Cauliflower Leek Soup

cauliflower leek soup

Because of my ongoing quest for soup recipes, and because of my newly acquired blender I have been searching for more puréed soup recipes. The ingredients are really simple, so in my opinion the success of this recipe depends largely on using a quality broth. I used my homemade chicken stock, but you could use a flavourful vegetable one to make it a vegan recipe. I make up a big batch of stock, then freeze it in portions to use in future soup recipes. A bit of work to do ahead of time, but it’s really handy and makes better soups.

I found this recipe on freshtart.com, and I made two changes: I cut the amount of oil in half (1 tablespoon per portion is too much for me), and I didn’t serve it with the fried shrimp on top, although this sounds yummy.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (homemade is always best)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 generous handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the leek to it and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf.
  4. Place the spinach and chives in the blender, then add the cauliflower and broth and purée until smooth. If the liquid is hot it will make a bit of an explosion, se be careful. You could purée on very low to start, then allow some steam to escape, and then continue until it is smooth.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil to serve, and add some minced chives for garnish if you like.

Roasted Pepper and Tomato soup

roasted pepper and tomato soup - trust in kim

 

This is a flavourful, somewhat spicy, and quite healthy soup – a perfect storm for me.

I created this soup to use up some chicken stock and red peppers that I had in my fridge, as well as some fresh corn that a friend brought over.  I’ve never made such a big batch of chicken stock, and ran out of room in my tiny freezer – this was a great way to use it up.  It’s got roasted bell and poblano peppers, as well as a dried ancho chile pureed into the tomatoes – I think the anchos are what takes this recipe to the next level, and I will definitely use this strategy of adding flavour into recipes in the future.

This would be great topped with avocado, or cilantro, or some Mexican crumbling cheese. And a wedge of lime to squeeze in.

Just a word about the roasted peppers: I know that some people like to get rid of every trace of the skin by washing the peppers, but I like to keep little bits of the skin on. This way it reminds me of the amazing sauces I ate in Mexico.  You always knew they were homemade and delicious if they had those flecks of black skin in them.

What you need:

  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 1 – 398mL/14 oz fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 a large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 chicken breast or 2 thighs (omit for vegetarians!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 – 425 grams / 15 oz can of pinto beans, drained
  • 2 ears of fresh corn (substitute with peaches and cream canned corn  – I don’t personally like frozen)
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth)
  • optional:
  • lime
  • avocado
  • Mexican crumbling cheese
  • cilantro
  • hot sauce for those who like it

What you do:

  1. Roast the peppers over a gas stove or barbecue, turning frequently with tongs until all the skin is charred and black.  Place in a container fitted with a lid until it cools a bit, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Roast the dry ancho chile very briefly over the flame, then remove the stem and seeds.  Add this to a blender along with the can of tomatoes.  Puree until smooth.
  3. In a large pot over a medium flame drizzle in a little olive oil (I use less than 1 tablespoon).  Add the onions and cook, stirring from time to time, for a few minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes, but don’t let the garlic brown.
  4. Add the chicken, if you are using it, and let that cook for a few minutes before pouring in the broth and tomato/ancho mixture. Let this simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken and chop it up, then add it back to the soup.
  5. Meanwhile, remove the blackened skin from the peppers, then remove the stem and seeds.   Chop the peppers, then add them to the soup.
  6. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the soup.  Cut the corn off the cobs and add that to the soup.  Let this simmer for a few minutes, then season with salt and a little pepper to taste.
  7. Garnish with toppings of your choice.

Italian Wedding Soup

After a gorgeous summer of vacationing in very hot climates, I was a little shocked to come home to Vancouver’s fabulously moderate climate.  So shocked that in early September I had to make some soup to warm me up a little.  I started with a great homemade chicken stock, which makes all soups fabulous, then made up my version of Italian Wedding Soup.  I always thought it was called that because it was served at weddings, but I recently read that it is called that because greens and meat marry well together.  My version has turkey meatballs, because it seemed like a healthy thing to do.

Although I am lactose intolerant, I find the hard cheeses like parmesan aren’t too hard to tolerate, because they actually contain very little lactose.

What you need for the soup:

6-8 cups chicken stock

1 medium onion, chopped

olive oil

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into thin rounds

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup orzo pasta

1 bunch spinach, washed and roughly chopped

What you need for the meatballs:

400 grams ground turkey

2 tablespoon onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper

a pinch of nutmeg

1 egg

What you do:

1. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, then add the onion and cook it for a few minutes until it is softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the carrot and cook for a minute or two.  Add the broth and the bay leaf.  Bring this to a boil – you will add the raw meatballs to this broth.

2. Combine all the meatball ingredients and mix them together a little with your hands – don’t over-mix.  Form the mixture into small meatballs with your hands, about a teaspoon or smaller in size.  Drop the meatballs into the soup as you make them, making sure you keep it on a low boil as you go. Once all the meatballs are in, allow the soup to cook for about 10 minutes.

3.  Add the orzo to the pot of boiling soup, stirring from time to time.

4.  When the orzo is cooked through, season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.  Now add the spinach and cook it briefly, until it wilts.

Buon appetito!

I had some of this soup for leftovers, and it was yummy, but the spinach wasn’t very green after the first serving.  If you plan to use it for leftovers, you might want to leave the spinach out, and add it when you reheat.

Coq au Vin Blanc

I’m in love with this recipe.  It takes a bit of planning, but it is so worth it – so much flavour!  The chicken needs to be marinated, and it really does taste so much better when you use homemade chicken stock.

You’ll want a nice crusty loaf of bread to go with this, to soak up the delicious juices.  And a nice glass of wine can’t hurt.

The recipe is from Country Living’s One-Dish Country Suppers book, and I’ve adapted it a bit.

What you need for the marinade:

3 cups dry white wine

1 cup chopped onion

1 carrot, sliced

1 stalk celery, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

8 whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 pounds of bone-in, skinless chicken pieces (breasts might be a little dry for this one)

What else you need:

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet onion, cut into large chunks

5 medium carrots, but into 1 inch chunks

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

1/4 cup  flour

3 cups chicken broth (homemade is best!)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

3/4 lb small potatoes

What you do:

1. To marinate the chicken, cook all the marinade ingredients (except the chicken!) for about 5 minutes.  Let it cool to room temperature, then pour it into a container with the chicken and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry.  Strain and save the liquid.

3. In a large pan, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove the bacon, then brown the chicken in the bacon fat.  Remove the chicken and most of the fat.

4. Add the olive oil and onions, cooking until lightly browned.  Add the carrots, celery, garlic and shallot, and cook for 5 more minutes.

5. Meanwhile, in a bowl stir a little of the marinade liquid into the flour, mixing so there are no lumps.  Add the rest of the marinade liquid and mix, ensuring there are no lumps.

6.  Add the flour and marinade mixture to the pot with the chicken.  Then stir in the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat and cook for about 45 minutes

7.  Add the potatoes, then cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

8.  After a long-deserved wait you have a fabulous dinner to sit down to.  Top each portion with a little of the bacon, and enjoy a nice glass of wine with it!