26 February 2010

Warm Soups 4 Cold Rainy or Snowy Days

From Denny: It's been raining all day and cold, cold, cold - and we have it good in south Louisiana! My relatives in the Northeast have just received another late winter's gift of a new blanket of deep snow. I've been chilly all day.

The pilot light on the hot water heater went out late last night so we woke up to cold water. Not to fear; McGiver was here. I just so happened to remember those electric teapots from my time in Europe, so picked one up here. Not a bad fix in an unexpected emergency. During the hurricane season when we lost power for days, our neighbors figured out we had coffee and started knocking on the door in the morning. Yep, we have a low tech mechanical French Press. I try to always have a back up plan.

While I was exploring the CBS site most of the afternoon today I found these good - no awesome! - soup recipes. I'm a huge fan of really good quality substantial soups and stews so these caught my eye. Katie Lee is also a friendly person who just chats you right up through the camera, bringing these recipes up off the page and practically into your mouth to taste! :) What is great about her too is that she is always thinking of ways to update traditional recipes with an interesting flavorful twist. Now she's speaking my name!



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Roasted Tomato Soup

From Katie Lee: Tomato soup is a classic, but it's difficult to get good tomatoes in the winter to make this soup homemade. We are going to roast our tomatoes first to bring out all of their natural sweetness and make them more flavorful, which will give us that luxurious, "right off the vine" tomato taste in soup. We put it in a pot and add chicken broth to it and season and then you puree it with the immersion blender.

We will puree this soup by using the immersion blender (a hand blender). You eyeball it and it should take about 5 minutes.

Cook Time: 3 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut in half, seeded, and cored
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into eight equal slices
2 garlic cloves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Directions:

From Katie Lee: I used to always buy canned tomato soup, figuring that making homemade took too much time and effort. Then, my mom passed on this recipe to me. Not only is making homemade tomato soup easy, but it tastes worlds better than its processed counterpart. Roasting the tomatoes makes them even sweeter. If you like your tomato soup creamy, add the heavy cream, or if you are a purist just leave it out.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and thyme on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Roast in oven for two hours.

Let tomatoes cool to touch. Remove peels, tear into bite-size pieces, and transfer to a stockpot with roasted onion, garlic, and thyme. Add chicken broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Return the soup to the pot and stir in heavy cream. Simmer for 10 more minutes and serve.





Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

From Katie Lee: While on a girls’ trip on my friend Wendi’s boat, I had an Asian-style chicken noodle soup. I came home and tried to copy it, but I couldn't quite get the flavors right. After a few attempts, I finally mastered it and came up with this recipe. I like it spicy, so I serve extra chili sauce on the side.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
6 cups chicken broth
3 stalks lemongrass, the bottom 3 inches only, each stalk cut into three 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon chili sauce
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 chicken breasts, pounded and thinly sliced
2 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 3- to 4-ounce pack rice noodles, prepared to package instructions
Cilantro, mint, scallions, bean sprouts, for garnish

Directions:

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat oil and add onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute until onions are translucent, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add chicken broth, lemongrass, chili sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Increase heat to a low boil, add chicken breasts and cook about 5 minutes. Add cabbage, carrots, and red pepper and simmer an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide rice noodles among bowls and ladle chicken soup into each bowl. Garnish with cilantro, mint, scallions, and bean sprouts and serve with additional chili sauce, if desired.





Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup

From Katie Lee: High in antioxidants and vitamin A, this tasty and healthy soup is a standby at my house. Roast the carrots first to make them really sweet, then puree with ginger and stock. This soup freezes really well, so you can make a big batch and enjoy leftovers another night.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

4 cups carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut in large dice
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
2 bay leaves
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Fresh parsley, minced, for garnish

Directions:

Roasting carrots brings out all of their sweetness. For this soup, I added some ginger for a spicy contrast and the bay leaves and worcestshire sauce makes a rich backdrop of flavor. By using plain yogurt instead of heavy cream, it still has a creamy texture without all of the fat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the carrots with the one tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until fork tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the remaining one tablespoon olive oil and butter over medium-high heat and sauté onions, ginger, and bay leaves until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper and bring to a low boil. Add carrots, reduce to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and blend in batches until creamy. Add yogurt and blend to combine. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.





Wild Mushroom Soup

From Katie Lee: If you love creamy soups, this will be your favorite. Choose your favorite assortment of wild mushrooms to customize to your own taste. Super easy and incredibly rich in flavor. I also like serving this soup as an hors d'oeuvre at parties by spooning it into an espresso cup and topping it with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of chives.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Serves: 12 - 14

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
3 cups finely diced mixed wild mushrooms
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
Crème fraîche and minced flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions:

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and any moisture has evaporated.

Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring often. Serve in espresso cups garnished with crème fraîche and parsley.





Grilled Chipotle Three-Cheese Sandwich

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 to 8 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 7-ounce jar chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I like La Costena brand.)
1/4 cup olive oil
12 slices of Monterey Jack cheese
12 slices of Swiss cheese
12 slices of cheddar cheese
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
12 slices of sourdough bread (thickly sliced if possible)
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

Directions:

From Katie Lee: When I was in college, I worked in a great little restaurant called Kona Bistro. Employees ate for free and after a long shift, I always had this sandwich. Be careful, the chipotle puree is spicy!

Place the chipotle peppers and the sauce in a food processor or a blender and puree until smooth. With the machine running slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Place the chipotle puree in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat a large, heavy fry pan, grill pan, or griddle to medium heat.

Place the bread slices on a work surface and spread each slice with 1 tablespoon chipotle puree. Layer half the bread slices with two slices of each cheese and a few slices of the tomatoes and onions. Top with the remaining slices of bread, chipotle side down. Spread the top and bottom of each sandwich with the butter.

Grill each sandwich for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the cheese is completely melted and the bread is golden brown. Slice the sandwiches in half and serve immediately.


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