Sunday, 25 September 2016

Ham, White Bean and Tomato Soup

I am at the lake and trying to fill the freezer with healthy soups, using the tomatoes that are on the vines by the side of my house.  I am going to try this soup today.  I picked it out over other recipes, which were also interesting, but asked for things like 1 tablespoon of chili paste.  Having that in my fridge in Calgary, but not here was a small blip, since this recipe calls for a series of dried spices which I do have in my cupboards here.

I am going for it!

2 slices bacon
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10 ounce) bag Baby Spinach, sliced into thin slices
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28 ounce) can white beans, drained
3⁄4 cup chopped cooked ham
5 sage leaves, minced
5 sprigs minced thyme
5 sprigs minced parsley

DIRECTIONS Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until just crisp, turning several times, about 4 minutes; remove bacon, crumble and set aside.

Add onion and celery to skillet; cook until softened, about 5 minutes; stir in garlic, cook 1 minute; stir in spinach, cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Season with red pepper flakes, allspice, salt and black pepper; add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, ham, sage, thyme and parsley; cook until flavors blend about 20 minutes.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I was looking for a way to use up some frozen broccoli in my freezer.

Here is an award winning recipe from the Dairy Goodness people.

I noticed other recipes called for some celery and carrots, which I couldn't see would hurt throwing in.  In the comments section of this recipe one reader said she didn't think thyme, hot pepper flakes and orange rind were a good combination.  Other readers said that they add some chili powder or even a pinch of curry to all cream soups.  You will have to decide.  I am going with this recipe today, to use up that broccoli and to test out thyme, hot pepper and orange rind.  Sounds good to me.  As well I have some bits of Balderson's Double Smoked Cheese and I think I will try that on top.

bunch broccoli (1-1/2 lbs/750 g)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 small baking potatoes, peeled and diced
clove garlic, minced
2 cups (500 mL) reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp (2 mL) grated orange rind
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
pinch hot pepper flakes
2 cups (500 mL) milk, (approx.)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, (approx.)
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Canadian Cheddar or 
 Gruyère cheese

Peel and chop broccoli stems and coarsely chop florets, keeping stems and florets separate (you should have about 6 cups/1.5 L total).
In a pot, combine broccoli stems, onion, potatoes, garlic, broth, orange rind, thyme, pepper and hot pepper flakes; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 min. Add florets; simmer, covered, for 5 min or until vegetables are softened.
Transfer to a blender or food processor, in batches, or use an immersion blender in the pot and purée soup, adding milk, until smooth. Return to pot, if necessary. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until steaming, but do not let boil. Stir in more milk if soup is too thick. Season with up to 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with cheese.

To dress this soup up for entertaining, sprinkle the cheese on thin slices of baguette and toast under the broiler for elegant croutons, then float them in the bowls of soup.

Reduce broccoli to 4 cups (1 L) and add 2 cups (500 mL) chopped trimmed rapini with the florets. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh sage instead of the dried thyme.