Lately my days have been filled with soup, and then more soups and stews, chowders and chilies. It was 75° here in New Orleans today, but that's not stopping the frenzy. Tomato, Potato Leek, Turkey & Rice, Cream of Mushroom, French Onion, Butternut Squash, Creamy Cauliflower, Gumbo, Chicken Noodle, Beef Stew, Goulash...and that's not all. Here are 3 more delicious and hearty soups that are perfect for chilly days (or warm December days if you're here with me in NOLA).
P.S. If there are any recipes that you think I should try, feel free to pass them along! This soup craze isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
At first glance, the laundry list of ingredients for this recipe can be intimidating. Don't let it scare you off. The lentil soup comes together quickly and you don't need every single thing to make this spicy and satisfying soup. All of the spices listed are a good investment and can be used in so many other dishes. If you don't have all of them, I would say that the most important are the curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and coriander. This was literally one of the best soups I've made so far this season. It's hard to describe, but you must make this soon. The cool yogurt really helps round out the heat and acid in this dish. I mixed my yogurt with parsley and preserved lemon, which can be substituted with lemon zest. I've seen a lot of variations of this type of lentil soup and have seen others add chickpeas and even quinoa in addition to the lentils, both of which I think are a good idea.
1. Saute leeks, onions, celery, & carrots in olive oil until translucent. Add ginger and garlic all of your spices. Continue cooking and stirring the veggie & spice mixture for 2-3 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato paste and cook for an additional 2 minutes on low heat. Watch carefully as the paste can burn easily.
3. Add your chicken or vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add your diced tomatoes & lentils and simmer until lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes. If the soup looks thick while the lentils are cooking, you can add 1-2 cups of water or more stock.
5. Stir in the coconut milk and salt & pepper. Taste and check to see if it needs more seasoning or spices.
6. The last step is to add the chopped spinach, cilantro, and red wine vinegar.
Serve hot with greek yogurt and pita bread. Enjoy!
This next soup is basically a chili. I love the regular stuff, but it's always fun to mix it up. I like using different kinds of beans and vegetables that you might not normally see in chili. This recipe is perfect for the slow cooker if you are using dried beans. Just make sure to add extra liquid to compensate. Add all ingredients to the crock pot except for the kale. Stir kale in at the very end.
*If you prefer a vegetarian version, use diced butternut squash in place of the meat.
This dish requires a bit of planning ahead, as the beans need to be soaked. In a large container, cover the beans with plenty of water and leave overnight in the refrigerator. Canned beans can definitely be substituted.
1. Saute onions, leeks, celery, carrots, and peppers.
2. In a separate pan, brown the ground meat. Cut the Kielbasa into small bite-sized pieces.
3. When the vegetables are cooked through, add all of the meats, beans, tomato products, stock, and spices. At this point I also like to add 2-3 cups of water (you can use stock), because the beans will soak up a lot of liquid.
4. Bring to a boil and then turn down, cover and simmer for 2 hours on low heat, or until beans are cooked through. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems.
5. Season chili with salt and pepper to taste, and finish with kale (make sure it is washed well) and red wine vinegar. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
This last recipe is for when you are feeling a little indulgent, with your calories and your wallet. This is a true chowder, one that is very similar to the standard clam chowder. Just about every restaurant in Martha's Vineyard sells clam chowder, and every one that I tried was so good. The chilly summer nights there made it almost impossible to turn down while dining out. I thought I would try something different this time, and fresh crab is readily available here in New Orleans. I didn't want to use the lump crab because it would break up very easily in the soup, and is better used in salads or crab cakes. I used the claw meat instead. If you can't find good crabmeat or it isn't in your budget, you can use canned clams or shrimp.
1. Render chopped bacon in your soup pot. Remove bacon and save 2 TBSP(or more if you're naughty) of the bacon drippings. Sauté onions, celery, and leeks in the bacon grease and butter until translucent.
2. Whisk in flour. Cook for 2 minutes and deglaze with sherry and wine.
3. Let the mixture reduce for 5 minutes and add your clam juice and stock. Add the potatoes to the soup along with the corn and herbs. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Stir pot often to prevent sticking. If you are in a hurry, cook your potatoes separately and then add to finished chowder. They will cook faster in boiling water than in a simmering soup.
4. Add the heavy cream, crab, and bacon to the chowder. Stir and season with salt & pepper, and fresh parsley.
5. Continue to simmer on low for 10 minutes and serve.
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