Monthly Archives: February 2015

Canned Oyster Soup

By | February 27, 2015
Oyster Soup with Parsley and Oyster Crackers

This simple oyster soup recipe calls for canned  oysters, which are always in season, and can be put together in a flash. For canned oysters, I recommend Crown Prince Whole Boiled Oysters. Here in northern Wisconsin, fresh raw oysters can be difficult to find, but if you have access to fresh oysters use them. If you want to turn this soup into chowder; first, dice a large potato and cook it in the water mixture before adding the oysters, cream and crackers.

Canned Oyster Soup
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 cups canned oysters (packed in water), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 6 saltine crackers crumbled
  • Additional saltine or oyster crackers for serving
  • Fresh parsley sprigs
Instructions
  1. In a small Dutch oven or soup pot, add the water, butter, salt and pepper and bring to a boil
  2. Add the oysters, crackers and cream and give everything a good stir
  3. As soon as the mixture returns to a boil, take off heat and let sit for a minute, covered
  4. Serve soup piping hot topped with some chopped fresh parsley, additional crackers and a dash of hot sauce, if desired

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.

 

 

 

Sausage Potato Corn Chowder

By | February 24, 2015
Sausage Potato Corn Chowder

Potatoes and corn are a classic pairing in chowder, featured in hundreds of home-style chowder concoctions. This simple chowder recipe features those two traditional ingredients and then ups the ante with the addition of sausage, celery and jalapeño pepper. Toss in a bit of seasoning, and you’ve got a hearty chowder that appeals to anyone craving a comforting a bowl of warmth on a cold afternoon or evening.

I made this rib-sticking chowder during the coldest weekend of the northern Wisconsin winter thus far in 2015. With evening temperatures falling to 18 below zero and daytime highs struggling to achieve positive numbers, the time was just right for hot and tasty soup. This easy chowder recipe is thick with vegetables and sausage and made rich and velvety by cream-style corn and evaporated milk. I use a standard breakfast-type sausage in this recipe, but you could easily use Italian sausage or bratwurst in its place.

Ingredients

Sausage and Corn Chowder
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Chowder
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 3 potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice (I leave the skins on, but you can peel the potatoes if you prefer)
  • 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed thoroughly with cold water
  • 14.75-ounce can cream-style corn
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • Fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Put the sausage into a large Dutch oven or soup pot and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned
  2. Stir in the onions and celery and cook 5 minutes
  3. Add the jalapeño and cook 2 minutes more
  4. Drop in the potatoes and mix everything together
  5. Stir in the Italian seasoning and black pepper to fully coat the vegetables
  6. Pour in the water, salt and bring to a boil
  7. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until potatoes are fully cooked
  8. Add the whole kernel corn, cream-style corn and evaporated milk and stir well
  9. Let simmer, covered for 5 minutes or so until the chowder is piping hot
  10. Garnish with a dusting of freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh parsley

Add sausage to Dutch ovenAdd onions and celeryAdd jalapeno pepperAdd potatoesStir to mixAdd waterAdd whole kernel cornAdd cream-style cornAdd evaporated milkReady to serve

 

Sausage and Corn Chowder

 

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.

Vegetarian Taco Soup with Ranch Dressing

By | February 19, 2015
Vegetarian Taco Soup

For this Vegetarian Taco Soup Recipe, Ranch Dressing helps give the mixture a fresh and bright flavor. This taco soup recipe is also easy to make, and can be assembled very quickly using a handful of ingredients most of us keep in our cupboards: Ranch Dressing Mix Packet, Taco Seasoning, beans and tomatoes. The only wild card here is Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), which can be found in most grocery stores either in the aisle where baking goods are kept, in the organic foods section and online. The Rotel tomatoes with chilies give it some extra bite, and I use Penzeys Bold Taco Seasoning instead of a packet mix. If you don’t like spicy taco soup, use a can of regular crushed tomatoes and a packet of mild taco seasoning. Bottom line: this meatless taco soup is very flavorful and adaptable.

Vegetarian Taco Soup Ingredients

What is Textured Vegetable Protein?

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a dried soy product that looks like bulgur wheat, except the individual protein “grains” of TVP have a more ragged and crunchy appearance (see the photo below for comparison). TVP is convenient because you can keep it in the cupboard and bring it out when needed. You don’t have to refrigerate it or defrost it before using. TVP can be rehydrated easily with water or your favorite broth, generally in a 1:1 ratio: 1 cup of TVP to 1 cup of liquid.

TVP and Bulgur Wheat

TVP (left) and Bulgur Wheat (right) look similar, but TVP has a crunchier texture and more jagged appearance.

What does TVP taste like?

