Category Archives: Soup

Turkey and White Bean Chili

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The timing of this chili post, when the weather is just beginning to warm up in London and most of the States, may seem a bit odd.  However, let me explain.

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I’ve been wanting to post my favorite chili recipe for this entire winter.  Originally I’d thought to tie it in with the Superbowl.  Football and chili, a classic combination.

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But Sticky Glazed Chicken Wings won out.  Fast forward a few months and May is upon us and I’m sorting out what to make for our Cinco de Mayo celebration.  And it hits me…. chili would be perfect.

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This Turkey and White Bean Chili has a secret ingredient that gives it some Mexican cred…..cocoa powder.  It’s a bit like a molé sauce.  It’s best topped with sour cream, cilantro/coriander, avocado, cheese and a squeeze of lime.  All favorite ingredients in Mexican cooking.

Make a batch, or a double-batch, keep it warmed on the stove, and let guests ladle up their own bowls.  Set out all the toppings and you’ve got yourself a Cinco de Mayo chili bar.  Olé!

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1 year ago:  Cilantro Lime Tequila Spritzer with Jalapeño

Turkey and White Bean Chili (serves 4)

Note:  This recipe makes 5 cups (1.25 liters).  If you like more beans in your chili, add another can.  You can also substitute dried beans for the canned beans.  Place ½ cup dried cannellini beans in a medium saucepan, cover with 2” / 5cm cold water and add a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer until the beans are fully cooked, about 3 hours.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 lb (500 grams) ground turkey/turkey mince

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 bay leaf

½ tablespoon cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

14 ounces (400 grams) canned/tinned whole peeled tomatoes

2 cups (475 ml) water

3 tablespoons tomato paste/puree

15 ounces (400 grams) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Toppings:  Fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped onion, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, avocado slices, lime wedges


Heat oil in a medium or large pot over medium-low heat.  Add onions and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add oregano and cumin and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add turkey, increase heat to medium-high and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with a spoon, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder, bay leaf, cocoa, salt and cinnamon.  Add tomatoes with their juices and break up with a spoon.  Add water and tomato paste, stir well, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes.

Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes.  Serve chili with desired toppings; add a bit of water if too dry, especially when reheating.

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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Happy New Year!!  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays.  My family and I had a lovely time Stateside.  I intended to post from there but got busy catching up with friends and family, eating Chex mix and drinking red wine, and playing Scrabble.  But now it’s back to London and after not cooking for over 2 weeks and everyone craving something homemade (and fighting off colds) homemade chicken soup is in order.

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Homemade chicken noodle soup fits perfectly into those new year’s resolutions to eat healthy.  It’s all fresh, whole foods – no processed ingredients.  This is from-scratch chicken noodle soup like Grandma used to make.

I’m gonna be straight with you.  It does take a bit of time – a 30-minute-meal it is not.  But it involves minimal work; the majority of the time is broth simmering.

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Start with a whole chicken.  Put it in a large pot and add the flavorings for the stock: onion, carrots, celery, herbs, etc.  Top off with water and simmer for a few hours.  Strain out the solids, reserving the chicken and discarding the other solids (I first strain through a colander, then do a second strain through a mesh strainer).

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Simmering for those two hours releases collagen for the bones which lends an incredible silkiness to the broth.  It also causes the soup to become gelatinous (chicken soup jello??) once cooled.  This can be off-putting to some, but once you reheat it, you once again have a lovely chicken noodle soup.

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Back to soup making, once you have your strained broth back in the stockpot add your carrots and celery (diced, not the ones you used for the stock), once softened add noodles, then chicken and finally some parsley.  Season with salt and pepper and you’ve got a genuine homemade meal.  Grandma would be proud!

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1 year ago:  Hearty Minestrone Soup

Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup (8 servings)

Note:  This makes a heartier soup, chock full of lots of chicken, noodles and veg.  If you prefer a brothier soup, use only 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk.  Also, if you have a chicken carcass left over from a roasting a chicken (or whatever you’ve used it for), use that instead of the whole chicken and just add 3 cups of shredded chicken left over from your roast or cook up a few breasts.

For the broth:

5 lb / 2.2 kg whole chicken

1 large onion, peeled and quartered

2 carrots, chopped into 1-2″/2.5-5cm pieces

2 celery stalks, chopped into 1-2″/2.5-5cm pieces

6 garlic cloves, peeled

3 handfuls fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, dill)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt

3 quarts (3.5 liters) water

For the soup:

2 carrots, medium-diced

2 celery stalks, medium-diced

8 ounces (225 grams) egg noodles

3 cups (375 grams) shredded chicken

2 tablespoons minced parsley


To make the broth: Combine chicken, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herbs, peppercorns, salt and water in a large stock/soup pot.  If water does not cover chicken, use a deeper, less wide pot or cut the chicken into 3 or 4 pieces so that chicken is fully submerged.  Bring to a boil then gently simmer uncovered for 2 hours.  Remove chicken and place on a cutting board.  Strain the remaining contents of the soup pot in a colander, reserving the liquid.  You should have about 2 quarts (2.3 liters) of stock.  If you have more than that, return stock to the pot along with the chicken and other solids; if you have less, add water until you have 2 quarts.  Discard the solids, except for the chicken.

