Posted in British Cuisine, tagged onions, soup on March 16, 2012 |
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Seeing as it’s still a bit chilly here in the UK, soups are still a lunch time staple. A week or so ago I noticed that the soup of the day in the cafe at work was Onion Soup. Being that traditional French Onion Soup was a childhood favorite of mine, I was completely shocked to see that the soup at work was white and creamy!
So last weekend (as I wrote about yesterday) I made a huge batch of chicken stock. I was craving soup for a light weekend lunch (as dinner was going to be heavy). But I didn’t really have many fresh vegetable options. Plus you can have only so much curried carrot soup before you get sick of it. So I thought of this mysterious cream of onion soup. And really there’s hardly much to it and yet full of flavor! And don’t worry – there’s no smelly breath from this soup. The onions are quite sweet so go easy on the sugar! There are a couple recipes out there but here’s a straight forward one for my Creamy Onion Soup.
Recipe for 4
3 medium or 2 large yellow onions
~3-4 tbsp butter
Fresh thyme if you have it
~heaping tbsp flour
~1-2 cups milk
~2 cups Fresh chicken stock
Peel and slice onions. Heat half the butter in a pot on moderate heat. Add the onions, leaves from a couple sprigs of thyme and a pinch of salt and sugar. Cook until the onions are soft for about 5 minutes. Tip into bowl and set aside.
Heat the rest of the butter on low/medium heat until foaming. Sprinkle the flour in and combine well. It should be equal parts butter and flour. Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in the milk a little at a time. Combine until smooth before adding more each time. Add enough milk so it’s like a thick gravy. Add enough stock until it’s a soup consistency you’re happy with. Add the onion mixture and let cook for a couple minutes. Then blend with a hand blender. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve hot with some bread and enjoy!
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Posted in Latin American Cuisine, tagged soup on February 20, 2012 |
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As many Brits will know, there’s been a bit of a cold spell here in the UK. As a result I’ve been on a bit of a soup binge. I’ve actually found it challenging to find new soup ideas that didn’t include cream or potato.. I have a tendency to fall back on my favourites like curried butternut squash or sweet potato or potato and leek. Whenever possible I try to make my blended soups “creamy” by adding potato or coconut milk.. Anything other than cream.. Mainly so I feel less guilty if I feel like dunking some bread in.
Although they’re not quite in season I had a lovely Asparagus and Leek Soup the other day (my soup recipes can be found here). I added one medium potato, one celery stick and homemade stock and it was creamy and full of flavor! I also tried a Bacon and Savoy Cabbage soup which wasn’t too bad. It was ever so slightly bitter.. May need to use less cabbage next time.
But for my lunch on Monday I made my version of Black Bean Soup. If you like chilli or Latin American food in general, you’ll like this. Yes it’s a black soup and may not look like your average soup, but wait until you try it! Unfortunately as with most of my soups I don’t exactly measure. Remember to taste taste and taste again! Everyone has different salt and spice tolerances.
For about 4 portions
500g Black Beans (it might say turtle beans)
2 beef stock cubes
1 medium/large onion
2 chorizo sausage links (not smoked)
1-2 bay leaves
garlic powder or salt
chipotle powder (optional)
garnish with chopped tomatoes, feta, coriander and crushed tortilla chips
Soak your beans overnight with enough water to cover it by a few inches. Strain and set them aside.
Remove the sausages from their casing. If you don’t have sausages, chopped bacon would be great too. Add a splash of oil to a medium or large pot (with lid) and let the sausages brown. Meanwhile chop your onion finely. Add it in and let it cook for a couple of minutes with the sausages. Next fold the beans in. Crumble your stock cubes in and add a good few dashes of cumin, a dash of cayenne, pinch or two of salt, bay leaves and then pour in boiling water. Fill up enough water to cover the beans. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Keep an eye on this. Stir about every 10 minutes and top it with water if necessary. Once it’s done, use a potato masher and just gently crush it all up. Add more water or stock to get it to the soup consistency you’re happy with. Remember to TASTE it! Then top it with fresh chopped tomatoes (I find cherry or grape tomatoes are the best), freshly chopped coriander/cilantro, crumbled feta cheese and tortilla chips. Enjoy!
