Category Archives: SOUP, STEW, AND CHOWDER RECIPES

TURKEY NOODLE SOUP

So, you’ve got leftover turkey from Thanksgiving in your freezer, but no homemade stock and your taste buds are crying out for soup. This happens routinely at Chez Carr. So when I desperately want turkey soup, I cheat! Yep, that’s just what I do!

I start with chicken or turkey broth, then add a bunch of common ingredients, and next thing you know, I’m sitting down to a lovely steaming bowl of goodness. Healthy too!

According to Donna Clarke writing for Health Guide Info, and I quote, “There’s nothing like a soothing bowl of hot chicken soup to cure what ails you. Grandma was right, it’s the best thing for that nasty cold! But what about turkey soup? Why does chicken soup make us feel so much better? Can turkey soup offer the same powerful punch?

We’ve all been there – wrapped in a blanket with chills, fever, cough, runny nose, aches…the works. The only thing that seems to sooth and comfort is a hot delicious bowl of chicken soup, with chunks of chicken, carrots, fresh dill, and onion, the aroma fills the entire room. Homemade or canned, it just seems to make everything better. But, did you ever wonder why? What is the secret our grandmothers all seemed to know? What is the mystery contained within this wondrous food? Why does chicken soup seem to be the perfect food to help cure what ails us? And what about turkey soup? Can turkey soup offer the same benefit?

The idea of consuming a hot bowl of chicken soup for the medicinal qualities it possesses dates back to the 12th century when Rabbi Moses Maimonides prescribed it to his patients. Since then, it has been offered to individuals ailing from a wide variety of maladies from congestion to the flu. Amazingly, this simple yet flavorful soup has been the subject of controversy with respect to its healing ability. But is it myth or medicine, fact or fiction?

Can chicken soup really offer relief for the common cold? Dr. Stephen Rennard at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, sought to solve this mystery. He conducted a series of tests adding chicken soup to neutrophils – the white blood cells. His findings were published in 1999 in the American College of Chest Physicians. He concluded that chicken soup did in fact help to inhibit the movement of these neutrophils, determining that chicken soup has a definite anti-inflammatory effect, causing a reduction of chest congestion!

The exact cause of this benefit is still a mystery, but one thing is certain, the nutritional values found in chicken soup are undeniable. Loaded with protein, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin K, potassium, and phosphorus, the ingredients contained in this fabulous soup offer a definite benefit when struggling with the common cold. If you are making homemade, be sure to include these ingredients as a base:

chicken: hot chicken broth vapors can help thin out mucus due to the presence of cysteine, an amino acid

onions: onions contain quercetin, also helpful in thinning out mucus, as well as act as an anti-inflammatory

carrots: these yummy vegetables provide an excellent source of vitamin A

parsnip: in addition to adding a delicious flavor, parsnip provides a good source of potassium

Other ingredients such as dill, celery, mushrooms, and even brown rice or whole grain pasta can be added for even more benefit!

But How About Turkey Soup?

The benefit of turkey soup is the same as chicken soup. Plus, with turkey soup, you have the added benefit of tryptophan (an amino acid) to help calm and sooth, providing the perfect relief for that day when you need the warmth and comfort only hot soup can provide.”

So I say – what are you waiting for? Dig that package of almost forgotten turkey out of the back of your freezer, and help gird yourself against a nasty winter cold or even more undesirable, the horrible flu that is going around. Think of this soup as preventive medicine. And as medicines go, you could do a lot worse!

  • 8 c. chicken or turkey broth (I use Costco Chicken Bone Broth or Better Than Bouillon Turkey Base and 8 cups of water)
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • ½ lg. shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • ¼ c. minced parsley
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 pkg. turkey gravy mix, opt. (provides color, flavor, and a bit of thickening)
  • planned over turkey cut into bite-size chunks (however much you want or have)
  • 1-2 T. white wine vinegar
  • 1½ c. wide egg noodles, cooked al dente

Place the chicken broth, onion, shallot, garlic, carrots, celery, parsley bay leaf, seasoned salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, dried thyme, and turkey gravy mix in a large, heavy, covered soup pot. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer gently for about 90 minutes.  

When the carrots are all but dissolved, add the turkey, white wine vinegar, and cooked noodles. Adjust seasoning. Good the first day, but even better the next!

