Category Archives: Soups/Stews/Curries

Southwest Turkey (or Chicken) Vegetable Chowder

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I love soup season. I think that soup is a great year-round food, but some in my family don’t like to see it when the weather gets too warm. So I take full advantage of these cold, snowy months to make and freeze as much soup as possible.

This turkey chowder is definitely one of my favorite soups, and is adaptable to whatever vegetables or meat (turkey vs chicken) you have on hand. It is creamy, filling and has a great southwestern flavor from added green chilies and salsa verde (and some pepper jack cheese).

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This soup is also a good example of my procrastination. Within a few days of Thanksgiving, the family was getting tired of turkey leftovers, so I put the turkey carcass in the freezer to make soup with soon. Is January still considered soon? The resulting turkey stock made a great base for this chowder, but you could also use canned chicken broth and shredded or diced chicken.

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I served the soup with these Cheddar & Herb Drop Biscuits, which were perfect for dipping into all of that creamy goodness.

RECIPE:

Southwest Turkey/Chicken Vegetable Chowder

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6-8 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped**
1-2 cups shredded cabbage
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 cup (8 oz) green salsa (salsa verde)
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, undrained
2-3 cups diced or shredded cooked turkey or chicken
1 can corn**
2 large carrots, diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped cauliflower (optional)
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste (about ½ tsp salt; ¼ tsp pepper)**

In a large stockpot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Drain bacon grease, leaving 2 Tbs drippings in pot. Add onion, celery and red pepper to bacon drippings in the pot. Cook until crisp-tender. Stir in cabbage and cook until cabbage is wilted, but not browned.

Stir in broth, cream and salsa. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in green chilies, turkey or chicken, corn and carrots. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and cauliflower (or any other desired vegetables). Cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Gradually stir in cheese, stirring until melted. Taste and season with salt** and pepper. Stir in reserved bacon, or sprinkle on top of individual bowls of chowder.

**I used turkey stock made from a brined turkey, so I did not add any salt. How much you need will depend on taste and the saltiness of your broth. In place of the corn and red pepper, you can also substitute a bag of frozen corn with mixed peppers.

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Southwestern Ham and White Bean Soup

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Thank goodness for crock pots on cold fall days full of errands and after-school activities for both kids and parents.

This soup is best made with a leftover meaty ham bone, but you can also start with a chopped ham steak. If my ham bone is not meaty enough to yield about 3 cups of chopped ham, I will usually add additional chopped ham to the soup.

If you are using a ham bone, this is a two-step crock pot soup. The ham bone simmers in a crock pot full of water and aromatic herbs, onion and garlic until the ham can easily be removed and chopped (about 4 hours on high). I like to strain out all of the little bits that fall off of the ham, along with the herb sprigs, and then return the strained broth to the crock pot with the chopped ham and additional ingredients. TIP: add remaining ingredients to the crock pot first, along with chopped ham. Then add strained broth until crock pot is full (then you don’t risk overflowing your crock pot adding in all of the good stuff).

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This soup has a southwestern flavor with the addition of salsa, diced hot green chilies, mild chilies, beans and corn. Plus some standard soup veges (onions, carrots, celery); you could add anything you are looking to get rid of in your produce drawer.

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Serve it plain or with any number of desired garnishes (cheese, green onions, crushed tortilla chips or baked tortilla strips, sour cream, olives, additional salsa or hot sauce). I have found that the likelihood of my children eating soup is directly proportional to the number of “toppings” they are allowed to pile on.

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Serve with these Cheddar and Herb Drop Biscuits

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RECIPE:

Southwestern Ham and White Bean Soup


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1 meaty ham bone
1 onion, quartered
4-6 cloves of garlic
Sprigs of fresh herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme,
————-oregano, and/or basil**
1 bay leaf
½ tsp cracked black pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
1-2 carrots, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1-2 hot peppers, finely chopped
1 cup corn
3 cans white beans, drained
1 can diced green chilies
OPTIONAL: additional chopped ham, 2-3 cups total,
—————– (if ham bone is not very meaty)
2 cups salsa
salt
1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
OPTIONAL GARNISHES: shredded cheese, tortilla strips or
———– crushed tortilla chips, green onions, sour cream,
———– additional salsa or hot sauce

Place the ham bone, onion, garlic, herbs, bay leaf and cracked pepper in a large crock pot. Add enough water to cover the ham bone (about 6-8 cups). Cook on high for 4 hours, or until ham begins to fall off of the bone.

