Category Archives: Soups

Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

I did a soup posting last week and I normally would not do another soup recipe so soon.  I do have a reason.  The kosher link upIMG_0310 for this month is “comfort food” (see below!).  There are plenty of foods that I consider comfort food – spaghetti and red sauce, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, the list could go on.  However, if I was to pick my ultimate favorite comfort food it would be a hot bowl of chicken soup.  There is just something about walking in the door to the smell of chicken soup cooking on the stove.  It is what makes you feel better when you are sick, when you are cold and when you are down.

Part of the reason chicken soup is my favorite comfort food is that it reminds me of family.  Everyone has at least one grandma with a chicken soup recipe that was probably passed down from her grandmother.  Since I have already posted my family’s chicken soup recipe on this blog I decided to post my husband’s grandmother’s recipe.  Unfortunately Grandma Shirley (aka Rue) is no longer with us.  I am so lucky that I was able to sit down with her one day in her kitchen and for her to tell me how she makes her chicken soup. I only had it once, but I remember it being delicious. You could taste the love.  She never did write it down, or give me exact measurements, so I just experimented and added my own touches until I came up with what I think is a pretty darn good chicken soup.

Being that I love chicken soup I am pretty picky when I eat it out or at someone else’s house.  I find that people often go overboard with the dill, or that the soup does not have a lot of flavor.  You won’t have that problem with this recipe!  It has rich and delicious and perfect.  The key ingredient (according to Grandma Shirley) is the sweet potato.  Funny enough, this is the secret ingredient in my carrot ginger soup as well.  It adds a sweetness and great color.  I have made it without the sweet potato and it is just not the same.  You just want to be sure not to put it in until an hour before you serve as it could fall apart.  The other 2 ingredients that are key are the parsnip and turnip.  I know these are not items you buy every day, but they make a big difference in the flavor of the dish.

The soup is very easy to make.  You basically just throw everything in a pot, add water and come back to stir every once in a while.  The time commitment comes from letting it cook for hours.  I say two hours is the minimum, but the longer the better!  You can leave it cooking on the stove and get on with whatever else you need to do.

I personally like this soup with matzah balls, but it is also great with noodles, rice or just with the vegetables.  You can either shred the chicken and add it to each bowl, or leave it out.  Leftovers are delish and it also freezes well.  Just be sure to serve it HOT.

 

Prep Time: 15

Cook Time: 2 – 6 hours

Yield: 8 servings

 

Cooking SprayIMG_0296

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large carrots, cut into coins

2 large celery stalks, cut into medium sized piecedIMG_0293

2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into coins

1 large turnip (or 2 small ones), peeled and chopped

1 pound chicken thighs or legs and 1 pound chicken breast, skin removed on the bone

1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks (not small, they will break up)IMG_0303

6 sprigs fresh parsley

6 sprigs fresh dill

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 large bay leaves

3 quarts water

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Coat the bottom of a very large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium temperature.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips and turnip.   Allow vegetable so soften, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

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Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Fill the pot with water until the chicken and vegetables are covered by at least 5 -6 inches.  Again add a few pinches of salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Tie parsley, thyme and dill together with twine and add to pot along with the bay leaves.  Stir well.

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Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low so that the soup is simmering.  Skim the fat and any solids off the top of the soup.  Let the soup simmer.  Come back every 30 minutes to stir and skim any fat or solids.

About an hour before you are going to serve the soup add the sweet potato.  You do not want to add it in the beginning because it will fall apart in the soup.  When you add the sweet potato bring the soup to a boil again by raising the heat.  After it boils reduce to simmer.  Keep it over medium-low heat until you are ready to serve.

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Carrot Ginger Soup

After long last – a new post!  For those of you who regularly follow this blog I must thank you for coming back to the site even thoughIMG_0283 I have not posted in months.  It is amazing that I am still getting traffic and that people are telling me to keep posting new recipes.  I actually really miss blogging, but my priority these days are taking care of my two little ones and my day job.  I have so many recipes that I am dying to put pen to paper, but alas, there are just not enough hours in the day!

