Category Archives: Soup or Stew

Caldo Verde: A Classic Fall or Winter Soup from Cook’s Illustrated

I admit it. I am totally in love with my magazine and online subscriptions to Cook’s Illustrated, even though I do find some of the recipes a bit fussy for my taste. But this Caldo Verde recipe is quick and easy to prepare, uses inexpensive  and healthy ingredients, and tastes sublime. In this version, I did not change anything in the recipe other than to use leek instead of onion and reducing the amounts proportionately because I only had 7 oz of chorizo sausage on hand instead of the 12 oz called for in the recipe, although I did use the full pound of collard greens.

First, brown the chorizo

First, brown the chorizo

Here is the recipe verbatim from Cook’s Illustrated:

Caldo Verde

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces Spanish-style chorizo sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped fine ( I chopped up some leek, instead)
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 pound collard greens, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Leeks and garlic

Leeks and garlic

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion (or leek), garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper flakes and season with pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, and water; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

cooking the potatoes

cooking the potatoes

Transfer 3/4 cup solids and 3/4 cup broth to blender jar. Add collard greens to pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chorizo and continue to simmer until greens are tender, 8 to 10 minutes longer.

Gorgeous collard greens from Flats Mentor Farm

Gorgeous collard greens from Flats Mentor Farm

adding the greens

adding the greens

Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to soup in blender and process until very smooth and homogeneous, about 1 minute. Remove pot from heat and stir pureed soup mixture and vinegar into soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Before adding the processed liquid and potatoes

Before adding the processed liquid and potatoes

Hey, I just realized I forgot the vinegar…Oh well, next time.  :)

Anyway, there really isn’t much more to say because I pretty much followed the instructions as is, with the only other minor difference being that I used my immersion blender with the handy blending jar it comes with for such purposes to do the pureeing part.

This recipe is a total winner in my book, and Steve loved it, too.  Plus, I can see using it as a jumping off point for a number of variations depending on what I have on hand on a given day.  In any case, it’s a keeper!

DONE!

DONE!

Under Pressure: A Tough Old Bird Goes Tender

Upon learning that I had never prepared a stewing hen, Jeff from Copicut Farms suggested I try one since he knows I like to experiment in the kitchen.

Spoiler Alert: 15 minutes in a pressure cooker does the trick, although I know one can have equally excellent results using a crock pot or simmering or braising the bird long and slow on the stove top or in the oven.

The other spoiler alert:  Stewing hens are UG-U-LY!

The hen with the ingredients going into the pressure cooker.

The hen with the ingredients (other than the neck- I put that in the freezer to use later for stock or a gravy base) going into the pressure cooker.

This angle shows just how skinny the breast is.

This angle shows just how skinny the breast is.

I was a bit short on time and I also had a hankering for garbanzo beans since, in my research, I had come across some recipes that combined chicken and chick peas, as garbanzos are also known, in a hearty stew, hence my opting for the pressure cooker method.

I came up with an outline for a recipe, posted it on Facebook so I would have it in writing, and onward into the kitchen I went to get the beans into a quick soak before cooking them with the chicken and barley.  I had decided I wanted a stew and barley seemed a good choice for a fall concoction.

There are some variations in instructions for soaking beans, but generally, dried legumes bigger than lentils or peas need to be soaked about 8 hours and then drained before cooking in fresh water.  If short on time, you cover the beans by about an inch of water in a pot, bring it to a boil, remove from heat, and let sit covered for an hour in lieu  of the longer soak.

In a real pinch, you can opt to cook beans in the pressure cooker without any soaking, but unsoaked garbanzos would have taken way longer than the chicken and barley; plus, I’d rather soak beans so as to make them more digestible.

