Soup

Colombian Chicken Soup

Colombian chicken soup made with chicken thighs and legs, onion, corn, potatoes, cilantro, capers and a special Columbian Ajiaco sauce.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12

This is our adaptation of a classic Colombian chicken recipe called Ajiaco. The soup hinges on using several different kinds of potatoes, which are native to South America.

The soup is served with a variety of garnishes, including a special salsa, “Aji”, that truly defines the dish.

Ajiaco soup has all sorts of variations, but they all seem to rely on potatoes — some of which are cooked so long they dissolve, thickening the soup — corn (usually on the cob), and chicken.

We decided to finely dice russet potatoes so they would dissolve quickly, and we pureed the soup base with an immersion blender, which saved hours of cooking time.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can either puree the soup base in a blender, or just cook it until the diced potatoes dissolve.

It’s important to use bone-on pieces of chicken here, as they are both cheaper and will make your soup broth more flavorful.

Garnishes are up to you. They almost always include capers, avocados and cilantro, and will often include a salsa or a crema, which, depending on your perspective is either thin sour cream or a thick regular cream.

We used tiny, multi-colored potatoes to finish the dish, but you can use any mix of potatoes — just make sure to not use all russets. Red skinned potatoes, purple potatoes, fingerlings and small Yukon Golds are all good choices.

The real version of this dish requires a special herb called guasca, which is a unique flavor. We added bay leaves to get somewhere close.

Ingredients

Soup Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds chicken thighs and legs, skin removed, rinsed well
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds small potatoes, of various colors
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, cut crosswise into 1-2 inch rounds

Aji Ingredients:

  • 4 scallions (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 Roma or other plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles or 2 fresh hot red chiles, stems and seeds removed (wear gloves, do NOT touch your eyes!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • Garnish: capers, sour cream, avocados, cilantro

Method

1 Cook the chicken, russets, onion, and garlic in stock and water: Put the chicken, diced russet potatoes, chopped onion and garlic in a large (at least 8 quart) stock pot and add 1 1/2 quarts of water and the quart of chicken stock.

Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer.

Add the cumin, bay leaves and salt to taste. Simmer this until the meat wants to fall of the bones of the chicken — anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour, 15 minutes.

2 Remove the chicken and bay leaves and purée some of the soup base: When the chicken is ready, remove it and the bay leaves from the soup and set in a large bowl. If you are going to puree the soup base with an immersion blender or by putting the soup into a regular blender in batches, do so now.

3 Simmer soup base with additional potatoes: Pour the pureed soup base back into the pot and bring to a very gentle simmer. Add the second batch of potatoes and cook until tender, about 20-40 minutes, depending on size.

4 Shred the chicken meat off the bones: While the potatoes are cooking, shred the meat off the chicken bones and set aside.

5 Make the salsa: Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor until they’re finely minced. Transfer to a serving bowl.

6 Cook the corn in the stock: Drop the pieces of corn on the cob into the simmering soup and cook for 5 minutes.

7 Serve: Serve the soup with the salsa, capers, sliced avocados, sour cream, and cilantro in separate bowls. Let people add garnishes to their own servings.

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Turnip Potato Soup

An unassuming but surprisingly good soup with turnips, potatoes, chicken stock, butter and onions. Creamy without cream!

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

Church book sales are a great way to pick up cookbooks at bargain prices. Ours was last weekend and we found the Food and Wine Magazine’s 1999 Annual Cookbook for a dollar. What a deal!

Most of the recipes in the book look ridiculously complicated, taking hours of preparation and needing ingredients that one might have difficulty finding even at Whole Foods.

This one however, is simply turnips, potatoes, onions, stock, and butter. Unassuming, but surprisingly and exceptionally good, especially considering that the main ingredient is turnips.

Don’t get me wrong, I love turnips. I have found however that most people don’t.

There’s something about the blend of flavors in this soup that take the edge off of the bitter turnip flavor and produces a thick and creamy soup, yet without any cream.

The older the turnip, the longer it takes to cook and the more strongly flavored and bitter it is. Look for small, young turnips, they’ll be only slightly bitter and actually quite sweet.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds fresh, young turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds of Russet baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 6 Cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Method

1 Sauté the onions in butter: In a large, heavy, thick-bottomed pot, melt the butter on medium heat until it foams. When the butter foam subsides, add the onions and cook until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.

2 Add turnips, potatoes, salt, cover and cook: Add the sliced turnips and potatoes and stir to coat with the butter. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the turnips and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

3 Add chicken stock: Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over medium heat until the turnips and potatoes are very tender, about 10 minutes.

