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Posts Tagged ‘Soups’

West African Peanut Stew

West African Peanut Stew is one of the current favorites at our house. It’s a creamy peanut butter flavored thick soup with cooked veggies (any my additions, below). I love it because I love most things peanut and savory, and it’s VERY easy to make and healthy. Molly loves it because it’s peanut butter so kinda tastes like kid food. And Michael likes it because it’s hearty and filling and super flavorful. It’s a great one-pot dinner with all your protein and veggies built in. I’ve also used this recipe recently when bringing meals to families who are gluten-free.

My adaptations are as follows:

1. Use my favorite chicken shortcut and buy a rotisserie chicken from your usual grocery store. Shred the white meat and add at the very end. The meat is already cooked and flavorful so you really only want to rewarm it – it will get tough quickly if cooked too long or too hot.

2. I add a can of chickpeas (drained) for extra protein and umph.

3. As suggested, serve over brown rice or just stir it in for a thicker meal for kids.

4. Since we aren’t hard core vegetarians, I usually use chicken stock since that’s what I keep stocked at our house. Either chicken or vegetable stock is fine.

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I believe this makes my third butternut squash soup recipe…but they are so easy, cheap and healthy that it’s worth it to keep collecting them! I found this one via Pinterest, which does not always work out, but I think it’s a keeper. Mainly because it’s so incredibly EASY. Most soup bases have a little more chopping and stirring but other than roasting the butternut squash (about five minutes of actual prep) and sauteeing some onions, all you do is dump stuff in. I love the coconut milk in it, which adds a different flavor and makes it slightly sweet – my todder GOBBLED it up! Three cheers for an easy, kid-friendly, highly-flavored weeknight soup.

Note: I used two small sized whole butternuts squashes, halved and roasted, chicken stock instead of vegetable stock because I had it on hand, and only one can of the coconut milk. I also did not add the extra coconut flakes to the soup.

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Ode to Soup

I found this quote in one of my cookbooks and felt that it sums up exactly my love of cooking soup! I find it a comforting thing both to make and to eat. I could eat soup every night once the weather turns chilly. Probably my friends and family complain that I do…

“Beautiful soup, so rich and green,

Waiting in a hot tureen!

Who for such dainties would not stoop?

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!”

– Lewis Carroll

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

The mom of one of my best friends from high school used to make us the most amazing broccoli cheese soup. I could eat three bowls of that stuff and still want more. It was almost like dessert, it was so good! But I don’t make it very often as it calls for a lot of Velveeta and butter. I’ve often wondered if there was a way to get all the cheesy flavor with different ingredients. The problem was how to recreate the creaminess of the soup, and help the cheese blend in – without an emulsifier of sorts, the cheese might separate from the veggies. I decided to try a can of white beans as the thickening/binding agent…and it worked beautifully! I’ve made this twice to be sure it works, but use your judgment on measurements to suit preference. Also spices could be left out or substituted.

– Saute 1 large onion (diced), 2 large or 3 medium carrots (diced) and 1 cup of diced celery in olive oil til soft and slightly browned.

– Add spices to taste. I added salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic salt.

– Add in 2 large bags of frozen broccoli and can of white beans (cannelini) with their juices. Add a box of chicken stock.

– Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until vegetables are soft, about an hour.

– Using an immersion blender (like this; if you don’t have one, buy one. It is an amazingly helpful tool, especially for soups – easy to clean and easy to store.) puree the soup til all large chunks are gone.

– Add 2 Tbs of butter, 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and 3 Tbs grated parmesan cheese. Stir to melt and then EAT! YUMMY!!!

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Split Pea Soup

This is one of my mom’s recipes, which I can remember eating often as a kid. She says it was a good way to get vegetables down us. I remember wishing there was always more bacon. I recently got the recipe from her and have made it a half dozen times already this fall/winter. It’s incredibly hearty, tastes quite flavorful and rich thanks to the bacon fat, and is CHEAP! I was surprised to see that it doesn’t even use chicken stock, just water and a few bouillon cubes. Normally I’d be tempted to sub out the water for my precious chicken stock which I think makes everything taste better, but this soup really is so flavorful already that it doesn’t need it.

