Archive for the ‘ Soup ’ Category

SAUSAGE AND LENTIL STEW

Sausage and Lentil Stew

Let’s be honest — this dish isn’t going to be winning any beauty pageants anytime soon.  With it’s reddish-brown color scheme and thick, chili-like texture, this isn’t the type of recipe that turns many heads on Foodgawker or Tastespotting.  So, like a friend who’s just set you up on a blind date with an aesthetically challenged individual, I implore you to move past its humble appearance and try to get to know the soul of this comforting dish.

For me, this is cold weather fare at its best.  A warm, stick-to-your-ribs type meal that’s like a hug from a loved one.  Creamy lentils and sausages combine to produce a dish that is both high in protein and rich in savory flavor.  The best part? It’s cheap and simple to make.  In fact, you probably already have everything to make it your kitchen.  All you really need is a handful of lentils, a few sausages from the fridge, a leftover glass of wine, and you can have a filling and satisfying meal at a moment’s notice.  This is hearty food that reheats well and makes great leftovers.

If looks don’t matter, you might have found your new soul mate.

Continue reading lentil stew recipe . . .

SPLIT PEA SOUP

Split Pea Soup

While my Mom is good at cooking many things, my Dad and I both agree that she is especially great at making delicious, comforting soups.  From minestrone and lentil to chicken tortilla and roasted butternut squash, she would be the first to point out that, “it’s kind of hard to screw up soup”.  Ever the modest chef, my Mom’s casual approach to cooking is something I look to emulate in the kitchen on a daily basis.  With a propensity to sweat the small stuff when it comes to recipe components and cooking techniques, it is while making soup that I feel the most at ease.  In fact, I’ve found that soup making can be one of the most relaxing of kitchen tasks.  Throw a bunch of quality ingredients in a pot, simmer low and slow until the flavors come together and you have a simple and satisfying supper with leftovers for the week.

A hearty and warming soup, split pea with ham is one of my all-time favorites for the Fall because of its earthy flavor, rustic texture and tender shreds of smoky pork.  There are countless way to make this comfort classic, but I am particularly fond of adding bit of cream sherry at the end of cooking for a unique, sophisticated sweetness.  This is a very simple soup to prepare and certainly one falls into the category of dishes that are difficult to screw up.

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ROASTED TOMATO SOUP

Delicious, homemade tomato soup

I usually do the cooking in my house, but on a recent trip to the farmers market, my girlfriend stumbled upon a vendor selling what looked to be the last of this season’s tomatoes and was instantly inspired to make this soup. A little overripe, she decided that the still beautiful specimens would taste especially good after roasting in the oven to concentrate their flavor.  Now, I myself am not the biggest tomato soup fan, but I was blown away at how delicious and flavorful the end product became. Somewhere between a tomato bisque and an earthy, slow-cooked tomato sauce, this soup had me sopping up the leftovers from the pot with a piece of toasted sourdough. Perfectly seasoned and especially comforting on a foggy San Francisco evening, my place in the kitchen might be in jeopardy if my girlfriend continues to turn out such satisfying fare.

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RESTORATIVE ASIAN SOUP

Restorative Asian Soup

I don’t quite know how it happened, but somehow I got a cold in the middle of August. While San Francisco isn’t exactly known for it’s sweltering summers, I found myself craving something that would warm me to the core and nourish me at the same time. Recalling the virtues of chicken noodle soup, I figured I would try my hand at creating a chinese-style broth infused with the healing qualities of garlic and ginger. So, with a batch of homemade chicken stock in the freezer and a handful of asian ingredients and cooking techniques, I set out to create a soup that would have me feeling healthy again in no time.

Drawing inspiration from Barbara Tropp’s iconic, China Moon Cookbook, I began by making a simple “infusion” that would serve as the backbone of my soup. The long, slow simmering of copious amounts of roasted garlic and other aromatics imbue the broth with a rich and savory quality while the basil stems thrown in during the last fifteen minutes of simmering add a beautiful floral finish. Once infused, the broth is good enough to eat by itself, but I was feeling a bit adventurous, and wanted to add some protein and vitamins. Using a technique called “velveting,” the marinated chicken breast is only partially cooked in simmering water before it is drained and finished in the soup. The pieces end up being juicy, extremely tender and pleasantly salty. Finished with some shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, spinach and a good pinch of Szechwan pepper-salt, I had a soup that is as delicious as it is healthy.

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