Category Archives: Soups and Stews

Lightened Up Lasagna Soup

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TGIF!! It has been a long week here. Well, a long couple of weeks actually. This flu that is flooding the country found it’s way to my house and,even though I had the shot, I got hit hard by it. Kevin on the other hand, who didn’t get the shot, was fine. Although there was quite a bit of hand washing, Purell usage, and banishment to the sofa for a few days. It’s OK, I was as comfy as I could be considering the circumstances. A trip to the ER, IV fluids, and Tamiflu helped me to kick the worst of it. But the residual cough is a killer. My heart and prayers go out to everyone that has/is suffering from this! 
Now, on to the good stuff, the food! I was so happy when I was able to (and had the desire to) cook again. It seemed strange to be back in my little kitchen after so long away. But cooking is like riding a bike right? So I jumped back on and peddled away.
I had been eyeing a recipe by Paula Deen for Lasagna soup before my desire to eat anything more than jello and popsicles kicked in. So that was the first thing I wanted to make when I felt better. However, and I do so love Ms Paula, it was packed full of fat and calories! So I tackled the challenge of trying to remove a bit of both from the recipe. 
I am so very happy to announce that even though the fat and calories were reduced, the flavor was not. This is some seriously good soup guys! Even Mr “Soup is not a meal” raved about it and ended up finishing his bowl and part of mine. He was also very happy to package the leftovers in a freezer bag for a future meal. I was, as you cam imagine, very pleasantly surprised! 
I myself referred to this soup as a little bit of heaven in a bowl, so you know how I felt about it. Seriously though, give this soup a try, you will not regret it I promise!!
Lightened Up Lasagna Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used 1 teaspoon)
6 broken whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese, plus some for sprinkling

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large sauce pot  Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, approx 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the noodles, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with a little extra mozzarella cheese if wanted.

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Port Wine

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This recipe comes from a friend of mine from England. She used to frequent a restaurant close to her home quite often and told me over and over again how wonderful this soup was. How she would actually dream about it! She wanted to make it at home but had no idea where to start. I finally told her to just ask the chef for the recipe. She doubted that he would do it but went a ahead and tried. To her huge surprise he was more than happy to help her out! I have unfortunately lost contact with her now, but this recipe will always be special to me because she shared it with me. 

I don’t know why I had to but this soup was just calling to me, begging me to make it, and who am I to tell food no right? I love love love cream of mushroom soup. I grew up eating the good ol’ Campbell’s version and it became one of my favorite comfort foods. Once I had my surgery the canned version was no longer an option to me because of the high fat content, it made me sick. I was very sad for a while, until I remembered I had this recipe!! 
This is of course a much more “adult” version of cream of mushroom soup. Cooking the mushrooms down in the port wine give this soup such a deep, rich, earthy flavor. Mmmm I am craving it again just thinking about it! Thank goodness I have some leftover in the fridge because I know what I am having for lunch!! 
Thanks Karen my love, for sharing this soup with me and many wonderful memories!!

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Port Wine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups (about 1/2 pound) cremini mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped, 2 cups sliced and 2 cups finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (plus some for garnish if wanted)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup tawny port wine
2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken stock (save 1/2 cup to thin soup at the end if needed)
1 cup half and half
2 cups heavy cream
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large sauce pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme and cook till the mushrooms have released most of their water, about 5 minutes.
Add the port wine and continue to simmer until the liquid is almost gone, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour   until it is all incorporated into the reduced wine. Slowly whisk in the 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the half and half, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4
ENJOY!!!

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Gumbo with Chicken Sausage, and Shrimp

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By now you know about my obsession errr love for soup. You also know that my dear boyfriend does not share this love with me. In fact it has gotten to the point that I don’t even mention I am making soup until the last minute. That way he can’t try to figure out something else to make for dinner! This little dilemma has led me to try to compromise a bit here and there. There either needs to be meat in the soup or I need to make something else on the side. 
Once I let this idea sink in (and stopped pouting because I wanted things to just go my way), I realized this wasn’t such a bad idea. I have been asked for more sandwich recipes, and soup and sandwiches is a nice casual dinner or lunch idea right? I mean I love going out and getting the soup and sandwich combos. So I started writing ideas and looking online and through my books/magazines for even more. Gumbo just popped into my head as a great place to start. I have been wanting to make it for one, and there is a ton of meat in it. I mean how could he argue with a meal that has chicken, sausage, and shrimp in it? Right, he can’t!

