Category Archives: soup

Homemade Chicken Stock

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This is so easy to make that it actually makes you feel guilty about buying chicken stock from the store. You basically have to force yourself to be lazy enough not to make this, especially when you make roasted chickens as much as we do. It’s basically a collection of what’s left in your fridge, some simmering, then freezing for fresh chicken stock all day, all the time.

HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK (makes about 3 quarts)

  • 1 chicken carcass (from a roasted chicken – I use this after we’ve used the bulk of it for recipes)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • handful parsley
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • Kosher salt & pepper, approx. 1 tsp of each

1. Get a big stockpot, the biggest you have.

2. Throw in the chicken carcass, parsley, carrots, onion, salt & pepper.

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3. Fill to the top with water – for me, this was about 12 cups.

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4. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for about 3 hours over very low heat, stirring every once in a while.

5. Taste, season, then remove all the chicken, veggies & parsley.

6. Store stock in large mason jars in the freezer (I stuck them in the fridge for a couple hours so they didn’t break while going from boiling to freezing) and thaw to use when needed. Enjoy.

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Loaded Baked Potato Soup


IMG_6896This “Arctic Freeze” makes me want to get into pjs, curl up under a blanket and eat a big bowl of soup. You know, pretty much like last year.  I love loaded baked potato anything, and now’s the perfect time of year for this soup. It was comfort food to the extreme, keeps amazingly well, is thick and rich and totally indulgent.  Plus, bacon. Mmmmmm.

LOADED BAKED POTATO SOUP (serves 6)

  • 3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. chunks
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • bay leaves
  • 5 strips bacon, cooked until crispy
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 dashes nutmeg
  • 1.5 tsp. kosher salt
  • chopped chives
  • sour cream for garnish (optional)

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Cheesy Cauliflower-Potato Soup

Oh weird, it’s snowing again. Let’s make some soup to warm things up!  I love cauliflower in just about  every form imaginable, and this soup was no exception. It was the perfect thickness, completely delicious for how little went into it, and any time I get to add cheese to anything is just fine by me. As with most soups, this was even better the next day, and someone liked it so much that they basically stopped breathing in order to spoon this in as fast as possible. So you know it’s good.

CHEESY CAULIFLOWER-POTATO SOUP (makes an enormous pot of soup)
– 1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
– 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
– 5 cups chicken broth (I thought this made the perfect soup consistency, but if you like a thinner soup, add another cup or two)
– 1 vidalia onion, diced
– 2 cups freshly-shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 tbsp. nutmeg
– 1/4 c. heavy cream
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– Kosher salt – about a tablespoon to start, then as needed
– Chives, for topping

1. In a French oven, melt the butter and EVOO over medium heat.

2. Add the diced onion, add a pinch or two of kosher salt, and “sweat” the onion until soft, approx. 10 minutes.


3. When soft, add the cauliflower florets and potato pieces. Mix it all up.  Don’t panic when you see all of this basically filling the pot to the top. Think of all the delicious soup you’re going to have!

4. Add chicken broth. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for approx. 30 minutes. You’ll see that the florets and potato pieces get soft and fork-tender.

5. With an immersion blender, blend the soup to your desired consistency. Taste, then add the cheddar (it was great to find DiBruno Brothers cheese in a store around here, but any cheddar you can find that you like is good, too). Stir it in so that it melts, then taste it. 


6. Add nutmeg, heavy cream and kosher salt to taste.

7. Serve a bowl topped with a little more shredded cheese and chives.  Snuggle up and enjoy.

Brrrrr

My Dad’s “Better than Any Other You’ll Ever Have” French Onion Soup

For years I tried – and failed – to find a french onion soup that rivaled my Dad’s. It’s not just that he makes it and it’s so comforting it makes me feel like home, but it’s just hands-down delicious: perfect balance of onions and broth, flavor and cheese. There is nobody – no restaurant, no chef, no person – who makes this better than he does. It’s been FREEZING with this polar vortex lately – this is a perfect time to try one of the best soups you’ll ever have.

As a side note – I can’t stand soggy bread, so I just dump some shredded swiss in this and it melts on contact, but this soup does look so pretty with that little island of bread and melted cheese!

