Homemade Chicken Soup – from a bag

Had just been on one of the deadly shopping trips to Costco. You know, where you have a list of a few things and then your cart ends up being oddly full. Well one of the things that ended up as part of the cart contents was some (Israeli) pearl couscous. I happened to actually read the recipe on the back of the bag and it sounded really good. I was in the mood for some soup that day so figured I’d give it a try.

Couscous Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup each chopped onion, carrots and celery
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 cloves (or more, of course) garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste, optional
  • 2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • S&P
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

img_0758

Directions:

In large stock port, add onions, carrots and celery with 2 tablespoons broth. Saute 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Stir in ginger, garlic and lemongrass. Add remaining broth, chicken and couscous; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add lemon juice, S&P; garnish with parsley before serving.

img_0759

This soup was great! And so easy. Since you buy a rotisserie chicken, that work is done. The taste from the lemongrass and ginger just give it such a nice twist from traditional chicken soup and I love pearl couscous. Great recipe to have on hand for winter. I also had lots of leftover so froze them. Oh, also added more chicken broth and some water when I had leftovers the next day (before freezing the rest). The couscous soaked up some of the broth, but to me that just meant more soup!

Lemony Lentil (and others) Soup

Cold, ugly weather. Football, football, hockey. One must have soup to feed! I have a recipe a friend gave me years ago that sounded too perfect for this type of occasion — Lemony Lentil Soup w/ Greens from Ellie Krieger. I added some stuff to it, too. I just remember this soup made a GINORMOUS amount — good word right? I was going to make half, wasn’t paying attention on one ingredient, so had to make the whole thing. And then played around because I knew I was missing some pieces of the puzzle but had good makeups.

img_8050

Ingredients

2 tsp canola oil (***used olive oil)
1 sm onion, chopped
1 lg carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed (***if you’re vegetarian, sub veggie broth)
16 oz green lentils (*** for this I also used Quinoa and the Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend, which has Israeli Style Couscous, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo Beans, Red Quinoa.If you haven’t had it, try it — so good)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
6 cups chopped kale leaves (about 6 oz) (***for this I also added frozen Brussels sprouts)
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Directions

Heat the oil in a 6-qt soup pot over med-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened and translucent, 3 to 5 min. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are softened, about 5 min. Add 12 cups of the broth, the lentils, basil, thyme, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the kale, and cook until the lentils are tender, 30-35 min, adding more broth as necessary. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, and serve.

img_8052

My pot was filled to the brim. This stuff is really good and just makes so much. I have so much leftover. It easily makes 10-12 servings. I am glad I have a good amount of food containers to put it in.

Soup of the Day

Real Simple always has some good recipes to check out.  The most recent one I put to the test was their Squash, Mushroom, and Kale Soup With Dill.  All ingredients sound pretty darn good!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as button and shiitake), stemmed and halved (or quartered if large) (grabbed some good ones from Trader Joe’s)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks (about 12 ounces)
1/3 cup orzo (could even use quinoa, etc if gluten intolerant)
4 cups loosely packed baby kale leaves (about 2½ ounces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnishing (just used dry stuff)

IMG_5031[1]
Directions

-Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ½ 
teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. 
Add the mushrooms and lower heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and have released their juices, 6 to 8 
minutes. Stir in the broth, squash, and orzo and bring to a boil. Reduce heat 
to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender and the orzo is cooked, about 15 minutes.
-Stir in the kale until just wilted. 
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the dill. Serve topped with more dill.

IMG_5034[1]

When I sampled this mid-way through I was a bit disappointed.  But then, when you add the dill…totally amazing flavor punch!  Very happy with the end result and nice one to add to the list.