I found a recipe in Saveur (I love them) for a basic Gumbo, but I knew there were things I wanted to add. Mine might not be a “traditional” Gumbo, but it packed full of flavors with that little zing that we both love. I added shrimp and jalapeno, as well as some Franks Red Hot to boost the flavors. I already had andouille sausage and chicken thighs in the freezer so it was on!!

When Kevin came home from work the first thing he said when he walked through the door was “What smells so good?” YES….chalk one up for me!! Wow do I sound like a little kid or what? Oh well, I don’t care, I like winning hehehe!

Sorry for the awful pictures, this was taken right when we first moved and there were boxes everywhere and no place but the dimly lit kitchen to take the pic. 
Gumbo with Chicken Sausage, and Shrimp
adapted from a recipe in Saveur Magazine
½ cup canola oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned

2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. andouille sausage, cut into ½” pieces
4 slices bacon, cut into ½” pieces
1 cup flour
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp. cayenne
1 28-ounce whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained and crushed by hand
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
10 oz. bag of frozen sliced okra
4 cups chicken stock + more stock if needed to thin soup (can use water)
Several dashes of hot sauce to taste (I used Franks Red Hot)
Cooked white rice, for serving



Heat ¼ cup oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, season chicken with salt and pepper, and add chicken to pot; cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add sausage and bacon, and cook, stirring, until their fat renders and bacon is browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate with chicken. 


Add remaining oil, and reduce heat to medium-low, stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until this mixture is reddish caramel, about 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, and pepper, jalapeno, and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add thyme, cayenne, tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaf, and cook for 3 minutes. Return chicken, sausage, and bacon to pot along with okra and stock, and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, okra is tender, and gumbo is thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove and shred meat, and stir meat back into gumbo. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce, and add shrimp. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the shrimp is pink through. Serve with white rice on the side. 

Serves 4 to 6

ENJOY!!!

Leftover Turkey Soup for What to do with #Thanksgiving #Leftovers #SundaySupper

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I love the holidays. All of the food, family, and fun. One of the things I especially love though is leftovers! I like to take the next few days and use them in tons of different ways. Leftover turkey sandwiches, Turkey Croquets, Turkey Casseroles, etc. But one of the families all time favorites is for me to make my turkey soup.

I love curling up with a big bowl of this soup the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone is still pretty full and I am tired from all of the cooking, so it usually ends up a family movie night, and more often than not the movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We all love that movie and it just kicks off Christmas for us. I give everyone a day off on Friday but I will have them out slaving away on Saturday putting up Christmas decorations LOL I mean I did feed them right? 

I do go a little overboard on the decorations sometimes, I will admit. When the kids were young we actually would have people bring their kids to see our house. The last few years we have toned it down, but since we moved into the new place Kevin has informed me that we are going to “light the whole place up”. Alrighty then, this could get interesting!!

This year I am also very happy to be able to share my recipe with the #SundaySupper crew.  If you haven’t heard about #SundaySupper yet let me explain. It is the baby of a wonderful woman and mentor Isabel from Family Foodie. It has been her mission to bring the family back around the supper table together. I am so proud and honored to participate in this with her and the many other fabulous bloggers who’s posts for this weeks theme of What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers are linked at the bottom of this page.




Leftover Turkey Soup

Broth:
1 leftover turkey carcass, picked clean of meat
4 cups chicken stock
6 cups water
1 carrot, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, halved
bay leaf

Soup:
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 carrots, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
1 (16-ounce) package of noodles (Recommended Grandma’s Fresh Frozen Homemade Style wide egg noodles)
2 cups cubed turkey meat
1 to 2 cups leftover gravy if available
Salt and pepper
Fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

To make the  broth: 
Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Add water if the level drops below the carcass. Remove turkey carcass from pot and discard.  Strain both with a colander into another stock pot.  Discard remains in colander.  