4 Purée the soup: Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and freshly grated nutmeg. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the parsley before serving.

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Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

Creamy wild mushroom soup made with dried wild mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, shallots, garlic, stock, cream, sherry, and herbs.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 35 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Last spring I discovered with delight wild morel mushrooms popping up in our backyard. After two winters of biking the American River bike trail looking for edible mushrooms, having been bit by the wild porcini bug on forays in Northern California, here they were, growing right in the yard!

I consulted my trusty Mushrooms Demystified handbook, sent photos to my mycological society friend Beth, and was assured that these indeed were morels, which are not only safe to eat, but are considered a delicacy.

Tonight we finally got around to eating those morels picked last spring, in this exquisite cream of wild mushroom soup.

While the dried mushrooms are soaking, prep the other ingredients to save time.

Special garnish idea: high quality green extra virgin olive oil is really quite something drizzled over this soup, along with some crusty bread for dipping.

You can swap out the sherry for Madeira if you’d like. Leave out all together if you are avoiding cooking with alcohol.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of dried wild mushrooms
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 6 Tbsp butter, divided 3 Tbsp and 3 Tbsp
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • ½ lb fresh cremini or button mushrooms, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 cups good quality chicken stock (or vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup snipped chives

Method

1 Soak the dry mushrooms in water: Place dried wild mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with 3 cups of very hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes. Line a sieve with a dampened paper towel or coffee filter.

After 30 minutes strain the mushrooms through the filter, reserving at least one cup of the mushroom liquid. Roughly chop the reconstituted wild mushrooms.

2 Sauté shallots, garlic, mushrooms: Heat 3 Tbsp butter in heavy saucepan over medium low heat and sauté the shallots until softened and translucent, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Add the fresh mushrooms, increase the heat to medium high, and cook several minutes more. Add chopped wild mushrooms. Lower the heat, cover and let cook for 10 minutes.

3 Add sherry: After 10 minutes increase the heat to medium high, uncover and add 1/3 cup dry sherry to the pot.

4 Make a roux with butter and flour: Add remaining 3 Tbsp butter to the pot and stir until melted. Add the flour to the pot and stir until the mushrooms are all well coated with the flour, making a roux. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

5 Add mushroom water, stock, and herbs: Add one cup of reserved mushroom soaking water and stir until the flour has dissolved into the water and there are no lumps. Add the chicken stock. Stir until well incorporated.

Add the herbes de provence, the dried thyme, bay leaves, and salt.

6 Simmer: Heat on high until the soup comes to a low simmer. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

7 Stir in cream: When ready to serve, remove the bay leaves and stir in 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. Add black pepper and more salt to taste.

Garnish with chopped chives and parsley.

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Artichoke Soup

Refined and delicious artichoke soup, made from the hearts of fresh globe artichokes, leeks, shallots, yukon gold potatoes, stock, a little cream, and herbs.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

The foggy coastline of Northern California is artichoke country. Like finding small hole-in-the-walls that serve clam chowder in New England, here one can sometimes find local diners that sell delicious artichoke soup.

I first developed a taste for artichoke soup on frequent trips to Pescadero Beach during college. So when I found this recipe in the New York Times, I couldn’t resist.

Over the years we’ve changed it up a little bit, mostly reducing the butter and cream. The soup is wonderfully rich, smooth, and creamy.

The recipe can easily be cut in half. We do not recommend using frozen artichoke hearts for this soup, as frozen hearts are treated in an acidic solution, changing the flavor of the soup.

Ingredients

  • The hearts from 5 large artichokes (see How to trim an artichoke)
  • 5 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 medium size leek, white-and-light green parts only, sliced and rinsed (see How to Clean Leeks)
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (or yellow onion, if shallots aren’t available)
  • 8 oz of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 12 cups of  chicken stock (if cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free stock) or vegetable stock (for vegetarian option)
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs of parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • Salt to taste

Method

1 Prepare the artichoke hearts. Peel off the leaves from around the artichokes until you get to the thistly choke in the center.

(Note, we save most of the leaves to steam separately and eat dipped in melted butter or mayonnaise. Why waste perfectly good artichoke leaves?)

With a small knife, remove the thistle choke part and discard. Cut or peel away the tough outside skin of the stems and discard.  You can keep one to two inches of the stem on the artichoke heart. Longer stems you can discard.

Slice the hearts or chop to a quarter inch thickness.

2 Cook the artichoke hearts, leek, garlic, shallots in butter: Melt the butter in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium heat.  Add the artichoke hearts, sliced leek, garlic, and shallots. Cook until tender, but not brown.

