Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category


Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

This year we were home and just stayed with the fast.  Not because we’re pious.  No way, Jose.  I just can’t stare at leftover turkey for another month.

A big pile of meat in the fridge or freezer would be too tempting. And, I’m not the only one with that concern.

WordPress tells me what searches lead people to my page.  Today’s top searches:

  • koliva
  • koliva sintagi
  • cakes for fasting
  • eating leftover meat fast day orthodox
  • grinding wild sumac

That gave me a real chuckle.

So, here are the recipes I used.

Wall Street Journal had a great article on native foods including a recipe for chestnut soup.You will find the link to that article at the end of this post. I changed the recipe to make it fast friendly.

This was my first time working with chestnuts.  It wasn’t bad.  I used raw chestnuts and roasted them for about 20 minutes at 325.  According to the WSJ article you should be able to find chestnuts cooked, peeled, and packaged.  If you’re super lucky you might be able to harvest chestnuts locally.

Chestnuts are more carbohydrate than protein.  According to the USDA Nutrient Database, chestnuts have .9 grams of protein per ounce.  The wild rice has about 6 grams protein per cup.  This isn’t a protein rich soup, but it is immensely satisfying.

Chestnut and Mushroom Bisque With Wild Rice

1 cup wild rice

1 Tablespoon oil

1 large diced shallot (or half a white onion)

1 1/2 Cups sliced mushrooms (button, portobello, shiitake, or a mix)

12 ounces roasted and peeled chestnuts, chopped

4 cups vegetable broth + 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (for flavor and nutrients)

2 Tablespoons apple cider (I used apple wine)


1.  Lord, bless my work.

2.  In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup wild rice and 2 1/2 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer until rice is chewy but tender and some kernels have begun to split and show their white pith, about 30 minutes.  Drain off remaining water and set rice aside.

3.  In a medium/large pot heat oil and add diced shallot.  Saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add 1½ cups sliced mushrooms (button mushrooms, baby portobellos, shiitake—or a mix) and stir to coat. If pot becomes dry, add another tablespoon oil. Sauté mushrooms until they begin to soften and brown, about 2 minutes.

4.   Add 12 ounces roasted and peeled chestnuts, chopped. Sauté shallots, mushrooms and chestnuts 5 minutes more, stirring frequently, until a thin brown crust forms in pot, mushrooms are soft and mixture is fragrant.

5.  Add 4 cups vegetable broth, stirring to loosen brown bits from pot. Simmer 15 minutes. // Remove pot from heat. Cool 10 minutes.

6.  Pour solids, along with enough soup broth to cover, into a blender. Reserve remaining broth. Cover blender and purée mixture until smooth. Return purée to pot along with remaining broth. Stir in 2 tablespoons apple cider. Salt to taste.

To serve, spoon ¼ cup wild rice into bowls and top each with 1 cup soup. Garnish with chopped chestnuts and a thin apple slice.



Read Full Post »

This is a quick soup with good flavor, loads of veggies, and a good reason to eat tortilla chips.

Chips and beans complement eachother!

Mexican Vegetable Soup with Tortilla Chips

2 Tbsp oil (or water for sauteeing onions)

1 onion, chopped finely (about 1 cup)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2/-3 tsp chili powder

1 carrot, sliced

1-2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed.

1 waxy potato, diced (if you use a russet or other type it will fall apart in the soup- I used a red skin with good results)

1 1/2 cups diced fresh or 1 can tomatoes

1 zuchinni, diced (or skip this and add more green beans for protein)

1/4 small cabbage shredded (no more than 2 cups)

4 cups vegetable broth or water

1 corn cob, kernels cut off, or 1 cup frozen corn

about 10 green beans, trimmed and cut into bites

salt and pepper

4-6 Tbsp cilantro chopped

tortilla chips

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened, then sprinkle in the cumin and chili powders.  Stir in the carrot, potato, tomatoes, zucchini, and cabbage and cook for 2 minutes, stirring teh mixture occasionally.

Step 3. Pour in the bouillon.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetable are tender.

Step 4. Add extra water if necessary, then stir in the corn, canned beans, and green beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the green beans are tender.  Sason with salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that the tortilla chips may be salty.

Step 5. Sprinkle each portion with cilantro, salsa, and a handful of chips.

Read Full Post »

My goal for lent was to post a new recipe each day.  Between travel and beloved house guests I haven’t been faithful.  To make up for it, today, I will post two recipes that we enjoyed over the last two days.  I apologize.  I didn’t take pictures.  They were beautiful dishes, and tasty, which is why I don’t have leftovers to show you.

This soup has a nice flavor, the herbs are the primary flavor so don’t skimp on them.

Beans and Greens Soup (about 4 quarts)

1 cup of dried beans (or half a bag) soaked at least 6 hours

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 small onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 celery stalk, sliced thinly

2 carrots, sliced thinly

5 cups water

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried marjoram

1 bay leaf

4 1/2 ounces leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach, mustard or a mix) depending on the variety this would be a few packed cups

salt and pepper (you’ll need a lot to taste)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Drain the beans and put in the pot, add enouch cold water to bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse.

Step 3. Heat oil in the pot, then add onion and cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just softened.  Add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook for 2 minutes.

Step 4. add the water, beans, thyme, marjoram, and bay leaf.  When the mixture bubbles, reduce the heat.   Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/4 horus, or until the beans are tender.  Season to taste.

Step 5. Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer 2 cups to the blender, blend until smooth and combine with the soup.

Step 6. Cut the grens crosswise into thin ribbons, a handful at a time.  Spinach needs less time to cook than kale or mustard, so cook them for a shorter time.  Cook greens uncovered for a maximum of 10 minutes or until all greens are tender.