TVP doesn’t really taste like much when it is reconstituted using water. The flavor is that of a neutral grain, something like bulgur wheat. However, TVP is like a flavor sponge and quickly takes on the essence of its surrounding ingredients, making it perfect to use in well-seasoned soups. It also has a crumbly texture that is similar to ground meat, so it is a natural veggie substitute for recipes calling for ground beef or ground turkey.

How much TVP is equal to a pound of ground beef?

For recipes that call for 1 pound of ground beef, the equivalent amount of dried Textured Vegetable Protein would be 1 cup. Once the TVP is rehydrated with an equal amount of liquid (1 cup dry TVP to 1 cup liquid), the grains swell and increase in volume.

Vegetarian Taco Soup with Ranch Dressing
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup dry Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 15-ounce can red beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly with cold water
  • 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly with cold water
  • 28-ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (or 1 packet taco seasoning mix)
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning mix (you can’t go wrong with Hidden Valley)
  • 1½ cups water
Instructions
  1. Put the TVP in a small saucepan, pour over it the boiling water and stir
  2. Let sit 5 minutes to rehydrate
  3. In a Dutch oven or soup pot add the olive oil and heat over medium
  4. Stir in the onions and cook 5 minutes
  5. Add the TVP and cook for 2 minutes
  6. Pour in the taco seasoning and ranch seasoning; stir well to coat and cook for another minute or so
  7. Add the beans, tomatoes, water and bring soup to a boil
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes
  9. Garnish with your favorite taco toppings, such as shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapeno pepper slices, cilantro and/or lime juice.
  10. Serve with corn chips and your favorite beverage

 

Add TVP to small saucepan

Add boiling water to TVP

TVP after rehydrating 5 minutes

Cook onion in olive oil 5 minutes

Stir in TVP

Cook TVP and onions 2 minutes

Add taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix

Cook seasonings 1 minute

Add beans, tomatoes and water

Serve soup

Serve with your favorite taco toppings

 

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.

 

Italian Chickpea Soup – Roman Style

By | February 14, 2015
Italian Chickpea Soup

This Italian Chickpea Soup Recipe is based on one found in Luigi Carnacina‘s Great Italian Cookbook: La Grande Cucina Inernazionale. It is one of the most amazing cookbooks I’ve ever seen and an education in the classic ways of cooking Italian food. Carnacina’s recipe for Chickpea Soup Romana calls for 2 cups dried chickpeas, first soaked in cold water overnight before cooking.

Cooking with Canned Chickpeas

I use canned chickpeas here, as they are already cooked and ready to eat out of the can – almost. The problem with canned chickpeas is textural. You can’t achieve the creamy texture that you get when cooking dried chickpeas, but you can get closer by actually “cooking” the canned version for a while. And that’s what I do here. The key to using canned chickpeas is to first thoroughly rinse them with cold water to get rid of any canning solution and possible tinny flavors. Put the chickpeas in a colander and run cold water over them until no more “foamy” water bubbles are present on the beans. You will see these bubbles gradually disappear as the water removes any residue from the peas.

Chickpeas vs Garbanzo Beans – Are they different?

If you didn’t know, chickpeas and garbanzo beans are one in the same legume, but are just called a different name depending on where you are. In Italy, chickpeas are called “ceci” (pronounced chetch-ee).

Anchovy Fillets add Flavor not “Fishiness”

This humble soup is a lot of fun to make and relies on olive oil, rosemary, garlic and some anchovies to flavor a large amount of chickpeas and pasta. The broth ends up tasting rich and meaty – almost like chicken broth – but not overwhelming with any one flavor. Whatever you do, don’t skip the anchovy fillets. This isn’t an anchovy pizza – the salty fish serve to enrich this soup and give it extra backbone without tasting fishy. My wife hates anchovies, but liked this soup very much. If you don’t have anchovy fillets, you can substitute anchovy paste. This recipes calls for 3 anchovy fillets, and 1/2 teaspoon of anchovy paste is equal to 1 anchovy fillet, so just add 1 & 1/2 teaspoons paste instead.

