Category: Soups

Vichyssoise

Vichyssoise in a bowl

Leeks are plentiful at the farmers’ markets these days and I can’t resist them. I haven’t made or had Vichyssoise in years and just seeing those leeks, I couldn’t get the soup off my mind.

Leeks are a member of the allium family – onions, garlic, scallions. It’s long and thin (1 – 2 inches in diameter) and has dark green leaves on top and a light green to white bulb at the bottom. The amount of light green and white depends on how deeply the leek is planted in the soil to avoid direct sunlight.

vichyssoise - leek photo

Leeks grow deeply entrenched in a sandy soil and those outer layers trap the sand and require a thorough cleaning. Chopped leeks are relatively easy to clean. Just trim and discard the dark green tops and the root on the bottom. Cut in half lengthwise, slice into thin pieces, and plop into a big bowl of cold water. Swish the cut leeks around, pick up handfuls and gently rub together between your palms to separate the layers and loosen the dirt. Let sit for several seconds to allow the dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop into colander, rinse the bowl, and repeat. Drain.

Cooking time for root vegetables like potatoes vary according to the size of the chunks. After peeling, I usually cut them in half lengthwise and then into ½-inch slices. Once the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle and in about 15 minutes the potatoes are tender. To test, gently press a cube against the side of the pan; it should easily break apart.

Bouquet garni is a combination of parsley (stems only are fine), thyme, and bay leaf, which are wrapped in cheesecloth or stuffed into a sachet bag for easy removal at the end of cooking. This method imparts the earthy flavors of the herbs and keeps the soup pristine.

bouquet garni

White peppercorns are commonly used for this dish – the thinking is no one wants to see little specks of black pepper in the beautiful white soup. I, however, am not a fan of white peppercorns – I find them very bitter. I use cayenne, which gives a subtle underlying heat that, in my opinion, neither white nor black peppercorns impart.

There are few ingredients in this soup and it comes together easily. As with so many recipes, the flavor is best after it sits overnight, giving a uniformly delicious mouthful with every spoonful. My husband and I finished this soup in two days. We were scraping the bottom of the bowl. It is very flavorful, and the texture is silky smooth.

Hot vs Cold

Vichyssoise is typically served chilled. Chilling mutes the taste and aroma of food, so it’s important to be aggressive when seasoning food you plan to serve cold. The recipe below gives the amount of salt and cayenne for both a cold soup and a hot soup.

Vichyssoise

Melt the butter in the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the cleaned leeks, garlic, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. This releases excess moisture and intensifies the flavor of the aromatics. Lower the heat a bit if the leeks are starting to brown.

leeks to saute

Add the potatoes, stock, and bouquet garni, bring to a boil, lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. The time varies depending on the size of the potato pieces. I cut my potato in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices.

Vichyssoise in saucepan

Remove and discard the bouquet garni and let the soup cool for 20 minutes.

To purée, fill a blender or food processor with both solids and liquid to the halfway point and process until completely smooth. See our post/video on How to Safely Blend Hot Ingredients.

Stir in the half-and-half or cream. If you prefer not to use dairy, use a cup of stock.

Vichyssoise in a bowl

Serve chilled or hot with a generous garnish of chopped chives.

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Vichyssoise

Delicious hot or cold, this soup has a silky texture and earthy flavor. The chopped chives are not only a beautiful visual element, but the flavor complements the soup nicely.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups leeks, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ pounds whole leeks with generous white portions)
1 clove garlic minced
kosher salt:
Cold: 2 ½ teaspoons
Hot: 1 ½ teaspoons
¼ teaspoon cayenne
4 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock, such as More Than Gourmet
1 bouquet garni
1 cup cream, half and half, or stock

Garnish
chopped fresh chives

Instructions

Melt the butter in the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the cleaned leeks, garlic, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. This releases excess moisture and intensifies the flavor of the aromatics. Lower the heat a bit if the leeks are starting to brown.

Add the potatoes, stock, and bouquet garni, bring to a boil, lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. The time varies depending on the size of the potato pieces. I cut my potato in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices.

Remove and discard the bouquet garni and let the soup cool for 20 minutes.

To purée, fill a blender or food processor with both solids and liquid to the halfway point and process until completely smooth. See our video on How to Safely Blend Hot Ingredients.

Stir in the half-and-half or cream. If you prefer not to use dairy, use a cup of stock.

Serve chilled or hot with a generous garnish of chopped chives.