FRENCH ONION SOUP (serves at least 6)
— By the way. This is not exactly a recipe you’d file under “healthy”.  Enjoy.
– 1 stick butter (yup, I said it)
– 2-3 red onions and 2-3 vidalia onions, sliced into thinner half moons
– 3 cans beef broth
– 2 cans beef consomme
– 3 bay leaves
– 1/4 C. red wine
– 1.5 C. shredded swiss cheese
– rounds of toasted baguettes 

1. In the largest pan you have, melt the butter over medium heat. 


2. Slice the onions into thin half moons, then add to the melted butter. You don’t want to sweat them, you just want them to soften a little. So no salt needed.

3. When onions are softened but still have some bite to them (that’s the master at work, right there!), open up the cans of beef broth and beef consomme and add to the pan.


 4. Add the bay leaves, then the red wine.

5. Bring the whole mix up to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Simmah.

6. Shred the swiss, cut and toast the french baguette rounds in the oven.  Turn the oven to broil.

7. Scoop some of the soup into an oven-proof bowl. If you don’t like the soggy (but pretty) island of bread and cheese, you can just mix the cheese right into the bowl. If you do, though, place a round of bread on top of the soup, then top with shredded cheese. 

8. My Dad swears the key to melting, not burning, the cheese is to leave the oven door open. I’m taking his word for it.


 



9. When cheese is melted, let cool a bit (it’ll be super hot) and enjoy!!!  You’ll never go back to restaurant french onion soup again.


Mom <3
If you get the bay leaf, it’s good luck!

Italian Tortellini Soup

 I used to live on this and tuna melts in college. I’m not 100% sure why, but I think it probably has something to do with the fact that 1. I wasn’t cooking at all back then 2. This took about 5 minutes to make, 3. it was super cheap and 4. I got to use Sprinkle Cheese instead of the good parm (sorry Mom). The Italians call this “tortellini en brodo”, but even though I’m half Sicilian, we’re sticking with Italian Tortellini soup. It’s great no matter what you call it.

ITALIAN TORTELLINI SOUP (single serving)
– 1 15 oz can chicken broth
– 1/2 – 1 cup frozen tortellini
– Sprinkle cheese (somehow this just holds up better in the soup than fresh parm, probably from all the preservatives. The DELICIOUS preservatives, that is! Oh, college.)

1. In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth almost to a boil.


2. Add the frozen tortellini and stir, then cook according to directions – but undercook them a little, since they’re going to continue to cook in the broth even after you take the soup off the heat.

3. When tortellini are ready, they’ll float to the surface. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl, and let cool.

4. Stir in some sprinkle cheese and enjoy!



Black Bean Soup with Lime & Cumin-Infused Sour Cream

There are a ton of recipes for making a black bean soup with dried beans that you soak overnight, turning an hour-long process into at least a 12-hour one.  I love black bean soup, but I really love the fact that you can throw this recipe together using canned black beans, and have a great, flavorful, one-pot meal in almost no time at all.  Red bell peppers, red onions, cilantro, lime & garlic combine with the canned black beans & chicken broth, then are finished by roughly blending it all together. A dollop of lime & cumin-infused sour cream adds the perfect amount of creaminess to this, too.  Don’t be scared by the 4 tablespoons (!!! I know) of cumin in this soup as a flavoring.  Cumin is great for you – tons of health benefits from liver detoxification to metabolism acceleration.  If you’re not a fan of the spice, though, I’d probably cut this back to 2 tablespoons for a less noticeable flavor.

Happy first day of Spring!

BLACK BEAN SOUP WITH LIME & CUMIN-INFUSED SOUR CREAM (makes approx. 10-12 bowls of soup)
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 2 red onions, diced
– 3 cans black beans (I can’t recommend buying Eden Organic products enough, if you can find them.  They’re truly organic, use BPA-free cans, etc.  Totally worth the relatively minimal extra cost.), rinsed and drained
– 4 tbsp. ground cumin
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1/3 C. fresh cilantro, chopped
– juice of 1 lime
– 1.5 – 2 C. chicken broth (depending on how thick or thin you like your soup)
– 1.5 – 2 C. water (same note as above)
– Kosher salt & pepper

LIME & CUMIN-INFUSED SOUR CREAM
– zest of 1/2 a lime
– 1/3 C. sour cream
– juice of 1/2 a lime
– 1 tbsp. cumin

1. Dice your onions & your bell pepper.


2. Over medium high heat in a Le Creuset French Oven, heat 1 tbsp. EVOO.  Add diced bell pepper & onions, and sautee until they start to brown, approx. 10 minutes.


