Kate Flora: February seems to be a bit of a muddle for me. I’m working on lots of little projects, nursing an endless cold, and gearing up for more serious writing in March. I’ve also been a bit muddled about writing a blog post. I’ve started several versions and nothing seems to take off. So as I was hunched over a bowl of homemade soup, reading about forensic anthropology, I realized that maybe soup was the answer. Who among us does not find comfort in a steaming bowl of homemade soup when the world is icy and the words won’t come?
So here are a few of my favorites, both old and new.
The soup I was eating when inspiration hit was from this week’s New York Times by Jeff Gordinier:
1 can cannelloni or other white beans, drained (I used 1 can beans and 1 can chick peas) & 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped Stir 2 mins.
Stir in 1 14 oz. can tomatoes (I used Trader Joes Fire Roasted ) and 7 c. of vegetable stock (I used less) & simmer 20 minutes.
Add 1/3 c. quinoa, 1/4 c. chopped parsley and 1 T. oregano, thyme or rosemary, to taste, plus salt. (I added a couple handfuls of spinach) Cook 12-15 minutes. I served this sprinkled with shredded parmesan cheese.
This is my go-to soup when I need a starter in a hurry
Helgard‘s Curried Pea Soup
1 pkg. frozen peas
1 med. onion
1 celery stalk with leaves
1 med. potato
2 t. curry
2 c. chicken broth.
Toss onions, carrot, potato and celery in pot with curry & broth. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add peas and cook until tender, then run through blender (I use a hand blender) and add 1 c. light cream. Top with cilantro or chives.
In earlier years, I used to do a newsletter for my Thea Kozak series, featuring what I called Thea’s “Quick and Dirty” recipes. This is one of Thea’s soups:
Pour 1 c. warm water over 1/2 c. dried shiitake mushrooms. Set aside
In saucepan, combine:
1 can beef broth or chicken stock
1/2 pound chopped lean beef or a chopped chicken breast
1-2 T. sesame oil
1-2 T. Balsamic vinegar.
Simmer 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid, and chop.
Add liquid and mushrooms to soup. Simmer 20 minutes until mushrooms and meat are tender. Chop 1/2 bunch of kale, add, and simmer 15 minutes longer, or until kale is tender. Taste. Add salt, pepper, and additional vinegar and/or sesame oil to taste.
Why is this called Power Soup? Because Thea knows that the cop on the job often doesn’t eat very well, and so, like many women, works at sneaking healthy food into her guy’s life. This simple soup is an excellent way to use up left-over steak or chicken. Kale has been rated #1 among veggies by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Shiitake mushrooms are considered by the Chinese to be a superior medicine.
For a vegetarian version, substitute vegetable stock and tofu.
And here’s a super-fancy one for New Year’s Eve
Salamander Smoked Fish, Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder
2. T. canola oil
1 Spanish onion, diced
1 T. minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t. cracked coriander seed
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 4-0z can coconut milk
1 3/4 c. liquid–fish stock, clam juice, chicken stock or water
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen corn
2 c. diced, peeled sweet potatoes
3/4 pound smoked fish, such as haddock, bluefish or mussels
salt and pepper.
chopped cilantro and scallions for garnish
Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion, ginger and garlic and sauté about 4 minutes. Stir in coriander, wine, coconut milk, and liquid. Cover and bring to a simmer. Stir in the corn and sweet potatoes, and cook about 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Add fish and cook until it is just heated through. salt and pepper to taste.