Tag Archives: soup

“Flexitarian” Split Pea Soup

We move in a couple weeks, and I’ve been trying to use up my pantry.  Hence another legume-based recipe.  This time soup. For all but the hottest months of the year, I keep a pot of soup in the fridge.  I usually whip something up toward the end of the week, with whatever is left on hand. Family members can dip into the pot for lunch or a quick snack, or I can serve the soup as supper, along with salad and some kind of bread.  This recipe is one of my standby’s.  Unlike many split pea soups, which require a ham hock, this can be made with ingredients I typically have on hand.  The bacon provides enough flavor to satisfy those people who believe soup must start with a bone.  This makes about 10 cups of soup.  Enjoy!

4 slices flavorful bacon (ideally nitrate-free)
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. plus 1-2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 hot red pepper, finely chopped
2 medium “baking” potatoes
3 cups dried split peas, rinsed and sorted
9 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried tarragon

Finely dice bacon (or cut into bits using kitchen scissors). In a large soup pot, melt butter and 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon. Turn heat up slightly and fry until bacon is crisp and has rendered most of its fat. Turn heat down to medium again. Add 1-2 T. olive oil, onion, carrots and celery and sauté 5 minutes, stirring often. While vegetables are cooking, peel and cut potatoes into a ½-inch dice. Add garlic and hot pepper to the pot and sauté another 60 seconds, stirring once or twice.

Add diced potatoes to the pot, along with the split peas. Add broth and stir to combine. Crumble in dried thyme and dried tarragon. Bring soup to a boil, then turn down heat.  Skim mixture several times to remove froth. Partially cover soup and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender and have started to fall apart, usually 25-40 minutes. (Time will depend on the age of the dried peas.) Remove from heat. Cool soup slightly.

Using care, scoop out 3 cups of soup and purée it in a blender. (To purée hot liquids, remove the center of the blender’s lid to provide a place for the steam to escape. Cover the hole with a folded clean kitchen towel, making sure that the folded towel is several layers thick.  With several layer of towel between the hot liquid and your hand, hold the towel in place over the vent and turn the blender on.)  Pour the puréed soup back into the pot.  Repeat twice.

Serve warm.


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Black Bean Soup

This black bean soup has old-world, slow food flavor.  The bacon is optional, but be sure to use a good quality sherry.  You end up with about 9 cups of soup. Enjoy!

16 oz. dried black beans
Olive oil
3 slices flavorful bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 medium carrots, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red hot pepper, finely diced
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ T. dry mustard
2-4 pinches cayenne (to taste)
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. tomato paste
4-8 c. beef or mushroom broth, plus enough water to make 10 c. liquid
½ c. dry sherry
Feta cheese (for garnish)

Soak beans overnight.

Lightly coat the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add bacon and slowly fry, rendering as much fat as possible. When bacon is crispy, remove about two-thirds of it and set aside. Add onions, carrots and celery to pan and cook, gently, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add garlic, red pepper and bay leaf to the pan cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add black pepper, dry mustard and cayenne and cook 30 seconds or so.

Drain beans and rinse them under cold water. Add beans, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, broth and water. Bring ingredients to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer, gently, until beans are tender (2-2 ½ hours). Let soup cool slightly.

Puree 5 cups of soup in a blender and return to the pot. Add salt to taste. Add sherry and reserved bacon to the pan and bring it up to a simmer again. Simmer for 10 minutes, then check seasoning. You may need to add cayenne or salt. (Note: Do not oversalt soup as the feta cheese will be salty.)

Serve hot, garnished with feta cheese.

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Vegetable Beef Soup

Toward the end of the week, I usually make soup out of whatever odds and ends are in the fridge.  I throw it all together, maybe round it out with canned tomatoes or a cup of dried peas. Voilá, I have an easy, economic, no-brainer lunch for the weekend.  Not so today.  Today, I craved something hearty, perhaps meat-based, and guaranteed to sooth.  So I made vegetable beef soup. I cannot remember where this recipe originally came from, but I pretty much make it as is.  I might throw in a handful of cabbage, or my current obsession, kale, but the soup is darn good as written. Why mess with perfection? My only caveat is that it takes some time to cook—It is the long, slow simmering process that melds the flavors together into something that tastes like cozy.  This makes about 8 servings.  Enjoy!

Olive oil
1 lb beef stew meat, cut into ½” chunks
ground celery seed (opt.)
Salt & pepper
2 large onions, diced & divided
6 c. water
2 c. chicken broth
2 bay leaves

2 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 medium white potatoes, diced
1 c. chopped parsley
1 large can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
1 small can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
15 oz can Northern beans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
2 pinches cinnamon

1 c. frozen peas
1 tsp. cider vinegar
Red wine (opt.)

Heat oil in soup pot over medium high heat. Season meat with salt, pepper, and ground celery seed. Brown beef in oil with half of the onions. Add water, stock and bay leaves. Bring to boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 90 min.

Add remaining ingredients, except for peas, vinegar and wine (if using). Add water, if necessary, to barely cover veggies. Return to a simmer. Cook until broth is no longer watery, about 2 hours.

Add peas, vinegar, and good pour of wine (about ½ c.), if using. Simmer 5 min. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve.

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Red Lentil Soup

This is one of my favorite soups.  It can be made ahead and seems to taste better after a day or two in the fridge (though good luck keeping it around that long!) This recipe  makes about 6 cups. Enjoy!

1-2 T. olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 diced carrots
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf (opt.)
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. (+) cayenne pepper
4 c. chicken or veggie broth
2 c. broth or water
1 rounded cup (8oz) red lentils

Plain lowfat yougurt, for serving (opt.)
Lemon wedges, for serving (opt.)

Saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil over med heat until onions are translucent. Add garlic and bay leaf and saute 2 minutes. Stir in cumin and cayenne and saute until fragrant, 30-90 seconds. Remove bay leaf.

Add broth (and water, if using) and lentils. Bring to boil,
reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. Puree in batches in blender. Reheat. Serve garnished with yogurt and/or lemon wedges, as desired.

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Silver Palate Vegetable Chili

Today we’re watching football.  I plan to set out a cheese plate during the first game– Found a nice blue, a triple creme, a sharp cheddar and an aged gouda.  I’ll pile toasted walnuts, dried apricots and thin-sliced apples on the platter, along with a spoonful of ginger paste.  For dinner, during the second game, I’ll serve the Silver Palate’s Vegetable Chili.  It is still one of my favorites.

8 generous servings.

¾ c. olive oil, divided
2 zucchini, cut into a ½” dice
2 onions, cut into a ½” dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large red bell peppers, cut into a ½” dice
35 oz. Italian plum tomatoes
24 oz. plum tomatoes, cut into a 1” dice
2 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. dried basil
1 T. dried oregano
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fennel seeds
½ c. chopped Italian parsley
1 c. canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
½ c. chopped dill
2 T. fresh lemon juice

Heat ½ cup of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the zucchini and saute until just tender, 5-7 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a large dutch oven. Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in the skillet over low heat. Add the onions, garlic and peppers. Saute until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture (including any oil) to the dutch oven.

Place the dutch oven over low heat. Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, the fresh tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, fennel seeds and parsley. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, for 30 minutes.

Stir in the kidney beans, the garbanzo beans, dill and lemon juice. Cook for 15 minutes. Stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings. Serve hot with bowls of sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced scallions alongside.

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