While the beans soaked, I gathered the first set of ingredients and cut up the chicken and seasoned it with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Cut up and seasoned with salt and pepper

Cut up and seasoned with salt and pepper

Once the beans were ready to go, I lightly browned the chicken in some olive oil, added a clove or two of garlic, (about a scant tablespoon chopped) stirred until fragrant, and then added the soaked and drained garbanzos and 1/2 cup pearl barley that I had first picked over and rinsed.  I tossed in two bay leaves and topped it all off with 6 cups of water, closed the lid, brought to pressure, and cooked for 15 minutes.

lightly browned and garlic just added

lightly browned and garlic just added

chicken, with the garbanzos, barley, and 6 cups of water ready to go

chicken, with the garbanzos, barley, and 6 cups of water ready to go.

After the 15 minutes, I removed the pressure cooker from heat and let it sit until the pressure came down naturally and the pot could be opened safely.  (You can run a pressure cooker under cold water – the fast release method – but it can wreak havoc with some foods, such as beans!)

First I removed the chicken.

First I removed the chicken.

Just so you know, while I left the skin on for the flavor, it sure does not look pretty!

Just so you know, while I left the skin on for the flavor, it sure does not look pretty!

All drained!

All drained!

Then I drained the beans and barley because they were almost too done and I still had carrots and leeks to cook in the liquid.

Chopped carrot and leek - both veggies from Farmer Dave.

Chopped carrot and leek – both veggies from Farmer Dave.

Along with carrot and leek from Farmer Dave, I chopped up a bunch of fresh parsley from Flats Mentor Farm to make a 2-3  tablespoons, and added a teaspoon each of dried oregano and dried thyme to the liquid.

This parsley from Flats Mentor Farm is so gorgeous I had to take a picture.

This parsley from Flats Mentor Farm is so gorgeous I had to take a picture.

I also had a tomato that was just about too ripe, so I chopped that up to add to the fun.

I was just using up a tomato, but I recommend keep this ingredient in the recipe. :)

I was just using up a tomato, but I recommend keeping  this ingredient in the recipe. :)

Next I brought the liquid back to boil, added the veggies, and simmered until the veggies were tender. 

While that was going on, I picked the now cooled chicken off the bones and the skin off the chicken and pulled the chicken meat into bite-sized pieces.

The just over 2.5 lb chicken resulted in just over 9 ounces of meat.

The just over 2.5 lb chicken resulted in just over 9 ounces of meat.

Note how dark the meat it compared to that from a chicken raised for butchering. It makes for a nice deep flavor…Nothing against Copicut Farms regular chickens!  Those rock, too.  :) And have more meat, of course.

Once the veggies were tender, I added the chicken, garbanzos, and barley back to the stock, and heated through.

mix

All together and ready to heat through.

All done! Delicious.

All done! Delicious.

A final touch of salt and pepper was all it needed.  Quick, easy, tasty, nutritious.  A winner!  I’ll be asking Copicut Farms to bring some more stewing chickens to the market this week, that is for sure!  And, thanks for the suggestion, Jeff!  :)

So Simple Broccoli Soup

Why broccoli soup? Well, one reason is the two full bunches of broccoli (read: over three pounds) that Steve brought home instead of the 2-3 broccoli crowns I requested…They say necessity is the mother of invention but, in this case, too much of a good thing ended up inspiring a wonderful new favorite way to get our vegetables.

Soup was the logical way to use up that much fresh broccoli when the household is comprised of just two people, even two who love their veggies.  I have recently been making a lovely roasted cauliflower soup (I’ll post the recipe soon, I promise!) that is basically just roasted cauliflower and onion with stock and seasoning, so I was wondering if I could do something similar with the broccoli.  So…off to the Internet went I.

The short story is that, at least during my hasty search, I did not find any broccoli soup recipes that did not use something to thicken it, whether it be a flour roux, dairy, nuts, or soy or rice milk. I did, however, find one that added carrot and another that included apples.  Well….since I had plenty of broccoli to spare, I decided to just go with no thickener as see how it would turn out.  Of course, I knew I had the option of adding a roux or cream at the end if the texture was to0 thin for the taste.

soup

The final product. Yum!

