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Archive for the ‘Soups/Stews’ Category

Pork Bone Soup

In Pork, Soups/Stews, Vegetables on June 16, 2010 at 11:37 am

...aka "What To Do With Leftover Roast"

SO, you made the pork roast, right? And you saved the bone, right? You better have saved the bone. There is no waste in Kitchenella’s kitchen! So, you have this big ol’ pork bone and a container full of leftover meat hanging out in the freezer. Well kids, this is what you do with it. It’s perfect for a busy day because we rely on our old soup buddy the slow-cooker. Actually, I was at home the whole day this was cooking, and it was torturous. The aroma permeated the house. Try working out with the smell of pork coming from the A/C vents.

Pork Bone Soup

In a slow cooker, combine the bone and whatever meat you have left. Add about a cup of chopped onion, a couple of chopped carrots, and a rib or two of chopped celery. If you have some rosemary, throw that in.In fact, chop up a bit of whatever vegetables you have lying around and throw it in. The more the merrier.

Pour in a cup of white wine, a cup or so of vegetable stock, and water to cover. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of cinnamon, oregano, and whatever else you think might taste good. Soup is free-form. It’s like Australia – there are no rules.

Cover and cook on high for about 8 hours, or until you’re ready to eat. If you want noodles, cook them separately and mix them in after. Then they won’t come out all mushy.

Taste the soup before you serve it – it may need more seasoning, it may not. Serve it with fresh bread, which tastes really good dipped in.

Now you’ll have leftover soup in the freezer.

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Creamy Potato Soup

In Soups/Stews, Vegetables on March 17, 2010 at 5:55 pm

The ultimate rainy night meal.

Oh, potatoes, how I love thee! Baked, broiled, fried, roasted, mashed. scalloped… is there anything that can mar the cozy, velvety goodness of your fluffy innards? No. In fact, many otherwise mediocre foods improve with potato. I know where the Irish are coming from. I love potatoes so much, I’ll even eat a soup made exclusively from them! Well, not exclusively, but almost.

Is there any better dinner for a chilly, rainy night than potato soup? No, there isn’t. The smooth thickness wraps you in a cozy glow, and when you add cheese and bacon, well, god. You’d have to have been born without taste buds to resist.

This is my recipe for the ultimate potato soup. Some people say it can’t possibly be ultimate if there’s no sour cream, but I say they’re wrong. Sour cream may look pretty on the top, and it may taste good for the first couple of bites, but eventually it dilutes and cools the soup. Save it for the baked. Be a purist, and this classic soup a go.

Potato Soup

Ingredients:

3 pounds red potatoes, peeled and diced

1 cup chopped sweet onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

40 ounces chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt, pepper to taste

4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 ounces colby jack cheese, shredded

Directions:

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, and stir to coat. Cook another 3 minutes or so, stirring constantly. The goal here is just to singe parts of the potatoes to add a nice, smoky element to the soup.

Add the chicken stock, and boil until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher. Don’t worry, I know it’s still chunky. That’s why we whip out our immersion blender and give it a good whirl. The masher part is just to break up the big chunks so they don’t clog the blender. If you were diligent about your dicing, you can skip right to the blender part.

Blend until smooth and creamy.

Speaking of creamy, now’s the time to stir in that cream! Add the salt and pepper too, while you’re at it.

And you’re done! Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with bacon crumbles and generous handfuls of cheese.

And try not to blush when everyone kisses you after dinner!

Leek and Artichoke Soup

In Soups/Stews, Vegetables on March 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm

See? Soup can be pretty!

Yes, dears, another soup. That’s a good thing, really – soup is good for you! And it’s great for when you’re really not in the mood to cook – chop chop, stir, blend, you’re done. And oh, the possibilities! Soup is a great opportunity to eat foods you don’t normally eat. For instance, artichokes and leeks. Other than artichoke dip, I really don’t eat them enough. And when I bought the ingredients for this soup, I realized that I have never, ever personally bought a leek. Odd, that.