Saffron Fish Stew

Even before this crazy snow started falling (so last week), I was searching for soup.  It was actually while needing to sit on the couch for several hours watching football.  So a recipe I came across to check out was Bon Appetit/Epicurious’s Saffron Fish Stew with White Beans.  I love getting something with that sharp color of saffron (and you can find it for a great price at Trader Joe’s).  When I came across this recipe it has so many of my favorite herbs.  Anything with seafood is wonderful!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pre-chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground fennel (love it!)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (heaven)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 thyme sprig
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh orange rind
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups clam juice
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound flounder fillet, cut into (2-inch) pieces (for this I just threw in a bunch of stuff from my freezer — some white fish, scallops, langoustine tails.  I also had a bag of mixed stuff from TJ’s that I’ll use next time)
1 (14-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
Fresh thyme leaves

IMG_4788[1]

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, coriander, garlic, and thyme sprig; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in rind and saffron; add water, clam juice, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in salt, fish, and beans; cook 5 minutes. Top with thyme leaves.

IMG_4791[1]

This was so quick to make!  Served it with some rosemary bread (can’t take credit for making that).  Delicious.

Green Vegetable Soup

Cold weather, new soup.  Went for one I saw in Cooking Light — Green Vegetable Soup.

 Ingredients

3/4 cup uncooked orzo
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2) (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (didn’t use this because I didn’t feel like getting a whole head of celery)
1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup water
3 thyme sprigs (went for dry)
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/4 pound) (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups baby spinach leaves, divided (used frozen ones from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

IMG_4681[1]

Preparation

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

2. While pasta cooks, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add leeks, celery, 2 teaspoons garlic, and salt; sauté 5 minutes. Add stock, 1 cup water, and thyme. Cover; bring to a boil. Add peas and beans, and simmer, uncovered, 4 minutes. Discard thyme. Stir in pasta and 1 cup spinach.

3. Place 1 cup spinach, basil, cheese, rind, juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, and 2 teaspoons oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with pesto. (I didn’t make this part).

IMG_4683[1]

This stuff was ok.  I think there was way too much orzo in there.  Nothing to write home about.  It was missing a lot of flavor, thought that could be because I didn’t make the pesto.  I’m not keeping the recipe.

 

 

 

Cauliflower Meets Immersion Blender

Another new magazine…  This time it’s a recent issue of Food & Wine and a recipe that caught my attention was Cauliflower Soup with Goat Cheese.  I read through it and it does call for dairy but it can so easily be eliminated.  It’s an accent (and really just unnecessary extra calories). The recipe is another great vegetarian (I used veggie stock because it’s what I had on hard), lactose free (you can nix the cheese, too, if needed, though goat cheese is good for most lactards) and gluten free one.

Ingredients

One 2 1/2-pound head of cauliflower, cored (went for a bag of frozen stuff, did 2-12oz bags)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth (used veggie stock — great option for the vegetarian version)
3 thyme sprigs tied in a bundle, plus 1 teaspoon chopped leaves (used dried)
8 brussels sprouts (6 ounces), trimmed and separated into leaves (back to the freezer…so much easier)
4 ounces cold fresh goat cheese, crumbled (I actually used feta because I needed it for the next night, tasted great)
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1/4 cup heavy cream (nixed this so I could eat it)

IMG_4311[1]

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°. On a work surface, cut one-fourth of the cauliflower into 1/2-inch florets. Coarsely chop the remaining cauliflower.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the leek, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the potato and the chopped cauliflower, then add the wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half, 4 minutes. Add the stock and the thyme bundle and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the thyme bundle (since I used dried stuff, it stayed in there).
Meanwhile, at either end of a large rimmed baking sheet, separately toss the cauliflower florets and brussels sprout leaves each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring each halfway through, until lightly browned and tender. In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese with the chives and chopped thyme.
In a blender (I used the much handier immersion blender), puree the soup in 2 batches until very smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the cream (did do this). Rewarm over moderate heat, adding water if the soup seems too thick; season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with the roasted brussels sprout leaves and cauliflower florets. Sprinkle the herbed goat cheese on top and serve hot.