 

 

 

 

CURRIED LENTIL AND VEGETABLE SOUP (VEGAN)

Most of the time I prefer some kind of meat in my soups, stews, and chowders. But as we are getting a bit older and health issues are starting to raise their ugly little heads here at Chez Carr, I have decided to (for the 3,659th time), try to direct our taste buds toward a more vegetable and meatless protein rich diet. Don’t get me wrong. We eat a lot of veggies already, and both of us love beans and interesting grains, but I could do better. (I say I, because I’m the one in the apron!)

So, in that vein, and because I needed a vegan dish for this Sunday’s JazzVox pre-concert meal, I came up with this soup loosely based on a recipe from the Happy Healthy Mama website.

First of all, we both love Indian curry. So why not start with curry powder. Then some turmeric (super good for us), and a few other spices and lots of veggies. Throw in some lentils and garbanzo beans, and you have a soup that is both delicious and ultra-healthy.

So if you too are trying to eat healthier, but absolutely refuse to give up the quality of the food you put in your mouth, give this recipe a try. The soup is creamy and chunky, with a wonderful mouth feel. (You know, that lovely feeling in your mouth when the consistency and flavor of whatever food you are eating feels so perfect you almost don’t want to swallow.) OK, maybe my definition of “mouth feel” falls into the category of a personal idiosyncrasy. Regardless, this soup is wonderful and perfect for a cold winter evening meal. Enjoy.

And remember, buy all the lovely spices featured in this soup in bulk. You will save yourself so much money. Which only means you can make this soup more often. See how that works!

  • 2 T. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 to ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I start with 1/8 teaspoon because I’m a wimp!)
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lg. carrot, small dice
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, plus leaves, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 c. dry lentils, washed and rinsed
  • 8 c. vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base and 8 cups water, or strained cooking water from garbanzo beans and enough tap water to make 8 cups)
  • 1 lg. sweet potato, cut into small chunks
  • 3 c. cooked garbanzo beans (see cooking recipes below) or 2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can lite coconut milk
  • ½-1 tsp. garam masala, opt.

In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Set Aside.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy large covered soup pot. Add the carrot, onion, and celery. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and ginger; cook 1 minute. Add the spice mixture and lentils; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring periodically.

Add the sweet potato, and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potato chunks are tender. Add the cooked garbanzo beans, coconut milk, and garam masala. Bring to just below a boil. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning. Great served with warm sourdough bread. Reheats beautifully. (Actually this soup is even better the second day.)

Instant-Pot or Pressure Cooker Garbanzo Beans  

  • 1 c. dried garbanzo beans/chickpeas, washed but not pre-soaked
  • 4 c. water
  • ½ tsp. salt, opt.

Add washed chickpeas along with the water to the Instant-Pot insert. Add salt. Close the lid with vent in sealing position.

Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure, and adjust the timer to 35 minutes. When the cooking time is up, unplug the Instant Pot and do a 20 minute NPR, which means if necessary, release the pressure manually 20 minutes after the beep. Strain the liquid and use it to make the vegetable broth. Add the cooked beans to the soup per recipe instructions.

Note: As much as possible I prefer to use cooked dry beans rather than canned beans. But of course, there are just those days when I gladly grab a can of beans out of the pantry. Consistency has always been my motto!

Regular Top-of-the-Stove Cooked Beans (Quick Soak Method)

  • 1 c. dried garbanzo beans/chickpeas, washed
  • water
  • ½ tsp. salt, opt.

Place the washed beans in a large pot, cover with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes then take the pot off of the heat and let the beans sit in the water for 1 hour.

After the beans have been soaked, drain and rinse them well. Add them to a large pot, cover with several inches of water, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered 90 to 120 minutes or until tender. Add the salt after the beans have been simmering for about an hour. Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit, then strain the liquid and use it to make the vegetable broth. Add the cooked beans to the soup per recipe instructions.

 

 

SMOKED SALMON CHOWDER

Once in a while serendipity comes to visit, and if I am paying attention, I take advantage. That’s what happened when I decided that the menu for our next JazzVox pre-concert meal would include a soup, a stew, and a chowder. (Also Roasted Rosemary Cashews, a quinoa salad, two kinds of homemade bread, and a cake to round out the lineup.)