3 Add potatoes, stock, herbs, then simmer: Add the peeled diced potatoes and the stock. Wrap the herbs (bay leaf, thyme, parsley) and peppercorns in cheesecloth and place in the pot. Increase the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook uncovered, for 1 hour.

4 Purée the soup, push through sieve: After an hour, remove and discard the herbs. Purée the soup and use a rubber spatula to push it through a fine mesh sieve. At this point you can make ahead and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve, heat the soup and stir in the remaining butter and the cream. Season with salt to taste and serve.

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Crab Bisque

Delicious, rich and creamy crab bisque, made with fresh cracked Dungeness crab meat, and stock made from the crab shells.

Ready in:

  • Yield: Serves 4

During the winter months, our local Whole Foods gets one or two shipments in a week of freshly cooked Dungeness crab. Like all seafood, crab tastes best when it is as fresh as possible.

When buying crab, ask the guy or gal behind the counter when they got the shipment in. The answer you want to hear is “this morning”. If the crab came in that morning, or even the day before, it should be good. If it is 3 or 4 days, I would wait until the next shipment.

Make sure that you get a crab that is at least 2 lbs. If they don’t have any that big displayed, ask if they have any more in the back. Have them clean the crabs and crack them.

To make this creamy, flavorful crab bisque, you will need to make some homemade shellfish stock, so it pays to keep your leftover shells and freeze them until you have the occasion to make the stock.

Making stock isn’t hard, like making chicken stock, it just takes time. You can freeze it in advance of using it.

Ingredients

Stock ingredients:

  • 4-6 cups crab shells
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly sliced or chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly sliced or chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • Several sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10-15 whole peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Soup ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup shallots, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups of shellfish stock
  • ¼ cup white rice
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 ¼ lb or more of cooked crabmeat
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Ingredients

Stock ingredients:

  • 4-6 cups crab shells
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly sliced or chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly sliced or chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • Several sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10-15 whole peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Soup ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup shallots, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups of shellfish stock
  • ¼ cup white rice
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 ¼ lb or more of cooked crabmeat
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method

Making the stock

Before making the bisque, you’ll need to make the shellfish stock (see these instructions for details and photos).

1 Break up large pieces of crab shell: If you have large pieces of crab shell, you’ll want to break them into smaller pieces. A good way to do this is to put them in a plastic freezer bag and use a rolling pin or wine bottle to roll over them to break them up a bit. Don’t crush them.

2 Roast shells for 10 min: For extra flavor at this point, put them on a roasting pan in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes. That will help bring out more of the crab flavor.

3 Cover shells with water and heat to almost a simmer for one hour: Put the crab shells in a large stock pot and cover with an inch of water. Put the heat on medium high and slowly heat up the water. When you see little bubbles of air starting to rise to the surface, lower the heat to medium.

Do not let the water boil! You want to keep the water temp at just below a simmer, around 180°F if you have an instant thermometer. The bubbles should only occasionally come up to the surface.

Do not stir! Stirring the shells will muddy the stock. As foam develops on the surface of the water, skim it away with a large spoon. Keep skimming off the foam every so often, and maintaining the heat at just below a simmer, for about an hour.

4 Add wine, carrots, onions, celery, tomato paste, herbs, peppercorns: Once the stock is no longer generating foam, add the wine, carrots, onions, celery, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns.

Increase the heat to return the stock to a low simmer, then lower the heat to maintain that very low simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any new foam that develops. Add salt and remove from heat.

5 Remove large solids and strain through lined sieve: Use tongs or a spider strainer to remove and discard the largest pieces of shells from the stock.

Then place a few layers of dampened cheesecloth or paper towels over a large, fine mesh strainer placed over a large bowl or another pot. Pour the stock through the strainer to strain. Discard the solids.

Either use the stock right away, or cool for future use. If you aren’t going to use the stock in a couple of days, you can freeze it.

Remember to leave enough headroom at the top of any jar you use so that the liquid has room to expand as it freezes. You should use frozen shellfish stock up within 2 months.

Makes 2-3 quarts. Reserve 4 cups for the crab bisque, refrigerate or freeze the rest.

Making the bisque

Now on to the bisque…

6 Sauté shallots in butter in large pot: In a large, 4 or 6 quart saucepan, melt butter on medium heat, add the shallots and cook gently until translucent, about 5 minutes.

7 Add wine, stock, rice, tomato paste, then simmer 25 min: Add the wine, stock, white rice, and tomato paste. Raise the heat and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to continue to simmer until rice is completely cooked, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.