IMG_4314[1]

 

Delicious soup!  The flavors all came together and worked so well.  Totally worth trying.

Make Ahead

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Oh My Cod

Another new recipe, of course.  What would I do if cooking magazines went out of publication?  I love posole and normally it’s made with chicken.  But in a recent edition of Bon Appetit (can you see what I get often?) there was a recipe for Green Posole with Cod and Cilantro (Duh on the last ingredient!!! How can you live without that stuff?).

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced, divided (skipped these, see below)
8 medium tomatillos (about 1¼ pounds), husks removed, rinsed (Lazy on these because I use green salsa.  I usually just get the ‘normal’ stuff from Trader Joe’s.  Well they just came out with some super spicy green stuff — Hatch Valley.  So I used one jar of the normal and one jar of the spicy, which replaced the chiles, and oh I am glad I only used one jar!)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving
1 pound cod fillet (frozen chunked from Trader Joe’s)
1 15-ounce can white hominy, rinsed (used a bigger can, because that’s what I had — 25 oz)
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
3 small radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced (skipped them because it was garnish)
Lime wedges (for serving) (ditto as above)

IMG_4226[1]

Preparation:

-Heat oil in a large pot over medium. Cook shallots, garlic, and half of chiles (this is the part I skipped, chile-wise because of the salsa), stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 6–8 minutes.
-Meanwhile, purée tomatillos in a blender until smooth. 
(didn’t have to do this because of the ease of green salsa)

-Add half of tomatillo purée to pot and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup cilantro to remaining purée in blender and blend until smooth; set aside. 
(I just chopped the cilantro very well and added it a step down).

-Add cod, hominy, clam juice, and 1 cup water to pot. Bring to a simmer and gently cook over medium-low until cod is opaque throughout and beginning to flake, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in reserved raw tomatillo-cilantro purée, breaking cod into large chunks; season with salt and pepper. 
 (If you used the cubed stuff from Trader Joe’s or elsewhere, you don’t have the break down the cod, already done — simplicity in the kitchen!).

-Divide stew among bowls and top with radishes, cilantro, and remaining chile. Serve with lime wedges.

IMG_4232[1]This stuff was good!  Pretty thick/heavy, too.  A bit spicy for me, but my friends inhaled it and loved the spice.  Love getting variations on posole.  Definitely recommend giving this a try.

Leftovers = Soup

I had to buy celery for some reason, which I honestly can’t remember.  So I had a bunch left.  I did not want to have it go to waste.  I also did not need to consume more hummus than celery if I used it for dipping into that, because I’m really good at eating more hummus than the size of the object that I’m dipping into the said chickpea stuff.

So, I googled celery soup. I forgot many of them have dairy, so after that I remembered that using the term ‘vegan’ in searches is great for lactards (love using that term myself since I am the lactose intolerant one).  Came up with several and finally found one to use via another blog.  Pretty basic recipe.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped roughly
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme (optional)
1 head of celery, cleaned & chopped roughly
1 white potato or 1 cup cauliflower, chopped — here I used a bag of mixed frozen veggies because they were out of frozen cauliflower
1 litre of vegetable stock — I used chicken broth because it’s what I had on hand, and I just searched vegan for no dairy
pepper

IMG_3784Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a non stick pot and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup using a blender. Hand held works fine.  —  used the immersion blender, that also eliminates step 4
  4. Return to the pan, check seasoning and serve.

IMG_3786

I tasted it when it was done and it was fine.  I only made it the other day so the celery didn’t go to waste.  It had to cool for a while before I could put it in containers to freeze.  I finally got around to doing it the next day after it had been in the fridge for 24+ hours.  WOW!  Great celery flavor.  Can’t wait to eat it when fall is truly here.