Notes

Vichyssoise is typically served chilled. Chilling mutes the taste and aroma of food, so it’s important to be aggressive when seasoning food you plan to serve cold. The recipe below gives the amount of salt and cayenne for both a cold soup and a hot soup.

Keywords: cold soup, hot soup, potato leek soup, potatoes, leeks, soup, gluten free, dairy free

Rosemary Pea Soup

pea soup shooters with herb croutons

pea soup shooters with herb croutonsSpring is around the corner and that means young sweet peas are beginning poke through the dirt ready to begin their climb up the vines and ripen into tiny green beads of deliciousness. This is the time to make a delicious chilled or warm Rosemary Pea Soup.

The velvety texture and the sweetness from the leeks and peas is nicely tempered by the earthy flavor and aroma of fresh rosemary. This soup is delicious chilled or heated, but please note that the amount of salt for each style varies.

chilled soup with croutons

Cold foods require a little more salt to amp up flavor and this is done while the soup is hot. It takes a little finesse to get it right – as soon as the salt is a little too prominent for a hot mixture, stop. Chill. If you aren’t sure what temperature you want to serve the soup, season it for the hot version.

To fix an already chilled soup that isn’t properly seasoned, take a ladle or two of soup and heat, either on the stovetop or in the microwave, and add the salt necessary for the cold version. Stir to dissolve and add back to the cold soup.

Use our herb crouton to make a garnish and use finely minced rosemary, serve with a chilled Rosé, and celebrate the arrival of spring – finally!

To Make the Soup

chilled soup with croutons

Heat the oil over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan. Stir in the leeks, scallions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. If the vegetables are browning, lower the heat a little.

chilled soup with croutons

Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.

chilled soup with croutons

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful of the steam, or in the pan with an immersion blender.

chilled soup with croutons

The texture should be smooth and velvety.

chilled soup with croutons

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool

Serve in small cups with three croutons each for a lovely appetizer or starter course.

chilled soup with croutons

See our video on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Watch the Rosemary Pea Soup video here.
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Rosemary Pea Soup

chilled soup with croutons

A delicious, versatile Pea Soup that can be served chilled or hot. Top with crunchy rosemary croutons and celebrate the arrival of spring and spring produce!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup/Appetizer

Ingredients

Chilled Pea and Rosemary Soup

¼ cup unsalted butter
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (whites and light greens), thoroughly rinsed and drained (about 2 leeks)
½ cup minced shallots (about 3 shallots)
½ cup diced celery (about 1 stalk)
¼ cup rosemary leaves only
1 tablespoon coarse salt*
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 cups vegetable stock or water
6 cups fresh shelled peas or 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen peas

Garnish                      

Rosemary Croutons

Instructions

For the Rosemary Pea Soup:

Heat the oil over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan

Stir in the leeks, scallions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. If the vegetables are browning, lower the heat a little.

Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful of the steam, or in the pan with an immersion blender. The texture should be smooth and velvety.

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool

Serve in small cups with three croutons each.

Notes

*Reduce the salt by 1 teaspoon if serving warm or hot

Cream of Tomato Soup

cream of tomato soup

I’ve been thinking about Cream of Tomato Soup a lot lately. I haven’t had it in years and the last time was most likely Campbell’s. The occasion for making it came up with a party I was having for my daughter Margot.

cream of tomato soup

She recently became a designer for Keep Collective, a jewelry company. We invited family and friends local to me (she lives in Philadelphia) for a Saturday afternoon, including a light lunch. We had about a dozen acceptances. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to make a lovely ladies’ lunch.

Hors d’oeuvres

Scallion and Parsley Humus
Crudité
Pita Chips

cream of tomato soup

Lunch

Cream of Tomato Soup
Grilled Cheddar Cheese on Rye
Turkey Club Sandwiches

cream of tomato soup

Dessert

Triple Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Almond Coconut Biscotti
Banana Bread Biscotti
Passion Fruit Chocolate Biscotti

cream of tomato soup

The soup and sandwiches were a big hit. It was a chilly day and everyone was oohing and awing about comfort food. I kept the soup in the crockpot on low to easily fill and refill mugs. No utensils – all finger foods!

We had a great afternoon and everyone stayed a long time. I think they departed around 7pm – always a sign of a good party when guests stay longer than expected!

