Lentil & Spinach Soup

I got another Jamie Oliver book from my local charity shop (Jamie’s Food Revolution), and I have been cooking my way through it. Everything is terrific, like I would have guessed, but this recipe is the one I hope I remember to make more often. The ginger is a pleasingly dominant flavor that really colors the whole soup. I found the red lentils at a local Asian market, and I was surprised to see how much they cooked down and became quite a thick base. It’s truly delicious!

Lentil and Spinach Soup

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 3/4 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
olive oil
a thumb-sized piece of ginger root
1/2-1 fresh red chili to your taste (I used a red bell pepper)
10 grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cups red lentils
7 cups spinach
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup natural yogurt

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice and garlic. Put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Put a large saucepan on medium heat and add tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid ajar until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden. Meanwhile peel and finely slice the ginger. Seed and slice the chili. Remove the stalks from the grape or cherry tomatoes and slice the tomatoes in half. Add the boiling broth to the pan with the lentils, ginger, chili and tomatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on, or until the lentils are cooked. Add the spinach and continue to cook for 30 seconds.

Season well with salt and pepper. You can serve the soup as is; or, using and immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse until smooth. Divide between your serving bowls. Delicious topped with a dollop of natural yogurt.


Sweet Potato with Thai Curry and Coconut

Sweet Potato with Thai Curry and Coconut
I made this recipe the other day because I had everything I needed for it, and because I really love Thai flavors. So happy I discovered it! The sweetness of the potato compliments the other ingredients in the soup, and I served it with sticky rice, and I wished I had made Jamie Oliver’s great chicken skewers, too. I will next time! This recipe comes from Joanne Chang’s
Flour, Too cookbook. One of my favorites!

Sweet Potato with Thai Curry and Coconut

5 large or 6 or 7 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 T. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2 pieces
1/2 medium fennel bulb, leafy tops trimmed,
and bulb cut crosswise into pieces 1 in/.2.5 cm wide
6 cups/1.4 L Vegetable Stock (see below)
One 13 to 14 oz/390 to 420 ml can coconut milk
2 T. Thai red curry paste
2 1/4 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c/10 g fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
1/2 lime for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C, and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and pierce each one several times with a knife tip or fork. Roast for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until they can be easily pierced in the center with a fork. Set aside to cool. (I did this in the morning, to make things go faster at dinnertime.)
  3. In a stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and fennel; reduce the heat to medium-low; and sweat the vegetables, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they soften and the onion is translucent, but not browned.
  4. Peel the cooled sweet potatoes, cut them into large chunks, and add them to the vegetables in the stockpot. Add the stock, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 20 to 25 minutes to blend the flavors.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the coconut milk, curry paste, salt, and pepper. Working in batches, blend the soup in the blender until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each with the cilantro and a squeeze of lime before serving. The soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Summer Minestrone Soup

Garden Minestrone Soup
I, surprisingly, had to comb through quite a few of my cookbooks to find a soup recipe with kale and yellow squash, and well, I actually never found one, so I changed a Joy of Cooking recipe to accommodate my little garden’s bounty. I loved this soup, and I know I will make it many more times, since my squash, kale, and herbs are the biggest producers so far this year.

Garden Minestrone Soup

2 T. olive oil
4 chicken or pork sausages, casings removed (I like jalapeno!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
3/4 c. minced celery, including leaves
8-12 kale leaves, thick stems removed, chopped (or swiss chard)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig rosemary
1/4 c. tightly packed fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c. tightly packed fresh basil, chopped
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
15 1/2 oz. can Cannellini, Great Northern, or other white beans (rinsed and drained)
10 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. parmesan or parmesan rind
2 t. kosher salt
Salt and 1/4 t. freshly grated pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking it, while, sauteing until browned. Then add onions, carrots, celery, kale, garlic, rosemary, basil and Italian Parsley, stirring until greens are beginning to wilt, 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Then, stir in tomatoes. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, then add the beans, the chicken stock, and the cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered for 20-30 minutes.

