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Category Archives: Soup

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

One would think I should have posted this recipe after Thanksgiving. Sadly, Santa left an unwanted gift for me this year in the form of a stubborn cold. I could eat soup all year long but I especially crave it when I’m not feeling good. I decided to recreate this tasty “soup du jour” from a recent dining-out experience I had while said cold was just starting to incubate. This recipe could easily be made with chicken and chicken stock. However, because I did cook two birds on Thanksgiving and have packages of leftovers and gallons of broth in the freezer, I used turkey instead. Being lactose intolerant, I’m not normally a huge fan of cream soups because they are usually laden with lots of dairy (duh), extra fat and questionable thickeners. In this case, the soup is thickened a bit with flour and then finished off with a touch of sour cream to give it a creamy texture.

The original recipe called for instant rice. I had a bag of Lundberg brand wild and whole grain brown rice blend in my cupboard (purchased at Sprouts) so I opted to cook it separately in a rice cooker. I started the rice first, estimating that by the time I chopped the veggies and sauteed them, the rice would be ready to add to the pot. I wasn’t that far off, actually.

I also subbed dried, and reconstituted, porcini mushrooms only because I was fresh out of fresh mushrooms and didn’t want to make a trip to the store. On a side note, I purchased a huge bag of dried mushrooms at one of those membership-only big box stores years ago. The bag lasts forever (I actually had one bag for an entire decade…but I didn’t cook as much then) in the pantry and allows me to keep a supply on hand for any mushroom-related emergencies that may come up, like today.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions or shallots
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 3 cups (roughly 12 ounces) shredded chicken or turkey
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Directions:

  1. If using wild rice blend, begin cooking it separately according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stock pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly until the flour is entirely incorporated.
  3. SLOWLY add the broth one quarter cup at a time. Thoroughly mix each quarter cup of broth into the veggies until a paste forms. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any bits that might have stuck. Once you have a nice consistency in the bottom of the pan, pour in the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about five minutes.
  4. Add rice, meat and sour cream. Stir to combine. Adjust cooking time based on what kind of rice you are using (5 to 7 minutes for instant; 15 to 20 minutes for white rice). If rice has been pre-cooked, just gently heat through.

Serves four

Nutrition per serving (approximate)

354 calories; 9 g fat; 87 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 36 g protein;3 g fiber; 378 mg sodium; 577 mg potassium.

Adapted from: Eating Well

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Brown rice, Chicken, Low fat, One pot cooking, Soup, Turkey

 

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Country-Style Shrimp Gumbo (Makes its own roux)!

Serve gumbo over white rice

Is it too soon for another gumbo recipe? I hope not because my freezer is full of cooked shrimp and the last of the post-Thanksgiving turkey gumbo is long gone. Sniff, sniff!

One of the most intimidating steps in the gumbo making process is the roux. Not only is it tricky if you haven’t done it before; the addition of extra flour and oil ups the calorie count. In my humble opinion, I have perfected an easier and healthier way to make gumbo.

I can’t take all the credit. Rumor has it the original chicken and sausage roux-less recipe, which was given to me by a co-worker when I lived in New Orleans, comes straight from the kitchen of Christian’s restaurant in Mid-City. I don’t know if that is actually true but I will put my version of gumbo up against any you can find in the Big Easy with confidence.

Despite the number of ingredients and the cook time (most of which is unattended), this is pretty much an easy and fool proof version of the original recipe (especially if you stick to frozen okra…see Kat’s Tip below).

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 quarts water (or chicken broth)
  • 1/4 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 to one pound andouille or smoked sausage, diced
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 bell pepper, any color
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen okra, chopped (see footnote)
  • 1 can small can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Zataran’s liquid shrimp/crab boil*
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Boil shrimp skins/tails to make stock

The day before (optional):

Peel the shells and tails off the shrimp. Place the shells in a large pot and cover with 3 quarts warm water. Bring to boil over medium high heat. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer (don’t let them come to a boil) the shells for about 45 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Strain the stock through a fine strainer and then discard the shells.

This step is totally optional. You could easily substitute chicken or vegetable broth with ease.

The day of:

Chop the bacon and sauté in a non-stick pan over medium heat until the bacon is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Add the sausage to the bacon grease and sauté until slightly browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, retaining the bacon grease.

Chop vegetables and sauté in the bacon grease until the onions are soft (about 5-10 minutes). Add okra and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until slime is gone being careful not to let the mixture burn (about an hour for fresh okra or 10-15 minutes for frozen and then thawed okra)

This is the basis for the roux

Sprinkle flour evenly over vegetables and stir until flour disappears. Add tomato sauce (see above). Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Transfer the mixture to large stock pot and slowly add 6 cups of shrimp stock or water. Cook 30 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes, 8 cups of stock or water, the bacon, the sausage and the seasonings. Simmer on medium heat for one hour.