3. Add 4 tbsp cumin & 3 minced garlic cloves, stir until fragrant.


4. Add 3 cans rinsed and drained black beans, stir everything to combine.


5. Add water just to cover – either 1.5 – 2 C, depending on how thick or thin you like your soup.  Then add 1.5 – 2 C. chicken broth, too. Pacific makes a great 4-pack of 1-cup servings of chicken and vegetable broth, and they too are “truly” organic, as well as supporters of regulations for GMO labeling (hurraugh).


6. Bring soup just to a boil, then cover and simmer for approx. 30 minutes. Uncover, then add 1 tbsp. salt, 15 grinds of black pepper, juice of 1 lime (I used our new Rosle Citrus Reamer/Juicer again, which is the greatest thing ever), and the chopped cilantro.  Stir & let simmer for another 10 minutes.

 
 

7. At this point, blend it with an Immersion Hand Blender.  You can taste it before you do, but I wouldn’t recommend it, because it’ll just taste like bean water (“hot ham water” – Lindsey Bluth). I roughly blend this, because I like the end result to be a little chunkier, but blend it to whatever consistency you’d like.  Taste, then adjust seasonings.  Cover again, leave on low heat, and make your lime & cumin-infused sour cream.


8. Easy-peasy: combine sour cream, cumin, lime juice, lime zest.  Taste and adjust.  This will keep well in the refrigerator over the next couple of days to top off your bowls of soup.


9. Ladle a bowl of soup, top with a dollop of sour cream, mix & enjoy.  Overnight, this will get thicker & blend the flavors together – like so many soups, it’s good today, but will be great tomorrow. So will the sour cream.

The Kitchen’s Tomato Soup

The Kitchen, one of my very favorite restaurants in Boulder, is everything that’s right with the world.  The space is warm and welcoming.  Their food is outrageously, ridiculously delicious.  They highlight local & organic farms, farmers, and Colorado ranchers. They’re committed to sustainability, financially generous to their community, and environmentally conscious to the point where the restaurant’s leftover cooking oil is used to fuel the car of one the servers.

And.

They make the world’s greatest tomato soup. Enjoy.

THE KITCHEN’S TOMATO SOUP (serves 8-10, or 2 very lucky people who will eat this for lunch & dinner for 2 days straight.  Ahem.)
– 1 & 1/3 sticks unsalted butter. 
– 1 large vidalia onion, sliced into half-moons
– 3 16-oz. cans whole peeled organic tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
– 1/3 cup heavy cream
– Good quality EVOO or Basil Oil, for finishing
– Kosher salt

1. In a large saucepan (or, better, a Le Creuset dutch oven, which I use for just about everything), melt butter over low heat.  Add the half-moons of onions and stir to coat with the butter.  Add a good pinch of salt to help them “sweat”, not brown, and stir to incorporate that.  Reduce heat to lowest possible setting, cover, and cook for approx. 30 minutes or so, until the onions are translucent. Stir occasionally during the 30 minutes these are cooking.


2. When onions are soft, add the tomatoes & their juices.  Increase heat a little bit – to a simmer – and gently cook these for another 30 minutes.


3. Add cream, stir to combine.  Then, with an Immersion Blender – I’m amazed by how much I use this in cooking – puree the soup until the texture is smooth but still has a little texture to it.  Taste, adjust seasonings, and taste again.

pre-stirred, pre-blended
 4. Pour yourself a bowl, drizzle a little EVOO or basil oil over the top, serve alongside a grilled cheese sandwich, and add The Kitchen to your list of places to eat at the next time you’re in Colorado. 

Oscars tonight!!!

Chicken. Noodle. Soup.

I first wrote this title as “Chicken Noodle Coup”, and almost kept the spelling error. This was one of the first things I ever learned how to “make”, and make is in quotes because it’s so delicious that it’s almost unfair how simple it is to throw together. It was my mom’s go-to recipe whenever my sister and I were sick growing up, and now it’s mine! This is everything you’d expect comfort food to be – healthy, simple, full of flavor, and it warms you so much that you can almost feel it fighting off your cold.  