Here is what I used:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1/2 or a bit more dried thyme
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 smallish apple, peeled and chopped
  • about one pound or 8 cups  of broccoli florets
  • 4 cups  stock – I used chicken*
broccoil florets

The 8 cups florets

First, I melted the butter and olive oil and added just the onions, cooking on low  until starting to soften, and then added the diced carrot and the dried thyme and ground pepper and continued cooking, now over medium, for a few more minutes.

Starting with the onions, carrot, and seasonings.

Starting with the onions, carrot, and seasonings.

I then added the chopped apple, stirring for a bit to coat it in the oil and seasoning, then stirred the broccoli to coat as well. Next, I added the 4 cups of stock, brought it all to just a boil and then simmered for about 15 minutes or so, until the broccoli was fork-soft.

*A Note about stock:  I used chicken stock, but if you want a totally vegetarian version, I am sure veggie stock, or even plain water will work, albeit you might want to add some tamari or better yet,  miso, and/or other seasonings to give a bit more depth to the flavor.  OR, keep it light and punch up the brightness with a dash of rice vinegar or lemon juice.

Cooked and reeady to blend!

Cooked and ready to blend!

The last step was to blend.  I used an immersion blender, but a regular blender would work, as well, as would just using a potato masher or food mill – whatever you have available.

DONE!

DONE!

It sure looked tasty, although it was not as thick as the typical “Cream of whatever” soup. But the taste was superb and Steve and I both agreed that the texture was perfect as is – no additional thickening needed.  In fact, I think any thickener would reduce the brightness of the flavor…hmmm, I bet a squeeze of lemon would be a nice touch, albeit perhaps not on a cold winter day…

I will add that I don’t think using a thickener would hurt the recipe – but the change in texture would probably inspire, and possibly necessitate, some additional seasoning.  But, it is all a matter of taste.  Adding a  1/2 cup of cream at the end, or adding a few tablespoons flour and cooking with the veggies before adding the stock are two options, as is adding a roux at the end.

But honestly this is great as is – and note that I added no salt.  AND, Steve didn’t even add any!  THAT’S saying something.  :)

And that’s that!  I suspect Steve and I will eat this batch of soup in a day or so, but I’ll make another batch with my OTHER big bunch of broccoli and see how it freezes.  I’ll report back when I do.   In the meantime – take this recipe out for a spin and make it your own.  I will again say: YUM!
UPDATE:

I froze some of the first batch and defrosted it the next day.  Still fabulous!  Make a big batch when you find nice fresh broccoli on sale. :)

Delightful Summer Chowder!

Oh. My. God.  Or OMG for short.  :)  However and whatever the exclamatory phrase, the chowder I made last night was totally amazingly delicious!

The impetus was about a cup each, give or take, of lobster meat and shelled but not yet chopped steamed clams and 6 cups of clam broth left over from a lobster and steamer feast in honor of (and held a few days earlier than) Steve’s birthday.

I went online and perused various clam, seafood, and corn chowder recipes and then decided to just wing it, using the basic steps as a guide.  In particular, I wanted to use the squash blossoms, kohlrabi, and Asian greens in my fridge and sensed that these ingredients would work well together.  I was right.  <grin>

the veggies in the raw

Green onion (bulbs were used for another recipe) carrots, Asian basil, Asian spinach, squash blossoms, kohlrabi, and corn. Missing are celery,fresh parsley and potatoes.

