Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Wonton Soup

Thursday, December 29th, 2016


Wonton soup is one of my favorite comfort foods.  I think of it as Asian chicken noodle soup, and it’s what I want on those rare occasions when I’m sick. However, I eat it a lot, sick or not. Because I feel like crap on toast when I’m sick, I freeze trays of wontons, as well as containers of broth made from my old stewing hens, so soup can happen with minimal effort.  Everyone knows good old chicken soup is just what’s needed for a cold, but how much better, when you throw in garlic and ginger?

The recipe I give will make approximately 40-50 wontons. This is more than you will need to make a batch of soup. Freeze what you don’t use for later. The wontons can be added to the cooking broth fresh or frozen.



1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 or 3 cloves finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 package wonton wrappers

Combine ground pork, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil, and mix well.  Fold using any number of different folds. I use a tortellini fold, because it’s an easy fold that allows me to crank out a batch of 100 quickly. Place a small amount of pork mixture in the center of a wonton wrapper. Moisten outside edges of the wrapper with a finger dipped in water. Fold in half to form a triangle, and press the moistened edges together to seal. Pull the outside corners of the triangle towards the middle. Moisten one of the corners with a little water, and press the corners together, and then flip the main part of the wonton over the top of your thumb while pinching the corners together, as pictured.



Wonton Soup
1 quart (32 ounces) chicken broth
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 or 3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 to 2 cups chopped bok choy greens and stems
Salt to taste

To make the soup, place the broth, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce in your soup pot, and bring up to a gentle boil.  Add your wontons to the broth (fresh or frozen), and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add chopped bok choy to the soup, and take it off the heat. The heat of the soup will wilt the greens, but they will still maintain a satisfying crunch.

This is a versatile recipe. You can use more or less broth and greens as you like.  I prefer more greens and load it up with wontons.


Winter Italian Sausage Soup

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

sausage soup

This is one of those recipes that was born standing in front of my open freezer on a Saturday morning, clueless as to what we were going to have for dinner. My eyes landed on the Italian sausage that I get through a co-op of which I’m a member. On the shelf above were containers of frozen broth made from leftover roast chicken bones.  OK, soup – Italian … tomatoes … garlic … you see how my mind works?  So, I started grabbing staples from my stores, and ended up with the picture below.  Remember, I do everything the long hard way, so I’ve included suggestions for the sake of time and simplicity.  I dry tomatoes in my dehydrator in the summer, so I’ve always got them on hand.  I usually have kale in the winter garden, but thanks to a run-in with the geese, my kale is no more. This was some organic red kale I’d grabbed at a local store. Will someone  tell my why the geese turned up their bills at kale when I offered it to them out in their pen, but when they took a wander around the property they suddenly decided they couldn’t get enough of it?

soup staples

Winter Italian Sausage Soup
1 pound Sweet Italian Sausage
1 cup dry beans, soaked (or 1-2 cans of some sort of white bean)
6 cups chicken broth
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced (or half the head like I did)
1 cup dried tomatoes (or you can use canned tomatoes)
Small bunch of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Brown sausage in soup pot.  Add garlic and cook for a minutes.  Add chicken broth and beans, simmer for about an hour until beans are tender (you can skip this cooking time if you use canned  beans). Add dried tomatoes and simmer for another 15 or 20 minutes (skip the cooking time if you use canned tomatoes).  Add kale and simmer for another few minutes.  I like to be able to chew my kale a little bit, so I don’t cook it much longer than 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes.

OK, I feel better now. I recently noticed I hadn’t blogged a recipe in a very long time, and had been boring the heck out of people with the geese and chickens.


BLT Soup

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

I love homemade soups in general. They tend to be quick, versatile, and nutritious.  Soups help me economize both time and leftovers. Some can be thrown together quickly when crunched for time, others can be simmered in a slow cooker to be ready and waiting at the end of a long hard day. I do have a few soup recipes requiring quite a bit of prep, and not for the faint of heart cook…. like my Hot & Sour Soup. I like to freeze leftover soups, which provide a quick solution on those days when things don’t go as planned, or I suddenly find myself with a house full of unexpected guests (usually hungry teenage boys).  Today I was in the mood for soup, but we’re having unseasonable, record-setting 85 degree weather. I’m still in winter food mode, and having a difficult time switching culinary gears.  It’s simply too warm for something like my Fire Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup, and Chilled Avocado Soup is just all wrong for March.

My BLT Soup recipe, with its light potato soup base and fresh raw veggies,  is perfect for transitioning seasons. This recipe was inspired by a similar soup I had in a restaurant years ago.  I did find a few BLT soup recipes online, but not like the one I ate all those years ago.  After some tinkering this is what I ended up with.

BLT Soup
4 or 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 heaping tablespoon corn starch
Salt & Pepper

BLT Toppings
Crumbled bacon
Shredded lettuce, or other greens
Chopped Tomatoes
Croutons (Zesty Tomato Garlic Croutons recommended)

If you make your croutons and bacon ahead of time, this soup can be relatively quick to put together.  Here’s my bacon technique (I get some really great bacon made from organic pastured pork, and no added nitrates). I cut the bacon into pieces using my kitchen shears, and then toss it in the pan to cook. I try to keep a jar of crumbled bacon on hand in the refrigerator as a quick salad topping.

See my earlier post for making Zesty Tomato Garlic Croutons …. or use store-bought if you prefer.