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Cream of Tomato Soup

cream of tomato soup

Cream of Tomato soup was one of my favorite soups growing up. This recipe packs lots of natural tomato sweetness and goes perfectly with grilled cheese sandwiches!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large celery stalk, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14.5) ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bouquet garni (3 parsley sprigs, 20 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 6 pepper corns securely wrapped in cheesecloth)
1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Melt the butter in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat.

Once the butter foams, stir in the onion, celery, carrot, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat if the onions are browning.

Stir in the garlic and cayenne and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the wine and bring to a boil, reduce to ¼ cup.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, stock or water and bouquet garni.

Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove and discard bouquet garni,

Cool off heat for 15 minutes.

Pour the soup in batches into a blender or food processor, filling the container halfway or less. Cover, remove the top insert to allow for steam to escape, but cover that hole with a folded over towel.

Place into a clean container and continue pureeing until all the soup is smooth. Stir in the heavy cream.

Reheat and serve.

Freezes well.

Notes

See our video on how to safely puree hot foods.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup is made with a roux: flour, butter and milk as a thickener. I often find that too much roux is used and the soup is pasty. So unappealing. Another problem these days is finding broccoli with full stalks. Stores are cutting them off and repurposing them for their deli or salad bar with broccoli slaws. This is a problem for me, because I only use stalks in my soup. I don’t care for the texture of the florets in the soup and I think they give the soup that bitter taste you get when you overcook broccoli.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Farmer’s markets are a great source for whole broccoli, but the season here is short. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful grocer nearby, The Village Market in Wilton CT that accommodates all requests and I can ask for a couple of whole heads. The florets are then steamed for dinner and I might even put a few tiny ones on the soup as a garnish.

Broccoli stalks can be a tad woody and it’s important to trim the ends and pare the outer layer to remove the tough skin.

The recipe calls for a minimal amount of salt. Saltiness of cheese and stock varies and it’s best to have all the ingredients incorporated first and then adjust the salt at the end.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This broccoli Cheddar soup has a silky texture and delicate flavor. It freezes well, so make up a batch or two for future use. I like to use two-cup Mason jars; the perfect serving for one.

Watch the Broccoli Cheddar Soup Video Here.

 

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This broccoli Cheddar soup is super delicious, has a silky texture that hits the spot on any day. Use and extra-sharp cheddar!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 1/2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 8 cups broccoli stalks, pared and chopped (8 stalks, florets removed)
  • 2 cups sliced onion (1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup sliced celery (2 large stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • several dashes of hot sauce, such as Franks or Tabasco
  • Garnish
  • Small broccoli florets, steamed, optional

Instructions

  1. Place broccoli, onion, celery, garlic, salt and stock/water in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes or until the broccoli is soft.
  3. Puree the soups in batches in a blender or food processor or in the saucepan with an immersion blender until smooth.
  4. Pour the pureed soup into another pourable container and wipe out the saucepan.
  5. Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk until smooth.
  6. Slowly pour in the warm soup, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a gentle boil and cook another 2-3 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.
  7. Add the cheese and stir until completely melted.
  8. Shake in the hot sauce to taste; this gives the soup a boost, it doesn’t necessarily need to be spicy hot, but the sauce gives the soup piquancy.
  9. Soup freezes well.

 

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Quick and easy Tuscan kale and bean soup is a hearty vegan recipe. It’s also dairy-free, gluten-free and fits a paleo diet! If you can’t find Tuscan or Lacinto kale, substitute escarole or any other hearty green.

Chop your vegetables small so a few different pieces fit on the spoon at once for best flavor and enjoyment.

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Rinse and drain the kale or greens and coarsely chop.

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Don’t overcook the greens to maintain a vibrant green and slight texture.

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

If you’re family doesn’t favor meatless dishes, simply brown 1 pound of loose sausage in the oil before sweating the aromatics or add 3 cups shredded cooked chicken at the end.

A little grated Asiago cheese makes a delicious garnish.

Watch the Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup Video Here.

