Archive for the ‘Soups/Stews/Chilis’ Category

IMG_1717Our butternut vine has found its second wind. I had an idea for a lentil soup with butternut squash in it, and it was so delicious we couldn’t even believe it. I’ve been instructed to use all of our butternuts this way.

VEGETARIAN FRIENDS, of course you can make this without the meats. Just use some olive oil to brown the onions, and then use vegetable broth instead of beef stock. I would not, however, recommend fake bacon. Ever.

Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Kale

1 onion, chopped

6 oz bacon, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 package hot Italian sausage, cut in small pieces

4 celery stalks, chopped

1 large butternut squash, peeled, cleaned, and cut in 1/2- to 1-inch chunks

4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped

8 cups low sodium beef broth (preferably home made, from the bones of a cow named Bessie)

1 bunch kale, sliced

8 sage leaves, sliced

1 Tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp pepper

salt, to taste

1 Tbsp paprika

hot pepper flakes, to taste

1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 cup dry French green lentils

1/4 cup dry bulgur

  • Place bacon chunks in large heavy bottomed pan on medium heat while you chop up your onion and garlic.
  • Add onion and garlic to pot and cook until bacon has browned and onions start to caramelize, stirring frequently.
  • Add sausage. Either brown the sausage separately ahead of time if you want to drain off the juices, or just add it directly to the pot and cook through, stirring frequently.
  • Add celery at the same time as the sausage, or as soon as you have it chopped. Cook until celery is wilty.
  • Add the butternut chunks, and stir.
  • Add the tomatoes, kale, and then the broth.
  • Add spices, and bring to a boil.
  • When the kale has wilted to make room in the pot for the lentils and bulgur, add them.
  • NOTE: this soup gets better as it sits in the fridge – boy are you in for a treat!
  • **VEGETARIAN FRIENDS, of course you can make this without the meats. Just use some olive oil to brown the onions, and then use vegetable broth instead of beef stock. I would not, however, recommend fake bacon. Ever.

    Read Full Post »

    100_1240I realize this isn’t the most appropriate recipe for summer, but it was really cold and gloomy here last week, which is when I made it.

    Meaty Meaty Pea Soup

    1 package bacon, chopped

    1 package pre-cooked no nitrates andouille sausage (Niman Ranch is a good one), chopped

    1 yellow onion, chopped

    8 cloves of garlic, chopped

    3 carrots, peeled and chopped

    6 celery stalks, chopped

    2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

    4 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

    1 tsp fresh ground pepper

    4 cups broth

    2 cups dry split peas (I used the yellow ones, but you could use green if you prefer)

    1. Chop meats and place in a heavy bottom pan over low-medium heat. Stir periodically as they brown.
    2. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to brown, stirring periodically. (You can remove the meats and pour off the fat, but then add a little olive oil as you saute the onion and garlic.)
    3. Add the carrots and celery, stirring periodically as they cook. When they have softened, add the broth, sage, parsley, and pepper.
    4. Bring to a boil, and then add the split peas.
    5. Cook over low heat until the peas get creamy, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom of the pot.
    6. Add water as necessary if the mixture starts looking too thick. I even add water when I reheat the leftovers, as the mixture tends to get thicker the longer it sits.

    Read Full Post »


    Jambalaya risotto, pictured here with collard greens

    I had a vision. It was jambalaya made with arborio rice. Since I’d never made any actual jambalaya before, I used several different recipes to figure out which meats and spices should be included. The two main recipes I used for guidance and inspiration were from Cook’s and Paul Prudhomme.