The soup is a snap to make, though it’s significantly easier with the immersion blender (seriously people, just go get one!), so I’d recommend making a pot on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon for a really easy, cozy, wintery dinner in on a cold night. It’s really delicious with a crusty bread, real butter, and nice cold beer.

Pea Soup

16 oz dried peas

1 Tbs olive oil

8 oz bacon, diced

2 large or 3 medium celery ribs, diced

1 large onion, diced

2 yellow potatoes, cubed

8 cups water

2 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

3 beef bouillon cubes

1 bay leaf

1 cup half and half

  1. Boil 4 cups of water. Pour over dried peas in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Drizzle olive oil into a heavy-bottomed soup pot and head to medium. Add bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and crispy. Remove bacon to drain on a plate; set aside.
  3. Add the celery and onions to the hot oil and cook until they are beginning to brown.
  4. Add the potatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients except the half-and-half. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for about an hour.
  6. Once the potatoes are softened, puree the soup by either using an immersion blender in the pot or using a blender or food processor in small batches (be careful: the hot soup will expand so you can only fill the blender or food processor about halfway full.)
  7. Once soup is pureed in the pot, add the half-and-half and taste for seasonings. Serve with bacon crumbles on top.

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Pumpkin and Sausage Soup

This soup is a universally liked and easy addition to your soup roster. I will try almost any soup, and since I love butternut squash soups, I was pretty certain this would be tasty. It was very easy and very good! I added some of my own spices – sage, cumin, paprika, oregano. I didn’t think it needed the full 2 pounds of sausage – I pulled some out for another use (maybe 1/2 a pound?) and it still seemed like plenty. I added toasted coconut and green onion for garnish. My sister was present for the taste-testing and confirmed it was a keeper! Perfect especially for warming up during this frigid weather we’ve been having…

Bon Appetit!

PUMPKIN SAUSAGE SOUP
serves 6

(adapted from cavemanfood.blogspot.com)


Ingredients:

1-1.25 lbs bulk breakfast sausage 1/2 a large onion, minced
1 15-oz can of pumpkin
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
pinch of dried rosemary
1 tsp paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
2 T butter
1/2 cup coconut milk

Heat the butter in a heavy deep pot and saute the onions until golden, then remove them to a separate bowl. Add the sausage to the pot and brown it until it is cooked through and looks tasty. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.

Add the pumpkin to the pot and deglaze with the chicken stock. Add the onions back in and simmer until the pumpkin is soft, about 10 minutes. Puree the soup (a hand blender is easiest, but a regular blender will do). Add in all the remaining ingredients except the coconut milk (don’t forget to add in the cooked sausage!), and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk.

 

 

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Since returning to work full time, I am taking a serious look at how we’re going to eat during the week, or more practically, how in the world I am going to find time to cook between my full time job and the baby.  I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that soups are going to be the way to go – or maybe soups in the winter and big hearty salads in the summer?

Cold and rainy/snowy weather is the perfect time for soup.  Something about it is as right as a roaring fire for this season.  I also love the process of making soup. I love the chopping and the smell of onions sauteeing in olive oil, which is how soups almost always start. I love the sizzle as more ingredients hit the pan.  I love peeking into the pot and seeing it bubble away.  I like that it’s a whole meal, possibly with bread or salad on the side, but not necessarily.  I like being able to put leftovers into the freezer for another heart- and belly-warming meal on another cold and rainy day down the road.

Since I’ve been making soup a lot recently I’ve been thinking about all my favorites.  Here is my list of top five vegetable soups – all super healthy and super delicious.  I highly recommend an immersion blender for making some of these soups – it comes in handy for lots of other things as well.  It makes the whole process quite a lot easier when you don’t have to transfer hot soup to a blender or food processor in batches, and this one cleans up easily and is not bulky to store.

1. Provencal Vegetable Soup

2. Broccoli Soup

3. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Curry Condiments

4. Pappa Al Pomodoro

5. Spiced Pea and Coconut Soup

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