 13-year-old boy could tackle it. (Gumbo is a long process!)

It was a success – even Brittany, who upon seeing the squid uttered “Eww, gross!”, loved her gumbo. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend squid in a gumbo, as it doesn’t really add much to the dish (the flavor of squid is subtle, and was somewhat lost in the heat of the gumbo broth), it certainly didn’t detract from it either.  Adding it at the last minute rendered the squid tender, not rubbery – a fear I had when composing this dish. Brandan, of course, had two bowlfuls. We might consider keeping a version of this dish on the menu, sans the squid and expensive crab. I imagine a cheaper, but no less delicious, version could include some smoked sausage or andouille, plus double the shrimp. Regardless of the proteins included, this was a filling and warming dish.

Now, I promise you, the next post will not be a soup. I am beginning to feel like this blog should be re-named “Tasty Soups At Home.” Perhaps a bit of variety is needed, no?

 

Seafood Gumbo, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1/2 c canola oil

¼ c sorghum flour

¼ c sweet rice flour

2 stalks celery, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 c white wine

4 cups vegetable broth

1 8-oz bottle clam juice

1 bay leaf

¼ t dried thyme

½ -1 T salt

½ t cayenne pepper

2 t Worcestershire sauce

1 lb frozen shrimp

1 cup fresh crabmeat

1 lb squid, sliced thinly

¼ c fresh chopped parsley

¼ c chopped green onion tops

White rice, for serving

Place a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, and add the oil. Allow to heat for about 5 minutes, and add in the flours. Stir for 20-25 minutes until the roux is the color of milk chocolate. Add the celery, onion, and bell pepper and stir to blend. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring, then add the garlic. Cool the garlic for 30 seconds before adding the wine, vegetable stock, and clam juice. Add the bay leaf, thyme, salt, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If a good deal of oil or scum rises to the surface, skim it off.

Season the shrimp, crab, and squid with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Add the crab and squid to the pot and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Taste the gumbo and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Garnish with parsley and green onions and serve with rice.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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Filed under Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Seafood, Soups

Tomatillo Turkey Chili

tomatillo turkey chiliThis Thanksgiving, don’t throw away those turkey leftovers!

Remember the meat from those turkey wings and drumsticks I used the other day to make gluten-free turkey gravy? All that meat didn’t go to waste – it was used to make a delicious, warming turkey chili!

I actually purchase a larger turkey than necessary for Thanksgiving each year. I love the leftovers. They make great filling for enchiladas, sandwiches, or even taste good eaten cold, straight from the fridge, late at night. Not that I would know or anything. But now, the leftovers star in a spicy, flavorful chili. Or you could add crushed tortilla chips and call it tortilla soup. Whatever you call it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you try it!

Of course, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to make a chili like this. You can use any leftover chicken or turkey, or you can even purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and use it, if that’s your thing. It’ll all taste delicious in this soup. Heck, you could even go meatless, and use vegetable stock and add some cubed sweet potatoes or squash, and make a delicious vegetarian soup. It all sounds yummy to me.

If you can’t find tomatillos, you can substitute a 16-20 oz jar of bottled salsa verde/tomatillo salsa. Tomatillos are plentiful around here in Texas – but the cheapest ones are usually at the Latin groceries.

Tomatillo Turkey Chili, adapted from Simply Recipes

1 ½ lbs tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut in half

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped

5-6 c cooked turkey or chicken, shredded

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 c chicken broth

½ c gluten-free beer (such as Bard’s Tale) – optional, but it adds a wonderful flavor

2 c diced tomatoes or tomato puree

1 t ground cumin

1 t ground coriander

1 t dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c chopped cilantro

 Place the tomatillos and jalapenos cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Scatter onions and garlic around tomatillos and jalapenos. Place under broiler for 5-7 minutes or until skins on tomatillos blacken. Remove, and when cool, pour tomatillos, jalapenos, onion and garlic, including any juices, into a food processor. Pulse until well blended.