I knew the stew had to be Beef Stew. Not a very pretentious name, but my stew is not a humble offering. Nothing starting with lean bacon and containing red wine and rosemary need take a back seat to any other dish even if its name is terribly common.

The soup I am choosing to serve is vegan, containing curry and lots of delicious veggies. (If it works out, I’ll be posting the recipe in the next few days.) For the chowder, I decided a creamy seafood based chowder would be delicious.

I rarely make seafood chowders, mainly because Mr. C. is not fond of potatoes. (And potato is kind of the quintessential ingredient in seafood chowders.) So I promised him, that whatever I came up with, potatoes would be secondary to the seafood. I also promised him that the potatoes would not be mushy. (I knew I could achieve tender, not mushy potatoes by steaming small potatoes whole, then cutting them into very small chunks. Not adding them until the last part of the chowder cooking time would also help keep the potatoes firm.) So then, what kind of seafood chowder?

For Christmas my father-in-law had given us a 6-ounce chunk of smoked salmon (the serendipity part). And there it was, quietly sitting on a shelf in my pantry waiting to be devoured (the me paying attention part).

So I went on line and started researching smoked salmon chowder recipes. I learned a lot. I already knew how to make cream soups, so based on my knowledge and some parts and pieces from several on-line contributors, I came up with this recipe.

This is definitely not an in-your-face smoked salmon flavored chowder. It’s more of a well-balanced dish that should appeal to sophisticated palates. You might even say that it is a “gentrified” chowder. (And no, I am not trying to be cheap frugal in limiting the amount of smoked salmon in this recipe. I’m simply trying to provide you with the ideal smoked salmon chowder experience!)

So, since winter is upon us, I suggest you give this chowder a try. It is easy to prepare, and really, really tasty. Perfect for a cold, rainy weeknight dinner or weekend lunch. Great with warm sour dough bread or oyster crackers.  

  • 12 oz. small white or fingerling potatoes, peeled
  • 8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ lg. yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, small dice
  • 2 lg. garlic cloves, finely minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 c. water
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 3 c. half-and-half
  • 1 c. whole milk, or more as needed
  • 8 oz. (1 lg. pkg.) cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 1″ chunks  
  • 5 T. capers, rinsed and drained
  • 12 oz. smoked salmon, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 T. chopped celery leaves
  • kosher salt, if needed

Steam the whole potatoes until they are just barely done. (After the water comes to a boil, it takes 15-20 minutes.) Remove from pot. When cool, cut into small dice. (I personally hate large chunks of potato in my chowders. So I cut the potatoes into a really small dice.) Set aside.

Melt the butter in a heavy soup pot. Add the onion and celery; cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and black pepper; cook for one minute.

Whisk in the flour and let it cook for one minute. Whisk in the water and tomato paste. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and thickened. Stir in the diced potatoes; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in the half-and-half, whole milk, cream cheese, capers, and smoked salmon. Heat slowly until almost simmering. Add more milk if required to reach desired consistency.

Remove from heat, adjust seasoning, and stir in celery leaves. Serve hot with crusty sour dough bread or oyster crackers.

 

BACON, CORN, AND CHEESE SOUP

The other evening I was sick of being in the kitchen. Let me explain. I had been baking Christmas cookies and making fudge (recipes coming) all day! And here it was 6:30 and I hadn’t even thought about what I was going to fix for dinner. Now you know, there are just times when even going out to dinner seems too onerous. I would have had to put on my face (makeup) and change my clothes, and like I said – way to arduous. So I decided some kind of soup was exactly what we needed.

I opened the refrigerator door and there before me was the leftover bacon I had fried that morning for breakfast. Well then, how about some kind of chowder? But what goes well with bacon? Corn goes with bacon, and cheese goes with corn. Ah ha – a plan was hatched.

So because many of my soups start with a mirepoix, I diced up some onion, celery, and carrot and threw them in the pot. (Got to start somewhere, right?) After that all the other ingredients just seemed to fall into place.

The soup turned out really good, and it was fast and easy to prepare. Served with crackers, it was the ideal end to a long day of playing with too much flour, butter, and chocolate. (The before dinner martini didn’t hurt either. Thank you Mr. C.)