Remove ham bone from the crock pot; allow to cool slightly and then chop ham into bite-sized pieces. Strain broth from the crock pot, reserving the broth. Discard herbs and ham bone. Add all remaining ingredients, except salt, parsley or cilantro and garnishes to the crock pot with the chopped ham. Add reserved broth until crock pot is full; add additional water, if necessary. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours. Taste and salt as needed (about ½ – 1 tsp kosher salt, depending on saltiness of ham). Stir in parsley or cilantro.

Serve in bowls with desired garnishes.

**Note: You can also use dried herbs in place of the herb sprigs. Choose 2-3 herb varieties and add about ½ tsp of each.

 

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Comfort Food on a Snowed-In Day: Beef Bourguignon and 100% Whole Wheat Bread

We woke up this morning to a beautiful world of winter white! The kids’ only complaint: that it happened on a Saturday. FEB 6, 2010 018-1

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After spending several hours digging our driveway out from the storm (no snow-blowers here), I was ready to warm up the house (and me) with some good old-fashioned comfort food. Beef Bourguignon and some Whole Wheat Bread were just what I needed. This had to wait, of course, until I was done helping kids in and out of snow clothes half-a-dozen times during the day (and mopping up puddles of melted snow). And making lots and lots of hot cocoa!

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I know you are thinking that this is just a glorified beef stew, but it is so much more! This Beef Bourguignon is packed with flavor, and is thick and hearty, just begging for a slice of bread to mop up all of the leftover goodness in the bottom of your bowl.

DSC02163-1 And did I mention bacon?

Some of the heartiness (and tons of flavor) in this stew comes from first cooking some (okay, a lot) of chopped bacon in your stock pot. Remove the cooked bacon (to be added back later, of course), drain most of the bacon grease, leaving a couple of tablespoons in the bottom of the pot to brown your beef cubes in. I used some leftover roast beef from a few nights ago. Brown it up nicely in those bacon drippings and then add some mushrooms and onions.

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I like to remove most of the alcohol from the red wine, so I add it first, and then reduce it almost dry before adding in the rest of the liquids.

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Stir in some broth, tomato paste and seasonings and let it simmer for an hour or two to get your beef nice and tender.

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Add carrots, potatoes and celery and continue cooking until those vegetables are tender. Add some cherry tomatoes just before serving. They will soften perfectly just from the heat of the stew. Adding them too early will turn them to mush, and you’ll just have floating tomato skins in your bowl.

Waiting (patiently? not-so-patiently?) for mom to snap a few pictures before serving dinner!

DSC02243-1 After a long day of fun in the snow, a good hearty bowl of stew sure hits the spot!

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RECIPES:

Beef Bourguignon

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½ pkg (8 oz) bacon, chopped
3 lb beef roast, cubed
1 pkg (8 oz) whole mushrooms
1 ½ cups red wine
4 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
1 Tbs tapioca
1 cup pearl onions, or 1 onion, diced
2 potatoes, peeled & diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes

Cook bacon in a large pot. Remove from pan when cooked. Drain most of the grease, leaving about 2 Tbs in the pot. Brown the beef cubes in the bacon drippings. Add mushrooms (quartered if they are large) and chopped onion (if you are using pearl onions, wait and add them with the potatoes later). Cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions and mushrooms just begin to brown.

Add the wine and let wine reduce for 10-15 minutes, or until almost completely evaporated. Add cooked bacon, beef broth, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, pepper, salt, tapioca and pearl onions. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 1- 1 ½ hours.

Stir in potatoes, carrots and celery. Add additional water if stew is too thick. Cook until vegetables are tender. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary. Add tomatoes 5 minutes before serving. Remove bay leaf.

Serve with Parmesan cheese and hot bread.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

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2 ½ cups warm water
2 eggs
1 Tbs molasses
4 Tbs honey
¼ cup olive oil
5 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat gluten
¼ cup dry milk
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs instant yeast ***
1 ½ – 2 cups additional whole wheat flour

Mix wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients. Mix in enough additional flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Knead 5-6 minutes.