Make the Soup: 
In stock pot the broth cooked in, melt butter.  Add minced onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. If using, add gravy and mix well until gravy is heated through
Add onion mixture and 4 to 6 cups of stock to stock pot and bring to a boil.  Thaw noodles according to package directions.  Add pasta and boil for time required on package. Add turkey and simmer for 30 minutes. Check seasoning and add salt and or pepper if needed.  Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a little fresh parsley if desired.
If any soup is left over, it will thicken up after refrigeration.  Just add a little water (or leftover broth) when reheating to thin it back down.

ENJOY!!


Breakfast & Brunch

Main Course

Soups, Salads, Sides & Starters

Sweets & Desserts

Wine Pairings for the Recipes Featured

Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper today,  November 18, 2012.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board to share them with all of our followers, too.
Thanks for visiting this week!

Sausage and White Bean Soup

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Yesterday was a cold, drizzly, windy day here in Western Washington. I know you are thinking “cold, drizzly, and windy in Washington? NO WAY!” But yes dear friends, it was miserable. On top of mother nature bringing me down, I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I wanted to curl up under the covers in my jammies, I wanted to watch cheesy 80’s movies,I wanted my Mommy! But my jammies were in the laundry, and there were no 80’s movies on TV so I knew I would have to settle with something warm and yummy in my tummy. I took up the challenge and I ransacked my pantry. I was very happy with what I found.

Ahhh soup, glorious soup. As you all know I am a lover of all things “soupish”. Stews, Chowders, even Chili’s make me such a happy camper during the cold dreary months here in the Pacific Northwest. Which by the way last pretty much from October to July so I have tons of soup days!
I know I have mentioned that Kevin does not share this love of mine. In fact it is quite the opposite. He looks at soup as maybe and appetizer? He is looking for the real meal that goes with it. Many a time he has to walk away disappointed, or with a grilled cheese sandwich to supplement his meal experience. 
This evening though was much different though my friends. On this evening he was not only perfectly content with the idea of this soup as the main meal, he went back for seconds and thirds!! I was afraid to get between him and the pot for fear of being stabbed with his spoon!!! I have to agree though, this really is one of my favorite soups. You have the meatiness of the sausage, the creamy white beans, and just enough heat to make your mouth warm and tingly but it doesn’t blow the top off of your head. 
When a soup warms me, fills me up, and makes me want to curl up on the couch and purr with contentment, well I am just a happy happy camper!!
Sausage and White Bean Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
4 stalks of celery with leaves, diced
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
3 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce cans cannellini beans 
1 quart chicken stock
In a deep soup pot heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and  brown well, breaking it up into little bits. Remove sausage from pot and reserve.

To the pot add the remaining olive oil, onions, garlic, chili peppers, celery, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the white wine, scrapping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits there might be. Return the sausage to the pot. Add the crushed tomatoes, cannellini beans, and chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, once boiling reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let it cook for 30 mins stirring occasionally.

ENJOY!!!


Chicken Posole

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I had been craving and I mean craving this soup for at least a month. But every time we went to the restaurant that has it on the menu we were there for dinner and I would always get side tracked with the Chicken Tostada, or Chili Rellenos. I know, I have the attention span of a flea at times, and next day I would be sad that I hadn’t indulged in my nagging craving. But it just seemed that I was craving it at lunch time as I looked out my windows at the cold drizzly Washington days. 
Finally I decided that I was being crazy, which is not a new thing, and I got my rear to the store so I could buy the ingredients to make it myself. I of course got the “Are you seriously making more soup for dinner?” look, but I ignored him, like I usually do when it comes to meal discussions, and got on with the business of purchasing what I needed.
Posole has hominy in it and from what I have heard from people, hominy is something you either love or hate. I happen to love it. I mean it is like hyperthyroid corn really. Who doesn’t love corn? Oh scratch that, Kevin’s son hates corn. Picky men in that family I am telling ya!!