Here are the ingredients I used for this recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups chopped green onion  – top of white and part green (no bulb)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped or diced
  • 1 cup diced carrot (2 medium/small)
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced/chopped peeled kohlrabi*
  • 1 ½ cup corn kernels
  • squash blossom bulbs (see photos, below)**
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup tight packed chopped Asian basil
  • 6 cups clam broth
  • 10 oz small sliced potato (2 cups)
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped lobster
  • 1/2 cup chopped clams
  • 12 squash blossoms, torn – stamen removed (bulb added above)**
  • 1-2 oz Asian spinach,  torn

** How to prepare squash blossoms:

blossom with stamen
Squash blossom with stamen still intact. Note: for some recipes, you should leave the blossom intact when removing the stamen.
Stamen removed
Before tearing each blossom into 3 or so pieces, removed the bulb at the bottom and add the bulbs to the soup in with the kohlrabi and corn.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot and saute the onions, celery and carrots for a few minutes.  Stir in the kohlrabi slices*, corn kernels, and blossom bulbs, then add the marjoram, parsley, and Asian basil.

Before the broth is added.

Before the broth is added.

  • *A note about the kohlrabi:  This is my first time cooking with kohlrabi and, even as I write this, I have yet to look up how to prepare them.  Since it seemed to me that the outer part seems it could be a bit tough, I trimmed off the outside before slicing up.  But, I’d do as you prefer as to the outer skin on or off.

Next, stir and cook the veggies for few more minutes, then add the clam broth and bring to a strong simmer.  Add the potato slices, half & half, and black pepper.

potatoes

Just the potatoes. I had a few leftover small red and yellow ones, so I used them up!

Let the chowder simmer on low for about 10 minutes to cook the potatoes and further meld flavors.  Just FYI – it was delicious even at this stage!  This would be fine to serve as is or with just additional veggies.

Once the potatoes are cooked through,  add the chopped lobster and clams.  A Note about chopping the clams.  First, they sure are NOT pretty!

chopped clam

Be sure not to cut through the belly! The rest of each clam can be chopped into as big or small pieces as desired.

Stir the chowder and let sit on very low for 5-10 minutes to do more of that flavor melding, then bring to almost a simmer and stir in the squash blossoms and Asian spinach.

Asian spinach, just rinsed, but before being torn.

Adding the blossoms and greens.

To end, let the chowder sit for 5 or so minutes over very low heat to wilt the spinach and blossoms, then serve and enjoy!

Ready to serve!

This was truly a wonderful chowder!  I served it with some multigrain bread and it made for quite the satisfying meal. And, that lobster and clam feast was the gift that kept on going, since we had this chowder on Steve’s actual birthday. :)

I bet you could use this recipe as a basis for a vegetarian corn and potato chowder. I would use a corn-based vegetable stock (just make it yourself by simmering leftover corn cobs, carrots, parsley and celery, etc.), unsweetened soy milk, saute with oil, and leave out the seafood.  What made this chowder so special was, I think, the combination of a light touch of marjoram and basil, the Asian spinach and, especially, the unique flavor of the squash blossoms.  You might also want to add something else – a touch of flour to thicken and maybe use part almond milk to give a touch of a buttery flavor…  Hmmm…..You know, some chunks of nicely ripe heirloom tomatoes would be a nice touch, too.

For those who eat dairy and seafood, feel free to ad lib with other veggies and seafoods!  As I pointed out to Steve when when I told him I was not going to use a specific recipe, I suspect all soups, stews, and chowders originated as a way to either use up or stretch what was on hand, with the fancy recipes and techniques coming later.

In any case – just have fun.  A little thought about how flavors might go together and some experimenting might result in the next favorite family, or even famous, recipe.

Oh, I of course must mention that the Asian basil, Asian spinach, green onions, and squash blossoms were from Flats Mentor Farm, the kohlrabi from Farmer Dave, and the corn from Kelly’s Farm – all available at the Wakefield Farmers Market.  Shop local and most important: Support your local farmers!

Harvest Pork Stew

I bought a lovely butternut squash from Farmer Dave at the Wakefield Farmer’s Market and, while I love butternut squash any which way – roasted, smashed, in a pie, etc., I was in the mood to try a new recipe.  So, I searched around the Internet and found a recipe featuring butternut squash called Harvest Pork Stew.

I hit the jackpot.

