Spring Vegetable Soup

Spring has arrived, and with longer days and warmer weather comes a new crop of fresh produce. It’s the perfect season to “spring clean” your diet. Fruits and Vegetables that are in-season reap the most nutritional value. Since lima beans are difficult to find fresh, I used frozen beans. You can substitute fresh fava beans in this soup.
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Spring Vegetable Soup

Serves 6

1 Tbs olive oil
2 large leeks (white & pale green parts only), thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup chopped peeled carrots
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
10-oz package frozen baby lima beans, thawed
5 oz green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz asparagus, tough ends trimmed, spears cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and carrot; sauté until vegetables are tender but not brown, about 8 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Add lima beans and green beans and simmer until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add asparagus and 1/3 cup basil and simmer until all vegetables are very tender, about 7 minutes longer. Season soup with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/3 cup basil. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing Parmesan separately, if desired.

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Minestrone Soup

This recipe is for all my vegan / vegetarian friends. I supposed my gluten-free friends would have to substitute some gluten-free pasta! Note to self – you can’t please all the people all the time…!
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Minestrone Soup

4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups diced tomatoes
1 Tbs chopped fresh basil
½ tsp oregano
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
½ onion, chopped
3 zucchini, chopped
1 cup green beans, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1½ cups macaroni pasta

In a large pot, combine all the ingredients except the pasta. Simmer over low heat for at least one hour, or until vegetables are tender.

Add the pasta and bring to a slow simmer. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until pasta is done cooking.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

I have to restock my freezer with soup for my mother-in-law. She loves soup. Here is an Ina Garten lentil soup.  You can purée it if you want it to be thicker.

I didn’t go overboard like I did here.

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Lentil Vegetable Soup

Serves 8 to 10

1 lb green lentils
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
4 cups chopped leeks, white part only (2 leeks)
1 Tbs minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top
1 tsp kosher salt
1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cups celery, medium-diced (8 stalks)
3 cups carrots, medium-diced (4 to 6 carrots)
3 qts chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tbs red wine or red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot on medium heat, sauté the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for 10 more minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings. Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Ham and Split Pea Soup

Every year I make some sort of soup using the ham hock from Christmas dinner. I happened to have a very large bag of split peas, which I like because you don’t have to soak them overnight. Serve it with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad. You can just use chopped up ham, if you do not have a ham hock on hand.

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Ham and Split Pea Soup

Serves 8

1 lb split peas
1 ham hock
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1 cup finely yellow onions, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 lb ham, chopped
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 tsp fresh thyme
croutons and parsley or chives, optional, as garnish

Pick over the peas and remove any stones. Wash and drain peas.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the ham hock and ham and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown. Add the drained peas, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add 8 cups of water, the bay leaf and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 1½ hours or until peas are tender. (Add more water as needed, if the soup becomes too thick or dry.)

Remove the ham hock and bay leaf from the soup and discard.

Purée about 2 cups of the soup with a blender. An immersion blender works great for this. Return the purée to the rest of the soup and heat to serve. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with croutons and parsley or chives.

Tomato Soup Shooter with Cheese Toasts

My client asked me to make tomato soup shooters for their event. Yes, I know it’s a trend, but they are good!
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Tomato Soup Shooter with Cheese Toasts

32 oz vegetable broth
28 oz can of crushed Italian style tomatoes
1 cup cream or half and half
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
pesto
2 slices of sourdough or white bread
olive oil
sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Begin by combining the broth and crushed tomatoes in a large pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then stir in the cream and reduce heat to low. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes and stir occasionally.

While the soup is simmering, prepare the cheese toasts: Brush the bread with olive oil and toast in the oven, then add the cheese and broil until cheese melts. Set aside.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender.

Pour the soup into a large pitcher to make it easier to fill the shot glasses or espresso cups. Fill each shot glass, garnish with a few drops of pesto and cheese toasts.

Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup

Thanksgiving is upon us and those green bean casseroles will appear on the tables across America. If you would like to make it from scratch, without opening a can of soup, here’s a recipe for cream of chicken soup, one of the most used condensed soup varieties. To make cream of anything else, substitute the broth for another type. For cream of mushroom, cook some mushrooms down in the butter, then add the flour and some cream.

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Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup

makes the equivalent to one can of soup

3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs white flour
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then add the flour. Cook, stirring rapidly, until the mixture is thick.

Add the chicken stock and whisk until smooth, then add the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

This will keep for a couple days in the fridge, but it’s best to use it the day you make it.

Curried Chicken and Basmati Rice Soup

My fellow catering friend, Mary, gave me this soup recipe. I really do not like soup. It reminds me of being sick. This soup, however, is probably the best soup I’ve ever had. I will be making this again and again. It’s easy, unusual and delicious. I served it with naan bread and chutney.

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Curried Chicken and Basmati Rice Soup

Serves 6 – 8

2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 small bulb fennel, rinsed, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and cut into thin slivers
2 tsp curry powder
5 cups chicken stock/broth
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 lb boneless cooked chicken, coarsely chopped (2 1/2 cups chopped)
1/2 cup mango chutney
1 cup canned coconut milk
coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts (for garnish)
chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)

Melt butter over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft (about 3 minutes).

Stir in the apple and fennel, sprinkle the curry powder and saute briefly. Add the stock and rice and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover, and cook until rice is tender (20-25 minutes). Then stir in the chicken, chutney and coconut milk and warm over medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro, to taste.

Mexican Lime Soup with Chicken

This soup is the lighter summer version of my tortilla soup.  The recipe did not include fried tortilla strips, but I think its mandatory to add crunch.  The other thing that wasn’t included in the recipe was having our 95 pound Weimaraner (naughty Hannah) jump up on the counter and slurp up the 3 cups of chicken stock!  So when I made it, I only used 1 cup of stock!!!!!

I didn't do it!!!

I didn’t do it!!!

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Mexican Lime Soup with Chicken

Serves 4-6

3 or 4 limes
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more, to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1 Haas avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
2 oz queso fresco or mild feta cheese, crumbled
6 corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried in oil

Cut 1 lime into 4 to 6 wedges; set aside for serving. Juice as many of the remaining limes as needed to measure 1/4 cup.

Season the chicken breasts with the 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth, water, lime juice and oregano, then return the chicken to the pan.

Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife near the bone, about 40 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, keep the soup at a simmer. Remove and discard the skin and bones, and shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken into the soup. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Put the avocado, cheese and lime wedges in separate small bowls. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Pass the avocado, cheese tortilla strips and lime wedges alongside.

Gazpacho

My daughter, Grace, made Gazpacho last weekend. It was her mission. Gazpacho is probably the last thing she would ever eat, which proved to be true. She never even tasted it.

Gazpacho is a tomato-based soup traditionally served cold, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalucía. Gazpacho is widely consumed in Spanish cuisine, as well as in neighboring Portugal, where it is known as gaspacho.

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Gazpacho

Serves 6

1 English cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 oz tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Turkey Gumbo Soup

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Today’s post comes from Pat in Seattle, WA. She got the recipe from a Cajun cooking show on TV.

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Turkey Gumbo Soup

1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup flour
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
¾ lb andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
2-3 heaping cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey meat
2 qts chicken stock
3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp or more dried thyme
salt and pepper
gumbo file powder
2 green onions, sliced, or parsley for garnish.

Cook a roux of oil and flour until a dark caramel color, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add vegetables and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add sausage and cook another minute. Add the turkey, stock, Worcestershire and thyme and continue to cook on low for about an hour uncovered. Correct seasoning if necessary.

Serve over rice (long-grain white, boiled), sprinkle with file powder and green onions or parsley.