  • 4 slices lean, thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 T. butter
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • ½ c. chopped celery
  • ½ c. shredded carrot
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained 
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 2 c. grated sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • oyster crackers, opt.  

In a large covered soup pot, fry diced bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Add butter to the pan (don’t remove bacon fat) and add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook just until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the corn and the milk that has been whisked together with the cornstarch. Slowly bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the reserved bacon and simmer until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Adjust seasonings. Serve with oyster crackers on the side.

SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND TORTELLINI SOUP

I love fall! And do you know why? Because I love soup! (Not that I don’t build soup throughout the year, but there’s just something special about soup burbling on the stove while the wind and rain tear the leaves off of our trees and scatter them all over the yard.) What could be more exciting than that! (Some would say a trip to Italy or almost anything that doesn’t cause pain, loss of dignity, or the presence of mind not to inadvertently discard a winning lottery ticket.)

But for me, even the prepping of vegetables becomes a treat when I am inside warm and dry, while just outside my window Mother Nature is causing all kind of havoc in the yard. (Maybe I like fall so much because at least for a few months I don’t have to worry about Mr. C. mowing our vacant lot and working his fingers to the bone keeping the weeds at a reasonable level, and me spending countless hours watering! It really could be just as simple as that!)

But whatever the reason, soup in the fall is a must in my kitchen and hopefully also in yours. (And no, opening a can of chicken noodle soup and warming it on the stove just doesn’t cut it!) Real soup has that one ingredient that is missing from canned soup, well that and too much salt and all the ingredients listed on the can that are unpronounceable. Real soup has love mixed in during every step of the preparation. Plus, who in their right mind doesn’t relish walking into the kitchen and smelling soup simmering on the stove? Everyone loves good smells emanating from the kitchen. It just makes one feel loved and cared for. And homemade soup is one of the healthiest dishes you can feed your family. Without much trouble at all, you can tuck all kinds of nutritious ingredients into soup without any of your family suspecting your duplicity. (In this type of situation, I truly believe that duplicity is OK. Actually, it’s better than just OK. It’s almost mandatory to help keep you and your family healthy!)   

So when our dear fried Susan served us this soup after a band rehearsal that her husband Tim had called, we were in heaven. I liked the soup so much I immediately asked for the recipe. I made a couple of tiny changes, but then, that’s what I do. (I simply can’t help myself!)

I hope you fix this soup in the near future. It’s easy to prepare, relatively inexpensive, and absolutely perfect for a stormy fall or winter evening. Actually, it’s the perfect soup to serve after spending an afternoon raking leaves. (If that’s the case, I would also encourage that you bake up a batch of brownies as another surefire way of thanking your family for all their hard work!)

Speaking of thanks, thanks again Susie for this wonderful recipe.

  • 1 lb. bulk sweet (not hot) Italian sausage
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 med. sized green pepper, chopped
  • 2 lg. garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 c. chicken or beef broth/stock
  • 1-2 Parmesan rinds, opt. (I use 2 rinds, each approximately 2-inches square)
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, including juice (preferably Italian tomatoes)
  • ½ c. dry red wine
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano (Mexican oregano is fabulous)  
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8-10 oz. pkg. fresh or frozen tortellini (I use three cheese tortellini)
  • 1 med. zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then into ¼-inch wide half rounds
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh basil, opt.
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large covered soup pot, break up and sauté the Italian sausage until the meat is no longer pink. Remove sausage from pan to a small bowl. Set aside. Add the onion and green pepper to the pan. Sauté gently until the onion is translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. (There will be brown bits (caramelized meat) sticking to the bottom of the pan. This is good. When you add the liquid in the next step, gently lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with your stirring utensil.)

Add the broth, Parmesan rinds, diced tomatoes, red wine, dried basil, dried oregano, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and half of the cooked Italian sausage. Bring to just under a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, add the tortellini, zucchini, and the rest of the cooked Italian sausage; simmer until the tortellini is tender. Remove the Parmesan rinds and stir in the parsley and fresh basil. Adjust seasoning.

Ladle into individual soup bowls. Pass the grated Parmesan cheese.

I serve this soup with toasted crusty baguette slices. No butter required. Just dunk the bread in the broth. Yum

  

 

MARHAPÖRKÖLT (HUNGARIAN BEEF STEW)

Hungarian food entrances me because I have always loved the key ingredients in this delightful cuisine – sour cream, paprika, potatoes, pasta, onions, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, cabbage (including sauerkraut), and a wide array of sausages. I mean truly, what’s not to like?