 Heat a large stockpot to medium heat and add tomatillo mixture and chipotle pepper. Stur around for a minute or two, and add turkey, beans, broth, beer, tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

 Immediately before serving, taste and adjust salt and pepper seasonings as necessary, and stir in most of the cilantro, reserving a bit to use as garnish.

Optional: Top with sour cream and cheese.

 Serves 5-6.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups

Garlicky White Bean Soup

food-7791I have been trying to incorporate more soups into my diet lately. For starters, it’s winter, so soup is a yummy, comforting dish to help warm up a cold day. Secondly, they can be made without spending a lot of money, so the leftovers make great cheap lunch entrees. I happened to read a white bean soup recipe on http://www.foodiefarmgirl.blogspot.com/, and decided her recipe was just what I was craving. With a bit of cayenne for subtle warmth, this white bean soup delivers a creaminess and comfort while at the same time being vegan and low-fat. It definitely makes for wonderful lunches, let me tell you! I happened to freeze some, so I can have a delicious, healthy meal on-hand anytime. This soup makes six servings.

2 cups great northern beans, or other white beans, soaked overnight

8 cups water

1 t fresh rosemary

1 t fresh thyme

1 t fennel seeds

1 bay leaf

1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled

1 turnip, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 small red potatoes, or one large russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

8 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

½ c chopped parsley

1 large pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Extra parsley for garnish

 

 

Place soaked beans, water, rosemary, thyme, fennel seeds, and bay leaf in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil and let simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.

 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a small ovenproof dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Cool, and peel cloves.

 

After beans have simmered for 1 hour, add turnips, potatoes, onion, and carrots. Return to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer, partially covered, for another hour. After simmering, remove bay leaf.

 

(see, I really meant coarsely chopped!)

(see, I really meant coarsely chopped!)

 

Add garlic cloves, and puree soup in batches using a blender, or if you have an immersion blender, puree soup in pot. (If you choose, you can reserve about ½ c of the soup mixture before you puree it, so that you have some chunky texture to your soup. I just opted to be imperfect and “mostly puree” my soup with the immersion blender.) Add parsley, and return to a simmer for 30 more minutes.

 

Taste and add cayenne, and generous amounts of salt and pepper, tasting until seasoned correctly. Serve hot, with parsley for garnish, if desired.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetarian

Split Pea Soup

food-06111I have loved split pea soup since I was a little girl. It’s pleasantly warming and comforting, perfect for cold winter days. Rather than the same old ham bone or bacon to flavor the soup, in this recipe I have attempted to keep the sodium and fat content low and opt for full-flavored spices. Madras curry powder is a spice you can find in the asian section of the grocery store, or in an asian or indian grocery store. Smoked paprika has only fairly recently made its way into the spice aisle of grocery stores, so you may or may not find it at your local grocery. If you have trouble finding either spice, you can always order them (and a bunch of other fun spices) at http://www.mingspantry.com/rolcurpow2oz.html and http://www.thespicehouse.com/.

 

2 T olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 c vegetable broth

2 c water

1 ½ lbs dried split peas, rinsed, picked through, and soaked for a minimum of 4 hours

1 herb bouquet**

Salt and pepper

2 t smoked paprika

2 t madras curry powder

1 lemon, juiced and zested

Pinches of smoked paprika

 

 

**herb bouquet – 3 cloves garlic, peeled, 4-6 allspice berries, 2 bay leaves, 1 sprig thyme, 6-8 sprigs parsley, tied in cheesecloth. (this idea was adapted from Elise at http://www.elise.com/recipes/, who adapted it from Julia Child’s “The Way To Cook.” Which is a great book, by the way. Thanks Elise!)

 

Heat a large stockpot to medium-high heat. Add olive oil, and swirl to coat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, and sauté until vegetables are soft and onions begin to look translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, water, peas, and the herb bouquet. (the liquid should just cover the peas. If more liquid is needed, add more water.) Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally and skimming scum off of the top.

Discard herb bouquet, and puree soup until desired consistency. Add salt and pepper, smoked paprika, and curry powder. Add lemon juice and stir. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Serve in bowls with pinches of smoked paprika and lemon zest sprinkled on top.

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Filed under Beans, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetarian