Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Dedicated to my fellow parishioners at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, NYC

IngredientsVegan
7 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Red Lentils, dry, rinsed
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup Celery, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Zaatar
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp ground Marjoram
1/2 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 tsp Salt

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • In a gallon size pot on medium heat, combine the Onion, Salt, Pepper, and Olive Oil; cook until the onions softens.
  • Add the Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, and Celery. Continue to saute until the Celery starts to soften.
  • Add all the other spices, and mix well so that the spices get into the oil and juices in the pot.
  • Add the Tomato, Vegetable Broth, and Lentils; bring to a boil, stirring often so that nothing sticks.
  • Reduce to a simmer, add the Parsley, and let cook until the Lentils become tender.
  • Taste, and adjust the seasoning and spices to your preferred tastes.
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge. Squirt the juice on the Soup.

Makes about 6 servings

NOTES:Lentil Soup is eaten in various parts of the world. This recipe utilizes spices from Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Zaatar a spice blend used in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya, often added to meats or rubbed in olive oil on flat bread. It is made up of Sumac, Oregano, Sesame Seed, often with other spices.

Lentil soup can be modified to your prefered tastes and needs. You can add chopped spinach or kale, or diced carrots or sweet potatoes. Keep in mind if you add additional starches, you may need to add additional spices. This meal is vegan, however one can add meat like chicken or lamb to it–or even sausage. It is also common to garnish with sour cream or yogurt.

Roasted Winter Root Soup

Ingredients:
1 med Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Carrot, skinned, chopped
1 Parsnip, skinned, chopped
1 Turnip, skinned, chopped
1 Sweet Potato, skinned, chopped
2 Potatoes, chopped
2 Kielbasa Sausages, sliced in 1 cm thick rounds
6 cups Vegetable Stock/Broth
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp Dill
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add all Root Vegetables and Kielbasa to a Dutch Oven, coat with the Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and then another 10 minutes.
  • Remove and scrap into a large Soup Pot.
  • Add the Vegetable Stock and heat on high heat until it boils.
  • Add the remaining Herbs and Spices, reduce heat to low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: This is a family recipe from my Slovakian side of the family, originating from Medzev, Slovakia (formerly Metzenseifen).

When chopping the vegetables, think of bite-size/spoon size pieces. You can substitute Mushroom Broth or Chicken Stock for the Vegetable Stock. You can also utilize any other cooked Sausage instead of Kielbasa if you like.

This simple, healthy dish will keep you warm on a blustery winter night.

Chicken, Mushroom, and Pastina Soup

Chicken, Mushroom, and Farfalline Soup

Ingredients:
1 Roast Chicken
2 cups Table Mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Cannellini Beans, soaked over night
1 cup Baby Spinach, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped into disks
6-8 Green Onions, whole
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Olive Oil
6 cups Chicken Broth
1 tsp Rosemary, minced
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Sage, rubbed
1/2 tsp Thyme, ground
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Lemons
1 cup Pastina of choice

Directions:

  • Remove the meat from the bones, and discard any bone and skin, or fatty pieces. Set to the side.
  • Trim the Green Onions at three inches from the bottom. Reserve the top, and cut the bottom whiter part into small pieces, about 1/4 a centimeter or 1/8 an inch.
  • Heat the Olive oil on medium heat in a large pot.
  • Add the Garlic, Carrots, and chopped part of the Green Onion. Lightly toss in the Oil and stir as they soften.
  • Add the Juice of 1 of the lemons, the Chicken Broth, the Salt, the Herbs, and Chicken.
  • Bring to a Boil, stirring often.
  • Add the Mushrooms, the drained Cannellini, and Spinach, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the Mushrooms start to shrink.
  • Next add a Pastina. Let it simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring often.
  • Dice the reserved Green Onion stalks. Add them and the juice of the remaining Lemon just before serving.

Makes about 6 servings.

NOTES: This is a fancy version of chicken noodle soup, with a healthy dose of extra protein and vitamins. Pastini are just mini pastas–my favorite being Farfalline (little butterflies), but you can use whatever mini-pasta you prefer or even larger pasta if you like.

Soupe à l’oignon – French Onion Soup

Dedicated to my mother who LOVES French Onion Soup, and who introduced it to me.
Vegetarian Variation is dedicated to Abigail Wickes, my favorite vegetari-friend.

Ingredients:
5-6 Vidalia Onions or Sweet Yellow Onions, cut in 1/8″ wedges
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Sherry
6 cups Beef Broth
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Bouquet Garni – 4 sprigs Thyme, 2 springs Parsley, 2 Bay Leaves, wrapped in twine
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Baguette, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 pieces)
2-2 1/2 cups Gruyère, shredded

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot on the stove on low heat, with the Butter, Onions, and Salt.
  • Cook until the Onions start to break down, and turn a warm color, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the Sherry (careful of flames), and deglaze any pieces of Onion. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Beef Broth, and deglaze again. Onions should start turning darker. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, the Bouquet Garni, and the remaining Beef Broth. Taste and add Pepper and/or Salt to taste. Scrape any pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan, and raise the heat to high.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After about 15 minutes of simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange the Baguette slices on a baking sheet, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or just until starting to crisp.
  • When the Soup and Croûtons are finished, remove from heat.
  • Ladle the Soup into oven-safe bowls (1 bowl per person, about 6-bowls), leaving space for the Croûtons to rest on top. Discard the Bouquet Garni when you get to it.
  • Place bowls on the baking sheet; add the Croûtons, and cover with the Gruyère.
  • Turn on the Broiler, and carefully place the baking sheet as close to it as possible. If this is an electric broiler, you will need to raise your rack to the top level PRIOR to turning it on, keeping in mind it will be hot from the making of the Croûtons. If this is a bottom broiler, place in the drawer, and push it in.
  • Broil for about 4-6 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly with a few touches of brown. Be careful removing the baking sheet from the oven, as it and the contents on it will be extremely hot. Serve each bowl on a small plate, so as to help absorb the heat

Serves about 6.

NOTES: Onion Soup is one of the oldest soups that is known, with documents showing its production back to at least the Roman times. In the 1960s there was a resurgence of French cooking, and the “French Onion Soup” hit its American hay-day. Now most diners and steakhouses serve some variation of the soup. What is amazing, is how many actually taste GOOD–folks giving in to high-sodium broths, and dried herbs. This is easily one of my favorite soups.

Variations:
M›Ṽ – Use Mushroom or Vegetable Stock instead of Beef Stock, and add 1 drop of Liquid Smoke to give it a deeper flavor.

Pininyahang Manok – Pineapple Chicken

Pininyahang Manok – Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients:
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeños, minced
2 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 Pineapple, diced (about 4 cups)
2 links Chorizo Español picante, sliced into rounds
1 lb Chicken Breast, diced (boneless, skinless)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
1/4 cup Coconut Water
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Prepare all ingredients before starting.
  • In a large pot, on medium heat, combine the Onion, Bell Pepper and Jalapeños; cooking for about minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, Ginger, Chorizo, and Pineapple.
  • You want to sauté these ingredients, letting them brown and caramelize a little for flavor.
  • Add the Chicken, Crushed Red Pepper, Pineapple Juice, and Coconut Water.
  • Let the Chicken cook through, about 5-10 minutes. You can speed this up by putting a lid on effectively steaming and poaching at the same time.
  • Add the fresh Parsley, and Season with Salt and Pepper; cook for an additional minute.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Pininyahang Manok is essentially a Filipino chicken stew with pineapple. I have substituted Coconut Water for Coconut Milk, though you can retain the milk instead if you prefer. I have also added Chorizo to give it a depth of smoky, salty flavor. With regards to the chicken, you can also use bone-in chicken pieces–but I’d suggest Thighs instead of breasts.

This dish would serve well as a stew, but also can be served over rice.

The Chorizo used is a Spanish-style cured Chorizo–unlike the Mexican variety which, though flavorful, is raw and often cooked like ground beef. Spanish-style Chorizo comes in “dulce” and “picante”–with my preference for picante in this dish. Do not accidentally use a Portuguese Chouriço de Sangue, often marketed as just Chouriço, as it is VERY different.

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:
3 medium Russet Potatoes, skinned and diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 pieces of Bacon, diced
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Clam meat, diced
1 cup Clam Juice
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Milk
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Parsley

Directions:

  • In a saucepot, cook the Bacon until crisp on medium heat.
  • Add the Onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the Potatoes and Garlic, coating with the Oily Onion/Bacon mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
  • In a bowl combine the Butter and the Flour to form a paste called a beurre manié.
  • Add the beurre manié, Clams, and Clam Juice to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Milk, Heavy Cream, and Herbs.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

NOTES: I prefer to use bigger chunks in my Clam Chowder, so my dices are a little bigger than others…especially the Clams. However you should avoid having whole clams as they can be chewy–quartering is the best. I have no problem using high-quality canned clams for this, so long as preserved in water and not oil. Oh, and you’ll notice that I omitted the use of Salt in this recipe. This is because of the salty bacon and salty clam juice, and the lower amount of potatoes, however you can always add salt to taste.

There are other types of Clam Chowder — Manhattan, Rhode Island, and Outer Banks (from the Carolinas), but none of them have the appeal of New England Clam Chowder to me. This is a true comfort food, and reminds me of the days when my family would go to buffet restaurants like Ryan’s Steakhouse and Golden Corral. I would always start with a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder, and pick out the potatoes which seemed to take away from the clams!