 

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Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup

This is a quick and easy soup to make. If you can’t find Tuscan or Lacinto kale, substitute escarole or any other hearty green. If you’re family doesn’t favor meatless dishes, simply brown 1 pound of loose sausage in the oil before sweating the aromatics or add 3 cups shredded cooked chicken at the end. Parmesan cheese on top is optional!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeldd
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 two-cup servings
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups stock or water
  • 1 can (x ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 bunch washed, trimmed and coarsely chopped Tuscan kale, or other hearty green
  • 1 can (19 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • Garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, with a cover, over medium heat.
  2. Note: If you choose to use sausage in the soup cook in the hot oil until browned, using a wooden spoon to break the sausage in to a small crumble.
  3. Stir in the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper; cover and sweat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Lower the heat a little if the vegetables are browning.
  4. Add the stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the beans and kale or other greens, return to a boil, lower the heat and cook another 8 minutes or until the greens are tender, but not soft.
  6. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if you like.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: two cups

 

Creamy Asparagus Chive Soup

Creamy chive and asparagus soup

I was inspired to make this asparagus soup on a return trip from visiting family in Germany. It’s spargel season over there and the German’s are crazy about it. Spargel is German for asparagus, both the green and white varieties. The German’s, however, favor white asparagus over green. Just mention spargel and my niece Rebecca’s eyes light up!

White asparagus is completely covered with soil to keep the sun from creating chloryphyll. The spears are little tougher than their green siblings and require peeling. I don’t quite get the appeal, though, and prefer the green variety.

On the flight home, I ate white asparagus three times. An appetizer of spargel and prawns. Diced white asparagus with a creamy chive dressing and a couple of shrimp. An entrée of dry veal tenderloin with steamed spargel, just plain spears was nothing special. The snack before landing was spargel soup and salad. Again white asparagus in a creamy base with chives. I bet the appetizer sauce and the soup were based on the same recipe, one I’m not recreating here because it was pretty mediocre, but it was plane food after all.

Version 2

This soup inspired me to think about bite-size pieces of asparagus in the soup instead of a puree,  and why not grill the asparagus adding a little char. A Russet potato in the soup base and a little heavy cream create the silky texture and the chives add a nice, mild onion flavor to the soup.

Creamy chive and asparagus soup

In culinary school, I was taught to use white pepper in cream soups. The explanation was no one wanted to see little black specks in their cream soup. White pepper is very and I only use it in a four-peppercorn blend. I like black pepper and the little pieces of peppercorn don’t bother me. Use white peppercorn if you prefer or no pepper at all.

 

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Creamy Asparagus Chive Soup

A delicious Creamy Asparagus Chive Soup using whole pieces of grilled asparagus for color and texture. The chives add color and subtle onion flavor!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large Russet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bunches asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup minced chives

Instructions

Preheat the grill.

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes to soften the vegetables.
  2. Add the potato and stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. This will depend on the size of the potato chunks.
  3. In the meantime, dry the asparagus, drizzle a little olive oil and a sprinkling of salt over the spears and toss to coat well.
  4. Place the spears on the grill and cook, turning once. Depending on the thickness of the spears, this can take 2 minutes or more. The asparagus should still be firm and bright green.
  5. Remove and cut into bite-size pieces on the bias and reserve for the puréed soup.
  6. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender in the saucepan, until smooth.
  7. Add the asparagus, cream and chives to the soup and reheat, if necessary.

Notes

Roast the asparagus in a preheated oven (350 degrees F) until crisp/tender, about 10 minutes for medium asparagus, in lieu of grilling.

 

 

Lemony Chickpea & Spinach Soup

soup

This Lemony Chickpea and Spinach Soup is chockful of vegetables: onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and spinach. The chickpeas offer a little heartiness and the lemon a light, refreshing finish.

To give you an even bigger incentive to make this soup, we’re including an informative and comprehensive article on spinach, a superfood, written by Sujana Marie from Cooking Detective. Check it out.

We’ve come to the end of Lesson 1 and you’ve learned how to mince and dice lots of vegetables. If you’ve been actively following along, you now have the ingredients needed to make our delicious
Lemony Chickpea & Spinach Soup!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free Soup

Watch the soup ideo!

 

 

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free Soup

The soup is gluten free and dairy free (just skip the cheese garnish). This is a great soup to send the kids off to school with and don’t forget to take a thermos along to the office!

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free Soup

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Lemony Chickpea & Spinach Soup

Vegetarian, Gluten-Free Soup

This Lemony Chickpea and Spinach Soup is chockful of vegetables: onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and spinach. The chickpeas offer a little heartiness and the lemon a light, refreshing finish.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: about 2 quarts
  • Category: Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Method: Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups minced onion (1 large onion)
  • 1 cup minced carrots (4 carrots)
  • 1 cup minced celery (4 stalks)
  • red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced cloves of garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cans (x ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ten-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach
  • Garnish
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the onions, carrots, celery, pepper, salt and pepper flakes. Cover and sweat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally; if the onions are browning, lower the heat a bit.
  3. Stir in the garlic and jalapeno and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the stock, chickpeas and spinach, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  6. Garnish each bowl with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional.