So, why a new recipe now?  I have been making this dish a lot lately.  I love soups and the fall/winter time is the perfect time for it.   The reason I am finally getting around to writing this recipe up is because my mom is taking it to a  “Sweets, Snack and Soup Swap”.  Everyone at the party is supposed to bring either a sweet, snack or a soup for every person at the party and then they all get to take home the treats along with the recipes. Cute idea!  My mom loves this soup so I told her I would make it for the party.  Since she needs the written recipe I figured I might as well post it here.  I have been meaning to anyway….

I know I am not the first person to make carrot ginger soup.  However, I believe my recipe is unique and one of the best out there (at least I think so!).  There is a restaurant that I really like, and makes a great carrot ginger soup.  One day I had a craving for it, but did not have time to get to the said restaurant, and to be honest the place charges an arm and a leg for a bowl of soup.  So, I did what many people do and went to the internet to find a good recipe.  I found one that I thought fit my three criteria – it has to be easy, it has to be quick and has to be GOOD.  The recipes I found were quick and easy, but not really good.  In fact, most were pretty blah.  They just seemed to be missing something.  So, I started from scratch and came up with my own creation.

There are a couple of elements that make my version of this dish easy, quick and GOOD.  Using baby carrots is key.  They save time on peeling carrots and I also find them to be sweeter.  Another big time saver is using already pureed ginger.  You can find this in a jar or tube in most grocery stores.  Another alternative is to use frozen crushed ginger.   Dorot is a brand that I like and can be found in the freezer section of the grocery store.  The easiest way to puree the soup is to use one of my favorite kitchen tools, the immersion blender.  If you do not have an immersion blender you can use a blender or food processor.

I have a few ingredients in this recipe that are not typical to carrot ginger soup, but I think make a big difference.  I love the sherry in this soup as it adds a certain warmth.  I have made it without, and it is still a delicious soup, but is even better with the sherry.  The sweet potato is not traditional in this recipe, but I think it makes a big difference to the texture and layering of flavors.  At this point I even like this soup better than the one I had at the restaurant!  Another perk is that it is low in fat, high in vitamins (actually good for you!) and pretty filling.  It makes an excellent starter dish or main course with a piece of crusty whole grain bread.  I am so happy to finally be able to share this recipe as I have been making it so often.  Stay tuned next week as I am planning a new posting so that I can participate in the kosher link up for December – comfort food – yum!

 

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time:  25 Minutes

Yield:  4 – 8 servings

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, choppedIMG_0273

1 lb. baby carrots, chopped

2 tablespoons of ginger puree or grated ginger (if using frozen ginger cubes you need 6)

1 tablespoon sherry (optional)

1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubedIMG_0277

32 oz. of vegetable broth (I like the Imagine brand)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ground black pepper

 

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and cook until they just begin to soften (about 5 minutes) stirring often.  Lower the heat if the onions begin sticking to the pot.  Add the ginger and sherry and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, but not brown.

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Add the chopped baby carrots and sweet potato, salt and ground black pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often and then add the vegetable stock.  Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.

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After the soup has come to a boil, give the soup a good stir, lower the heat to medium and cover the pot.  Cook covered for 20 minutes.  You want to be sure that the soup is still simmering, but not at a rolling boil.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is a smooth consistency.  Serve hot.

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Pea and Mint Soup

The kosher link up this month is cold soup (see below).  At first this theme gave me pause as I LOVE soup, but seldom eat cold soup, unless it is gazpacho.  I could have done a gazpacho recipe, but thought about my mint and pea soup which I have made hot, and wondered if  it would be good cold.  So, I tried it and found that it is still really good cold and very refreshing as well.  Phew!

