Soup


This adaptation of a Barefoot Contessa recipe had us licking the bottom of bowls the other night.  I was trying to think of a way to make her white bean soup a little bit more “manly” for the Hubby and the result was wonderful.  With a little crusty bread, you’ll have a full blown meal on your hands.

  • 1 pound dried white cannellini beans
  • 4 cups sliced yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large branch fresh rosemary (6 to 7 inches)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 hot italian sausage links, casing removed

In a medium bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1-inch and leave them in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Drain.

In a large stockpot over low to medium heat, saute the onions with the olive oil until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 more minutes. Add the drained white beans, rosemary, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Meanwhile, in a skillet, brown the sausage, breaking it up wiht the back of a wooden spoon (about 10 min).

Remove the rosemary branch and the bay leaf. Pass the soup through the coarsest blade of a food mill, or place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely pureed. Return the soup to the pot to reheat and add salt and pepper, to taste, as well as the sausage. Serve hot.

 

For some reason whenever I think about pots of soup I always think about that scene in Macbeth where the three witches are standing over their cauldron.  I don’t know why– I don’t have visions of overtaking another’s throne or of being taken down by a C-Sectioned man.  Maybe it’s a morbid curiosity over what the fates are brewing up.  Brewing up some goodness of my own, throughout the cold weather I usually make about a pot of soup a week.  This is one of my favorites….

8 ounces bacon, chopped

1/4 cup good olive oil

6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmeruncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

 

After my planting day last weekend, I had quite a nice handful of leeks that I had pulled out of the yard.  Since it was such a rainy start to the week, I thought some soup and warm sandwiches would be nice.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed the combination.  With a stolen sip of Trevor’s wine, the meal was perfect.

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 pounds crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (10 1/2 cups)
3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 1/2 cups)
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
3-5 cloves garlic
3/4 C. dry white wine
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Here’s to the French.  Though my pilgrimage to France seems to be put off year after year, my love for the food that has made it’s way across the sea has not waned.   So this week my posts are going to be all about our Revolutionary War aids and their culinary masterpieces.  First up is our first course: French Onion Soup.  This version by Tyler Florence is a spoonful of buttery goodness.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere

Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.

Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

butternut corn chowder2 copy

Sweet, smokey, spicy, and topped with a savory, creamy crouton = delicious.  This recipe is pretty easy and is the perfect fall soup.  We made it this year for our annual Watch-Movies-While-the-Boys-Play-Poker-and-Eat-Deer-Chili-(thankfully)-at-a-Separate-House Halloween Party.  If that didn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry about it, just enjoy this soup and eat up.

4 ounces chilled soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

4 ounces 1/4-inch-thick slices pancetta or 4 thick bacon slices, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 2 1/4-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
4 1/2 cups canned roasted-garlic chicken broth or low-salt chicken broth
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies*
1 16-ounce bag frozen sweet white corn (unthawed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage

Cut each cheese round into 8 wedges. Place eggs in small bowl. Place cornmeal in another bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, dip cheese into eggs, then into cornmeal, turning to coat. Press cornmeal gently to adhere. Place on baking sheet. Freeze 1 hour.

Cook pancetta in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté until just tender, about 4 minutes. Add butternut squash, broth and chilies; simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Mix in corn; simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer 3 1/2 cups soup to blender; puree. Mix puree into remaining soup in pan. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add frozen cheese; brown well, about 1 minute per side.  Meanwhile, bring soup to simmer. Mix in sage. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with pancetta and cheese croutons.

(Pancetta and soup can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover pancetta; chill. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring pancetta to room temperature before continuing.)

butternut corn chowder1

butternut corn chowder2

(from Bon Appétit | November 1999)

creamy tomato soup2

In one of our trips to Bistro Jeanty, we stumbled across their wonderful tomato soup.  If you’re having any thoughts of Campbell’s and grilled cheese, you can forget about that right now.  This was wonderfully smooth, creamy, and more than anything tasted like fresh ripe tomatoes.  It doesn’t hurt that it also comes baked with a puff pastry top.  The Husband has commissioned me to try to replicate the dish, and last night with my garden’s overproduction of tomatoes, I believe I came pretty close with this soup base.  The original recipe is from Jamie Oliver with some slight tweaking of my own.*

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
a handful of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
olive oil
6 tablespoons double cream
3 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 egg yolks
2 1/2lb. super-ripe tomatoes
32 oz chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Put your onion, garlic, carrot and basil stalks into a large pot with a couple of lugs of olive oil. Cover the pan, and simmer gently without colouring for 20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Whisk together the cream, vinegar and egg yolks in a small bowl and put to one side. While the veg are simmering, drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove the skins and roughly chop the flesh. Add these to the veg, then pour in the stock and simmer for a further 20 minutes with the lid on. At this point it’s nice to purée the soup using either a food processor, a liquidizer or a hand-held blender, but be careful as it will be hot. Once you’ve puréed the soup, put it back into the pan, bring it back to a simmer, and season very carefully with salt and freshly ground black pepper and remaining herbs.

Just before serving, to enrich the soup and give it a shine and silky texture, whisk in the cream mixture (don’t reboil it after adding the egg yolks or it will scramble) and serve straight away, sprinkled with a few torn-up basil leaves, if you like.

creamy tomato soup

*That bread was all mine, baby!  With a sourdough starter, and a whole wheat finish, I was really pleased with how it turned out.  Bread Baker’s Apprentice strikes again.

asparagus-soup

In my new section “Eat Your Veggies,” I’ll be exploring recipes in my favorite food group (save for those years of childhood ignorance).  Spring is on the horizon and I’m already itching for all of the wonderful produce it brings.  Last night I made a quick (about 35 min total) and hearty Asparagus soup.  Served with a little homemade Ciabatta bread (the second go around was much  more successful, thanks for asking), this soup was a bowl of comfort on a rainy springy day.  This recipe was from Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook  At Home, which I’m completely loving.

2lb asparagus, woody ends removed
olive oil
2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and copped
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
2 quarts good-quality chicken or vegetable stock, preferably organic
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 small very fresh free-range or organic eggs
8 slices of ciabatta bread
a knob of butter
extra virgin olive oil

“Chop the tips off your asparagus and put these to one side for later. Roughly chop the asparagus stalks. Get a large, deep pan on the heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for around 10 minutes, until soft and sweet, without coloring. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and stock and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on. Remove from the heat and blitz with a hand-held blender or in a liquidizer. Season the soup bit by bit (this is important) with salt and pepper until just right. Put the soup back on the heat, stir in the asparagus tips, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few more minutes until the tips have softened.

Just before I’m ready to serve the soup, I get a wide casserole-type pan on the heat with 8 to 10cm of boiling water. Using really fresh eggs, I very quickly crack all 10 into the water. Don’t worry about poaching so many at the same time. They don’t have to look perfect. A couple of minutes and they’ll be done, as you want them to be a bit runny. Toast your ciabatta slices. Using a slotted spoon, remove all the poached eggs to a plate and add a knob of butter to them. To serve, divide the soup between eight warmed bowls and place a piece of toast into each. Put a poached egg on top, cut into it to make it runny, season and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.”

**So here’s what I did differently:  I added a fresh chopped red chili, a splash of white wine and a little garlic.  It just punched it up a bit.  I hope you enjoy and eat your veggies.

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