Variations:
Cassava Clam Chowder – Substitute Cassava for the Potatoes.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder –  When adding the Clams, also add 1 cup diced Tomatoes.

Irish Lamb Stew

Ingredients:
4 cups Beef Stock
1 lb Lamb meat, cubed and trimmed of fat
2 cups Potatoes, skinned and cubed
1 medium White Onion, diced
2-3 medium Carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp fresh Thyme, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine

Directions:

  • In a large Pot, place the Beef Stock and the Lamb pieces and bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, lower to a simmer and skim off any fat.
  • Add all other ingredients and simmer for 1 hour, or until the lamb is tender.

NOTES: The distinct feature of traditional Irish stew is that the meat and vegetables are not browned before being placed in the stew. However, if you prefer, roll the lamb in flour and brown in Butter before adding to the Stock.

Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:
2 cup dried Split Peas
4 cups Water for Peas
4 slices Bacon
5 cloves Garlic, diced
1 yellow Onion, diced
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup Butter
3 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Milk
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1-2 cups Croutons

Directions:

  • Soak the Split Peas in the Water overnight in a bowl. Add more water as needed.
  • In a large Sauce Pot, brown the Bacon until crisp but not burnt.
  • Remove the Bacon, set aside on cookie rack to drain the grease.
  • In the same Sauce Pot, saute the Onion and Garlic until tender.
  • Add all Remaining Ingredients, and simmer for 1 hour on low heat, stirring often.
  • Remove the Bay Leaf.
  • Blend the Soup:
    1. Use a hand-held blender, and puree the Soup in the Sauce Pot.
    2. Pour the Soup into a Food Processor or Stand Blender and puree the Soup.
  • Serve in Bowls, pouring a ring of Heavy Cream along the top of the Soup, garnished with the Bacon and Croutons.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Yellow Onion, minced
1 clove Garlic, minced
5 cups Button Mushrooms, cleaned and diced finely
3 Tbsp White Wine (Pinot Grigio)
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp Cardamom powder
1/2 Tbsp Dill, finely chopped
1/2 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 tsp Corn Starch

Directions:

  • In a large Sauce Pan on medium heat, combine Butter, Onions, and Garlic. Brown the Onions.
  • De-Glaze with the White Wine
  • Add Mushrooms, and Spices and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Reserve 1/4 cup Stock to the side.
  • Combine the remaining Stock and Cream to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the Corn starch to the reserved Stock and whisk together so there are no lumps of corn starch. When mixed, add to the soup and continue to simmer until the Soup thickens.

NOTES: You can always modify the types of Mushrooms you want in this Soup.  I prefer to use Pinot Grigio for this recipe because it is not too dry and not too sweet.

Winter Squash Soup

Ingredients:Vegetarian Variation
1/4 cup Butter
1 lg Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
12 cups Chicken Broth
8 cups Butternut Squash, skinned, and chopped in squares
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Curry Powder
Croutons (3-4 per serving)
1 cup Green Onion, chopped (for garnish)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large Saucepan, brown Onion in Butter. When nearly translucent, add Garlic.
  • Add Chicken Broth, Heavy Cream, Curry Powder and Squash. Put heat on low.
  • Cook for 1/2 an hour until Squash breaks down. Stir often, and do not let stick to bottom.
  • Garnish with Croutons or Green Onion on top.

NOTES: You can use Acorn Squash or a combination of them. I tend to use frozen prepared “winter squash” as it is easiest to break down when cooking.

Variations:
M-Ṽ: Use Vegetable Broth instead of Chicken Broth

Chili con Carne

Ingredients:Vegan Vegetarian Variation
2 cloves Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Cumin Powder
4 Jalapeño Peppers, diced (remove ribs and seeds)
2 Poblano Peppers, chopped (remove ribs and seeds)
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped (remove seeds)
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped (remove seeds)
2 cans Red Kidney Beans, strained
1 can diced Tomatoes
4 cups Tomato Juice
1 lb. Ground Beef
2 Chipotle Peppers, dried, diced
1 lg Onion, chopped
1 cup (1 can) Corn
2 cups Tortilla Chips, crushed (like a powder)
2 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder

Directions

  • Combine Ground Beef, Garlic, Onions, and all fresh Peppers into a large sauce pan. Drain grease when meat is brown.
  • Add Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Beans, Bay Leaf and all dried ingredients (except Coco Powder) to the mixture, and cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Add Coco powder, and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Serve.

Variations:
Instead of using Ground Beef, use Turkey or Chicken.

M›Ṽ/Ɣ – Omit the Meat, using instead 1 cup Bulgar Wheat. Put the Bulgar Wheat into the sauce at the beginning so that it can dehydrate and absorb the spices.