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Posts Tagged ‘Soup’

Inspired by the changing autumn colours, the crisp morning bike rides through the streets of Ottawa, and the bountiful harvest, I sometimes feel like I cannot satisfy my desire to cook at this time of year. There are so many things I’d like to make!

This soup is inspired from rebar, a fantastic cookbook Catherine has already talked about. What I love about this soup is the tangy, rich and spicy flavour, in the form of a light soup. It is simply delicious!IMG_20151004_200842

Ingredients – 6 servings

-1 1/2 lb tomatillos, de-husked and washed
-1 hot chili of your taste (jalapeno or other), diced. You can remove or keep the seeds depending on how spicy you want it
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-4 garlic cloves, minced, and divided in 1/4 and 3/4
-1/2 tsp salt and pepper

-6 cups vegetable stock, kept hot while preparing the rest
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-1 red pepper, diced
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp salt
-2 cups corn kernels
-1 small zucchini, chopped
-1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
-1/2 lime, juiced

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the tomatillos in half and place in a bowl with the olive oil, the chili and 1/4 of the garlic. Toss with salt and pepper and then place in a large enough baking dish that they can all be roasted without being piled up. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes until they are browned and roasted. Cut in quarters and set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer, with the corn kernels.

In a large soup pot with a lid, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion until it softens. Add the red pepper, the garlic, coriander, salt, and sauté for a further 3 minutes before adding the zucchini. Once the zucchini is in add the minced cilantro and stir, until the veggies are soft and the garlic is fragrant. Add the stock and lime juice and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, then add the roasted tomatillo mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Add cilantro leaves for garnish. This is a delicious tangy soup you can have as a full meal with fresh corn bread or as a first course in a bold autumn feast!

-Sitelle

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Kuri squash soup

A well-prepared soup always pleases guests. On top of this, many soups are very easy to make, and once you have one simmering away as your guests arrive, you can easily finish assembling the rest of the meal without worrying about it. Soup is, in my mind, a perfect entrée that sets the mood for a nice evening meal (entrée translates to “opening/entrance of the meal”, contrary to the “entrees” which have become the main course name on English menues).

Here, I am sharing the recipe for a soup I had the pleasure of making not only for Catherine, but also for her parents, when we had a dinner party last weekend. Despite our busy schedules both as clinical clerks living in 2 different cities, we managed to cook a very fine meal which we’re both excited to share.

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Ingredients – 6 servings

  • 1 kuri squash (aka hubbard squash), sliced in half and seeds removed
    • 2 sprigs rosemary
    • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 leek, light part only, washed and diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable broth of your liking
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 small dollops crème fraiche
  • 100g pecan halves
  • 1/2 package fresh sage leaves
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Directions

Heat the oven to 375F and place the squash prepared with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a sprig of rosemary in each on a baking dish.  Roast for 40 minutes approximately. This can be done even the day before you make your soup

To make the soup: prepare the leek, and heat 1 Tbsp of butter in a large soup pot with a lid over medium heat. Once the butter is bubbly, add the leek, and cook, stirring occasionally and otherwise keeping the lid on until leeks become soft. Add a little more butter if necessary if they begin to brown too fast before softening.

Once the squash is roasted, slice it and cut off the peel as much as possible (a little that remains is fine and will just increase the fibre content!). Add the squash to the leek mixture, and stir. Over this sprinkle your nutmeg, pepper, bay leaves, and a few pinches of salt.

Add the stock and bring to a slow boil, covered. Once it is boiling, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes, leaving off the lid for the final 5-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, and then blend the soup in a blender or with a hand blender, until fully smooth.

When you are almost ready to serve the soup, heat the pecans in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat, and toast carefully so they brown but don’t burn.  Coarsely chop the sage in the meantime, and when the pecans are almost ready, melt the other 1 Tbsp of butter in with them, and add the sage for 1-2 minutes once the butter is bubbly, just long enough for it to crisp up a bit and to flavour the butter.

Serve the soup with a dollop of crème fraiche and a spoonful of the pecan-sage-butter topping in each bowl.

Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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As a child, my mom would often open a can of Campbell’s Tomato soup for lunch.  Served with a toasted cheesie, there was nothing quite so quick and appealing for lunch.  While I have long found canned soup to be overly salty, I still often find myself craving a warm bowl of tomato soup.  My dilemma has been finding the right tomato soup – I haven’t been overly impressed by the soups either canned, jarred, or boxed on offer at the grocery store.

My roommate recently shared a secret with me: making homemade tomato soup is easy.  Her secret is using a jar of canned soup to add a touch of sweetness to this super simple yet delicious soup.  Since she shared the recipe, I’ve made it a few times and it’s never taken me more than 20 minutes.   And it’s super easy to build on: for a creamy rendition, simply stir in some cream or to give it a little zing, stir in some pesto.

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper
 
 

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

(serves ~4 large bowls)

 

Ingredients

1 onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 28 oz can of diced or whole tomatoes, drained

1 jar of roasted red peppers

750 mL of chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

(Optional add ins: herbes de provance, cream, pesto, grated cheddar cheese)

 

Directions

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Mix in the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and broth.  Bring all soup ingredients to a boil, and allow to simmer for ~10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the stove and allow to cool slightly.  Blend with a hand-held food processor or in a blender until smooth.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. It’s great as is, or considering topping of the soup with some of your favourite finishers: handful of chopped fresh herbs, a little cream, some grated cheese, or a piece of toast.
 
Bon appetit!

– Catherine

 

 

 

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If you’re looking to find some warm colours and comforting flavours on this Ontario Election Day, look no farther than this simple farmhouse vegetable stew! This recipe created itself from the remaining vegetables in my CSA box this week, and I’ve already put it into jars as I’m looking forward to sharing some with someone this weekend!

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Ingredients – for 6 portions

1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 turnip, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 acorn squash, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp flour
4 cups vegetable stock, hot
1/2 cut hot milk
Grated parmesan, for garnish

Directions

Dice the onion, and then sauté over medium heat in the olive oil in a stockpot. Once the onion is soft, add the remaining vegetables and cook  and stir for 5 minutes or so, until fragrant. Sprinkle the flour onto the veggies and stir to coat.

Add the hot vegetable stock and hot milk, and bring to a simmer. Allow the whole soup to simmer on low for 45 or so minutes, with the lid partially on to prevent too much evaporation.

Serve hot with grated parmesan and crusty bread!

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With probably almost 1.5 m of snow or more outside, it’s really hard to imagine that winter is more than a month away. The Christmas decorations are already up (and their light is welcome on the dark days). We even saw a Santaclaus parade last weekend in Yellowknife. Needless to say it’s already necessary to have warm and hearty soups cooked on the weekend so that we can come home after work and warm up with a bowl of it.

On Sundays in Hay River we have a winter market where people sell beadwork and baked goods, and where we can have what is by far the loveliest meal out in town at the “Real Food Cafe”. The wonderful woman in charge of that initiative cooks fresh fish caught by her husband, and serves it up with delicious soup, bannock, locally grown leafy greens (there must be a greenhouse somewhere!), coleslaw, homemade pickle, and a variety of jams made with berries I’ve never seen and sometimes never even heard of. It is absolutely lovely. There is also a vendor selling locally grown squash, potatoes, carrots, beets, and other root veggies, and she sells fresh eggs if her hens have produced enough. It’s a great event to look forward to each week. I imagine that until the stocks let up I will be posting many winter inspired dishes cooked up with vegetables from this very market.

This soup – a rustic squash soup with roasted garlic – is an absolute delight. We don’t have a blender or anything to make a puree with, but roasting all veggies in advance and then cooking it slowly until dinner results in a thick, rustic, and hearty soup. It’s delicious as is, and there is no need to puree it unless you want extremely even texture!

 

Ingredients – approximately 6 servings

1 medium butternut squash; washed, quartered, cored, drizzled in olive oil and roasted in the oven at 400F for 1 hour

1 head of garlic, top sliced off, wrapped in tin foil, and baked along with squash for same duration

2 medium onions, finely diced

1 carrot, finely diced

1 Tbsp butter or oil

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (home-made is delicious but not mandatory)

1/2 tsp salt

pinch nutmeg

pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Wash, quarter, and core the squash. Place in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with olive oil. Slice the top off the garlic and wrap the garlic in tinfoil. Place in oven with the squash. Bake for 1 hour until roasted golden and garlic is soft.