Divide dough into 3 greased medium-sized loaf pans (or 2 large). Brush with additional oil, cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Bake at 350 °F for 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans; cool.

TO MAKE ROLLS: Shape into desired shapes. Place on greased pans; brush with oil, cover and let rise until doubled in size. For a shiny roll: brush with slightly beaten egg white just before baking. Bake at 375 °F for 15 minutes.

***Note: If using instant yeast, the dough only needs to rise once (in the pans). If using regular yeast, allow dough to rise before putting in pans, then rise again in pans before baking.

Yield: 3 medium loaves (or 2 large) or 3 dozen rolls

 

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Cream of Broccoli Soup with Shredded Chicken or Turkey

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What to do with leftover turkey on Friday? Try this warm, creamy, cheesy broccoli soup. Perfect for leftover roast chicken or turkey.

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Cream of Broccoli Soup with Shredded Chicken

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2 Tbs butter
1 large bunch broccoli, chopped
or 2 boxes frozen chopped broccoli
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups cream
1 can broccoli cheese soup
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1-2 Tbs fresh chopped oregano or ½ tsp. dried oregano
2 C cooked, diced chicken or turkey (or 2 cans chicken)
½ cup cheddar cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese (fresh grated)

Sauté broccoli, onion and garlic in butter (If using frozen broccoli, sauté onion and garlic first until tender; then add thawed broccoli). Add chicken broth and cook until broccoli is crisp/tender. Puree half of mixture in blender. Return to pot. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook until hot and thickened (about 15 minutes). Garnish with additional cheese, if desired.

 

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Pumpkin Quiche and a Thai Winter Squash Soup

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Fall vegetables and fruit have such wonderful deep colors! We recently purchased several bushels of squash, pumpkins and apples and it has been fun finding ways to use them. As colder weather sets in I love roasting squash and making good hearty soups that taste and smell fabulous and warm up the house all at the same time. For dinner one night this weekend I roasted a bunch of squash and pumpkins and made a pumpkin quiche and a creamy winter squash soup with a subtle Thai flavor.

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Pumpkin Quiche with Bacon & Asparagus

For the quiche, I used my standard quiche recipe, substituting one cup of mashed pumpkin for one cup of cream in the recipe. I used half of a small roasted sugar pumpkin (try roasting your own squash-it is wonderful!)

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DSC03897 I used an immersion blender to mix the remaining cup of cream with the pumpkin and then added that to the egg and cheese mixture (I used Swiss and Parmesan), tossed in some cooked, crumbled bacon, sautéed onions and garlic, and chopped asparagus and baked it in a pie crust. DSC03909

The resulting quiche had only a very mild pumpkin flavor, but it had a wonderful texture and color.

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This would be a great way to sneak extra veges into your family’s diet without them ever knowing! And it is so much healthier than the original recipe.

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Next time I want to try this with a butternut squash, which has a slightly stronger taste and even more brilliant color!

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DSC03959 Thai Winter Squash Soup

I loved this soup! I used four different varieties of winter squash for this: half of a small pumpkin, an acorn squash, a butternut squash and a delicata squash (the small yellow one with green stripes). Any combination of squash would work fine. In trying to come up with a recipe, I didn’t want an overly bland soup, but I also didn’t want to overpower the roasted squash flavor by using really strong flavors, or making it too spicy.

DSC03880 I started by roasting all of my squash and then coarsely chopping them (I took the lazy approach to chopping and scooped the cooked squash into a large 4C Pyrex measuring cup and then ran a knife through it to help pack down the squash to get a full 4 cups).

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In a stockpot, sauté some onions and garlic in coconut oil or olive oil.

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When they are soft, stir in the cooked, chopped squash and two chopped apples (they lend a nice sweetness to the soup).

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Thin mixture by adding 2 cups of chicken broth, one can of coconut milk and one cup of cream (for a wonderful richness). Cook until apples and squash are very soft. Use an immersion blender to create a smooth soup. Use can also use a blender, but you will have to work in batches. I added a mild Thai flavor to this soup by stirring in 2 tsp Thai red curry paste and 1 tsp fresh grated ginger. I also added a small amount of fresh thyme and some chopped Thai basil from our garden, now growing inside (chopped cilantro would also be great). Add additional chicken broth if soup is too thick.

