Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Irish Stout Stew

I’m posting this a bit late, but to celebrate St. Patricks Day, I made an Irish Stout Stew and Soda bread. Both turned out pretty good, but were not that authentic in my opinion (having had lots of stew in Ireland).

Irish Beef Stew (elise.com)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 pounds well-marbled chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces (NOT extra-lean)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
I cup of Guinness beer
1 cup of fine red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

You can follow the directions below if you want, but I just threw everything in a crockpot and cooked it on low for 8 hours. I added mushrooms at the end for about 15 minutes.

1 Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook, without stirring, until nicely browned on one side, then use tongs to turn the pieces over. Continue to cook in this manner until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2 While the meat and stock is simmering, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until the beef stew in step one has simmered for one hour.

3 Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. Transfer stew to serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.)


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Corn and Pepper Bisque

This soup is on the spicy side, but its filling and delicious.

Corn and Pepper Bisque (http://ellysaysopa.com/)

1.5 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
3 large anaheim peppers (poblanos or other green chilies would work). diced
1 jalapeno (remove the seeds and ribs if you don’t want it to be too spicy)
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 12 oz. can tomatillos, cored and coarsely chopped (of course you can use fresh but my store rarely carries decent garlic, let alone tomatillos)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper
2 cups corn (bought from trader joes!)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour) (skipped because I could not find it)
3/4 cup half and half or cream

In a stockpot or dutch oven, melt the butter. Cook the onions and all the peppers over medium-low heat until they become tender. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the tomatillos, cumin, oregano, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes, to combine the flavors and cook the tomatillos.

Put the pepper/onion/tomato mixture and 1 cup of the roasted corn in a food processor. Process the mixture into a puree (there will still be pieces of the veggies since there is not much liquid at this point).

Put the pureed mixture back into the dutch oven and turn the heat to medium-high. Mix the masa harina with the chicken broth until it’s dissolved. Add the broth/masa mixture to the dutch oven, as well as the rest of the corn. Simmer for a few minutes and season to taste, if necessary. Add the half and half or cream, and heat through.

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Taco Soup

Excellent and easy soup to make.

Taco Soup (allrecipes.com)

1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

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Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

This soup is so good. You can control how spicy you like it by adjusting the amount of pepper you add. We love it spicy, so I added more than the recipe called for.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup (from Rachel Ray)

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups canned or packaged vegetable stock, found on soup aisle
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
Coarse salt
20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and

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Split Pea Soup

I haven’t been baking or cooking much because one of my dogs (Kaylee) had double patella surgery on March 4th. She requires constant monitoring for the next 8 weeks (til April 30th), so anything I make in the kitchen has to be done pretty fast. I did manage to make this soup a couple weeks ago while I got a break from watching her.

Split Pea Soup (From smellslikehome blog and Barefoot Contessa)

1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
1 pound dried split green peas
8 cups chicken stock or water

In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of split peas, and chicken stock.
Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.

I found this to be extremely thick especially after refrigerating it. I ended up thinning it out with water when I would reheat it. Otherwise it tasted very good and was pretty simple to make.

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Christmas Party Menu

Last weekend, we hosted a Christmas Party for our friends. The menu was basically appetizers, chili, and cookies. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and had to scratch a few things off the menu and take a couple of short cuts but overall the food turned out ok. Here are some of the highlights.

Carmelized Onion and Brie Bites (Joelen’s Culinary Adventures)

1 can of biscuit dough
¼ cup flour
1 cup caramelized onion
½ cup brie, diced
cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan by spraying the inside of each well with cooking spray.

Open can of biscuit dough and separate into individual biscuits. Cut each biscuit in quarters to form dough pieces. Place a dough piece in each well. Gently push the dough piece inside the well to form a cup. Repeat until all wells are filled with a dough piece. Fill each well with brie. Top each well with caramelized onion.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown

Unfortunately, these are best served nice and warm and they do get cold quickly. They are delicious though and very easy to make.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Crostini (Williams Sonoma)

Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing, plus 1/4 cup
1 baguette, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick
Salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste
8 vine-ripened tomatoes, about 1 1/2 lb. total
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs. finely minced red onion
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. aged balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and arrange the baguette slices on the sheet in a single layer. Brush the tops with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and golden, 15 to 18 minutes. If not using immediately, let the crostini cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

Core, seed and dice the tomatoes. In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, half of the basil, the onion, garlic, vinegar, the 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.

Slice the mozzarella into 1/4-inch-thick pieces or into smaller pieces so they fit on the crostini. To assemble, lay a piece of mozzarella on each crostini and spoon 1 to 2 Tbs. of the tomato salad on top. Garnish each with a pinch of the remaining basil.

These turned out well and are very easy to make. You don’t need to follow the recipe that closely for it to turn out.

Stuffed Mushrooms (allrecipes.com)

12 whole fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (8 ounce) package cream
cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon ground black
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine, discarding tough end of stems.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems to the skillet. Fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool.
3. When garlic and mushroom mixture is no longer hot, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Mixture should be very thick. Using a little spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.

These are the best stuffed mushrooms ever. Plus, they are veggie friendly which is rare it seems! I make these all the time for parties.

Pigs in Blanket (mercurynews.com)

1/2 pound butter (2 sticks)
1/2 pound cream cheese
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream, divided use
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 36 small sausages
1 egg

Make the pastry: In electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together thoroughly. Add 1/4 cup cream and whip for 3 minutes. Gradually add flour and salt and work into a firm ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Roll out pastry on a well-floured surface and cut into strips just large enough to wrap sausages around the middle and leave a bit of each end exposed. (For the Aidells sausage, I cut strips about 1 1/4 inches wide and 3 inches long.) Roll each sausage in a strip and pinch ends together firmly. Place sausages on baking sheets, seam side down and slightly separated to allow dough room to puff up.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk egg and remaining 3 tablespoons cream together in a small bowl. Brush each sausage roll with the egg mixture and bake until pastry is golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes.

I actually did not like this. They were boring and bland. I would not make them again. Too much effort for the lack of taste.

Lastly, the main course!!!

Vegetarian Chili (allrecipes.com)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped
green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles (I skipped this and added zucchini instead)
3 (28 ounce) cans whole
peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans,
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (skipped and added more kidney beans instead)
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel (skipped totally) corn

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
2. Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

The chili turned out pretty good. I accidently added too much chili powder though and some people thought it was a bit hot. Oops!

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