So, I came across this recipe on C’est La Vegan (cute, huh?), and I decided to include it in this week’s menu. Not only was it easy as pie (mmm…pie…), but it was delicious, too! And filling. I couldn’t even finish my whole bowl – but never fear, Mr. Gorilla was more than happy to make sure none went to waste. Penny even licked the bowls clean. So, you could say that this simple vegetarian soup satisfied two gorillas and a Beagle.

A note about some stuff: I goofed and bought marinated artichokes instead of plain water-packed. The result? It was actually okay, as long as you like the taste of marinated artichokes. A little bit of a vinegar-y note, but I found it quite tasty. So, if you goof the same way, know that everything will be okay.

I also added a dollop of heavy cream at the end – just a dollop! I think all blended soups benefit from a little extra creaminess, but understand that this makes it totally un-vegan. If you care. If you just want a delicious soup with lots of added fat and calories, add as much cream as you like!

Garlicky Leek and Artichoke Soup

(from C’est La Vegan)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium leeks, white parts chopped

9 cloves garlic, peeled

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 9.9 ounce jars water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 fresh thyme sprigs

2 teaspoons lemon juice

6 tablespoons prepared pesto

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add leeks and garlic, and saute 5 minutes, or until leeks are softened and translucent.

Add broth, artichokes, potatoes, thyme and 2 cups water; cover, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low; season with salt and pepper and simmer, partially covered for 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes and garlic are very tender.

Remove thyme sprigs, and strip remaining thyme leaves into soup pot.

Transfer soup to blender or food processor, and blend until smooth (or just use an immersion blender).

Return to pot and stir in lemon juice.

Taste again for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish each with 1 tablespoon pesto.

See how easy that was? I served mine with fresh mozzarella panini, but you can even eat it alone. It really is a nice soup – fresh-tasting, but still all warm and cozy like a soup should be. Have fun!

Bubble and Squeak Soup

In Soups/Stews on March 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm

So hearty, so perfect for a cold night

Who doesn’t love a good soup? Especially when it’s cold and rainy and miserable outside. And I’m not talkin’ consomme, either. A nice, rich, weighty soup really hits the spot, but when you top it with aged cheddar and bacon – well, come on.

I came across this blog called Recession Recipes – great idea, if you ask me. I mean, every time I grocery shop, I need oxygen when it’s time to pay. You can’t argue with savings, am I right? Anyway, there was this recipe for Bubble and Squeak Soup – what? I know. I had never heard of it either, but the name was catchy, so I investigated further. Turns out it’s a pretty easy soup to make, and it has BACON! So yeah, I’m sold. Not to mention that Mr. Gorilla is a huge Anglophile, and this recipe is supposedly English.

The recipe as written is pretty straightforward – no weird ingredients or anything, but ended up altering it anyway because I made a new friend. Well, not really a new friend, but a new purchase. See, have you ever seen these things at the grocery store (see photo)?

Yeah, these things.

Sure you have. Leasa Soup Mix. I tend to look right past them, because I try not to buy pre-packaged produce. But the recipe called for 1/2 pound of turnips, and my stupid grocery store didn’t have turnips in any form whatsoever. Because they’re stupid. So I took a look, and sure enough, this package contains a turnip! So I bought it. Turns out, it contains lots of other stuff as well! Check it out –

Just look at all this stuff!

Three ENORMOUS carrots, one onion, one turnip, and one parsnip. And a few sprigs of fresh parsley and dill. Pretty handy, no? So, thrilled with my new discovery, I ended up changing the recipe to fit my ingredients. Yes, again. Yes, I do occasionally buy ingredients to suit the recipe instead of the other way around, but I was excited, okay? Jeez.

I also had a lot more than one pound of potatoes that HAD to be used, so, combined with the Soup Pack stuff, I had way too much solid stuff for just the one quart of  stock. I did have a quart of some onion-y chicken stock I had made awhile back, but I just made up the difference with plain old water. To compensate for the diminished flavor, I added WAY more bacon than was necessary. But I love bacon.