Remove rosemary sprig, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano, a drizzle of olive oil, and a slice of terrific bread and rosemary butter.

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

Butternut Squash soup with sage

I wanted to use two small butternut squashes the other night for dinner, but didn’t have a ton of time to think about what I would do with them, so in the early afternoon, I threw them in a hot oven, and when they were done, this soup was born. It ended up just taking a matter of minutes to pull together at the dinner hour, complete with croutons from some day-old bread. I quickly jotted what I did down, so I can do it again. Plus, with all the rain and my gigantic sage plant, I need some great ways to use this pretty herb. Consider roasting the squash the night before, the morning of, or in the early afternoon, if you need dinner to come together quickly at night. Simply put the roasted squash in the fridge until you are ready to use it (you can just wrap it in the aluminum that you baked it in!)

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

2 small butternut squash, or one large one
1-2 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 T. butter
4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
2 c. water
1 parmesan rind
2 t. dried sage
1/2-1 c. cream

2-3 sliced country bread, torn into rough pieces
2 T. butter
1/4 c. parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the butternut squash in half, and brush with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. (You may also want to sprinkle it with 1/2-1 t. of sugar, if you want to bring the sweetness out and caramelize the squash while it roasts. This is a great tip from America’s Test Kitchen.)

2. When the oven is ready, roast the squash for 45-60 minutes, or until it is soft under the prick of a fork. Remove from oven and let cool until you are ready to make your soup.

3. For the soup: heat a stockpot over medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the butter until it’s melted, then add the onion and saute until translucent but not browned, 5-7 minutes. Add in the sage and saute for 1 minute, then add the chicken stock and water. Meanwhile, scoop the seeds out of the butternut squash and discard them, and then scoop the flesh away from the skin of the squash and add to the stockpot along with (or after, if your timing is more like mine!) the stock and water. Also add the parmesan rind, if using. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for as long as you have time, but aim for at least 5-10 minutes to meld flavors.

4. Just before serving, remove the stockpot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a traditional blender. Once the soup has been pureed, add the cream, but don’t allow the soup to boil again, in order to keep its creaminess. Adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

5. For the croutons: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, and add the butter once it’s heated. Allow the butter to fully melt, and then add the bread, sauteing for a a few minutes, until the bread is browned to your liking, about 5-7 minutes. Individually portion the soup, and then top with the croutons, grating the parmesan on top. Beautiful!

Tortellini & Italian Sausage Soup

Another great soup from the book, Farm Chicks in the Kitchen. I was just so surprised to see how much of this soup my 10-year-old son ate–I think 3 helpings! Probably the most healthy thing he’s gorged on in a long time. 

The quality of this simple soup depends largely on the quality of sausage you buy as well as the quality of Tortellini. Choose the best you can for a really terrific soup!

Tortellini & Italian Sausage Soup

5 mild Italian Sausages (about 1 lb.)
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion (about 1 1/2 c.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. dried Italian seasoning (I used prepared pesto instead)
6 c. chicken broth
3 14.5 -oz. cans Italian-style diced tomatoes pureed in a blender
1 20-oz. bag frozen cheese tortellini (I’ve used Trader Joe’s bagged tortellini, too)
[I added about 2 c. of chopped kale, too]

Cook the sausages: Heat the sausages and 1 c. of water in a large covered skillet over medium-high heat; lower the heat to medium and steam until the sausages are cooked through–10-12 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a plate; discard any water remaining in the skillet. When they are cool enough to handle, cut the sausages into bite-size pieces. Heat the skillet over medium heat, add the sausage pieces, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned–3-4minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. [Instead, I removed the sausages from the casing and just cooked them, breaking them up as I cooked, until browned.]

Make the soup: Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until softened–3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning; cook 1 minutes. Stir in the broth and tomatoes; bring to simmering. Stir in the sausage and tortellini; cook until the tortellini is tender–10-12 minutes. Serve, passing the parmesan at the table.