DSC03959 We garnished this with some toasted pine nuts (sauté pine nuts in 1 Tbs coconut oil or butter until lightly browned).

RECIPES:

Pumpkin Quiche with Bacon & Asparagus

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Unbaked Single Pie Crust
4 slices bacon
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped asparagus
1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Chop bacon and cook until crisp. Remove from pan. Drain grease, reserving 1 Tbs of drippings in the pan. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, but not browned. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped asparagus. Cool slightly.

Mix mashed pumpkin and cream well (an immersion blender works great). Mix in eggs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Stir in cooled bacon/vegetable mixture.

Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until set. Cover edges of crust with foil or pie crust shield if they brown too quickly. Cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Thai Winter Squash Soup

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2 Tbs coconut oil or butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 whole garlic cloves
4 cups cooked, mashed winter squash
(I used pumpkin, butternut, acorn and Delicata)
2 apples: peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1/8 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbs chopped fresh Thai basil (or chopped cilantro-I would use more of the cilantro, probably ¼ cup)
Toasted pine nuts

Heat coconut oil (or butter) in a stockpot. Sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add cooked squash and apples. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and coconut milk and cook until apples are tender, about 10 minutes. (You could also use uncooked, diced squash and cook longer, until squash is very tender).

Blend soup to make a smooth puree (using an immersion blender or regular blender).

Add cream, salt, coriander, curry paste, ginger and thyme leaves. Cook 10-15 minutes, adding additional chicken broth if the soup is too thick.

Stir in Thai basil or cilantro just before serving.

Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

 

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Prize-Winning Shredded Chicken & Black Bean Chili

Friday night  I came home with First Prize in a Chili Cook-Off!

DSC03130Okay, so it was only the annual church Halloween Trunk-or-Treat and Chili Cook-Off, and this was my big prize, but isn’t he cute!

I actually tried a new recipe, created on the fly that same day, so I am glad that it turned out edible!

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Earlier in the week I had cooked a bunch of chicken in my crock-pot for some enchiladas that I wanted to make. And if I’m going to go to the trouble to shred chicken, I’m going to shred A LOT of it. Freezer bags are my best friend! So I had lots of extra shredded chicken on hand. (This would also be a great meal for leftover chopped Thanksgiving turkey)

DSC02976Since I knew I was going to use the chicken in Mexican dishes,  I filled my crock pot with trimmed chicken breasts and poured on about one cup of salsa. Then turned it on low and forgot about it for the rest of the day.

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DSC02993Perfect shredded chicken by early afternoon!

I used several different kinds of hot peppers in this chili: jalapeno, hot banana peppers, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The jalapeno and banana peppers I roasted first. I love the flavor of chipotle peppers, but I never use a full can.

DSC03067So thanks to my friends the freezer bags, I have more on hand for another day.

Other than that, it is a standard tomato based chili recipe using chicken and black beans (plus some extra flavor items like chocolate, lime juice and cilantro!).

Hope you like it as well as the hungry trunk-or-treaters!

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Little J and Little A

Aren’t my little trunk-or-treaters cute!

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RECIPE:

Shredded Chicken & Black Bean Chili

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2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 large onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2-3 assorted hot peppers, roasted and chopped
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 small can mild diced chilies (optional)
1 Tbs adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)
2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 tsp cocoa powder (or 1 oz dark chocolate)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use more or less as desired)
Juice of 1 lime (about 2-3 Tbs)
3-4 cups shredded chicken (or leftover chicken/turkey, chopped)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (use more if desired)

Shredded cheddar cheese, green onions  and/or sour cream for garnish (optional)

Place diced tomatoes in the bottom of a large (5-6 quart) crock-pot. If desired, use a potato masher to slightly mash tomatoes. Add remaining ingredients (except **chicken, cilantro and garnishes). Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Taste and adjust spices to desired heat. Stir in chicken. Cook an additional 30 minutes. If the chili is too thick, add a little water or chicken broth. Stir in cilantro just before serving. Garnish with cheese, chopped green onions and/or sour cream.

**NOTE: Since the chicken is pre-cooked, don’t cook it with the rest of the chili all day. It will make the chicken disintegrate into tiny shreds. Add the chicken at the end of the cooking time, and heat through.

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