Notes

Don’t add the lemon juice during cooking – the flavor cooks away.

 

 

French Onion Soup

soup

In a previous lesson we made caramelized onions That’s the hardest part of this recipe for French Onion Soup. Once the onions are done, the soup comes together in 30 minutes cooking time with only a few ingredients. While the onions are flavorful on their own, the addiition of a little cognac, fresh thyme sprigs and a couple of bay leaves enriches the soup.

soup

Traditional French onion soup uses beef stock. I prefer a roasted veal or roasted chicken stock. The beef is very strong and I find it overwhelms rather than complements the sweetness of the caramelized onions.

soup

Don’t forget to remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves!

Also in a previous lesson we demonstrated how to make cheesy crostini. These top the soup in lieu of the sheet of melted, gooey cheese that my daughter loves. I like the cheese melted on the crostini and then placed on top of the soup. The dry bread soaks up the broth and the broth you get all that goodness in one spoonful.

soup

I put two in each bowl and a plate of extras on the table.

The soup freezes well.

Watch the French Onion Soup video here.

 

 

 

 

 

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French Onion Soup

soup

Traditional French onion soup uses beef stock. I prefer a roasted veal stock or roasted chicken stock. The beef is very strong and I find it overwhelms rather than complements the sweetness of the caramelized onions.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 two-cup servings
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine the onions, stock, cognac, thyme, bay leaves and pepper in a large saucepan and . bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer, just a few little bubbles rising to the surface, and cook for 30 minutes.
  2. Don’t forget to remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves!
  3. Ladle the soup into the bowls and top each with some cheesy crostini.

 

 

Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo

Cajun Cuisine

I was looking for something different to make for dinner the other night and Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo came to mind. I’d never made a gumbo before and did some research. There is a spice mix called Cajun spice mix that I was pretty sure I could find at Fairway. While I was there I picked some petite lobster tails, shrimp, scallops, and sausages.

Any gumbo requires a roux. This is a thickener made of equal amounts by weight of vegetable oil or butter and flour. For this style of Louisiana cooking, a dark roux is preferred for the depth of flavor it brings to the dish. The thickening power is weakened by the long cooking time but that’s easily remedied by adding okra to the pot or sprinkling a little filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree) to each bowl.

Cajun Cuisine

The Roux

There are two ways to make a roux either on the stovetop (30-40 minutes) or in the oven (1 ½ hours). I was in no hurry that afternoon, wanted to do some other things, and opted to make the roux in the oven. The stovetop version requires a little more attention. The oven version you have to stir a couple of times, so I set the timer for 30 minutes twice and gave a quick stir each time.

I diced up lots of aromatics: onions, celery, green and red bell peppers, scallions and garlic for a flavorful base with chicken stock, fire-roasted tomatoes and sausages.

To easily extract the lobster tails, I cut through the underside with kitchen shears before cooking. I wanted the lobster shells in the broth to add flavor and removed them before serving. These went in first for ten minutes followed by the shrimp and scallops and cooked for another 5-6 minutes. Don’t boil or the seafood toughens.

Cajun Cuisine

Mound some rice in a bowl and surround with the gumbo and top with a handful of sliced scallion greens.

 

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Shellfish and Sausage Gumbo

Cajun Cuisine

Don’t skimp on the dark roux – it adds lots of flavor that is typical of a gumbo. Use file powder to thicken the gumbo, let each individual sprinkle over his/her own bowl.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Stews and Braises

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons minced cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix
  • 4 smoked sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) fire-roasted or diced tomatoes
  • 4 petite lobster tails
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 sea scallops
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • GARNISH
  • Sliced scallions

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk the oil and flour together in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring 3 times.
  3. Stir in the onion and salt and sweat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the celery, peppers and scallions to the roux and continuing cooking, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic and Cajun spice mix and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add the sausages, stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. The stew can be made in advance to this point. Thirty minutes before dinner, bring the gumbo back to a boil and then add the lobster tails. Simmer for 12 minutes.
  8. Add the shrimp and scallops and continue cooking on low for 5-6 minutes.
  9. Serve over rice and garnish with scallions.

Notes

Don’t boil the gumbo after adding the shellfish; it gets very tough.