Add shrimp. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes over low heat until the shrimp turn pink. Stir often to avoid burning the bottom.

Garnish with parsley. Add salt, pepper and additional seasonings to taste. Serve over rice.

Serves 12

Kat’s tip:

Fresh okra can be quite messy and a pain to cook. I sometimes throw it in a food processor to chop it up. I’ve contemplated microwaving it to speed up the process and cut down on the mess. Frozen okra (just as good in my opinion) also works, takes less time to cook and is less sticky.

Kat’s second tip:

I recently bought a small bottle of Zataran’s Liquid Shrimp & Crab Boil at WalMart. If you can find it, this is a secret ingredient that will turn your shrimp gumbo from marvelous to out of this world. Up until now I had never seen it outside of the South.

Nutritional Value (not including rice):

Calories 215.7  Total Fat 8.5 g  Cholesterol 161.5 mg  Sodium 583.7 mg  Potassium 363.4 mg  Total Carbohydrate 16.1 g  Protein 23.0 g

 

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No-Roux Turkey and Andouille Gumbo

Cajun style gumbo thickened with okra

It has been my tradition every year to make turkey broth from the frame and then use it to make turkey gumbo. Exactly one year ago I spent hours trolling the ‘net for other gumbo recipes. In the long run, I decided I like my recipe the best for ease of cooking and minimal cooking oil.

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I make my turkey broth the same way I do my chicken broth. I trim as much meat as I can off the frame, break it up to fit better in the pot and let it simmer for a few hours. Armed with boatloads of turkey broth and lots of dark meat from two turkey frames, I ought to be swimming in gumbo by tomorrow.

I posted my chicken gumbo recipe before so I’ve adapted it for the post-Thanksgiving tradition. Assuming you’ve made the turkey soup and picked out the leftover meat, this recipe may take a couple of hours to cook but it’s mostly unattended and the results are worth it.

I marked this as one-pot cooking because technically, you could cook it all in the same pot. You could brown the sausage first in a large stock pot, added the veggies to saute and then started stirring in the broth. I prefer to saute the veggies in a non-stick pan since I’m still scarred from my first attempts at this recipe when I used fresh okra and it burned. If you ask me, fresh okra is a pain in the pan to cook with; its slimy, takes forever to cook and burns in the blink of an eye. These days I’m pretty committed to using frozen okra. It cooks up quicker and is WAY less messy to work with. Just another little tip from Kat to keep your cooking easy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 quarts turkey broth
  • 2 to 4 cups leftover turkey (white and dark meat)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen okra, chopped (see footnote)
  • 1 can small can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 to one pound andouille or smoked sausage, diced
  • 1 tablespoon The Pampered Chef® Creole Rub, Old Bay Seasoning Mix or other Cajun spice medley
  • Parsley

Directions

  1. Chop vegetables and sauté in a non-stick pan over medium heat until onions are soft (about 5-10 minutes)
  2. Add okra and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until slime is gone being careful not to let the mixture burn (about an hour for fresh okra or 10-15 minutes for frozen and then thawed okra)
  3. Sprinkle flour evenly over vegetables and stir until flour disappears
  4. Add tomato sauce. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Transfer mixture to large stock pot and slowly add 6 cups of turkey stock. Cook 30 minutes.
  6. Add 8 cups of stock, sausage and seasoning mix. Simmer on medium heat for one hour.
  7. Add turkey. Cook for 30 minutes over low heat. Stir often to avoid burning the bottom.
  8. Garnish with parsley. Add salt, pepper and season to taste.
  9. Serve over rice
 

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Turkey Tortilla Soup – Low Fat and Healthy

Finish that leftover turkey for good!

The kitchen is clean, the china is put away, the floor has been mopped and Thanksgiving is over. But the leftovers remain. If you’re feeling like you overdid it yesterday, this recipe brings a light, clean and healthy way to use up the remaining turkey. It’s low calorie, low-fat and high on protein. Bonus points for it being a warm meal that is filling, too.

The cleanest way to make this soup is with homemade turkey stock. I’ve posted my sinfully easy way to make homemade broth before. Exactly the same process can be used with the turkey bones. Be warned you will need a really big pot for this. My family does a pretty good job of getting all the stuffing out so I throw the whole bird in, stuffing bits and all. You may be surprised at how much meat comes off the bones. Be careful when straining the broth; turkeys have some skinny, sharp bones that chickens don’t have. Obviously you don’t want these ending up in your soup.