This is really good, really easy to make, and can be done in an hour or so before dinnertime, or be started off early to cook in a crockpot.  In addition, since it also calls for apples, onions, potatoes and carrots, it provides the perfect opportunity to highlight all kinds of  fresh fall produce. With the flavors of sage, rosemary, and bay leaves topping it off – this makes for a perfect meal for an autumn evening.  For the perfect complementary dessert, try my simple but delicious Apple Crisp recipe.

I pretty much followed the recipe I found on  Allrecipes.com verbatim. Here it is with any of my changes or clarifications in brackets. [ ]

Note:
To prepare from fresh squash, see How to EASILY Peel Raw Butternut Squash!

Ingredients
•    2 tablespoons butter or oil
•    1 1/2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
•    2 cloves garlic, minced
•    1 medium onion, chopped
•    3 cups chicken broth
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed [I doubled this amount]
•    1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage [I used two fresh leaves]
•    1 bay leaf
•    3 cups frozen, cubed butternut squash   [I used a bit more of fresh squash]
•    2 MacIntosh apples, cored and cubed  [I used 1 1/2 big Macs]
•    2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional)   [I used two medium potatoes]
•   2 cups carrots, peeled and diced (optional)   [I only used two small carrots]
•   [I also added ground  black pepper to taste, maybe 1/2 teaspoon]

Directions
1) Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Stir in the garlic and onion, and continue to cook until the onion has softened, and the pork is firm, and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Onion and garlic just added to lightly browned pork, with pork still a bit pink.

Pork, with onion and garlic cooked until just tender

2) Place the pork and onions into a large saucepan. Pour in the chicken broth, and season with salt, rosemary, sage, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Instead of dried, I minced two fresh sage leaves and crushed dried rosemary in my suribachi to make 1/2 a teaspoon.

Ready for the first 20 minute simmer

3)  Stir in the butternut squash, apples, potatoes, and carrots. Return to a simmer, then cook, uncovered until the squash and apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Three HEAPING cups of cubed squash. The rest went into the fridge.

Two HEAPING cups of cubed apple. I saved the rest for later.

Two HEAPING cups of potato

Just a cup of diced carrots

Ready for the last 20 minute simmer

Slow Cooker Method – I have not tried this, but I bet it is just as good!
Lightly brown the pork in the butter or oil and cook until firm and opaque. Add to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients. Cook on High for 1 hour, then reduce heat to Low and simmer 4 hours, or until tender.

This recipe was truly a winner.  Steve and I both loved it, it stretched the meat, and was full of tasty and nutritious vegetables.   Next I am going to try it with chicken.  And, I bet the slow cook method would be good with beef.  Post a message if you try the chicken or beef before I do!

Update – If you are in a big hurry, buy the peeled squash halves at the grocery store.  The folks at America’s Test Kitchens recommend such in a pinch, but they do NOT recommend the peeled and cut up product.  However, from a local market that does it themselves, such as Wakefield MA’s Farmland, it is a totally acceptable choice, in my opinion.  :)

Stone Soup with Chicken

Leftover chicken, leftover brown rice, leftover whole wheat spaghetti…well, the pasta will have to be used for something else, but I just made a great soup with a bunch of leftovers.

From a chicken carcass to finished soup took just a bit more than an hour, but that is because the time included making the stock.  If I had used stock from my freezer or a can/box, it would have been under 20 minutes.

If you are making your own stock, start by puitting  the water in the pressure cooker (or stock pot if you are going to do a longer simmer) and turn on the burner. That way, you get a head start bringing everything to pressure (or to a simmer).  Also, if you are using anything from the freezer, pop them into the microwave to defrost a bit if you want to save additional time.

[NOTE:  you can start with frozen everything - bone/carcass and veggies if you are not pressed for time.  However, the pressure cooker could take 30 minutes to come to pressure if using items directly from the freezer.]