So when I recently decided to prepare a beef stew, I decided to forgo my usual recipes in favor of something new. And almost any time I think “something new”, my thoughts automatically drift towards the Carpathian Basin.

I found plenty of recipes during my internet search. But I quickly realized, like American beef stew, there are as many recipes for this Hungarian standard, as there are cooks. And not just Hungarian cooks. I found recipes from cooks from almost every ethnicity, as well as recipes from magazines as disparate as Saveur and Women’s Day.

So I glommed together what I thought would work, and got out my largest LeCreuset Dutch oven. Following what I thought to be the key ingredients in most of the highest rated recipes, I came up with this mix. I had a few trepidations about using a whole green pepper, but in the final analysis, it’s the green pepper that sets the stage so beautifully for the paprika and caraway to work their magic. These three ingredients were obviously meant to be together. They set the flavor base for this incredible dish. The funny thing is, unless you have truly amazing taste buds, (of which I am not blessed), it is difficult to ascertain where the green pepper flavor leaves off and the paprika and caraway take the forefront. And really, isn’t that the essence of good cooking? Achieving a blend where no one ingredient hogs the stage. (Kind of like a good band. Every player in sync with every other player to form a blend rather than a cacophony of individual sounds.)   

So please give this recipe a try. It is the essence of comfort food, even before you place it on the table. The smell alone is worth the effort. All you have to do is read the first two ingredients to know of what I speak. 

  • 4 slices thick cut lean bacon, diced
  • 1 lg. onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped (don’t even think of leaving the green pepper out)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. cubed lean beef (I use round steak because it’s inexpensive and very lean)
  • 3 T. sweet (mild) Hungarian paprika (yes, 3 tablespoons), or more to taste
  • scant ½ tsp. caraway seeds, coarsely crushed (don’t leave the caraway seeds out either!)
  • 1 lg. bay leaf
  • 8 oz. can diced tomatoes (preferably Italian)
  • about 2 c. beef broth
  • ½ lb. thick egg noodles
  • 1 T. chopped fresh parsley, garnish
  • sour cream, garnish, opt.

In a large covered Dutch oven or soup pan, fry the bacon until it is crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the onion and sauté for about 8 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, green pepper, salt, and pepper. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and the bell pepper is tender-crisp.

Add the beef to the pan. Cook for 5-6 more minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the meat is brown. Add the cooked bacon, paprika, caraway seeds, bay leaf, and diced tomatoes to the pan. Pour enough beef broth into the pan to almost cover the meat. Stir and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Let the mixture simmer slowly for about 90-120 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding more broth as needed to keep the stew from getting dry. (If too much liquid, remove the lid the last 30 minutes or so of cooking time, thus allowing the excess liquid to evaporate.)

The stew is done when the meat is fork tender and the sauce is thick. Adjust seasoning.

Just before serving, cook the noodles to al dente and drain.

To serve, cover the bottom of a soup bowl with noodles, and ladle on the stew. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and offer sour cream at the table.

Can substitute mashed potatoes or steamed rice for the noodles.

Pairs very well with Hawaiian Won Bok and Carrot Slaw. (on blog)

 

    

HUNGARIAN GROUND BEEF SOUP

As you can see, I am still on my ground beef kick. And why you might ask. Well – lean ground beef is versatile, relatively inexpensive, relatively low in fat, a good protein source, and tasty. (Really, what more can you ask from a simple, easy to obtain food product?) And when combined with other healthy ingredients, ground beef is the base for many quick and easy dishes including this wonderful soup. (I call ground beef “wonder meat” because it is the perfect meat for all the working mothers and fathers (can’t forget all those guys out there who are the family cooks) who rush home from work and are greeted with those 3 little words all parents hear upon entering their home. And no, it’s not “I love you”. It’s “what’s for dinner”?) So this is yet another recipe to help you prepare an easy, healthy dish that is on the table before your kidlets have time to declare that they are about to expire from hunger. As if?? (And yes, this recipe is great for seniors too. Healthy, easy to prepare, and basically a one dish meal.)