Dice the onions. Melt the butter in a large heavy pot with a lid. When hot, add the onions and stir. Reduce heat after a minute or two and allow the onions to brown slowly. When the onions are almost done, add the carrot, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the squash from the oven and scoop into the carrot-onion mixture. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and into the pot as well. Stir everything together. Pour in the broth and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can use a potato masher if the squash maintains its shape but I found it quickly mixed into the broth.

Enjoy with a sprinkle of green onions and a hot slice of bread!

-Sitelle

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Last Saturday I took advantage of passing through Kensington Market in Toronto and picked up some fresh whole jackfish. “Do you want me to clean those fish?” the fishmonger asked me. Stunned, I took a second to reply. “Why, of course, that would be really nice” I ended up saying, while I smiled inwardly realizing how I have no problem doing so myself, but enjoyed having someone offer to help. I had sent scales flying on more than one occasion in Gambia, and I’m not squeamish. I’m not going to turn down the help though!

It’s kind of funny and ironic: some of my most common culture-shock has surrounded food (perhaps I should call it food-shock). Although I definitely felt it when I arrived in Gambia (I would have given almost anything for vegetables, fruit and sweets at first, and then it was low-oil cooking,  and finally it became meat and dairy), the real surprise has been feeling reverse food-shock as I readjust to Canadian life. I wake up craving fish, I don’t feel full unless I eat rice, and I eat as if 10 people were competing with me for my food at each meal- meaning I eat a mile a minute. Mind you I am definitely enjoying my veggies again.

This recipe is one I was delighted to discover: its spiciness I couldn’t resist on a hot, hot day, and I was forever grateful for its lack of oil.

For me on a hot steamy day there’s nothing better than a spicy but light at the same time meal.

Ingredients – 4 servings

4 jackfish or other small-ish fish, gutted, cleaned, spines removed, with slashes in their sides (jackfish have spines on the sides also)

1 red onion, finely sliced

1/2 sweet red pepper, minced into tiny pieces

1 tomato, seeds removed, pounded or crushed

2 cloves garlic, germs removed

1 jalapeno, seeds removed (medium hot), or half a scotch-bonnet, seeds removed (extremely hot)

1 cube vegetable bouillon

1 tsp whole peppercorns

salt to taste

1 1/2 cups water approximately

juice from 1/2 lemon

Fresh baguette

Directions

Clean and wash the fish. Slice the onions. Place water in a pan, add the onions, and increase heat to medium-high until it boils. Meanwhile, clean the garlic, and pound the garlic, peppercorns, hot pepper, and bouillon until they are a smooth paste.

When the water boils, dissolve the seasoning mixture into the water, and add salt to taste. Add the red pepper and tomato and stir, letting the mixture simmer, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the fish and lemon juice and poach the fish in the soup, for approximately 4-5 minutes per side.

Serve with fresh baguette in a deep plate. You can sprinkle finely chopped parsley on it if you’re feeling creative!

-Sitelle

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I love leeks.  They have such a delicate flavour, with delicious nutty undertones.  Versatile, they are the perfect substitute for onions in any risotto or soup.  Leeks are often overpriced in the winter, but the Halifax market is currently overflowing with this vegetable, so I have been taking full advantage of their presence!

Vichysoisse is one of my go -to soups.  Ready in less than half an hour, this soup is lovely served either hot or cold. With a piece of crusty bread, it makes for a rusting meal. While purists may recommend serving it chilled, I also love this soup hot. Its flavour is subtle, but comforting.  The secret is to use flavourful broth (homemade is best – although if you buy yours in-store, I recommend spending the extra 50¢ to upgrade from a can to a box) and fresh leeks.

My largest recommendation?  Do not get impatient with your blender.  I may have tried to velouté too large a batch, only to end up with my blender and the hot soup exploding on me.  There are smudges of vichysoisse on my kitchen ceiling to prove it!

 

Vichysoisse

(serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1 bunch leeks, dark green segments discarded and the rest coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

About ½ teaspoon salt

Broth (about 3 cups)

Pepper to taste

Cream (about ½ cup) – Both liquid or sour cream work well here

Chives or green onions for garnish, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

Sauté the leeks and garlic in the butter until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaf, and salt, and bring the soup to a boil.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes and leeks are cooked through.  Allow to cool slightly.

