Category Archives: Soup

Ribollita Soup (Tuscan Bread and Veggie Soup)

Just like everyone, I have a lot going on in my life and I can’t ALWAYS cook. I saw this recipe on Bare Foot Contessa and since I’m a fan of loading up my soup with veggies, this one was perfect! I load mine up with more veggies than she does but it’s all up to you how much you want to use.

This soup is one of those delightful meals that you can make ahead and freeze until when you really need it. It freezes so well that if you don’t say anything, your family or friends won’t even know it was frozen. Plus, it has so many kinds of veggies that it picks me up when I’m super tired.

 

Ingredients: Serves 8-10 big bowls
1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini (or 2 cans of beans)
Kosher salt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 pound smoked bacon – diced
3 cups yellow onions (2 medium onions) – chopped
2 cups carrots (4-5 carrots) – chopped
1 1/2 cups celery (4 stalks) – chopped
3 tablespoons garlic (6 large cloves) – minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree – chopped
Whole savoy cabbage – coarsely chopped (it’s a lot, but wilt down to very little)
1 bunch of kale – coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves – chopped
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed (if you’re planning to freeze your soup, do not add bread just yet)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan – for serving

 

Guide:
*Skip this step if using canned beans
If using dry beans: In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1-inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the bacon and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the entire can of tomatoes with their puree, cabbage, kale, basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.

If using dry beans: Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid.
If using canned beans: Drain the beans from the can, rinse the beans to remove starch

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid (or water) – this adds thickness to the soup. Add to the pot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid or water into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

*If you’re planning on freezing the soup, set whatever portion you’re planning on eating now aside and add bread just to that portion
Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan

~~~

Don’t worry if you’re like me and didn’t think ahead to soak the beans in water overnight! I just used 2 cans of Great Northern and they worked GREAT.

Healthy Butternut Squash Soup

First of all, my apologies for not posting for almost a week!

I was on a business trip and finally got caught up with life.

Back to food talk!

I usually prefer my soup thick over thin ones so the butternut squash soup is a great healthy option.


Ingredients: Serves 8-10
2.5lb butternut squash – peeled and cubed (I used 1 large squash and 1 small squash) (save the seeds!)

1 lb yam – peeled and cubed (I used 2 medium yams)

1 large garlic clove – minced

3 quarts of water or low sodium chicken broth

2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme or (1 tsp of dried)

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp dehydrated scotch bonnet pepper (Jamaican spice – HOT) or crushed chili pepper – optional of course

*1 cube of chicken bouillon if you’re not into soups tasting too simple (I promise you it’s not bland)

Guide: 

Roasting the veggies is one way of getting them cooked, but I usually don’t have much time after work so I cook(steam) them in a microwave oven

Place the cubed squash and yams in a microwaveable bowl with a splash of water, place saran wrap (or a plate) to cover the bowl, microwave on high for 6-8 minutes (until they are soft)

Dump the steamed squash and yams into a large pot

Add garlic

Add water or low sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil

Add salt and pepper to taste

Turn fire off and blend using an immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a blender and blend, then return to pot)

Once blending is completed, turn fire back on and simmer on low heat

Add in thyme and pepper (if using)

Taste it

If you prefer it to be less simple tasting, add a cube of chicken bouillon and stir until well mixed

Serve in a bowl with thyme sprinkled on top

~~~~~

If you like your soup thinner, just add more water or chicken broth

Extremely tasty served with garlic cheese toast

*toast sliced french bread, rub garlic on it, sprinkle grated cheese on it and lightly toast again. So easy yet so tasty!

~~~~~

As for the squash seeds, they’re tasty roasted

Wash them, place them on a roasting pan or baking sheet

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle some salt

Heat oven to 350F, roast for 15-20 minutes (keep an eye on them)

Beef Bourguignon – Red wine beef stew!

Picture doesn’t do justice. Bad kitchen lighting!

If you like red wine, or LOVE red wine, you will crave this stew over and over.

It only uses a WHOLE BOTTLE of RED WINE. Mmm.

My friend made this stew once and I fell in love with it so I had to make it myself too!

Found Ina Garten’s recipe, and combined it with Tyler Florence’s recipe just because, and cooked it the way I wanted to.

 
Ingredients: Serves 6-8 as a meal
1 Tbs butter

1 Tbs olive oil

4 slices bacon – diced

2 cups all purpose flour (for dredging)

3 lb chuck beef – wiped dry then cut into 1 inch cubes

Kosher salt

Blk Pepper

4-5 large carrots  – peeled and diced

3 medium OR 2 large yellow onions – diced

6 large garlic cloves – smashed and minced

1/2 cup cognac or brandy (I used brandy last night since I didn’t have cognac)

1 bottle of red wine (750ml) – Burgundy, Pinot Noir, any good red wine really

1 Tbs tomato paste

8 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 bags of frozen pearl onions (about 1 lb) – no need to thaw out

2 containers of sliced mushrooms (about 1lb) – sauteed in a separate pan

Guide: 

*You can either cook this stove top OR stove top then transfer to an oven

If using an oven, heat preheat oven to 250 degrees F

Heat olive oil and butter in a LARGE Dutch oven (heavy cast iron pot)

Cook the bacon until it’s brown, take the bacon out with a spoon and set aside (leave the fat in the pan)

Season beef with salt and pepper, in batches, dredge (cover in flour) and sear in fat until nice and brown on all sides

Set beef aside

Dump carrots, yellow onions (not the pearl onions), 1 Tbs of salt and 2 tsp of pepper in fat and cook 10-15 minutes

Scrape all the goodness (brown stuff on the bottom of the pot) onto the vegetables

Add garlic and cook for 1 min

Add cognac or brandy, turn fire OFF, then ignite with a match or lighter – let it burn off all the way

Turn fire back on, return cooked beef and bacon back into the pot – stir

Add entire bottle of wine and beef broth into the pot, stir, cover and bring to a boil

Once it comes to a boil, add tomato paste and thyme – stir

Add the frozen pearl onions and sauteed mushrooms to the pot

Bring to boil, cover with lid (not all the way) and simmer on stove top for at least 30 minutes but longer the better (beef will get tender the longer it cooks)

OR

Bring to boil, cover with lid and transfer to the oven for 1hr 25 minutes.

~~~~~

Served with toasted bread rubbed with garlic tastes OH SO AMAZING!