I love to use dark meat in recipes like this because it strings up so nicely. This recipe words equally well with leftover chicken or turkey. Likewise you can get away with using canned chicken broth; just watch the sodium content.

Traditionally tortilla soup is topped with tortilla strips, hence the name. This soup is so flavorful that I usually forgo them but I have been known to top the soup with diced avocado, cilantro or shredded cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups turkey (dark meat), chopped or diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups broth (chicken or turkey, homemade preferrable)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup corn, frozen and thawed

Optional garnishes:

  • Crumbled tortilla chips
  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar, fiesta blend or queso blanco)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers and saute until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the diced chile peppers, tomatoes, broth and spices; bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes
  5. Add the turkey and corn; simmer 5 to 10 minutes until heated through

 Serves four

Nutritional info (sans any garnishes)

Calories 238  Total Fat 8.8 g  Cholesterol 59.5 mg  Sodium 822 mg  Potassium 414 mg  Total Carbohydrate 15.7 g   Protein 25.1 g

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Low fat, NaBloPoMo, One pot cooking, Soup

 

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Six Cream of Vegetable Soups Without the Can

Cream of Broccoli Soup - Photo credit Sebastian Mary

I recently found an old can of cream of celery soup buried in the back of my pantry. The first three ingredients were water, flour and celery. The next ten or so ingredients were unpronounceable. This is one reason I prefer making soup from scratch. Besides the preservatives, canned soups are also high in salt. Fortunately, you can create tasty, fresh soups that are highly nutritious on your stove top. The prep time is minimal (about 10 minutes) and cook time is under an hour but mostly unattended.

Cream-of-whatever soups can be made several ways. One way is to make a basic white sauce with butter, flour, heavy cream and/or broth (read as rich and high in calories). For purposes of this post I’m going to concentrate on thickening soups with pureed vegetables so cream, eggs and other high fat ingredients are unnecessary. Potatoes help give these soups a dense, satisfying texture. A food processor, blender or immersion blender are necessary to achieve the correct consistency.

Serve these soups alongside some fresh bread and a tossed salad.

Base recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 medium all purpose potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 10 oz)
  • 2 cups chopped vegetables (see variations below)
  • 1 cup non-fat or low fat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, heat butter, margarine or oil until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes until onions are soft and transluscent
  3. Add garlic and saute for about 2 minutes
  4. Add the potatoes and vegetable of choice. Stir to combine with onion mixture.
  5. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat
  6. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes and vegetables are tender (about 10 to 20 minutes)
  7. Remove from heat. With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the solids to a food processor or blender. Add a little of the broth to the mixture if necessary.
  8. Carefully puree the soup in batches until you get the consistency you like. Or, use an immersion blender right in the pot.
  9. Return the puree to a low heat and stir in the milk, salt, pepper and other spices.
  10. Gently heat through, stirring constantly.

Serves four

Variations:

Broccoli – Prepare the soup as directed, but add ½ medium diced red pepper when sautéing the onions. Reserve the other half of the bell pepper for garnish. Add four cups chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen) at Step 4. Add 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg with salt and pepper. Garnish with broccoli florets, finely diced red pepper and shredded Swiss cheese.

Spinach – Prepare the soup as directed but add four cups of coarsely chopped fresh spinach or 2 cups frozen and thawed (or one 10 oz package) spinach. Add ¼ teaspoon nutmeg with salt and pepper. Garnish with Feta cheese.

Asparagus – Slice 1 inch tip off 24 spears of asparagus (roughly one pound) and reserve for garnish. Cut the remaining spears in ½ inch pieces and sauté along with the onions in Step 2. Complete remaining steps as directed. Add ¼ teaspoon dried dill with salt and pepper. Garnish with sour cream and dill sprigs.

Cauliflower – Prepare the soup as directed but add two diced carrots when sautéing the onions. Complete the steps as directed. Add ¼ teaspoon nutmeg with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon dry sherry once soup is off the heat. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese fresh parsley.

Celery – Prepare the soup as directed but add 2 to 4 cups of diced celery. Complete the soup as directed. Substitute celery salt for regular salt if you have it. Garnish with celery seed (optional).

Mushroom – Prepare the soup as directed. Add 1 cup of coarsely chopped mushrooms after onions are soft. Sauté the mushrooms until most of the moisture is evaporated. For a different flavor try re-hydrating dried mushrooms in boiling water and added them with the fresh mushrooms. Add ½ teaspoon dried thyme with the salt and pepper.

 

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Butternut Squash Bisque

Creamy, smooth bisque for a cold day!