So yesterday when I was deciding what to do with the pound of ground beef I had taken out of the freezer, I decided to search for a goulash style soup that featured ground beef. (I love Hungarian food, so I often start a search with the word “Hungarian”.)

This soup recipe is out of the Food and Wine magazine. (I did use noodles instead of potatoes, added some sour cream, and used less salt than originally called for, but the rest is straight off the Food and Wine magazine web site. Great recipe site BTW!)

So do yourself a favor and make this soup next time you want to use ground beef in a less than traditional way. And I know, spaghetti, tacos, chili, and hamburgers are delicious too. But often, a new dish is as welcome to your family as fixing a new recipe is for the cook. And always remember, it’s all about you – the cook. If you’re happy in the kitchen, your family are going to reap the benefits. And since the kitchen is the heart of any home, who knows, you might even hear “I love you” more often. Stranger things have happened in the name of good eating.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 T. Hungarian paprika (sweet, not smoked or hot)
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1¼ tsp. caraway seeds (don’t even think about leaving them out!)
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (small amount)
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 3 c. beef broth  
  • 3 c. water
  • 1½ – 2 c. egg noodles
  • ½ c. sour cream, plus more for the table

In a heavy covered soup pan, lightly brown the ground beef over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the paprika, cayenne, marjoram, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, tomato paste, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, stir, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the noodles and cook just until al dente. Stir in the sour cream, adjust seasoning, and serve with additional sour cream if desired.

 

NAVY BEAN AND SMOKED HAM HOCK SOUP

And yes I know I recently posted a recipe for Navy Bean Soup. I’m not getting forgetful, but I really wanted Navy bean soup for dinner last evening, but I wanted a slightly different flavor for the broth. So I concocted this recipe based on my original recipe. (Life is never dull in the Carr household!) I also wanted to use up some kale I had in the fridge.

Having used kale in other bean soup recipes, I felt no reluctance to add it to this recipe. In fact I am using kale so much these days, that if a dish doesn’t contain kale, Mr. C. starts to get worried! (Always like to keep him on his toes!)

So if you crave a bean soup with a kind of new flavor sensation, give this recipe a try. The addition of a bit of tomato paste, some smoked paprika, and kale gives this wonderful old standard a lift up into the 21st century. It’s like changing a song from a waltz to a bossa nova. Or plain scrambled eggs into an omelet. Nothing wrong with the original, but the change is more than welcome too. Enjoy!

  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 1 qt. water
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 c. navy beans, washed and drained*
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped into fairly small pieces
  • 1 c. chopped celery, including the leaves
  • ¼ c. minced fresh parsley
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tsp. dried
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 c. finely chopped massaged curly kale

Combine all ingredients except the kale in a heavy covered pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover pot, and cook until the beans are very tender, about 2 hours. After 90 minutes, remove the ham hock, let cool, and separate the meat from the bone and fatty tissue. Chop or shred the meat and add it back to the pot along with the chopped kale. Remove bay leaves and adjust the seasoning. Simmer soup for about 15 minutes or until the kale is wilted and tender. Great served with a good hearty bread or crusty baguette.   

*For this recipe, beans do not need to be pre-soaked.

MULLIGATAWNY (INDIAN CHICKEN CURRY SOUP)

This recipe came to me via an Epicurious request from a reader. When I saw the recipe I nearly hit my head on the ceiling jumping for joy. Because this was (and still is) my favorite chicken curry soup. And the reason I was so excited? Because, now at long last, I could make my favorite Indian restaurant’s soup anytime my little old heart desired. And that restaurant is Shamiana Restaurant in Houghton (Kirkland) Washington. If you live in the Seattle area and have not had the pleasure of dining at this wonderful restaurant, I suggest you give it a try in the near future. But back to the soup.

This soup is not only easy to make, but once you acquire the spices, fairly economical to prepare. And as I have preached in the preface to many of my recipes, even the spices are economical if you buy them in bulk. And yes, I know – those darling little glass spice jars look so becoming in your kitchen cabinet. But dear readers, once you start using herbs and spices with shear abandon, which incidentally is what I hope you do, you will find that those little jars don’t really hold very much. And unless you are a descendant of the late John D. Rockefeller, and therefore have money to burn, that’s exactly what you are doing when you remove one of those tiny spice jars from the grocery store shelf and place it in your cart. You might as well take a $20 bill out of your wallet and set fire to it right there in the grocery store! But again, back to the soup.