 

 

Carrot Dill Soup

I’m starting the New Year with a recipe for Carrot Dill Soup. It’s light, gluten free and substitute oil for butter to make it dairy-free.

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I prefer fresh carrots with the stems still attached as opposed to bagged carrots. They have a sweeter taste than the whole carrots on a bag and those little mini carrots I use for dog treats because more often than not they have an off flavor, which the dog seems to prefer. Use either fresh or dried dill, I’ve provided measurements for both.

The soup is great for lunch in a mug or as a simple starter for dinner. It whips up in no time and freezes well.

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The holidays are over and it’s been hectic from Thanksgiving through this week with the shopping, cooking, wrapping presents, cooking, decorating the house, cooking and more cooking and finally pulling everything back together again. It was our first Christmas with my parent’s staying home in Rochester. We managed better (emotionally) than I expected, but we missed them.

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The decorations always come down right after Christmas. I follow my mother’s rule – never bring in the New Year with last year’s Christmas tree. We used to have a contest years ago with our neighbors across the street. The first one who got the tree down on 12/26 threw it on the other’s lawn. One year my next door neighbor asked if there was a problem between us, she had seen Eric throw our tree on the Babbitt’s lawn!

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Company is gone, laundry is caught up and I’ve begun to get ready for 2016. I cleared out all the 2015 financial files and set them up for 2016 and did the 2016 budget. The tax file is set up and awaiting all those forms and schedules that will arrive in the mail shortly. Ugh!!!

This is the time of year I like to tackle the kitchen cupboards. I managed to get them all emptied out, washed and in some cases rearranged. Strange things happen, though and I can’t find some tools. In particular, my bench scraper and that little flat rubber for opening jars are missing. I know they’re not here, because I’ve been through every cupboard and drawer! A trip to Bed Bath and Beyond is in order, along with a trip to K-Mart to stock up on paper goods and cleaning supplies – another Ugh!!!

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Even the miscellaneous/junk drawer looks good!

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Things are organized and I’m ready to get back to my normal routine. Claire came back up again this week for a few days . She starts a new job Tuesday and will get busy again, so it was lovely to have that one-on-one time with her – just Mom and her oldest baby hanging together!

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year – Happy 2016!

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Carrot Dill Soup

This is a light soup that’s gluten free and/or dairy free/fat free (omit the butter or oil). It whips up in no time and freezes well.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 pounds peeled carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or water
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dried dill

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic; cover and sweet for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, stock/water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat a bit to a gentle boil. Continue cooking until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes; the smaller the pieces the shorter the cooking time.
  3. Let the soup cool a bit; then puree in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth.
  4. Stir in the dill and adjust seasoning as needed.
  5. Freezes well.

 

 

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

I always have pint jars of chicken noodle soup in the freezer. With the arrival of fall, soup is one of my favorite lunchtime meals and Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup is my all-time favorite.

Sometimes, I don’t have the time to roast a chicken, but I want to replenish my supply as quickly as possible. That supply dwindles even quicker when the girls come home to visit; they “steal” my soup! They also “steal” the TP. Sometimes I think they come to visit just to wash their clothes and shop in the pantry and in the cleaning supplies in the basement. Just kidding ☺ (maybe….)

My quick and easy method to restock the freezer is to pick up a store-made rotisserie-roasted chicken. Every store has them these days and in general, they are all delicious.

Take the cover off the roast chicken when you get home to let it cool a little while you prep the stock.

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Whenever we have a whole chicken I freeze the carcass for soup. I happen to have three in the freezer plus the one I just purchased.

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Pull the meat off the chicken and place the bones in the pot with the frozen ones. Substitute a couple of pounds of chicken wings in lieu of the bones.

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Make sure to use the bones!

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Quarter up a couple of onions, chunk up three celery stalks and three carrots, add a few sprigs of parsley and a half dozen peppercorns. Cover this with cold water and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue cooking for a couple of hours, occasionally skimming any foam from the top of the broth.

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Thinly slice four celery stalks and four carrots. Cut the chicken meat into bite-size pieces; you should get about five or six cups.

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Strain the chicken stock through a sieve into a clean pot in batches and be sure to press down on the chicken and vegetables to get all the juices.

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

If you have used frozen pre-cooked chicken bones, residual salt may have flavored the stock. Give a quick taste to check before using the recommended amount in the recipe. If you have used chicken wings, you can cool and refrigerate the stock overnight to defat in the morning before continuing with the recipe.

