Archive for February, 2009

Contemporary Art + Soup

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is hosting a special event this Saturday (February 28)–as part of their regular Front Room series–featuring art, wine, and soup. Clearly, they are after my heart.  (I also happen to like their current show, Gedi Sibony: My Arms Are Tied Behind My Other Arms quite a lot — soup or no soup, it’s worth the trip.)

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Egg Drop Soup from Another Era

From Jezebel: “We have become slightly obsessed with the nanogenarian Clara’s Great Depression Cooking Show on YouTube, in which she showcases the frugal recipes that got her family through the 1930s.” And what is episode 2, you ask? Why it’s Egg Drop Soup. Love it!

White Chicken Chili

This is another delicious recipe from my mother-in-law. I have, of course, put my own spin on things — her recipe is actually way simpler, it just called for throwing everything in the pot and cooking for an hour, which trust me still works and tastes great. I just can’t leave well enough alone! I drew additional inspiration from a white chili recipe at Simply Recipes, which is worth a look for some interesting variations.

White Chicken Chili
serves 8

2 large or 3 small cooked* boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 2 1/2 cups), diced or shredded
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp canola oil
1 each red and yellow pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 4 oz. can green chilies
1 jalepeño pepper, chopped fine (optional)
1 cup white wine
3 cans beans (1 use one can each of northern, pinto, and cannelloni — do not drain)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
3 cups chicken broth
juice from 1 lime
shredded jack or cheddar cheese

optional garnishes: cilantro (recommended!), low fat sour cream/plain yogurt; fresh tomato; fresh salsa; guacamole; avocado slices; chopped scallions; tortilla chips

1. Poach the chicken if necessary (see instructions below).*white-chili
2. Sweat the onions and garlic in a large stock pot or dutch oven in canola oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, carrots, and celery and a pinch of salt, and sweat for five more minutes. Stir in the jalepeños and chilies.
3. Add 1 cup dry white wine, turn the heat up to medium-high and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
4. Add the beans and spices and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Pour in the chicken broth and add the chicken. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 45 mins. Stir in the lime juice.
6. Top with shredded cheese and any other desired garnishes to serve.

* If you already have some leftover cooked chicken to use up (I imagine leftover turkey would also work pretty well) — great. If not, to poach the chicken: put into a saute pan and add enough water or chicken broth to fully cover. Over medium heat bring to a light simmer (not a rolling boil), and then turn off the heat and cover for at least 20 mins.

Soup on the Brain

See, it’s not just me. People have soup on the brain these days!

Today Sauce (St. Louis food magazine) blogs about some local soup hotspots in a semi-regular feature that announces the soups du jour around town [Soup of the day]

And another St. Louis-based blogger discusses a love of Companion, a local soup spot favorite of mine as well [i wanted soup for lunch…]

Plus, this week’s episode of Top Chef was practically a gumbo cook-off. [Gumbo recipes from Top Chef site]

Roasted Carrot Soup

I had a whole bunch of carrots to use up, and so I thought — what better way to get rid of these carrots than to try a new soup recipe. I also threw in some ripe pears and rosemary because that’s what I happened to have in my kitchen, but these pureed veggie soups tend to be pretty forgiving (especially with a versatile base like carrot). I actually planned to use up ginger but mine turned out to be kind of sad and old so I left it out and tried the rosemary instead– so experiment based on what you feel like using up!

Roasted Carrot Soup
Serves about 4

8 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium red onion, chopped
vegetable oil
5-6 garlic cloves
2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 T. rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar would also work)
1 sprig rosemary
1 quart low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
juice of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating up, peel and slice the carrots and chop the onions. Pile these on a baking sheet (ideally the type with a rim) lined with a Silpat (if you have one), or parchment paper (to prevent sticking). Spread out the veggies and then drizzle with about a teaspoon of oil and sprinkle with salt. Pop this in the oven. Set your timer for 25 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and pears to the baking sheet in the oven as you prepare them. Stir everything periodically.
3. Add another tsp. oil to a large (at least 4-5 quart) saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the veggies when they’re done (should be slightly browned and well softened). Cook the veggies 3-5 minutes, and then stir in the vinegar and add the rosemary. Cook about 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer about 5 minutes. Remove the rosemary.
4. Puree the mixture in a blender (or with an immersion blender). Return to clean saucepan, stir in the lemon juice, and warm over medium-low heat.

Quite good with French bread — would also be yum with a dark bread too (I love pumpernickel). Enjoy!

How to Blender Puree Hot Soup

As previously noted, I prefer using an immersion blender to puree my soups. However, I realize that the immersion blender isn’t  a common kitchen tool, so I wanted to outline the correct (safe) procedure for pureeing a hot soup in a regular blender:

1. Hot liquids will expand when blended, so be careful not to fill the jar of the blender more than halfway (puree in batches if necessary).
2. To prevent the liquid from spattering, allow the heat to escape: Remove the cap from the hole in the lid, and cover the lid with a dishtowel when blending.
3. Repeat if necessary. Return soup to a clean saucepan to warm (for warm soups, obviously).*

*Source: Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

Roasted Tomato Soup at Mihalis Chophouse

While I’m not a big Valentines Day person (and really — who is?) — I pretty much never pass up the opportunity to go out to a yummy dinner. So we picked Mihalis Chophouse, a place I’ve wanted to try because it puts an intriguing Greek spin on my husband’s favorite type of fancy dinner out, the prime steakhouse.

I wish I would have brought my camera, because I tried the soup du jour and it was both very pretty and tasty. It was a roasted tomato soup, with a goat cheese and shrimp crostini on top. The soup was delicious — sweet, but with a strong smoky flavor from the roasted tomatoes. There was a basil oil drizzle was also quite good and added a subtle and fresh note to the overall flavor.

I’ll try to remember to sneak my camera in next time I go out to eat so that I can start documenting any good soup finds on the town. I have so many friends who like to take pictures of their food when traveling I’m also thinking of starting a Flickr group dedicated to people’s (homemade and restaurant) soup pics…


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