8 Add two thirds of crab meat, then purée: Add about two thirds of the crab meat to the soup. Working in batches, ladle the soup into a blender and purée until completely smooth. Return puréed soup back to soup pan.

9 Add cream, remaining crab meat, salt, cayenne: Add cream and gently heat soup until it is hot enough for serving. Add the remaining one third of the crab meat. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne).

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Cream of Spinach Soup

Rich and creamy spinach soup, with fresh or frozen spinach, onion, potatoes, broth, cream and sour cream. Serve hot or chilled.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

This delicious cream of spinach soup is as rich, smooth and creamy as the label “Cream of” would imply.

It’s basically a vichyssoise, with spinach in addition to the potatoes, and can be served either hot or chilled.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach – packed – (or 1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed)
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (or vegetable bouillon cubes for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Optional: chopped chives and/or ground allspice for garnish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach – packed – (or 1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed)
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (or vegetable bouillon cubes for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Optional: chopped chives and/or ground allspice for garnish

Method

1 Cook the chopped onion: In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in butter for 4 minutes or until translucent.

2 Build the soup: Add potatoes, chicken broth, water, and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Add spinach and cook for 2 to 4 minutes longer until spinach is tender.

3 Purée the soup, whisk in half-and-half: Working in batches, purée soup mixture in a blender. Return to saucepan. Whisk in half-and-half, salt and pepper.

4 Whisk in sour cream: Over low heat, bring to just before simmering. Whisk in the sour cream. You may want to use an immersion blender to get the sour cream fully incorporated.

This soup can be served hot or chilled. Garnish with chopped chives, sprinkles of allspice, or a dollop of sour cream.

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Summer Pea Soup

Delicious pea soup recipe with petit peas, mint, cream, broth, and shallots. Serve hot or cold.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 medium sized servings.

Every time I take a cooking class from Sacramento chef Evie Lieb I’m inspired for weeks with new ideas and recipes for bringing out the best from ingredients.

This summer pea soup is an Evie inspiration, a re-creation of soup she often finds in restaurants throughout France during her summer trips.

Unlike split pea soup, this soup uses frozen peas (Petite Peas are available at Trader Joe’s), and it cooks up in less than half an hour.

It’s just as good cold as hot, so it’s ideal for the warm days of summer. An infusion of mint in the broth adds a delicious touch to the flavor of the peas.

Ingredients

  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth (for vegetarian option)
  • 2 sprigs of mint, about 6 inches in total stem length
  • 1 pound of frozen petite peas (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Crème fraîche for garnish (can substitute sour cream diluted with cream)
  • Strips of fresh mint for garnish

Ingredients

  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth (for vegetarian option)
  • 2 sprigs of mint, about 6 inches in total stem length
  • 1 pound of frozen petite peas (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Crème fraîche for garnish (can substitute sour cream diluted with cream)
  • Strips of fresh mint for garnish

Method

1 Cook the shallots in butter: In a medium saucepan (2 1/2 to 3 quart) melt the butter on medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, but not browned, a couple minutes.

2 Add broth and mint, then peas: Add the broth and mint sprigs to the shallots, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Add the frozen peas and salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the peas are just tender, 3-5 minutes.

3 Discard the mint and purée the soup in a blender until completely smooth.

4 Blend in the cream. Taste and correct seasoning.

Reheat to serve warm, or chill to serve cold. Serve garnished with crème fraîche and mint strips.

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Cold Tomato Summer Vegetable Soup

Cold tomato vegetable soup, made with fresh, uncooked tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, red bell pepper, celery, sweet onion, and garlic. Perfect for a hot summer day.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

My father made this cold tomato and zucchini soup the other day.

“Don’t call it gazpacho.”
“Why not? It looks like gazpacho, but with some zucchini.”
“It’s my soup. I made it up. It’s not gazpacho. Don’t call it gazpacho.”
“Okay dad, whatever you say.”

So instead, my brother Eddie has named it “The Farmer’s Market in a Soup”.

Given that dad brought home every ingredient except the seasonings and broth from our local farmers market, the name makes sense.

It is a wonderfully cool, fresh soup for a hot summer day. Just don’t call it gazpacho.

Note, dad says to chop the zucchini finer than what is pictured in the photo.

Ingredients

  • 6 fresh, ripe tomatoes, seeds removed (cut tomatoes in half, squeeze out seeds into a sieve over a bowl to catch the juice, use the juice, discard the seeds), chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 zucchini, chopped fine
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped fine
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups tomato juice (in addition to the juice made when you squeezed the tomatoes above)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or pinch of dry)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • Hot sauce if needed

Method

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Use the additional tomato juice to thin the soup to desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste. Better the next day.