This time, I used the chicken carcass from the French Chicken in a Pot I made a few days back.  First, I put 7 cups of water in the pressure cooker and turned the burner on high.  Then, I picked off all of the meat that was easy to remove, leaving the rest to pick off after the “second cooking.”  Then, along with the bones, I tossed in a carrot, a small stalk of celery, a bay leaf, 6-8 peppercorns, 1/2 an onion, and a crushed garlic clove.  I let it cook 25 minute once to pressure and then turned off the burner, letting the pressure come down naturally.  [Note: if in a hurry, you can bring the pressure down quickly by putting the pot under cold running water.]

Once I strained the stock and picked the test of the meat off the bones, I brought the stock to a simmer in a pot.  Here is where you can add whatever strikes your fancy.  Basically, you want to add any seasonings that simmering will bring out first.  Then, once to a simmer, add raw rice  or noodles, if using, before adding the veggie or veggies that take longer to cook.  Then,  add the veggies that cook more quickly, then anything already cooked once the all the former are tender.  The final step is to season to taste.

Today, I started with a de-seeded and sliced up a  salsa chili pepper (we have a bunch growing in our bedroom) that was red and starting to wrinkle and then added a few veggies once the stock was simmering,  in this case, the last carrot and last chunk of daikon radish in my fridge, both sliced thinly.  Once they got soft, I added chopped fresh parsley and about a cup of snow peas that I discovered, just in time, in my vegetable bin. Last, I added my leftover cooked rice and  cooked chicken from teh carcass, as well as the meat I got off both the turkey neck and chicken neck  that I used to make stock the other day for the Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup.

The final touch was a bunch of freshly ground black pepper and a tablespoon of tamari, just to round the flavor out.    Oh no!  I forgot to take pictures and we already had lunch – two servings each so there is not much left:

Not much was left!

My final advice – try the French Chicken in a Pot recipe, too!  Someday I’ll post about it, but you can link to it above.

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

This is fabulous!  I’ve been meaning to try making this from scratch for ages.  It was worth the wait.

I found a number of variations online, but you don’t need to go fancy for this soup.   A special thanks to Dennis Caswell for the recipe on his Rock ‘N Roll Kitchen blog.  You know, I just love the Internet.  15 years ago, who would think that anyone with 1/2 a brain and a computer could easily find recipes shared by a complete stranger living in Great Britain?

Here’s how I made it:

That’s a bit over a pound of tomatoes and closer to 2 lbs of red peppers.

I just sliced the tomatoes in half, seeded and halved the peppers,  halved one onion, and peeled 6-8 cloves of garlic. I then rubbed them with olive oil and sprinkled with dried basil.

Ready to roast!

I started them off at 275 degrees, but it was slow going, so I upped it to 400 at the end.  Different recipes give different temperatures and lengths of time, but figure 20-45 minutes depending. In the end, you want them to look like this:

Roasted!

Well, it is a little hard to tell in this picture.  And, FYI – I flipped the tomatoes part-way through.  But, you basically want the skins split and wrinkled on the red veggies, and it is fine if they get a bit charred.

Next, I peeled off the really tough outer layer of the onion halves.  The garlic was a bit tough, too but it ended up not causing an problem with the soup’s texture.  however, next time I will roast the garlic with the skin still on and then peel.

I then put the roasted veggies in a pot with 3 cups of puoltry/veggie stock.*   I think it was three cups – perhaps 3 1/2.  I know I have three cups left:

The rest of the homemade stock

Well, lets go for 3 cups and add more if you want a thinner texture.  I used 8 cups of water when I made the stock that morning but seemed to lose more liquid than usual.  See below for how I made the stock.

The final step was to use my handy-dandy new immersion blender and puree the whole lot right in the pot.  You can also put part of the stock  and the veggies into a regular blender and then add back to the rest of the stock.  Then, I seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper.  heated it up, and that was it!  I hear it freezes well, but I think we will be eating it all in a short time.

Yum! (And, YES, I LOVE my new range!)