Italian Chickpea Soup - Roman Style
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • Three 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 5 cloves garlic (1 cut in half, the other 4 crushed or ground with a mortar and pestle)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 anchovy fillets (or 1½ teaspoons anchovy paste)
  • ½ pound elbow macaroni
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Pour 3 quarts water into a large Dutch oven or soup pot
  2. Add the chickpeas, 1 rosemary sprig, 1 garlic clove cut in half and the salt
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover for 30 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, put the remaining garlic cloves and a bit of Kosher salt into a mortar and grind with a pestle until smooth
  5. Take the remaining rosemary sprigs and tie into a bundle with kitchen string
  6. In a small saucepan, pour in the olive oil, season with a few cracks of black pepper, add the garlic and rosemary and heat over medium until garlic turns golden - be careful not to burn
  7. Take the saucepan off heat and discard the rosemary
  8. Add the anchovies and crush with a pestle or fork
  9. After chickpeas have simmered for 30 minutes, remove the rosemary with a slotted spoon
  10. Pour the anchovy mixture into the soup and stir to incorporate
  11. Raise the heat to high and bring soup to a boil
  12. Drop in the pasta and cook until al dente
  13. Add the black pepper and serve with the grated Parmesan cheese

Italian Chickpea Soup IngredientsRinse and Drain ChickpeasAdd chickpeas to waterRosemary and garlicRosemary and garlic in soupGarlic and salt in mortar and pestleCrush garlicCrushed garlic

 

Kitchen twineTie rosemaryFold string over

Trim tag endsOlive oil and pepperOlive oil, pepper, rosemary and garlicCook garlic until golden

Remove rosemary and add anchovies off heatCrush anchovies

 

Pour in anchovy mixture

Measure elbow macaroniAdd pasta to boiling broth

 

Add black pepper

 

Grated Parmesan cheeseAdd cheese to soupServe soup

 

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.

Romanian Bean Soup with Bacon and Dill

By | February 12, 2015
Serve Romanian Bean and Bacon Soup with Fresh Dill

This Romanian Bean with Bacon Soup and Dill brings together components from several different Romanian Bean Soup Recipes into a hearty and creamy dish that tastes familiar yet slightly exotic. Many Romanian dishes feature a sour component, and this soup is no exception with sour cream and vinegar used to sharpen the flavors and a bit of fresh dill to finish it off. However, this is not an overly sour soup. If you like basic ham and bean soup and want to branch out and try something a little different, here’s your chance. Just give yourself enough time to enjoy the process. This is best made on a weekend or when you have a day off to cook with leisure – the best way!

Romanian Bean Soup with Bacon
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Romanian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces navy beans, rinsed in cold water
  • ¼ pound smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped (you could also use Romaine lettuce or greens such as mustard, collard or turnip)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 bunch dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Drop the beans in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with cold water
  2. Let beans sit overnight, then drain and rinse again
  3. Into a large Dutch oven or soup pot, drop in the bacon and onion and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes
  4. Add the carrots and celery and continue cooking for another 5 minutes
  5. Stir in the flour and paprika and mix well
  6. Add some water as needed to deglaze the pot
  7. Add the beans and pour in the remaining water
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover and let cook for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender
  9. After 1 hour of cooking add the tomato sauce and salt
  10. Add the lettuce and let cook for another 10 minutes
  11. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan stir together the sour cream, vinegar and egg yolks
  12. Pour a ladle of the soup into this mixture and stir to blend together
  13. Add the egg mixture to the soup and stir well
  14. Finish the soup by topping with a few sprigs of fresh dill and cracked black pepper.

 

Romanian Bean and Bacon Soup Ingredients

Navy Beans

Soak Beans Overnight

Cook Bacon and Onions

Add Carrots and Celery
Add Paprika and Flour

Veggies

Add water to deglaze

Deglaze the pot

Stir in beans

Pour In Water

Add Tomato Sauce after 1 hour

Rinse and dry lettuce
Add Shredded Lettuce

Stir sour cream, egg yolks and vinegar together
Egg mixture

Add ladle of broth to egg mixture

Add mixture to soup
Serve Romanian Bean and Bacon Soup with Fresh Dill

 

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.

 

 

Lentil Chorizo Soup

By | February 9, 2015
Serve topped with chopped avocado pieces

This Lentil Chorizo Soup Recipe was born like many of my soups – by opening the refrigerator door and seeing what’s available to throw in the soup pot. From there, it’s a matter of matching up ingredients that work well together. This should not be a complicated affair. You should choose things that you like and go with it. Do not look back! Part of the fun of making soup is cooking without a written recipe, just winging it. This Lentil Chorizo Soup is one of those recipes from the wing. And you know what? It turned out great. This is what I did.

Lentil Chorizo Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 9 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • 8 ounces lentils, rinsed thoroughly in cold water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (feel free to use a green or yellow bell pepper here)
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Chopped avocado
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat
  2. Add the Mexican chorizo and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly
  3. Drop in the onion, bell pepper, potato and carrots and cook for about 6 minutes, until veggies start to soften
  4. Stir in the lentils and cook for another minute
  5. Pour in the beef broth and salt and bring to a boil
  6. Reduce to a simmer cook until vegetables are completely cooked, about 45 minutes
  7. Pour in the lime juice and stir
  8. Serve with diced avocado pieces on top and extra lime juice if desired

 

Chorizo Lentil Soup Ingredients

Heat Olive Oil

Add Mexican ChorizoCook Chorizo for 2 minutes
Stir in onion, potato and red bell pepper

Cook vegetables until soft

Lentils

Add lentils

Stir in lentils

Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes

Pour in lime juice

Serve topped with chopped avocado pieces

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.