I again went with the rotisserie chicken with this meal. They have been running them on sale and well, when you price it out, it seems like a really good deal to me. Plus when they are on sale I will bring them home, shred them and place them in cup portions and freeze them. Then when I need shredded chicken….TADA!!!  
I have to say that moving in to the new house with just Kevin and I has been a challenge at times. I don’t mean living with Kevin is challenging, well……..oh wait, wrong topic 😉 we were talking about cooking, yes that’s it. Anyway, I went from cooking for 4 to 6 people to cooking for 2. Tough adjustment but I think I have done pretty good. I made marinara sauce and used it for my Caprese Meatball Subs, Baked Spaghetti,  and my Pizza Balls. I made a batch of pesto and used half of it for my Caprese Meatball Subs and Pesto and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts. I loved the fact that I could freeze both of the sauces and use them later. Pesto is great to make ahead of time and freeze in 1/4 cup containers or even use an ice cube tray so you can just pop out how ever much you need. So no waste YAY!
Back to this soup. I have had Posole with red and green broth. I love them both but chose to go with the tomato based one this time as that seemed to be what my taste buds were screaming for. You can always up the heat by adding more peppers. I kept it pretty mellow for this one because I wanted to make sure I had the heat level correct for the people that like things with some zip but not break out into a sweat hot!
I would definitely put this soup into the comfort food column. I have also heard it is a great hangover cure. That I don’t know. But if you are looking for something to fill you up, warm you up, and make your tummy happy I would go with this soup for sure!!

Chicken Posole
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced (can add more if you like a spicier soup)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • quart chicken stock
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • dried Ancho chili
  • 2  cups  shredded rotisserie chicken meat
  • 15-ounce can hominy, rinsed
  • lime, cut into wedges

Boil water in a small sauce pan. Remove from heat and add the dried chili to soften. Once it has softened and cooled slice the chili thinly and reserve.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, stirring occasionally until soft and beginning to carmelize, about 10 minutes. Add jalapeno and cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in stock, tomatoes, and chili. Bring to a boil, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the hominy and chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, making sure the chicken it hot. 

Ladle into bowls and serve with lime wedge.

ENJOY!!!

Chicken with Herbed Dumplings for Soul Warming #SundaySupper

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I love the fact that this is one of the recipes I make that when my kids hear what I am making I hear a resounding YAY!!! They refer to it as my “Famous” Chicken and Dumplings. Gotta say that makes me feel good. I have been chomping at the bit for Fall weather to arrive just to make this meal! So you know when I found out this weeks Sunday Supper theme was “Soul Warming Dishes” I jumped ALL over it!! This truly is a soul warming meal. It is the perfect comfort food to me. There is never a time (OK maybe if it is 80’s degrees outside) that this doesn’t sound good to me, and I know the family feels the same.

This is one of the fist recipes that I came up with and have the recipe in my head. It has become more “a little bit of this and ……. oh ya, some more of that……ok lets add this too vs a strict recipe. So you can imagine when I got down to the business of cooking I though “Hhhmmmm I had better pay attention to what I do so I can actually “write” a recipe. I was glad I caught myself from the beginning so I didn’t have to back track and guess. I am sure you all wouldn’t appreciate a recipe that was a “guess” more than an actual recipe. Nobody wants to cook an experiment when they are hoping for a good meal!

If you are trying to eat healthier you can leave the dumplings off but they are OH so good, it would be hard for me to do that. I have made them from scratch but have used a little help from my friend Bisquick at times too, so if you want to make the dumpling and still be a bit “healthier” they have reduced fat Bisquick now and that can be an option as well.

Either way I am sure you will love this one!!