    Jambalaya Risotto

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    1 large yellow onion, chopped

    1 tsp salt

    6 cloves garlic, minced

    2 ribs celery, chopped

    2 bell peppers, chopped

    1 serrano chili, minced

    1.5 cups pound chopped smoked ham

    4 pre-cooked andouille sausages, chopped (I used the Niman Ranch free-of-bad-stuff kind)

    4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite sized pieces

    14 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice

    1 cup clam juice

    2 cups arborio rice

    1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves

    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

    1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

    3 bay leaves

    3 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley

    4 cups low sodium chicken broth

    1/2 lb medium shrimp

    1/2 lb langostino tails

    1. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat butter, add onions and salt, stir periodically as you chop garlic.
    2. When onions are wilty, add garlic.
    3. Add the following ingredients as you chop them: celery, peppers, sausages, and ham.
    4. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until meats have browned and vegetables begin to caramelize.
    5. Add tomatoes, chicken, rice, clam juice, thyme, cayenne, black pepper, bay leaves, and parsley.
    6. Cook covered over medium-low heat until the rice has absorbed the liquids, stirring periodically (scraping the bottom of the pan each time).
    7. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, stir, cover, and cook over low heat until all is absorbed, stirring periodically (scraping bottom of pan each time).
    8. NOTE: Make sure you use the low sodium broth because the ham and sausage are pretty salty, and it’s always good to add your salt during the cooking of the onions, as it promotes caramelization. If you use the regular broth, your jambalaya will be very salty.
    9. Continue the chicken broth process until all of the chicken broth is gone.
    10. When the last cup of chicken broth is mostly absorbed, add the seafood. If you do not like seafood, do not add it. If you have some people around who do not like seafood, and others who do, scoop some of the jambalaya out of the pot, place it in a large bowl, cover the bowl, and keep it warm as it absorbs the remaining liquid.
    11. I just had some leftover jambalaya for lunch, and I think it might even be better left over. It’s delicious 🙂
    1 medium onion , peeled, ends trimmed, and quartered lengthwise
    1 medium rib celery , cut crosswise into quarters
    1 medium red bell pepper , stem removed, seeded, and quartered lengthwise
    5 medium cloves garlic , peeled
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
    8 ounces andouille sausage , halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
    1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (10 ounces)
    1 teaspoon table salt
    1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (see note)
    1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2-ounce), drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved
    1 cup clam juice (bottled)
    1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    2 bay leaves
    1 pound medium shrimp (31 to 35 shrimp per pound), or large shrimp, shelled
    2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

    Read Full Post »

    We went to this fancy dinner event last weekend and listed on the menu was “Wild Mushroom Risotto,” which made me salivate, and I started developing expectations for how it would taste. Well, then it arrived and I tasted it – flavorless! For shame! So what’s a girl to do? Go to the fancy grocery store, procure about 5 kinds of exotic mushrooms, and set the old tastebuds right. THIS risotto created a party in my mouth, which was what I was looking for all along.

    Exotic Mushroom Risotto

    2 Tbsp butter

    1 onion, chopped

    4 cloves garlic, minced

    1 tsp salt

    1 lb mushrooms (mix as many different kinds of exotic ones as you can find at the store – if all you can find is portobellos or shitakes, that will suffice)

    1 tsp pepper (black, fresh ground)

    1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

    5 – 10 sage leaves, to taste, thinly sliced

    1.5 cups arborio rice

    1/2 cup white wine

    4 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken broth)

    1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese

    1 lb scallops (optional)

    1. Heat butter, add onions and salt. When the onions wilt, add garlic.
    2. When the onions begin to brown, add your mushrooms, all chopped or sliced. If using portabellos, scrape the black gills out with a butter knife, so that your risotto doesn’t turn gray. You can leave them in if you want, as this is for purely aesthetic reasons (gray is not the most appetizing color).
    3. Add spices.
    4. Cook this mixture, stirring periodically, until the mushrooms begin to wilt and make a broth in the pot.
    5. Add rice, and cook until it is transparent, stirring frequently so nothing sticks on the bottom of the pan.
    6. Add wine, and cook until the rice has absorbed it.
    7. Add 1 cup of hot broth, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cook until the rice has absorbed the liquid, stirring frequently.
    8. Continue this process until all of the broth has been added and absorbed.
    9. If you are using scallops, add them when you pour in the last cup of broth.
    10. Stir in the cheese before serving. Taste, and add salt if necessary (may depend on how salty the broth is).