Cauliflower and Cashew Soup

Am still on a roll to make new recipes, must expand versus stay in a rut.  Saw another one that caught my eye in the most recent issue of Bon Appetit (March 2015) — Cauliflower-Cashew Soup with Crispy Buckwheat.  In addition to it sounding good, I had to figure out what the heck buckwheat groats areSo, of course this was another reason to go to the great bulk section of Whole Foods.  It is almost problematic that I live 1/2 mile from one of the aforementioned grocery stores.  I miss living the close to a Trader Joe’s except when I need such things are buckwheat groats.

So, the fun begins.

½ cup olive oil, divided
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves — I went easy and used dry stuff
Kosher salt
½ cup dry white wine
1 large head of cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets, stem chopped, divided
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. cashews — go Trader Joe’s!
6 cups (or more) vegetable stock, preferably homemade — TJ’s is the best place for (just) the broth!
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons buckwheat groats — go Whole Foods bulk! In the picture they are those things to the right of the cashews
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon paprika

IMG_2545[1]Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Add shallots, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent, 6–8 minutes.  *Quick note — thyme is green.

Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Set ¾ cup cauliflower aside; add the rest to pot along with cayenne and ¾ cup cashews; season with salt.

Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until cauliflower is fork-tender and vegetables have released all their water, 20–25 minutes (check occasionally to make sure vegetables are not browning; reduce heat if they are).

Add stock and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until cauliflower is falling apart, 20–25 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

*In addition to thyme being green, as I was pouring the veggie broth into the pot (they do use stock), I was thinking about the picture they have in the magazine (follow the link to the recipe) and how it’s bright white.  I have brown-ish broth.  How is this going to brighten up?

Meanwhile, finely chop reserved ¾ cup cauliflower and remaining 2 Tbsp. cashews. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a small skillet over medium. Add cauliflower, cashews, and buckwheat; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until cauliflower and cashews are golden brown and buckwheat is browned and crisp, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and paprika. Let cool slightly.

Working in batches if needed, purée soup in a blender until very smooth — can we say immersion blender??? Return to pot and reheat over medium-low, stirring and adding more stock to thin if needed (soup should be the consistency of heavy cream). Taste and season soup again if needed.

Serve soup topped with toasted cauliflower-buckwheat mixture.

(Do Ahead: Soup can be made 2 days ahead (or 1 month if frozen). Let cool; transfer to airtight containers and chill.)

End result, very tasty, orange-ish (not white) soup — totally check out their link for comparison.  Was nice and thick, just like they called for.  Very unique flavor and definitely worth making!

IMG_2589[1]

Posole

It’s winter, which means it’s soup time.  Was debating what to make the other night and came across a recipe I love that I hadn’t put together for awhile — Posole (from Cooking Light).  The true meaning of the word/name is hominy, so that is obviously a must in the ingredients.  There are many ways to make it/variations on the recipe.  The key is that it has to be made during the the cold weather season.

Ingredients

1 pound tomatillos (I normally use green salsa but the store was out this time so actually had to use what the recipe called for)
6 cups Brown Chicken Stock (not sure what brown vs. ‘normal’ is, and I just use broth)
2 cups chopped onion
3 pounds chicken breast halves, skinned
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and quartered (I usually just use Tabasco and/or chili powder)
1 (30-ounce) can white hominy, drained
1 teaspoon salt

—>below are all garnishes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
8 lime wedges

Preparation

Remove/discard husks and stems from the tomatillos. Cook whole tomatillos in boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender; drain.

IMG_1911[1]Place tomatillos in a blender; process until smooth; set aside.

IMG_1913[1]Place stock and the next five (5) ingredients (stock through hominy) in a large stockpot; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from bones (I have always used boneless — and skinless); shred. Stir in pureed tomatillos and salt; cook for five(5) minutes or until heated.

Stir in chicken, and serve with cilantro, sour cream, and lime wedges, if desired.

IMG_1917[1]Delicious!  I served it with some guacamole, salsa and chips.  I also have plenty to eat for several days or freeze to keep on hand.