So, there it is.  A lovely soup.  It would be great served chilled in the summer, also.  Now I want to try the variation I found called: “Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup With Onions, Garlic, Garbanzo Beans & Oh Why Not? Artichokes” Click HERE to see the recipe on the blog Farmgirl Fare.

*And, for the stock:  from the freezer, the neck and innards from one turkey and one chicken, three corncobs (Just pop them into the freezer after you eat the kernels off – the BEST for stock!) a handful of asparagus stems, and, from the fridge, some leftover raw kale, a stick of celery, a carrot or two, half and onion, a bay leaf, and…probably a few cloves of garlic – I can’t remember.  Into the pressure cooker with 8 cups of water it went for 30 minutes after it came to pressure.  NOTE:  you can use whatever you want – more poultry parts, just veggies, whatever.  However, I highly recommend corn cobs in all stock.  They add a great flavor!

So, that’s it for now.   Thanks for reading.  :)

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup

Get ready to die, as in “this is to die for!”  A BIG thank you to Béatrice Peltre, the author of La Tartine Gourmande.  I am not even going to post the recipe ingredients or procedure here,  just the link to the details.  If you love to cook, you should check out her blog!

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup.  Just click the name to go to the recipe.

This soup is exquisite enough for company or a very special romantic dinner for two.  It is also quite suitable as the main course or vegetable of a quick weekday meal.  Truly a winner.

The total prep and cooking time is not much over an hour,  with more cooking than prep going on, leaving plenty of time to prepare and/or cook  the rest of the meal, whether it be something along the line of the rosemary chicken leg quarters I paired with my first batch, or perhaps just some substantial  crusty bread and a light dessert.

Here are a few pictures of my first time making this soup, followed by the results of my 2nd go-round when I used a homemade but not recipe-specific vegetable broth and a combination, about 1/2 each, of broccoli and cauliflower.

The ingredients for the broth.

This made a most wonderful broth or stock.  And, even for those who think they don’t like fennel, you won’t dislike this.  The fennel adds depth without contributing a specifically “fennel” taste.

Main Soup Ingredients

Just a picture showing the amounts/proportions.  Of  course, for soups, casseroles, and the like, proportions are not as crucial as they are when baking.

1st saute

Shallots add such a nice color to things, along with a smoother texture than most types of  onions provide.

2nd batch of ingredients done!

It is time to add the broth when the bottom is getting a bit browned.

Ready to simmer for a bit.

This is the last picture I took when making this soup for the first time.  I am hoping to remember to take a picture after finishing up my second batch, which I have been making as I FINALLY write up and post this recipe on my blog!  Of course, it will look different, since I used half broccoli…

Well, here is the picture:

the 2nd time - broccoli and cauliflower with standard broth base

Well, it looks pretty and all, but…no way as good as when I followed the original recipe.  FYI, I had lots of both leftover broccoli and cauliflower florets from the veggie tray we did for the Wakefield UU Church auction last week, which is why I used both veggies.  Here is my take:

I added the requisite chopped fresh parsley (about a HEAPING tablespoon) salt (1 tsp) black pepper (1/2 tsp freshly ground) after adding a tsp of salt, and “dash” of nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp freshly grated) PLUS a tsp of coriander power to make up for not using the original vegetable broth recipe and…certainly pleasant and edible, but NOT to die for.  To live forso as  to enjoy, yes, but NOT the great shakes of the original recipe.    …  Okay, I am letting it stay at just below a simmer on the stove for a bit.  Then I will see if I can fix it up a bit….  1/2 an hour or so later…

Hey!  It’s very good after some low temp simmering, beyond the just “pleasant” flavor.  Yes, the broccoli is too strong for this recipe as to getting the exquisite results obtained from the original version using just cauliflower. But, I really like that this is a “creamy” soup that does not use dairy for that special texture.  Nothing against dairy from me, but it is nice to have a way to prepare a veggie dish or soup that has a comfort food taste and texture without the usual comfort food fat and calories – or lactose tolerance issues.

Anyway – this recipe is a keeper for me, in both the original and experimental formats.