    Read Full Post »

    Back in my working days, I used to make a pot of this minestrone each week and eat it for lunch every day. It really is delicious, and it turns out a little bit different each time. This recipe can be made vegetarian- and vegan- friendly as well and still maintain the deliciosness of the original recipe.

    2 – 4 Tbsp olive oil

    1/3 – 1/4 of a stick of butter (omit for the vegan version)

    1 large yellow onion, chopped

    4-5 cloves garlic, minced

    Sprinkling of sea salt (maybe about 1 tsp)

    —saute for a few minutes, then just add the rest as you chop:

    3 red or yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed*

    1 lb Green beans, chopped

    2-3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

    3 -4 small Zucchini, chopped

    28-oz can of whole tomatoes with juice, chopped

    1 lb bag of fresh baby spinach

    2 (32 oz) boxes of chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegan/vegetarian renditions)

    1 can each of white and red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

    1/2 lb browned ground beef (omit for vegan/vegetarian)

    red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and course ground pepper to taste

    1. Select a large pot (about 8 qt), preferably with a thicker bottom.
    2. Saute your bunions, and then turn down the heat and throw the rest of the vegetables into the pot as you chop them, in the order specified above.
    3. After you’ve added the broth, turn up the heat to high, and add your rinsed and drained beans, pre-browned meat, and seasonings.
    4. I usually let it simmer for about an hour, turn off the stove, go to bed, then refrigerate it in the morning.

    *If you know you are going to freeze this (it makes a really large pot), you may want to substitute 1/2 cup dry quinoa, which you’ll pour in at the end, after you’ve added your chicken or vegetable broth.

    Read Full Post »

    100_1175This recipe originally came from my good friend Anna, another culinary genius who I am lucky to have in my life. We sometimes meet for lunch exchanges since we are frugal and don’t like to pay other people to make our lunches. This is a quick and delicious chili that you can even whip up after you get home from work.


    1 batch of bunions (2 – 4 Tbsp olive oil, 1 chopped onion, 4 – 6 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tsp salt)

    2 – 3 bell peppers, depending on size (yellow/red/orange are yummiest), chopped

    2 poblano chiles, chopped

    1 lb ground buffalo (extra lean ground beef works too)

    28 oz can of chopped tomatoes with juice

    6 oz can of tomato paste

    8 oz frozen corn

    two 15-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

    15-oz can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

    1 tsp cayenne

    3 Tbsp chili powder

    2 Tbsp cumin

    1 tsp black pepper

    1/2 cup cornmeal

    1. Heat oil, add onions, garlic, salt, stir occasionally as you chop your peppers.
    2. Add chopped peppers to pot and stir occasionally as they cook.
    3. When peppers are tender, add ground meat IF you have the extra lean kind. If you do not have extra lean ground meat, brown it in another pan and drain off fat before adding to the pot of peppers.
    4. Stir pot to break up meat as it is browning. When all meat has cooked, add tomatoes, tomato paste, and corn.
    5. Add spices and then beans (drained and rinsed). Stir.
    6. Add cornmeal to thicken the chili (this was a stroke of pure genius by Anna – to thicken the mixture with cornmeal).
    7. At this point, the chili only needs to be heated through so cook for maybe another 10 – 15 minutes.
    8. Top with chopped cilantro, a nice sharp cheddar, avocados, or sour cream.
    9. The next morning, reheat and top with a fried or poached egg – IT’S DELICIOUS!
    10. Also delicious with cornbread – I’ll post the recipe for this later.

    Vegetarians, You’re in Luck!!

    Substitute an extra can of rinsed and drained red kidney beans for the meat. The proportions are just right, and it will still be DELICIOUS.

    Vegans, You’re in Luck, too!!

    Substitute an extra can of rinsed and drained red kidney beans for the meat, and don’t top with cheese. The proportions are just right, and it will still be DELICIOUS.

    Read Full Post »