Blend the soup in batches in a food processor until smooth.  Return to the stove and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cream.  Serve either hot or chilled, garnished with chives or green onions.  Delicious with a crusty slice of bread.

Bon appétit!

–       Catherine

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I’m sure many people are thinking, what in the world are sunchokes?  They’re also called Jerusalem artichokes.  Still doesn’t ring a bell?  That’s because they’re a little-known tuber.  My guess is they’re going to be making their come-back, because they store high amounts of inulin, a prebiotic that the market is becoming quite enamoured with these days.  They’re also beautiful flowering garden plants, although if left to their own devices they can become nuisances because they are quite hardy and can be difficult to get rid of.  They are in the sunflower family, and are, contrary to their names, not related to artichokes at all, aside from the fact they both contain high amounts of inulin. That said, when roasted or in soup, they do taste quite similar to artichokes and are a real treat. They can be found in many places in Canada – even the Don Valley Brickworks in Toronto!

My favourite vegetable and fruit market in Kensington Market has had these in stock for the last month or so, and I’ve been dying to try making this soup from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table (p 76).  Finally, everything aligned itself tonight, allowing me to have a delicious warm soup with buttery bread while I write my end of semester essays.

Ingredients – 4 servings

The Soup

-2 Tbsp butter
-1 leek, white and light green parts, washed and finely chopped
-1 onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
-1 celery stalk, finely sliced
-1 lb sunchokes, washed and peeled (if you want – they’re fine unpeeled but just make sure to wash them well)
-3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken) + 1 cup water
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 dollop of crême fraiche or sour cream per bowl (optional)

The parsley coulis

-1 cup packed parsley leaves, washed
-2-3 Tbsp olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Chop up the leek, onion, garlic, and celery.  Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed large pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped veggies, and stir until they are coated in butter.  Let them melt for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and reducing the heat to medium-low so that they do not brown. Meanwhile, wash the sunchokes and peel them if you want to.  Dice them into coarse 1/2-1 inch cubes.  Throw them into the pot with the leek and onion mixture, and stir to coat them.  Cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point, begin making the coulis.  To make this, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil while trimming the leaves and washing them.  Prepare a bowl of ice water and a strainer.  Blanch the parsley for 30 seconds in the boiling water, and then strain and immediately place them in the ice water for another 30 or so seconds. This makes them a vivid green. Place them in a food processor/mortar and pestle/hand blender with the oil and salt and pepper, and whirl away until you have a green, green paste.

Now, add the stock and the water to the soup.  Add a little more liquid if you want to leave it uncovered.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.

When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls, and swirl in a spoonful of parsley and cream.

-Sitelle

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Today, this soup basically created itself from a craving in my kitchen.  It was so good. After though, wanting to share the deliciousness, I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a name for it.  In the end I chose “Alphabet Soup” not because of the alphabet noodles I did include (they were the only soup-able noodles I had in my pantry), but because I’m pretty sure that aside from “D”, this soup includes all of the vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats that are required for optimal nutrition.  The perfect meal. In retrospect, I could also call it “Rainbow Soup”.  My favorite nutritional rule of thumb: the more colours, the better.  I frequently get asked nutritional advice, given my undergrad in nutritional sciences.  That’s my best response.

The soup simmered all afternoon, the aromas teasing us all the while.  It was created from a craving I had, and was inspired by several recent experiences.

For the last 6-8 months I have been so fortunate as to be involved in launching a community kitchen in Toronto, Cuisine Partage, with a most lovely group of people at the Centre Francophone (I should probably install a translating widget onto the blog to make it more accessible…).   Every week at Cuisine Partage, we got together for 4 hours or so to shop, cook, and eat together, in an effort to increase food security (and dare I say nutritional security) for francophones living on social assistance in Toronto.  I am sad that the pilot project has already ended, and I hope that this wonderful program can continue long into the future.  This recipe is a testament to the deliciousness that can be created on-the-spot, with people from all the world over.  One of the participants had a favorite secret ingredient, and it is definitely included here: nutmeg. We got a Good Food Box from FoodShare one week, and ended up with kale, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and tomatoes, among others.  Stew it was!

