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Posts Tagged ‘soup recipes’

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I grab whatever vegetables I have on hand and my trusty 8-inch Global chef’s knife and I chop away until I have a big pile of mixed vegetables (usually red bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, celery, mushrooms) of somewhat equal size to throw in the soup pot for a massive amount of vegetable soup to warm up the kitchen on the first snowy day.  I’ve already placed a can or two of diced tomatoes, a can or two of cannellini or kidney beans, and some frozen lima beans, corn, and okra to the pot.  When I’ve added all the chopped vegetables I add enough water to bring the pot to the brim, season with salt and pepper, and cover just until it all comes to a simmer.  Then, I uncover and let the soup simmer away until the house is filled with sweet vegetal smells, the vegetables are tender, and the broth perfectly seasoned.  It doesn’t take too long and I have enough soup to fill us for days……

 

©Stephen Kolyer_Carrots

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©Stephen Kolyer_Pea Soup

 

Most split pea soups have some type of meat as flavoring – ham hock or bone, bacon, ribs – but I almost always keep mine fit for a vegetarian.  Occasionally I might use chicken stock, but as like as not water or vegetable stock will be my choice.  It is such a simple soup to make that a mid-afternoon stint in the kitchen will create a lovely warming dinner on a cold winter’s day.  And, to top it off a bag of split peas – yellow or green – will usually set you back somewhere around a dollar.
There are a myriad of variations to the basic recipe.  You can add almost any herb or spice you like – I opt for curry powder (about 2 teaspoons) and/or a big spoonful of chopped fresh dill.  You can add chopped cooked sausage, ham, or any smoked meat to turn the soup into a hearty meal.  You can chill it and serve with fresh mint and sour cream.  And on it goes – just get the basic down and go from there.

1 pound split green or yellow split peas
    1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
    1 large onion, peeled and chopped
    1 stalk celery, well-washed, trimmed, and chopped
    3 quarts water, vegetable or chicken stock
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Tabasco sauce to taste
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine the peas, carrot, onion, and celery in a large saucepan.  Add the water and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil; then, season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco and lower the heat to medium-low.  Cook, stirring from time to time, for about an hour or until the peas have disintegrated and the soup is thick.  You may have to add more liquid as the soup cooks down.
Remove from the heat and either puree directly in the pan using a hand-held immersion blender or pour the soup into a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade and puree.
Return the soup to a clean saucepan.  Add the lemon juice and taste.  If necessary, season with additional salt, pepper, and Tabasco.  If the soup is very thick, you can thin with stock or heavy cream.  I like to drizzle a little heavy cream or thinned plain yogurt on top before serving or sometimes I add a handful of crisp rye or sour dough croutons.

 

split pea_7253

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We love garlic in all its forms – I keep roasted garlic on hand throughout the year to add depth and savor to all kinds of dishes and always have a few bulbs of fresh in the onion basket.  Other than adding a bit of roasted garlic to sauces and braises to insert that hint of sweet pungency, my favorite way of using garlic is to grate (using my trusty rasp grater) fresh garlic into sauces, soups, salad dressings, breads and, of course, terrific aromatic garlic bread by kneading the grated garlic mash into extra virgin olive oil, a bit of Parmigiano, and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.  I grate it so often that I have a permanent scrape at the base of my thumb.  You can read about my infatuation in a post dated October 2010 – Garlic is Good – and learn more than you probably need to know about it.  You don’t have to read it before you make the following soup – a recipe that I’ve rediscovered from my early days in the kitchen when all things French were on the menu.

A number of countries have a garlic soup all of their own – Spain has sopa de ajo, Portugal its Açorda, Italy the wondrous zuppa all’aglio – but my favorite is the Provençal Aïgo Bouïdo and that is the recipe I’m going to share.  It is a warming fall or winter filling-enough-to-be-main-course dish (when you add the cheese and bread) and the aroma coming from the kitchen will make you ravenous – extra bread, a lovely frisée salad, and a bottle of chilled light white wine complete what is, to me, the perfect meal.  This recipe should make 4 generous servings.

3 medium heads of very fresh garlic

1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, peeled and chopped

2 bay leaves

2 cloves

2 fresh sage leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Salt to taste

3 large egg yolks, at room temperature

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper to taste, optional

1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for serving

1 baguette, sliced on the diagonal, and toasted for serving

Place 2 quarts of water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

While the water is coming to a boil, using your fingers, push all the dry, loose skin from the garlic heads.  Coarsely chop the heads, skin and all.

When the water is boiling, add the chopped garlic along with the onion, bay leaves, cloves, sage leaves, and thyme sprigs.  Add salt to taste and return to a low simmer.  Simmer for about 25 minutes or until the garlic is mushy.

While the broth is simmering, prepare the thickener (liaison in French culinary terms and since we’re in the territory we might call it as we should).

Place the egg yolks in a small mixing bowl.  Using a whisk, beat until very light and quite thick.  Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow steady stream, beating until the mixture comes to a mayonnaise-like thickness.  (Since we’re in the classic mode, I’ve suggested doing this by hand, but you could just as easily do it in a food processor).  Cover and set aside until ready to use.

When the garlic is mushy, remove the broth from the heat, and strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the solids.  Taste and, if necessary, season the broth with salt and pepper to taste.

Return the liquid to the saucepan and set aside until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, return the garlic broth to medium heat and bring to a boil.

While the broth is heating, scrape the liaison into a soup tureen or large serving bowl.

Once the broth has come to a boil, remove it from the heat and, whisking the liaison constantly, slowly pour about a cup of the hot broth into the liaison; then pour in the remaining broth.  Sprinkle chopped parsley and chives over the top and serve with a health dose of Parmigiano over the top of each serving and plenty of toasted baguette slices to dip into the broth.

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