 

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

By | February 6, 2015
Curried Pumpkin Soup

This pumpkin soup recipe brings together the homey and familiar taste of pumpkin with the heady flavors of curry powder into an easy-to-make dish that can be easily tweaked to your liking. Don’t be put off by the jalapeno pepper – it provides a very subtle heat but more of a clean taste than anything. The toasted pumpkin seeds add a rich and meaty flavor. Don’t skip this step as these seeds are utterly delicious. Any leftovers will quickly be munched up!

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • One 29-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ⅛ cup pumpkin seeds, shelled and skillet-toasted
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Grated nutmeg (optional)
Instructions
  1. Toasting Pumpkin Seeds
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the pumpkin seeds
  3. Stir seeds for about 3 minutes, until they give off some aroma and start to glisten. It's OK if some get a bit dark - that's added flavor! Just be sure the seeds don't burn - that's not flavor!
  4. Remove the seeds and set aside to cool
  5. How to Make Curried Pumpkin Soup
  6. Melt the butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven or soup pot
  7. Toss in the onions and curry powder and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until onions start to soften
  8. Stir in the garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook for another 2 minutes
  9. Add a bit of chicken broth if necessary to deglaze the pot
  10. Add the pumpkin and stir to incorporate
  11. Pour in the chicken broth, add salt and bring the soup to a boil
  12. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes
  13. Stir in the cream and get soup bowls ready
  14. Serve topped with pumpkin seeds and freshly grated Parmesan cheese and nutmeg

Add Pumpkin Seeds to Skillet

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Melt Butter

Cook Onion and Curry Powder Together

Stir in Garlic and Jalapeno Pepper

Deglaze Pan with Chicken Broth

Stir in Pumpkin

Top with grated nutmeg

Grated Parmesan Cheese'

Add Pumpkin Seeds

 

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.

Dirty Rice Soup with Chicken Gizzards

By | February 3, 2015
Dirty Rice Soup

This Louisiana-inspired soup brings together the tastes and textures of two classic Cajun dishes – Dirty Rice and Red Beans and Rice – and combines them into a delicious and hearty soup. Using a pre-packaged dirty rice mix makes this a fairly easy dish to prepare, as you can let the rice cook directly in the soup. Most packaged dirty rice mixes call for ground beef, but traditional dirty rice generally involves cooking sausage along with chicken livers or chicken gizzards, which are used here. You could easily substitute a pound of diced boneless chicken breast, chicken thighs or chicken livers for the gizzards or use a Cajun-style link sausage such as Andouille or ground beef in place of the ground sausage. But it won’t be quite as “dirty!”

Dirty Rice Soup
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Cajun
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound chicken gizzards, rinsed and diced fine (I used a food processor to chop them finely)
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 15-ounce can red beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 8-ounce box dirty rice mix (Zatarain’s, Tony Chachere’s and Luzianne dirty rice mixes can be found at most grocery stores)
  • 2 quarts beef broth
Instructions
  1. Brown the gizzards and sausage in a large skillet over medium heat and drain fat, leaving about 1 teaspoon in the skillet
  2. Remove the meat and place into a Dutch oven or soup pot
  3. Add the onion and celery to the skillet and cook in the reserved grease for 5 to 7 minutes, until they are soft but not brown
  4. Drop the cooked veggies into the soup pot
  5. Dump in the beans and add the dirty rice mix to the soup pot
  6. Stir everything together
  7. Pour in the beef broth and bring the soup to a boil
  8. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let cook for about 25 minutes – until rice is fluffy
  9. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and freshly cracked black pepper as desired
  10. A good splash of hot sauce is recommended

 

Dirty Rice Soup Ingredients

 

Dice Gizzards

 

Chop gizzards fine

 

Sausage and Gizzards

 

Brown Sausage and Gizzards

 

Cook onions and celery

 

Cooked onions and celery

 

Add veggies to meat

 

Add red beans

 

Add Dirty Rice Mix

 

Stir mixture

 

Pour in Beef Broth

 

Bring to a Boil

 

Cover and simmer

 

Dirty Rice Soup Ready to Serve

 

Dirty Rice Soup Served

 

Looking for the perfect pot to cook up your next batch of soup? I recommend the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It comes in 11 different colors and is an excellent value for the price.