Step 7. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  The beans will soak up most of the flavor so you may need to add more salt or herbs.  Serve.

Read Full Post »

Soup made with green bell pepper isn't as beautiful as soup made with a red bell pepper

According to The Complete Mexican, South American, and Caribbean Cookbook, “Peanut soup is a firm favorite throughout Central and South America, and is particularly popular in Bolivia and Ecuador.  As in many Latin American recipes, the peanuts are used as a thickening agent, with unexpectedly delicious results.”  After dinner tonight I can say that I agree.

I like this cookbook but the directions are poorly translated and overlap too much for pleasant cooking.  I have changed the directions below for ease.

This soup should either be chunky or completely smooth.  The middle way is difficult to swallow.

With the peanuts and potatoes a serving of soup has about 8.1 grams of protein.

Peanut and Potato Soup with (or without for JKM) Cilantro

4 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large potato

2 chiles (optional)

7 ounces canned chopped tomatoes (if you used half a can for Mexican Rice use the other half here)

1 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts

6 cups vegetable stock or Better than Buillon

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp cilantro for garnish

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2.  Toast the peanuts: You can either buy plain roasted peanuts or toast raw peanuts yourself.  If you toast the peanuts yourself, first, eat a raw peanut so you can compare flavor to determine when the peanuts are done.  When they are done the peanuts will taste like peanut butter.  You can toast them one of two ways:

  1. Spread peanuts on a tray and toast gently in the toaster oven.  Do not take your eyes off of the peanuts.  Toast the peanuts to an even gold color
  2. In a dry skillet, over medium heat, stir the peanuts around until they are evenly toasted.  This method makes for easy taste testing.  You’ve got to be very careful as the peanuts scorch easily.


Step 3. Heat oil in a large, heavy pan over low heat.  Stir in onion and cook for 5 minutes until it begins to soften.  Add the garlic, pepper, potatoes, chilies, and tomatoes.  Stir well to coat the vegetables in oil, cover, cook for 5 minutes until softened.

Step 4. Decision point!

For smooth soup: While the vegetables are cooking process peanuts in food processor or blender until finely ground.  Add the vegetables and one cup of the water to the blender or food processor and process until very, very smooth. Return mixture to the pot and stir in vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

For a chunky soup:  Add peanuts to the vegetables and stir in vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.   Chunky soup might be better with an extra potato or some noodles.

Step 5. Garnish with cilantro to serve.

Read Full Post »

My friend, M.C.H., one of the best cooks I know, brought this recipe to our church recipe swap.   Today was the first pre-sanctified liturgy.  I thought I would bring the best possible Lenten soup for those who have been fasting the last three days.  Unfortunately, I let it burn on the stove.  (Ah, lent.)  The soup still got compliments, even with its smoky flavor, so let that serve as evidence of the soup’s goodness.

The humble cabbage, the main ingredient of this soup, is a popular winter vegetable thanks to its long shelf life.  Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin C during a time of year with few fresh fruits.  Add the can of tomatoes and you’re really boosting your C.

Vitamin C is vitally important for the body to build collagen.  Collagen is the stuff that holds your cells together.  According to Adelle Davis, “This connective tissue is concentrated in the cartilage, the ligaments, the walls of all the blood vessels, the base of the bones, and of the developing teeth, and gives all of these structures great strength and flexibility.  Although vitamin C is necessary for the formation of this tough jelly, adequate calcium must be present before the ‘jel’ can set” (Davis 1970).  Well, guess what?  The sesame seeds have calcium!  100 grams of sesame seeds have 1017 milligrams of calcium.  The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons.  I used 6 tablespoons which were almost 100 grams of seeds.  So, in the whole pot of soup you have the makings for good collagen.  I encourage you to experiment to your own taste.  Sesame seeds have a very light flavor and will not overwhelm the soup.

You can use green or purple cabbage.  The bread thickens the soup the same way cornstarch thickens gravy.  If you use a white sandwich bread (starchy)  it will thicken the soup in a totally different way than a whole wheat loaf (not so starchy).  Each has his own taste.

Home made bread for the soup

A note on buying sesame seeds:  I bought my seeds from the Mexican spice rack at my grocery store.  I got  2 ounces of seed (6 Tbsp) for 87 cents.  At the other grocery store, which did not have a Mexican spice rack, the McCormick 1 ounce bottle of sesame seed was $3.99.  If your budget doesn’t allow for sesame seeds it is okay- the important seed to the flavor of the soup is caraway.

Thick Cabbage Soup

2 Tbs vegetable oil

1 onion, diced (1-1 1/2 c)

3 Tbsp sesame seeds

7 c shredded cabbage (half a large head) (a 1 1/2 pound cabbage yielded 9 cups) **

1 can whole tomatoes, cut into large chunks

6 c vegetable broth or 6 cups water 4 tsp bouillon

2 slices (1 1/2 cup) bread, diced (rye or a crusty wheat work best)

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)*

salt to taste

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Saute onion, cabbage, and sesame seeds in soup pot until the cabbage begins to get tender and sweet.  (Do not get distracted weighing your sesame seeds, I’ve already done that for you.  Keep an eye on your cabbage.)

Step 3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 45 minutes or until the bread has completely broken down and disappeared.

M says, “You can add more soy sauce too.  I don’t think it’s possible to use too much soy sauce in this.”

*And this, “Caraway is a pretty important part of the soup, (it goes so nicely with purple cabbage), but if you have rye bread you probably don’t need any extra caraway.”

**To shred a cabbage cut it in half, remove the core.  With the cut side/flat side down, make thin slices of cabbage.  Once half of the head is sliced this way chop to the desired length.

Read Full Post »