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As the autumn season kicks into full swing, there’s nothing better than a bowl of warm, hearty soup! My husband and I have also been really conscious that the holidays are not far off and that cozy, hearty MEALS are going to be in abundance. So not only are soups comfy, they’re (relatively) healthy! What really elevates a soup from bland to brilliant is a good stock and good seasoning. It also helps to use in season vegetables, so that they’re bursting with flavor. I found a really cool website that tells you what’s at their best and in season from vegetables to meat and seafood (for the UK) : eat the seasons (dot) com. And at their best right now are butternut squash, parsnip and leeks (to name a few). Try them as a soup or even as a veggie pasta bake (or lasagna if you have the sheets).
Soups are so incredibly easy to make and a great way to get a non-vegetable lover to get their veggies in. To make them even easier, I highly recommend investing in a hand blender. It is SO handy for soups, pasta sauces, mashed potatoes, potato or parsnip puree, sauces, etc. I use a Philips Hand Blender like this one you can buy on Amazon.co.uk. They’ve been using this exact one on Masterchef The Professionals this week (for those unfamiliar with this UK show, they’ve brought it to the States with Gordan Ramsey.. check it out!). Lots of sauces and bisques being made with it!
I make all my soups with chicken stock, but they can easily be substituted for vegetable stock. I also try to use homemade chicken stock whenever possible. Click on the SOUP link below for a recipe. I usually separate my stock into medium sized plastic containers and freeze for perfect soup-for-two portions. They can keep for a couple months in the freezer but only a couple days in the fridge.
So without further ado, here’s my week’s worth of soups! I started it off with a chicken chowder which helped me make enough stock to use all week! Click here for all the SOUP recipes.
- Chicken, Corn and Ham Chowder
- Roasted (Bell) Pepper, Tomato and Feta Soup with mint coulis garnish
- Classic Cream of Broccoli
- Classic Cream of Mushroom
- Roasted Butternut Squash, Fennel and Carrot Soup with coriander/cilantro garnish
- Roasted Parsnip, Carrot, Coriander/cilantro and Curry Soup with bacon garnish
Making some 'chowda' !
Hearty chicken, corn and ham chowder
When roasting changes everything..
Roasted Pepper, Tomato & Feta Soup
Classic Cream of Broccoli Soup
Classic Cream of Mushroom Soup with Garlic Parmesan Toast
Roasted butternut squash, fennel & carrot soup
Carrot, Parsnip, Coriander/Cilantro, Curry Soup with Bacon Garnish
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Posted in French Flavors, General Food Topics, tagged chicken, mushroom, pasta, potato, soup, spinach, stock, tortellini, truffle oil on July 30, 2010 |
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While there are endless possibilities of how to use a whole chicken, here are a few different things I tried last month. They’re hardly sophisticated dishes but rather me using up a few items in my kitchen. You can easily start off with poaching a whole chicken in a large pot of water, or you can carve the chicken while raw. So using one whole chicken I made:
For the tortellini and the potato bake, I used the two large chicken breasts which I carved from the raw, whole chicken. The remaining carcass and leg meat was used to make the stock, and the leg meat was shredded for the noodle soup. All of these dishes were whipped up spontaneously and I haven’t had a chance to make them again. However, I do have a couple suggestions on how to improve them in case anyone wants to try them out!
First up is chicken and mushroom tortellini. I had an afternoon free the day I made this, so I was playing around a bit. I had originally wanted to make ravioli which I remember watching Giada de Laurentiis (Food Network) do with wonton wrappers a long time ago. Of course, I ended up with way more filling than necessary so I made tortellini to maximize the use of my wonton wrappers. Giada’s recipe for turkey-cranberry ravioli sounds quite good and I kind of worked off that. My ingredients included:
- Chicken breasts, ground up in a food processor
- White button mushrooms, finely chopped
- Eggs (1 for mix, 1 for egg wash)
- Garlic and onion, finely chopped
- Parmesan cheese
- Seasoning – salt, pepper, basil or thyme
- Wonton wrappers
Now my method was to just combine all the above ingredients and fill each wonton wrapper. However, like many others, my wonton raviolis came out a little watery after boiling them. I was able to correct it by tossing them with some butter, a few more sliced mushrooms, white truffle oil and more parmesan for garnish. But as I’m writing this, I have another thought…
(CLICK FOR MORE…)
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