The other inspiration for this recipe was my recent adventure in Belize – the importance of flavour, and lots of it!  This was achieved by cooking the meat (or beans, for vegetarians) with cilantro and parsley at the onset, and then adding entire bunches of it near the end as well.  I hope you will enjoy this soup as much as we did.

Ingredients – 1 large pot of soup

-4 cloves garlic, minced, and separated into two portions
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion (I like to use purple ones here, but any is fine)
-1 lb extra lean ground beef (meat option) or 1 can (or 1 cup soaked overnight) navy beans
-1 bunch flat leaf parsley
-1 bunch cilantro
-10 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
-2 bay leaves
-3 ripe tomatoes, diced (I used 1 can of diced tomatoes here instead as I don’t like winter/spring red mushy things in the grocery store)
-4 carrots, chopped into half-moons
-1 orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and diced
-1 potato (I like yukon gold), peeled and diced
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
-1/4 of a purple cabbage, chopped dice-size pieces, and rinced (if you do it in a bowl the blue water ensuing is amazing!)
-1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
-2/3 cup alphabet noodles or 1 cup macaroni (uncooked)
-3 cups vegetable broth (or you can make it using bouillon)
-more water, depending on volume of pot
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add 1/2 the garlic.  Stir for 1 minute, and then add the meat and a handful of chopped cilantro and parsley.  If you are making the vegetarian version, I like to do the same with the beans as it gives a really nice flavour.  Brown the meat/beans, and remove any fat once it is cooked (this is really important as you want the broth to be clear).  Add the onion once the excess fat has been removed, and stir.  Add the bay leaves, rest of the garlic, thyme sprigs and the tomato.  Cover everything with water (but no more than covering), and bring to a boil.  Add the carrots/potato/sweet potato, the nutmeg, cayenne and the bouillon.  Let simmer for at least 1 hour, skimming the bubbles and residues from the top using a large spoon.  The more you do this, the more delicious it will be.  Replenish any lost liquids so that the veggies are always covered.  Around 20 minutes before eating, add the noodles and cabbage.  Add more water if there is not enough to cover everything.  Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning.  About 5 minutes before eating, add the chopped kale and the remainder of the chopped parsley and cilantro.  Stir well to distribute the veggies evenly.  Enjoy with a few pieces of crusty bread, or alone, as this soup is a meal in and of itself!  Although I am usually a “puréed soup” person, this is absolutely one of my favorites.  I hope you will like it too.

-Sitelle

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Broccoli and spinach are a surprisingly complementary combo

Cream of broccoli and spinach soup is the inspiration of children’s nightmares.  Even in most cafeterias, you tend to end up with more cream than vegetables, thickened excessively with flour and way too salty.  Flipping through rebar, I came across this recipe and was immediately dubious.  Who is crazy enough to venture into making cream of broccoli and spinach soup?  Deciding that rebar is an excellent cookbook, against my better instinct, I decided to attempt the soup.

May I pronounce that this soup has remedied all reserve I had about cream of broccoli and spinach soup?  Light and packed with flavour, it was truly hard to put my spoon down. The trick is to not overcook the vegetables and to be light-handed on the cream: I substituted milk, and it was just perfect. On its own, this soup is tasty; adding a swirl of pesto (a rebar recommendation) brought the soup to a whole new level of deliciousness!

Cream of Broccoli and Spinach Soup

(6 servings)

Ingredients:

6 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon thyme

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon red chile flakes

1 large potato, peeled and diced

4 broccoli stalks and florets, chopped

½ pound baby spinach

1 cup milk/cream

½ teaspoon cracked pepper

Garnish with almond-Romano parsley pesto

https://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/almond-romano-parsley-pesto/

Directions:

In a large saucepan, sauté oil, onion, garlic, and thyme until onions are transluscent.  Stir in salt, chile flakes, potato, and broccoli and cook until tender.  Add stock to vegetables and bring to a boil; allow to simmer, partially covered until the broccoli and potatoes are tenders, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in spinach.  Once the spinach is wilted, puree the soup until smooth.  Reheat the puree, add the milk, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Delicious on its own, or swirl in a few teaspoons of almond-Romano parsley pesto.

–       Catherine

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