To make the soup:  Return the strained broth to the soup pot and bring to a simmer.  Add diced carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.  While vegetables are cooking, shred chicken.  Add the egg noodles and cook until soft; timing depends on brand and thickness (I used thin egg noodles that took 3 minutes, but others can take longer). Add chicken and cook until heated throughout, about 1-2 more minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in parsley.  If you want a more liquidy soup, add a bit of water.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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French Onion Soup

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French onion soup is one of those things people love ordering at a restaurant because they don’t make it at home.  There’s a certain mystique about this bistro classic: that cheesy topping, the floating toasts, the melt-in-your mouth onions.  No way you could create something that delicious in your own kitchen.

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Way (pardon my lame Wayne’s World reference).  French onion soup is (1) simple and (2) inexpensive.  A whole batch costs nearly the same as one bowl at a restaurant – about £4 or $7.

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The key to perfect french onion soup is a long, slow cooking time.  The prep takes about 5 minutes – just slicing some onions (slicing, so much simpler than chopping) – then they do their own thing on the stove for the next hour and a half, with occasional intervention on your part.

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The cheesy toasted topping tends to intimidate as well.  Especially if you don’t have oven-safe soup bowls.

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Even if you do, removing broiling-hot bowls from the oven and then every two minutes reminding your soup eaters “do NOT touch the bowl” isn’t my idea of a relaxing dinner.

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That rigmarole is eliminated with cheesy toasts: baked separately then floated on top of the soup.  Use any bowl you wish.  You can even bake the toasts ahead of time and still have that cheesy goodness (I usually bake them during the final 10 minutes of the soup’s cooking time).

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French Onion Soup (serves 4-6)

Note:  For the best tasting soup, use the maximum cooking times suggested below.  Trust me, the longer the better!  If using beef stock cubes, use double the recommended amount of water per cube.  I used 1 cube per liter, whereas the package said to use 1 cube per 450 ml (broth will taste a bit watered down, but as it cooks for 30-40 minutes it will reduce and gain more flavor without being overly salty).

1 1/2 lbs (680 grams) yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced (about 3-4 onions, 5 cups sliced)

3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons flour

8 cups (2 liters) boiling beef stock (see Note above)

1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine, dry white vermouth, or dry sherry

Salt and pepper to taste

Baguette

1 cup (120 grams) grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese


Place onions, butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven or large (4-5 quart / 5 liter saucepan), cover, and cook slowly over low heat for 15 minutes.  (I used a 7-quart Le Creuset just because that’s what size I have and I love using it for everything!  But you don’t need to use something that big – 5 quart or 5 liter is plenty big).

Uncover, raise heat to medium, and stir in the salt and sugar.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring occasionally (every 5-10 minutes), until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown.  Turn heat down a bit if onions start to burn.

Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.  Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Off heat, blend in the boiling stock, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the wine and season to taste.  Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more.

While simmering, cut baguette into 3/4” (2 cm) to 1” (2 1/2 cm) thick slices (allow 2-3 slices per bowl of soup).  Place bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dried out and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle bread with grated cheese.  Put back in oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes.  If you prefer your cheese lightly browned on the top, place under the broiler for a few minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Place 2-3 cheesy toasts atop each bowl.

Adapted from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child

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Avgolemono Soup

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Just got back into town from a wonderful holiday in Prague and Vienna.  A post about what/where I ate will soon follow, but first things first.  I have hungry (actually hangry….you know when hungry becomes angry) people in the house and the pantry is pretty bare bones.  Despite not having cooked in over a week, I don’t have an overwhelming urge to create in the kitchen.  Blame it on the pantry situation.

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That’s when this weeknight dinner winner saves the day.  It’s a hearty, flavorful, extremely easy soup and ready in about 15 minutes.  But the best part is that the ingredients are probably all residing in your kitchen.  Even after a week away.  Except for possibly the dill.  But let me tell you about the dill…..  I quickly cleaned out the fridge before we left (and it was definitely quick because as of an hour before the cab was picking us up, I had yet to pack) but failed to throw out a bag of dill.  It was still good last night!  Over a week later!  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.  Definitely good for the soup.

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Avgolemono is a classic Greek soup.  A bit of a twist on ye ole chicken noodle.  The lemon and dill add fresh, lively flavor and the eggs make it a bit more substantial.  After feasting on sausage and schnitzel for a week, this hit the spot.  I’ll admit, it’s not the prettiest soup.  But dang, it’s delicious!!  Sorry Donna, to steal your tagline:)

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Avgolemono Soup (serves 4)

Note:  This is a great way to use up leftover chicken:  either put an extra breast or two on the grill or use leftovers from a whole roasted chicken.  Also, chicken is listed as an optional ingredient so the soup can be made for vegetarians; otherwise I’d definitely throw it in.  Recipe can easily be doubled for heartier portions and/or leftovers.

4 cups (950 ml) chicken broth

1/3 cup (60 grams) uncooked orzo pasta

3 eggs

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 cup (125 grams) cooked, shredded chicken – optional

Salt and pepper


In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook until tender but still al dente, about 7 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth/orzo mix into the egg/lemon mix, whisking to combine.  Add back to the broth/orzo mix in the saucepan.  Stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, 1-2 minutes.  Add dill, chicken (optional) and salt and pepper, to taste

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