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

I checked this book out of the library again for this recipe, and we all love it! In fact, I didn’t take a picture before we sat down to eat, and after dinner, it was all gone. So, no picture for now, and although this is more of a fall or winter recipe, I have to record it before I forget it! I got it from the great little book, Farm Cooks in the Kitchen. 

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

  • 5 T. butter (1 T. for sauteing, 4 T. for cream sauce)
  • 1/3 c. diced celery (I doubled this)
  • 1/2 c. carrots (I also doubled this)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped, about 1/2 c.)
  • 4 c. chicken broth (1-32 oz. carton)
  • 1 c. water
  • 3/4 c. wild rice
  • 2 c. cooked turkey (diced, about 1 pound)
  • 6 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 t. ground poultry seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salute)
  • 1 1/4 c. half and half
  • 2 T. white wine (optional, but soooo good with it!)
  • 3 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. ground black pepper

Make the soup:
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrots, and onions, sauteing until softened – about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, water, wild rice, and turkey. Bring to a boil; then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Make the cream sauce:
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix the flour and poultry seasoning together in a small bowl and then add to the butter; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the half-and-half and cook until slightly thickened – about 1 minute. Stir the sauce into the soup. Stir in the white wine, bacon, salt, and pepper. Serve. 

Yield: Only enough for my family of seven (six eaters) to have once!

Two Potatoes Soup with Chicken Apple Sausage

Two Potato SoupLast night, I riffed off a recipe from a darling cookbook I checked out from the library, and came up with this recipe, which my family loved. I was very surprised, and decided to write down what I did, before I forgot it!

Two Potatoes Soup with Chicken Apple Sausage

2 T. olive oil
2 onions, diced small
2 large sweet potatoes or yams, cubed into 1″ chunks
3 large russet potatoes, also cubed into 1″ chunks
6 c. chicken broth or stock
4 chicken apple sausages (I use Aidell’s from Costco), sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 c. cream
a large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
10 or so stems of fresh thyme (dried can be used, if desired)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the olive oil, and then add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, until soft, but not browned. (If using dried herbs, add at this point, and saute for 1 minute.)

Add the sweet potatoes and broth; bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, bring to a boil again, and then simmer for another 10 minutes, or until both the potatoes and sweet potatoes are soft (if you don’t want the sweet potatoes to break down a little, add them with the potatoes. If you don’t mind them breaking down, they give the soup a lovely color).

Add the sausage, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and bring back to a simmer. Then, add the cream, but do not allow to boil before serving. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Coconut-Lime Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipe, from Martha’s March 2012 Everyday Food, is so easy and so lovely. I can’t find it on Martha’s site yet (?!!), so I’m typing it up. The ingredients

A very white soup--the cilantro helps!

came together quickly, and the taste has the Thai sweet, salty, and sour combo. Really, really good. I served this soup with little chicken sandwiches with cucumber, sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, and shredded green onions. Kind-of a mix of cuisines, but a fun dinner. And, if it matters for you, this soup is gluten-free.

Coconut-Lime Chicken Noodle Soup

6 oz. dried flat rice noodles
3 1/2 c. chicken broth
2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1/4″ rounds
1 can (13.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
6 T. lime juice (about 3 limes)
3 T. fish sauce
2 t. light brown sugar
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
3/4 c. packed fresh cilantro leaves

1. Soak rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain.

2. In a large pot, bring broth and ginger to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Add coconut milk to broth and return to a simmer. Add chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, jalapeno, and 1/2 c. cilantro; cook one minute. Stir in noodles and serve immediately, topped with 1/4 c. remaining cilantro.

