Tag 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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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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Hearty Minestrone Soup

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Put January’s chill at bay and make good on your New Year’s resolution to eat more veggies with some hearty minestrone.  Minestrone is an Italian soup typically made in winter with whatever vegetables are on hand, though it’s generally agreed that a true minestrone should include onions, potatoes, carrots, beans and tomatoes.

This version also incorporates eggplant, red pepper and kale, as that’s what my weekly veg box delivery included.  I definitely recommend using kale, not only because it’s ridiculously healthy, but it also has a good “bite” that contrasts with the other, softer vegetables.  Eggplant and red pepper could be readily substituted with zucchini, green beans, peas, cabbage or whatever odd vegetable lurks in the back of your fridge.  Or just add a bit more carrots or potatoes.

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Start your soup off by sautéing bacon or pancetta.  Or if you want a vegetarian minestrone, skip this and add the veggies to the pot with about 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Once your veggies are in there, cook for a bit so they soften slightly and then add your cooking liquid.  I use water but if you have homemade chicken or vegetable stock, feel free to use that (I was not lucky enough to have that…it’s somewhere on my to-do list).  I don’t like using store-bought flavoring, especially the bouillon granules or canned broth, as they have weird ingredients (dried glucose syrup, concentrated chicken extract?) and lots of salt.  Rather I prefer to use water then build flavor – in this recipe it’s built with sautéed bacon, the vegetables themselves, bay leaves and a rind (crust) of Parmesan cheese.

If you buy a wedge of Parmesan – which I recommend as opposed to buying pre-grated, not just for better flavor, but it’s also much less expensive – save the inedible, rock-hard rind in a plastic bag in your fridge.  Add it to soups or stews and it’ll impart a deep mellowness that you otherwise wouldn’t get.  If you don’t have an old rind on hand, cut off a small bit from a wedge of Parmesan.

Now all that’s left to do is let the soup simmer away, the longer the better.  I recommend a half hour minimum, but go up to an hour if you have time to allow the flavors to meld together.

Finally add the beans.  I typically use canned as I don’t plan ahead enough to soak dried beans overnight, but feel free to use fully cooked dried beans if you are a planner.  Add beans at the end of cooking, just long enough for them to heat through.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper and some grated Parmesan and you have yourself a hearty winter soup.

And just a note to check out my updated Recipe Index for a categorical list of all my recipes.  And if you are in the London area, please join me next Thursday, January 22, for my first cooking class of 2015 – Southern Style.  We’ll do pulled pork, coleslaw, peach cobbler and more.

Hearty Minestrone Soup (6-8 servings)

Note:  A “medium chop” is about a half-inch or a little over 1 cm.  For the kale, the darker the better.  I used cavolo nero (also known as black cabbage or Tuscan kale).

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 ounces (80 grams) pancetta or bacon, cut into small pieces

1 onion, chopped medium (about 1/2″ or 1cm pieces)

1 carrot, chopped medium

1 stalk celery, chopped medium

1 potato, chopped medium

1/2 lb (225 grams) kale, stems and tough center ribs discarded and leaves roughly chopped

1 small eggplant, chopped medium

1 red pepper, chopped medium

28 ounces (800 grams) canned/tinned chopped tomatoes

4 1/2 cups (1 liter) water

Parmesan cheese rind or small slice of Parmesan cheese

2 bay leaves

15 ounce (400 grams) canned/tinned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Add olive oil and pancetta to a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Heat until pancetta has rendered fat and is lightly browned, stirring once or twice, about 3-5 minutes.  Add onion, carrot, celery and potato and cook until starting to soften, 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Adjust heat if vegetables start to brown.  Add kale, eggplant and red pepper and saute for 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes (with their juices), water, Parmesan rind and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer with lid askew until vegetables are softened, about 30 minutes, though simmering for 1 hour is recommended as the soup becomes more flavorful.  Add the beans and cook 5 minutes until beans are heated through.  Remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve soup in bowls sprinkled with grated parmesan.  Tastes even better the next day, or the day after that.

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Filed under Soups and salads