Add the celery and carrots to the stock and bring to a gentle boil and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken and the noodles and cook until the noodles are done (check package instructions for timing). I prefer the yolkless noodles; they don’t get as soft as an egg noodle.

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

I like my soup on the drier side, lots of noodles and less broth. If you like a brothy soup (lots of liquid) cook the noodles separately in salted water and then add to the stock. They will absorb only a modest amount of the stock.

Freeze in pint-size jars.

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Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

If you have used frozen chicken, residual salt may have flavored the stock. Give a quick taste to check before using the recommended amount in the recipe.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 55 mins
  • Yield: 3 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie-roasted chicken or oven-roasted chicken, meat removed
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 3-4 chicken carcasses or 2 1/2 pounds of fresh chicken wings
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots, in coins (four carrots)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced celery (four celery stalks)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups diced roast chicken meat
  • 1 pound package of yolk-free egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Let the roasted chicken cool slightly and then pull the meat off the bones.
  2. Place the chicken bones, onions, celery, carrots, parsley and peppercorns in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue cooking for a couple of hours, occasionally skimming any foam from the top of the broth.
  3. Strain the chicken stock through a sieve into a clean pot in batches and be sure to press down on the chicken and vegetables to get all the juices.
  4. Add the carrots, celery, salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the chicken and the noodles, return to a gentle boil and continue cooking according to the timing on the noodle package.
  6. Stir in the parsley.

 

Gazpacho

The summer provides an abundance of vibrant, fresh, ripe vegetables and this is the perfect time of year to make gazpacho. Have it for lunch and/or dinner or take a thermos filled to the brim for a picnic or
as a refreshing pick-me up on a bike ride or hike.

Gazpacho is a cold Spanish soup that originated in the southern region of Andalusia. The primary ingredient is ripe red tomatoes. The most common additions include bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic, onion, olive oil, Sherry wine vinegar, salt and pepper. The traditional Gazpacho Andaluz contains bread soaked in water and pureed with the rest of the vegetables, which makes the soup thicker and heartier. The soup can be pureed to a smooth texture and further refined by using a food mill to remove any remaining skins or seeds or less processed for a chunkier texture.

Cold Tomato Soup

Puree these ingredients.

I tried a few variations on the texture before I was satisfied. My first go round I not only peeled the tomatoes but seeded them as well. I have to admit to have feelings of guilt as the luscious red pulp that surrounds the seeds went to waste. I also pureed all the vegetables. I think losing the pulp made the soup less flavorful and I wished for more texture in the soup.

I finally settled on pureeing all the tomatoes with one half of the bell peppers, red onion and cucumber and all of the jalapeño and garlic. Do this step in batches, using one-third of the tomatoes and vegetables each time, the juice from the tomatoes helps get an even puree.

Cold tomato soup

Vegetables on the right are pureed with the tomatoes in batches. The vegetables on the left, pulse to chop into small pieces.

The remaining bell peppers and red onion I pulsed last to chop them into small pieces. I left the cucumber out fearing it would turn to mush and diced it by hand. I used Kirby cucumbers from the farmers market, which were small, sweet and had small, fine seeds. If you use a cuke with large seeds, scoop them out before dicing, they’re bitter.

Cold Tomato Soup

Diced cucumber.

Serve the soup well chilled and choose from a variety of possible garnishes: croutons, minced vegetables, avocado chunks, cooked shrimp, cilantro or pesto oil.

 

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Gazpacho

Try this quick and easy recipe for gazpacho, a cold tomato vegetable soup that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 quarts
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 cups tomatoes, peeled and chunked (4 pounds)
  • 1 cup 1-inch chunks of cucumber, (about 2 small Kirby cucumbers)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion, chopped (1/2 small onion)
  • 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 pepper)
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno (1 small)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cloves of garlic, (2 large)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion, chopped (1/4 small onion)
  • 1/3 cup yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 pepper)
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (1/2 pepper)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons, plus one teaspoon Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Puree the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, bell peppers, jalapeño and garlic in batches using one-third of the ingredients for each batch. Pour into a pitcher or serving bowl.
  2. Pulse the onion and bell peppers until coarsely chopped. Add to the soup.
  3. Stir in the oil, cilantro, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Notes

Serve the soup well chilled and choose from a variety of possible garnishes: croutons, minced vegetables, avocado chunks, cooked shrimp, cilantro or pesto oil.