You find the original recipe here, but here’s how I did mine.

Bubble and Squeak Soup

(apologetically adapted from Recession Recipes)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 bacon slices, chopped, plus extra whole, cooked slices for garnish, if desired

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 turnip, peeled and chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

1/2 pound brussels sprouts, chopped

1 quart chicken stock

4 ounces aged cheddar cheese, grated

about 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh parsley and dill

salt, pepper

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened.

Add the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, parsnip, turnip, and potatoes, cook for about 10 minutes, stirring and tossing frequently. NOT toss as in across the room – it will be hot. Just make sure everything gets coated with oil and touches the bottom of the pan for a couple of minutes.

Pour in the stock, and add water until the root veggies are covered by about an inch. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until everything is nice and almost tender. Yes, just almost.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add the brussels sprouts, parsley, and dill, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. You can actually leave it as chunky as you’d like – I left a few chunks in there, and it was quite nice.

Top with grated cheese – I did almost like a French Onion Soup effect on mine – and a slice or two of bacon, if you so desire.

Serve and enjoy. Warning – this soup holds heat like a neutron star, so blow on it first! Trust me – it won’t get cold anytime soon!

Chicken Stew! Just For You!

In Chicken, Soups/Stews on January 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Guaranteed to cure a hangover!

So, I had three measly chicken drumsticks in the fridge that I had taken out to thaw for a dinner I never made. I then forgot about them for a day. Next thing you know, I’m in the fridge for something to drink, and what’s sitting on the shelf in front of the water pitcher? The darn chicken. Doh! Well, I had already planned something else for dinner that night, and we were going out the next night, so what should I do with them? Can’t re-freeze them. Not gonna eat ’em. Definitely NOT going to just leave them in the fridge – I don’t know about you, but raw chicken gives me the heebie jeebies if it’s been in the fridge for more than a couple of days. And I refuse to throw away perfectly good food. There are children starving all over.

Then it hit me – stew! Yeah! Throw a bunch of crap into a crockpot, let it do its thing for a few hours, then freeze it until I need an emergency dinner! I am a genius, I know. So that’s what I did.  It’s a good thing, too, because that emergency dinner came last night – out came the stew, so. Down the hatch, so. Double-take! Omigod! That’s good! Really, really good. As in cures-what-ails-ya. Flushes ya out. Gets rid of stuff. Yeah, it’s better than medicine.

Being the generous person I am, I decided to share this one with you, my lovely readers. Both of you. I know, it’s a young blog, traffic will pick up. Until that happens, consider yourselves the privileged holders of the magic stew recipe!

There are so many ways to do this, but this is how I did it the other night:

Chicken Stew

Ingredients:

3 chicken drumsticks

4 ribs celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1/2 large sweet onion, chopped

3 cups kale, rinsed and torn

1/2 cup uncooked pastina (tiny stars)

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

salt, pepper, sage, thyme, rosemary

Directions:

Remember how we layered with the beef stew? We’re going to do something similar here. In your crock-pot, layer the onions, then chicken, then carrots and celery.

Add the broth and water, and season to taste. It won’t hurt if you over-season a little – this is going to be cooking a long time, and it produce additional liquid, so the flavor will dilute a bit. Besides, I like highly seasoned food. Season away!

Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours. Wait! You’re not done! Open it up (this is where I always get the steam burns) and stir it. Add the pastina and kale, and stir a little more. Re-cover, and continue cooking on high for another 3-4 hours, or until chicken is done.

If you serve it as soon as it’s done cooking, it will have a soup-like consistency. If that’s what you like, have at it. If you put it in the fridge for a day or so, or freeze it, it will thicken up considerably, like in the above photo. See, the pasta absorbs water. I personally prefer a thicker stew, but that’s just me. You can thin it out with more broth or even some water if you want.

It’s also wise to check the seasoning right before you serve it. I always like to add more rosemary at the last minute to give it a little bite.

Okay folks – happy slurping!