Serves 4

Masaman Curry

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a long time. It seems funny that I’m getting to it Thanksgiving Week, but it’s worth having around any time of the year. We inhale this recipe. I find the tamarind liquid at a local Asian Market on 300 S. in Provo, but I would guess many Asian markets would carry it. Fish sauce, coconut milk, and masaman curry paste can also be found at local markets, or even most grocery stores (I found that Sunflower Market has good prices on these items here). Anyway, if you still have carrots, potatoes, and even turkey (even though it calls for chicken or beef) after Thursday, this recipe is a great use! This recipe comes from a collection of recipes from the Thai Market I go to, just like the peanut sauce recipe. I serve it with sticky rice or jasmine rice. This recipe serves 6 people.

Masaman Curry

2 T. vegetable oil
1 can coconut milk (20 oz)
3 T. fish sauce
3 1/2 T. sugar
1/3 c. roasted peanuts or cashews
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ long pieces (I cut on the bias)
3 T. masaman curry paste (I get Mae Ploy, and it’s not spicy at all)
1-1 1/2 lbs. chicken or beef, cut into 1″pieces
2 T. tamarind liquid
2-3 medium size potatoes (cut into about 1″ cubes)

1. Heat a dutch oven (or large saucepan) over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil, let it heat 1-2 minutes, and then add curry paste and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

2. Add 1/3 of the can of coconut milk, and stir fry for 4-5 more minutes, until red bubbles rise to the surface.

3. Add chicken or beef, and stir fry for 5-8 more minutes.

4. Add the remainder of the coconut milk to the pan, and then fill the milk can up 3/4 full with water, and also add the water to the pot.

5. If using chicken, add the potatoes and carrots at this point. If you’re using beef, simmer the beef for 30 minutes, or until it’s tender, then add the potatoes and carrots.

6. Add fish sauce, sugar, tamarind liquid, and roasted peanuts/cashews. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. After the curry simmers, if it’s too thick, add a little water. If it’s too runny, continue to simmer until it thickens. Serve over rice.

You can make this recipe in advance; the flavors continue to meld, even in the fridge, and taste great the next day as well.

Spicy Pork Posole

I first had posole soup at a Chicago restaurant my sister took me to, and I’ve been meaning to make it home ever since, and finally found a good recipe. This recipe is from Everyday Food, but for some reason cannot be found on their website (?!!?), so I’m typing it up. I love the hominy in it. If you haven’t tried hominy yet, you’re in for a big treat. It’s corn that’s been alkalized, so it puffs and has a completely different texture and taste than corn does. The closest thing I can compare it to is garbanzo beans, but if that makes it sound gross, ignore that, because it’s not. Anyway, my Cape Verdean friends in Rhode Island use hominy in some of their great dishes, but posole is the only other dish I’ve seen it in (you can read this as a call for more great hominy recipes, if you have some). This soup is also a great, easy weekday dinner that uses many kitchen staples. Incidentally, you can leave the spice out by using only the adobo sauce, and not the chile, if you prefer the soup to be mild.

Spicy Pork Posole

2 T. olive oil
1 pork tenderloin (1-2 lbs.)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 c. water
2 (15 oz.) cans chicken broth, or 3 1/2 c. homemade chicken broth
2 cans hominy, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, with juices
1 chipotle chile in adobe sauce, chopped (with 1 T. sauce, if you prefer)
1/2 c. chopped cilantro, stems removed
lime wedges, diced avocado, sour cream for serving (optional, but really a good idea)
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the pork tenderloin to the pan, allowing it to brown on every side, rotating it every 2-3 minutes. Remove the pork to a bowl.

2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, salt and pepper according to taste, and then, stirring frequently, cook until tender and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add water, chicken broth, hominy, tomatoes, chipotle chile, and pork (with any accumulated juices) and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and allow to simmer until the pork is fully cooked (between 5-10 minutes. You may want to check it with an instant-read thermometer. It should be from 160-170 degrees).

3. Remove the pork from the soup and shred it (use 2 forks and scrape the pork down with the grain). Return to soup, adjust seasonings, and allow to simmer until ready to serve. Stir in cilantro just before serving, and pass chopped avocados, sour cream, and lime wedges with the soup, if desired.