I served this soup, along with three others, at the before concert meal for a recent JazzVox concert. But while I was considering this soup to be one of the available options, I frankly was concerned that Mulligatawny might be just a little bit too exotic for some people’s taste. Well after all these years, I should have known better! By and large, the people who attend our in-home concerts have as great an appetite for unfamiliar and different food as they do for fabulous vocal jazz. So needless to say, despite my uneasiness regarding serving this soup, it was very popular.

So next time you experience a burning desire for chicken soup, but want to challenge the arbitrary boundaries you have set on what constitutes said dish, make a pot of this delicious soup. You will soon learn that there is more to chicken soup than you ever imagined!  

Oh, and BTW – if you do decide to burn your money in a grocery store, please do not tell the authorities that is was because of my suggestion. I greatly appreciate your lack of candor in this regard. Thank you very much.

  • ¼ c. vegetable oil
  • 3-4 chicken breasts, finely diced and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a small amount of turmeric
  • 3 c. chopped onion
  • 1 lg. or 2 small carrots, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 T. garam masala
  • 1 T. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. kosher
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ c. dried red lentils, washed
  • 8 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2-3 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 c. cooked basmati rice, opt.*
  • lemon wedges

Heat oil in a heavy large covered soup pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and sauté until just done. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions, carrot, and celery; cook until onion is a light golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. (You want the onions slightly caramelized.) Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add garam masala, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, bay leaves, salt, and pepper; stir for 1 minute. Add lentils; stir until coated. Add chicken broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and add coconut milk, fresh lemon juice, and reserved chicken. Cook for about a minute or until all the ingredients are hot. Adjust seasoning.

If you like rice in your soup, place a small amount in the bottom of a soup bowl. Ladle soup over and squeeze some fresh lemon over top.

*I wrote cooked rice as an optional ingredient, because in our house only one of us likes rice in his Mulligatawny. I prefer my soup without rice. Vive la différence!

Thanks Shamiana for this delightful recipe. And please pardon the changes.  

 

 

NAVY BEAN SOUP

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First of all, if you don’t like a really good navy bean soup, then read no further! But if you happen to love navy  bean soup, then this is the navy bean soup of your dreams. It’s easy to prepare, economical to make, and it tastes like nothing you are going to find in a can. (And yes, I am a little bit prejudiced about this soup since I started making it about a hundred years ago.)  

When my 4 children – Good God Almighty, 4? were young, I used to make soup almost every weekend. (Hey, my former husband and I weren’t poor, but we weren’t up there with the Rockefeller’s either. And soup was a delicious and healthy way to fill the little darling’s tummies.) Plus ham hocks were cheap, dried beans were cheap, and soups were both nutritious and filling. What more could a mommy ask from a simple to prepare dish?  

Then my life changed dramatically. I became single, my kids grew up and went away to college, but my love for soup remained. So I continued to make soup, including this one. Why you ask, when I could have just purchased a can of soup? Well, I was single, not brain dead! I still knew that homemade soup was always going to be better tasting and better for me, so I persisted in my passion for delicious and nutritious homemade soup. Eventually Mr. C. came along, (thank God), and he too loved homemade soup. So almost every winter weekend while we were both still working, I would build us some kind of soup on weekends. Now that we are both retired, weekends last 7 days a week. And I can prepare soup any old time I please!

(I highly recommend retirement, BTW. It is not overrated!)

So if you too want to fill your home with wonderful smells, feed your family a healthy and nutritious meal, and save money in the process, then homemade soup is the answer. And this soup is a good way to start. Serve this soup in a big old bowl surrounded by slices of a wonderful homemade or bakery bread, and you have an irresistible combination.

  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 c. navy beans, washed and drained*
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped into fairly small pieces
  • 1 c. chopped celery, including the leaves
  • ¼ c. minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a heavy covered pot. Cook until beans are very tender, about 2 hours. Remove ham hock, let cool, and separate the meat from the bone and fatty tissue. Chop or shred the meat and add it back to the pot. Remove bay leaf and adjust the seasoning. Great served with a good hearty bread or crusty baguette. 

*For this recipe, beans do not need to be pre-soaked.