Chicken and Herbed Dumplings

For the soup
1 rotiserie chicken, shredded with skin and bones removed
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalk celery (with leaves on), diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine 
5 cups chicken stock
For the dumplings
2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick mix
2/3 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and poultry seasoning to the pot and stir well. Cover the pot and continue to cook the  veggies over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and add the flour, stir to combine well and cook for about 1 minutes to cook away the raw flour taste. Add the white wine, and stock (If you do not use wine add 6 cups of chicken stock). Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer soup for 30 minutes, until sauce has thickened and the vegetables are soft. Adjust seasoning if needed and add the shredded chicken.
In a medium bowl mix Bisquick, milk, and parsley. Stir until combined and drop by spoonfuls into soup. Cook the dumplings uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and turn off heat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Soup will be HOT!
ENJOY!
We have over 50 contributors this week, bringing you their best warm you up dishes.  We have everything from stews, soups, main entrees and even some hot drinks and desserts. 
Just look at the list below that is coming to the #SundaySupper table this week!
Main Entrees: 
Chili/Stews:
Soups:
Desserts/Beverages:
Join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat. 
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your Sunday Supper Soul Warming Recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.

Also share at Under the Big Oak Tree’s Soups On Party

Ham and Bean Soup

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Again, as I wander through old picture files, I find a picture for a recipe that I never posted. It is like a game now for me, hide and go seek with pictures! I can’t believe I didn’t post this soup before. It is one of my favorite soups. This just screams cool fall evening, or winter night curled up by the fire. It really is a soup that puts my tummy in a happy place. Maybe it is because it is one of the first things I ever learned to cook from scratch, I don’t know. I know I used to love having the soup simmering for a few hours, it made me feel like a real cook. I do know I love it and so does my family!!
I use dried beans for this #1 because that is the way my Ex’s Mom showed me how to make soup, and #2 because I think it just gives the soup much more time to develop flavors. But you can easily use canned beans if you want to speed up the meal. You could also do this in a slow cooker. Just add the soaked beans with the other ingredients and set it on low if you need it to cook all days while you are at work.

I am so glad that it is soup weather again!! The stews, the chowders…mmmmm so many possibilities. That is the good thing about living in the Pacific Northwest. I have plenty of soup weather here! Although I am having a tough time teaching Kevin that it is OK to have soup for dinner. 
Kevin – What’s for dinner?
Me – (whatever kind it is) soup.
Kevin – What else?
Me – That’s it.
Kevin – You’re joking right?
Me – (looking in pot) Nope, I am pretty sure I am making soup.
Kevin – (looking in pot) Where’s the meat?
Me – In the fridge.
Kevin – (blank stare)
Me – You can have a ham sandwich or something to go with the soup.
Kevin – (shaking head and walking away mumbling) How can you have a meal without meat?
My poor carnivore, I feel bad for him…..not really…..well maybe just a little. 
Ham and Bean Soup
8 cups of *chicken stock, plus a bit extra to thin soup if needed (can sub water)
1 pound great northern beans (soaked overnight and drained)
1 large ham steak, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring chicken stock and beans to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at least 1 hour, to overnight (I prefer overnight if possible).
Stir in ham, onion, bay leaf, carrot, celery, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, (skimming foam from top as needed), about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are tender. If soup is too thick, add a more chicken stock. If you like your soup “creamy” use a potato masher to mash up a few f the beans.

Serve with fresh baked corn bread.

ENJOY!!
* Link is for a tutorial on how to make homemade chicken stock if you prefer homemade.

Food Star Friday – Alton Brown’s Vichyssoise

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Happy Food Star Friday everyone! I am so excited about today’s post. Well, I am always excited about Food Star Friday, but today I tackled a Food Star that I not only adore, but admire for all of the knowledge he has about everything food. Jessi (Miss Picky Pants) and I used to watch every, and I mean every episode of Good Eats. We even taped them for a while (that tells you how long ago it was, we had a VHS still). They were not only educational, but so entertaining. He is somewhat of an odd bird and, having grown up in theater, I feel like I could fit right in with him. Birds of a feather and all of that you know.
I was watching an Episode of Good Eats the other day and he was highlighting leeks. I love leeks and am always trying to use them in as many dishes as I can. I love it when the nice fresh ones come into the store. Like I have said in the past, my produce guy must think I am nuts because I do happy dances all over the place when new produce comes in. I know he thinks I need to get a life, or serious medication, not sure which.

So anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Good Eats. I was watching the episode but we were on our way out of the door so I was very upset that I missed the whole show. Enter the wonder of youtube.com. After a bit of a search I found the episode I was looking for. It was in two parts, but it had the info I was looking for. How to make vichyssoise. Just that word used to strike fear in my little foodie heart if I thought about trying to make it. It sounds so ominous doesn’t it? OK, maybe it is just me, but I would just think there was no way I could make it, it must be difficult just listen to the name of it!
Now that I have been cooking for a while I guess I have gotten braver. I actually think it has a lot to do with the fact that I used to be afraid to try something and then mess it up. Now that I have had a few epic fails under my belt (lets just say I have an issue with baking bread *sigh*) I am more courageous about flexing my culinary muscles and jumping it to just about anything and I am so glad I did. 
As I was making this Kevin kept asking me “What is that?” a little bit later “What is the name of that?” and then later again “What are you making?”. I think he was partially throw by the name but mostly by the fact that I said we were having cold soup. When I told him that his nose wrinkled up like I was telling him to drink expired milk or something. I just told him to stop giving me the stink face and went on with making the soup. 
I will admit, this does take quite a bit of time. With prep and cooking you are probably looking at about an hour and a half or more, but it is well worth it, trust me!! I can’t wait to have a dinner party and watch my non-foodie friends make that face when they here what I am making for a starter. Then watch their faces as they taste it!  
I can’t stress enough how good this was. It was gone so fast I am surprised I was able to take a picture. Everyone was hovering over me like a bunch of vultures!!
Here is the 2nd part of the Good Eats episode on leeks. 

Vichyssoise
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 leeks (about 1 1/2 inch in diameter)
Kosher Salt
14 ounces Yukon potatoes (3 or 4)
1 quart vegetable stock (I had to use chicken because I forgot the vegetable stock DUH me!!)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon white pepper

Cut the root end and dark green leaves off of the leeks. Cut each one in half length wise and place in a large bowl of cold water, swish and shake them to get the dirt out of them. Take them out of the water and dry them a bit. Cut each half into 3 strips length wise and then chop them across the entire length of the strip.

In a large soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat. Once the butter has heated up, add your leeks. Stir them a bit to coat them in the butter and add a healthy pinch of salt, at least a teaspoon. Then turn your heat down to medium-low. You don’t want to hear the leeks sizzling or see them getting brown at all or they are sauteing, you want them to sweat and stay nice and green. Cook for 25 minutes.

Add the potatoes and stock and bring the pot to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover and let it cook for 45 minutes. Remove lid and blend the potatoes and leeks with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can blend it in batches in a food processor or a regular blender. Just be careful, it is very hot.

Once everything is blended well, add your cream to the buttermilk before you pour it into the soup. Add to the soup and blend again. (if you are using a food processor or regular blender you can do this before you return the soup to the pot).

At this point you can ladle into bowls and serve hot or chill it before serving.

ENJOY!!!

This recipe was also shared on;

Amee’s Savory Dish Fit and Fabulous Fridays

Bobbi on a Budget – Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

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I know I haven’t posted a budget meal in a while but it has been a bit difficult for me to make meals for 4 when I never know how many I am going to have here. At any given time it could be 2 or 6 with no warning *sigh* the joys of kids right? This was a meal that I knew could be made and if it wasn’t all eaten I could freeze the rest. Yes, I love soup!!

I actually chose to make this because I was thinking about my Dad. I miss his little comments “What experiment are we having tonight” “I love being a guinea pig” “Can we please have something besides chicken I am going to sprout feathers and cluck” My Dad was a crack up! One of the things I knew I could make any time and he would be happy about it was split pea soup. He LOVED it. I haven’t made it since he passed away last year so this one was for my Daddy.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham
  • 8 to 10 parsley stems
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pound green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds ham, cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Tie the parsley stems and thyme together with kitchen string and place in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the split peas, leek, celery, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; stir to combine. Add 4 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water. Cover and cook on low until the split peas are tender 6 hours. Add the cubed ham and cook on low an additional 2 hours.
Discard the herb bundle. Vigorously stir the soup to break up the peas and make the soup smoother. Thin with water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the thawed peas. Serve with bread, if desired.