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Borscht

Delicious borscht soup made with fresh red beets, beef shank, onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, dill, and sour cream.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

My first memorable encounter with borscht was at a pot-luck party I had in San Francisco, in which my friend Elisabeth brought a huge, must have been 12 or 16-quart, pot of drop-dead delicious, deep purply red soup filled with beets.

Elisabeth’s grandparents were Ukrainian, and I think borscht was one of her favorite soups to make.

Every time I make or eat borscht I think of my friend and the discovery of how good a soup made primarily of beets can be.

The wind is howling outside, if any leaves remain on the trees they are sure to come down today. Here is a wonderfully satisfying beet borscht, perfect for a cold weather day.

The soup is best made a day ahead, giving the flavors time to meld.

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 pound slice of bone-in beef shank with a lot of meat (or 1 pound of stew beef), excess fat trimmed
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 cups beef broth or beef stock, divided 4 cups and 4 cups
  • 4 large beets (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, chopped
  • 4 carrots (1 lb), peeled, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato (.75 lb), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1 Brown the beef, add onions: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat. Add the shank slice or stew beef. Let the beef brown lightly on one side, then turn over.

Add the chopped onions to the pot. Let the onions cook and soften, about 5 minutes.

2 Add 4 cups broth, cook until beef is tender: Pour 4 cups of beef broth over the beef and onions in the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

3 While the beef is cooking, prep and roast the beets, carrots, and potato: Peel and chop the beets, carrots, and potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss the beets and carrots with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a foil lined roasting pan. Roast in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes.

Toss the potatoes with olive oil and make room for them in the roasting pan, and roast everything an additional 15 minutes.

4 Remove the meat from the pot. Once the beef has cooked through until tender in step 2, remove from the pot, and take the pot off the heat. If you are using a beef shank, remove and discard any bone, connective tissue, and excess fat. Chop the meat into bite sized pieces.

5 Skim off excess fat from the liquid in the pot.

6 Finish cooking the soup: Return the pot to the stove and add the remaining broth, the carrots, beets, and the diced potato. Add the chopped meat to the pot, the sliced cabbage, and a half cup of the fresh dill. Bring to a simmer, and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the cabbage is cooked through.

Add the vinegar and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I use about 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper, but the amount you use will depend on how salty your beef broth is to begin with.

The soup is best made a day ahead. (The longer the soup sits by the way, the more it will all turn the deep red color of beets.)

Serve ladled into bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh dill.

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Smoked Salmon Bisque

Delicious smoked salmon bisque, made with fresh salmon, smoked salmon, onions, leeks, mushrooms, garlic, clam juice, tomatoes, cream, herbs and seasonings.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 5-6

A little trivia here. What makes a bisque a bisque and not a chowder? Both bisques and chowders are made with seafood and vegetables, with a cream base.

Chowders tend to be more stew-like or chunky, and bisques puréed. Bisques are traditionally made with shellfish, though these days a puréed tomato, cream-based soup can be called a bisque too.

We half-puréed this smoked salmon bisque, which accounts for the photograph. My father made this delicious soup the other day after being inspired by a bisque we had at a local bistro and wine bar. So creamy and good!

Hot-smoked salmon has a much stronger smoky flavor than cold-smoked salmon, so I recommend using hot-smoked salmon for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 cups thinly sliced leeks
  • 1/2 chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart (32 oz) clam juice
  • 3/4 pounds salmon fillet, chopped 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 to 4 ounces hot smoked salmon (depending on how strong a smoked flavor you want, and how strongly smoked the salmon is), chopped
  • 2 cups canned whole or stewed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt to taste

Method

1 Cook onions, leeks, mushrooms garlic in butter: Melt butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, leeks, mushrooms, garlic and cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms have given up their moisture (7 to 10 minutes).

2 Add the clam juice, smoked salmon, tomatoes (break up tomatoes while putting them in the soup), parsley, cilantro, dill, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and Old Bay seasoning. Cook until heated through.

3 Make a slurry with flour, milk, cream: Put flour into a separate bowl. Slowly add the milk, beating with a wire whisk until smooth. Mix in the cream. Stir cream flour slurry into the soup.

4  Stir in fresh salmon and simmer for 5 more minutes.

5 Purée (optional): If you want, use an immersion blender to purée the soup, or pour some or all of the soup into a standing blender and purée. Salt to taste.

Garnish with fresh dill.

Posted by gen_gen -  at 

Categories: Soup   Tags: , ,

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