It seems like I have a theme going on this week and its butternut squash. There are a couple of reasons for this. 1) I have a ton of it. Well, a ton in terms of being a single girl and having roasted two whole squash. For the record that’s about 4 pounds or 8 cups of cooked meat. That’s alotta squash. 2) Today is the deadline to blog about the $100 Visa Giveaway sponsored by Blogher. Seriously, what better way to participate than to post my own version of butternut squash bisque.

Except, it turns out I actually have three versions. While I was rifling through my huge folder of recipes, clippings and print outs I discovered I have multiple versions of lots of recipes. I’m guessing that’s because I am a self-described recipe junkie and spend hours on the internet trolling through food sites. More accurately, what probably happened is that I went in search of recipes that fit in the ingredients I actually had on hand so I didn’t have to go the grocery store.

One thing I’ve learned as my cooking skills have improved is that there really is no right or wrong recipe for anything. There are scores of variations available for practically anything you could decide to make. The thing I really look for, most of all, is a general framework and what spices went into a recipe. If you season it right, the rest of it will fall together. This realization makes me more confident cooking from scratch without a recipe these days.

With that in mind and a looming deadline to get this posted, I give you the butternut squash bisque I cooked using the ingredients I actually did have on hand. The chopped veggies I used today were left over from the prep for kale and white bean soup I had intended to make on Sunday. The end result, while tasty, is not as thick as I would have liked. Next time I will either use more squash or less broth; or bulk it up by adding potatoes (watch for more on this tomorrow).

Ingredients:

  • One onion, chopped
  • Two cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked butternut squash, cut in cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup half and half

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven
  2. Add onion, garlic and celery and saute until the onions are soft and translucent
  3. Add carrots and saute for about 5 minutes until they being to soften
  4. Add spices and stir to combine
  5. Add butternut squash and cook for several minutes, breaking up the meat
  6. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove from heat and puree the vegetables using an immersion blender. Or, scoop the vegetables out using a slotted spoon and puree them in a regular blender.
  8. Slowly stir in half and half.
  9. Serve warm and garnish with sour cream or yogurt and dried oregano, if desired.

Serves 8

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Low fat, NaBloPoMo, One pot cooking, Scratch cooking, Soup

 

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Minestrone – The Mix and Match Soup

Minestrone with tomatoes and chicken

An Italian peasant dish, the name minestrone roughly translates as “the big soup.” With humble origins that date back to the Roman Empire, there is no true recipe for minestrone. This means there is no right or wrong way to make it; don’t you just love recipes with versatility?? Across Italy, even to this day, minestrone will vary from region to region. Although traditionally a vegetable based soup using seasonal crops, you’ll often find the additional of beans, rice and pasta. To me, minestrone isn’t minestrone unless it has tomatoes in it (interestingly, according to Wikipedia, this is a totally American custom).

A hearty dish, minestrone takes on an “everything but the kitchen sink” quality because you can literally use anything that appeals to you at the moment. Vegetables that are at their tipping point in the crisper drawer, along with leftover rice, pasta or beans, can frequently be salvaged by throwing them in the pot. Need more protein on a given day? Toss in some diced chicken or Italian sausage. The sky is the limit.

Legend has it that minestrone tastes better the next day. Being cooked ahead of time and gently reheated allows the flavors to meld. As my Grannie used to say, “Mangia!”

Kat’s Totally American Minestrone 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (or one can beans, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil or one teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta (like orzo) or rice
  • Diced chicken or sausage (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the onion and celery; sauté a few minutes until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for about two minutes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients up to the pasta. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat back to medium low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add in the rice or pasta. If adding cooked meat, add this now.
  6. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Divide into soup bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese

Serves four for a main meal

Kat’s tip: Orzo will soak up the liquid from the soup if stored together. If you’re not planning on eating this all in one sitting then I recommend leaving the orzo out. You can add 1/2 cup of orzo to each serving as you reheat it. The orzo can be stored in the fridge in either ziplock baggies or plasticware. It can also be frozen until ready to use.

Kat’s Second Tip: I keep a bag of frozen mixed soup veggies on hand for times when I want soup in a hurry. For a single serving or quick version of this I’ll heat up 2 cups of chicken broth with the mixed veggies, some diced chicken, brown rice and white beans.

Nutritional information (without meat):

Calories 398.6  Total Fat 9.4 g  Cholesterol 0.0 mg  Sodium 605.6 mg  Potassium 782.4 mg  Total Carbohydrate 63.5 g  Protein 12.7 g

Nutritional information (with 8 oz cooked chicken)

Calories 460.9  Total Fat 10.1 g  Cholesterol 32.9.0 mg  Sodium 642 mg  Potassium 926.9 mg  Total Carbohydrate 63.5 g  Protein 25.7 g

 

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