Now that summer is here and the heat is on it is nice to have some cold recipes that do not require much time in front of a stove.  I am working on a few “summery” recipes and cold soup fits right in.  Stay tuned for a few salad and slaw recipes that I hope to post this summer.

A nice thing about this recipe is that it is so easy and quick to make.  There are really only 3 ingredients so it is easy to shop for.  You can find some great vegetable broths on the market which also make this soup a cinch to make. I prefer to use one with low sodium so that I can control the amount of salt in the recipe, and there are a few organic ones which make a nice base for this soup.  It is a perfect make ahead dish and as I said before it can be served cold or hot.  If you happen to have an immersion blender (one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets) then this recipe is a total breeze.  If you do not then you can use a blender, but I highly recommend  investing in an immersion blender.  My one just died after 8 years and I purchased a new one for only $30.  Totally worth it!

 

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time:  10 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

 

32 oz. vegetable broth

16 oz. frozen peas

1 tablespoon fresh mint finely chopped

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

 

Pour the vegetable broth into a pot and heat over medium heat.  Stir in frozen peas and chopped mint.  Bring to boil and simmer for five minutes.

Pea Soup - Pot

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender.

Pea soup - immersion

Serve hot or cold and garnish with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Pea Soup - finished

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Not Your Grandma’s Chicken Soup

Unless your grandma’s family happens to come from Iraq and she grew up in India….  It has always amazed me that every culture has its own version of chicken soup.  Just the aroma of chicken soup cooking on the stove brings on a feeling of comfort and home.

There are a few reasons why I picked this soup to be my first recipe post.  First, this recipe is a perfect example of an Iraqi/Indian fusion recipe that has been passed down in my family throughout generations.  Second, it is January and cold (unless you live in FL like me) and perfect soup weather.  Lastly, I just did a cooking demonstration at my local synagogue and this was the recipe that I used.  It went over well there and I hope it does here too!

The cilantro stems in the recipe are not typical in the traditional soup.  However, in my Dad’s kitchen nothing goes to waste.  If you are going to use the leaves why not the stems?  The important thing to remember is to chop the stems extremely fine so that they melt into the soup.  The onions should be sliced very fine because you want them to melt as well.  It gives the soup base a great flavor.

Tumeric is a spice you will often see used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.  It has been known to have anti-bacterial properties and has been investigated for many other health benefits.  I always joke that between the ginger, garlic and turmeric, this chicken soup will cure anything that is wrong with you!

Prep Time: 15

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Cooking Spray

0nion, ginger, garlic and cilantro stems

 

3-4 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed on the bone (you can use other chicken parts, but I like the dark meat for this recipe as it is less expensive and more flavorful than the white meat)

¼ cup fresh cilantro stems finely chopped and 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 large yellow onion, sliced fine

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ginger, grated or minced

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

2 large carrots, cut into coins

zucchini, carrots and tomato

1 large (or 2 small) zucchini cut into coins

1 large tomato, cut into large chunks

1 large (or 2 small) Idaho potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 quarts water

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

 

Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium temperature.  Add onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, tumeric and chicken .  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until onions soften and chicken gives off natural juices, about 5 minutes, stirring often.

chicken, onion, garlic, cilantro and tumeric

Add 1 to 2 cups water so that the chicken is just covered.  This will prevent it from sticking.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on low uncovered.

Add the carrots, zucchini, tomato, potato and stir.  Cook until vegetables just start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Fill pot with water until the chicken and vegetables are covered by at least 4 to 6 inches.  Again add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Stir well.

Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Skim the fat and foam off the top of the soup.  Let soup simmer on low covered for 40 more minutes.  The soup can cook longer if you would like.  Just do not put in the potatoes until 30 minutes before serving.  Stir in fresh cilantro leaves right before you plate the soup.

You may also use green beans, peas and/or cauliflower as additional vegetables if you wish.

The soup is typically served as is, with koobas (recipe to come!) or over rice.

The finished product

The finished product

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