I like a lot of noodles in mine, and I’ve found that egg noodles are the best, but if you add them directly to the soup as it’s cooking, they’ll continue to soak up the broth when the rest goes in the fridge.  So, either cut back on the amount of noodles you add, or cook them separately and add to the soup as you reheat it.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (makes about 10 bowls)

– 1 lb. chicken breasts or chicken tenders, cubed
– 1 large vidalia onion, sliced into strips
– 3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
– 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 6-8 cups mix of chicken & vegetable broth (48 – 64 ounces, depending on how much broth you like)
– egg noodles – I usually use about half a bag, but adjust this to your preference, too.
– 2 chicken bouillon cubes
– 1 tbsp of fresh-chopped dill (optional)
– Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat in a soup pot or – as always, a trusty Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Slice the carrots and celery, and add them to the pot when the butter is melted, stirring occasionally (don’t let them brown.  A little kosher salt added to the veggies will help them “sweat” instead of brown).


2. When veggies have sweated a little, add the broth and the onions. Sweating the carrots and celery before adding the rest of the ingredients gives them a little head start, since they’re firmer than anything else that will be added to the soup.

3. Raise temperature to high and get the soup to boil, then cover and lower to a simmer.  Simmer soup for approx. 20 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, then add the bouillon cubes. Stir well to break up the cubes and allow the flavors to release.  Add the dill, stir to combine.

4. Raise soup to medium heat again, and add the chopped chicken.  You’re basically poaching the chicken in the soup broth, so it will cook pretty quickly, approx. 6 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer again.

5.  Add the noodles to the broth, stir, and allow to cook.

6. Season to taste, help yourself to a bowl, and feel better.
Soup the next day – you can see how the noodles really soak up the broth!


Roasted Carrot Soup With Thyme and Ginger (aka, “Finally Went to the Farmers Market”)

I finally got out today to go grocery shopping, so we can stop the whole “eating every meal as take-out” thing we’ve been doing. And we’re starting small. This roasted carrot soup is one of the simplest, most surprisingly delicious things I make. The roasted carrots get sweeter, and give the soup this depth of flavor that’s incredible. Since there are only 6 ingredients in this, make sure you get the best quality available – locally grown carrots, a good organic vegetable stock (I use either Pacific or Imagine broths, which are both amazing), etc. This soup tastes so flavorful and rich, you won’t believe so little went into it.

ROASTED CARROT SOUP WITH THYME AND GINGER (recipe source: Food52)
– 8 carrots
– 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
– 6 cups vegetable stock (8 oz. = 1 cup, so 48oz.)
– 1 piece ginger, peeled, approx. 1 inch long
– Couple sprigs of thyme
– 2 garlic cloves, chopped
– Kosher Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
– EVOO

1. Wash carrots, then peel and cut into 1/4 inch rounds. Even though you’re peeling the skins, these still grew in the ground and are dirty. Peeling the skin is going to drag any debris from the carrot skin into the carrot itself unless you wash them beforehand.

2. Toss carrots with a glug of olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt.  
3. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, then broil on high until the brown and soften, flipping every five minutes or so. If the carrots get blackened edges a little, don’t worry – this actually adds a nice dimension to the soup.

2. In a smaller saucepan, bring vegetable stock to a boil, then add peeled ginger and thyme spring. Simmer 15 minutes (while the carrots are roasting).

3. Meanwhile, in the pot you’re going to use for your soup (I use a Le Creuset Dutch Oven for this, and just about everything else – it’s borderline impossible to mess up cooking in these), “sweat” the onion in 1 T. olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt over medium-high heat until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant (90 seconds or so), then add carrots.

4. Remove the ginger and thyme from the vegetable stock and discard.  Add stock to the pot with the onion and carrot mixture. Bring to a boil and then simmer 5-10 minutes until the carrots are soft.
5. Using an immersion blender (this one looks fantastic) or a regular blender, puree the soup. If you use a regular blender, make sure your soup has cooled – if it’s hot, it could explode in the blender.

6. When soup is pureed, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with thyme sprigs to make it look pretty. We had this soup, a roast chicken, and a salad with local greens for the first meal I cooked in over a week. So good.