Melt butter and olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add diced potatoes and cook until tender.  Don’t worry about the potatoes sticking to the bottom of the pan a little.   Once the potatoes are tender, add flour and stir until all oil and moisture is absorbed.  Next add the chicken broth and stir until the broth starts to heat up.  Mix the heaping tablespoon of corn starch with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water, and add to the broth.  Continue to stir until the soup thickens. Salt and pepper to taste.

This is one of those soups that does not have to be served piping hot.  In fact, I like to wait for it to cool a little before I assemble my bowls.

Assemble by ladling soup into bowls and then topping with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and croutons.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I am long, long overdue to post a recipe. In fact, I was looking over post archives, and noticed that I didn’t post a single thing last January.  It must be a hibernation thing.  All I feel like doing lately is snuggling in with a pair of knitting needles, a pot of herb tea, and a pair of warm squishy socks.  This morning I was forced to come out of hibernation, thanks to several inches of snow last night.  I had to bundle up and dig out my chicken coop so I could feed the girls.

This particular soup recipe is a winter regular in my household, and my 16-year-old son’s favorite. I always make this after we’ve had a roast chicken, using the leftover meat and stock that I’ve made from the carcass. The rest of the ingredients are always on hand in my pantry and root cellar from late summer preserving efforts.  I used up the last of my fennel at Christmas when I made Pasta E Fagioli Salad with Fennel for my overseas house guests, but I found some nice fat organic bulbs at a local grocer. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m going to tell you again …. I don’t cook with celery.  I think it’s an evil, vile, nasty vegetable, and my husband is allergic. The carrots were pulled from the winter garden tunnel last week.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Wild Rice Soup
Olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced (or other celery like veg)
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped ( I use more)
7 1/2 cups chicken broth (if I don’t have enough broth, I cut it with water)
1/2 cup wild rice
Bay leaf
Leftover chicken
2 pints fire roasted tomatoes (you can substitute oven roasted or canned tomatoes)
Salt to taste

Soften carrots, fennel, onion, and garlic in olive oil.

Add chicken broth, rice, and bay leaf; bring to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender. Add leftover chicken and tomatoes and their juices to the soup.  Salt to taste. Bring soup up to temperature and serve.

Autumn Ham Soup With Pumpkin & Barley

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

When I was roasting pumpkins a couple of weekends ago, I didn’t have a lot of fresh ingredients on hand for dinner. All I had left in the garden were some snow peas, a couple of baby fennel, and a few stray San Marzano tomatoes. I really wanted to stay home all weekend, and the idea of a 40 minute run to the closest decent market didn’t hold much appeal.  Between the root veggies and squash I’ve stored for winter, and a well stocked supply of dry goods and staples, and a freezer full of venison and an odd assortment of meats, I figured I should be able to pull something out of my hat.  I was very happy with the results, but I think I’ll try it with cannellini beans in place of the barley the next time. I keep forgetting that my guys aren’t fans of barley like I am.

Autumn Ham Soup With Pumpkin & Barley
Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 very small, or 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
12 ounces ham cubes or trimmings
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 cup pearl barley
4 or 5 large roma style tomatoes, chopped (or 1 or 2 cans tomatoes – I highly recommend San Marzano tomatoes, which can be found at some of the better/larger grocers)
2 cups roasted pumpkin chunks (or any other winter squash)

In a large soup pot over medium heat, soften onion, fennel,and garlic in 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

** Bunny Trail Alert ** I have to mention  my enameled cast iron pot. When I was 5 years old, my family moved to Iceland where my parents were missionaries.  While living there, my mom was given this pot as a gift.  She cooked countless meals in the pot over the last 40 years. One of the ways my mom shows her love for people is by feeding them, and it’s a quality she passed on to me.  Over the years, the outside of the pot has become perfectly seasoned. The inside shows the years, and the vitrified enamel coating has some worn and pitted spots.  However, the imperfections in the enamel haven’t affected the pot’s ability to perform.  I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to have the enamel restored. If anyone has information about restoring enamel, I’d love to hear from you.

This pot represents all the love my mom has to give. For years I told my mom that I wanted her to be sure the pot be handed down to me when she was gone.  I was completely shocked and pleased when she wrapped the pot and gave it to me for Christmas last year. Knowing how much I love this pot, my mom wanted the pleasure of watching me cook in it instead of waiting until she was gone. My family is very small, and of the four grandchildren there is only one girl, my sister’s 7 year old daughter.  I hope Emma grows up loving to cook, because it would be a shame not to pass on this pot which represents the love of two generations.

OK, back to our soup. After softening the onion, fennel, and garlic, add the ham and cook for a few minutes longer.

Next add the chicken stock, water, and barley.  The ham trimmings I had in my freezer were rather salty, and after adding the chicken stock I realized that it needed a little water to tone down the salt.  Turn the heat down, and continue to cook the soup on a low simmer until the barley is tender.  As the soup cooks, you may need to make a couple of small additions of water as the barley absorbs liquid, and to account for evaporation.  Once the barley is done, add the tomatoes and pumpkin and cook a little while longer until the vegetables are heated.

While the soup was cooking, I threw together a nice crusty whole wheat bread which was perfect with the soup. As we head into the cold winter months, I’ll be baking bread and will share a few of my favorite recipes and techniques.

Bacon Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Sometimes,  I simply don’t understand my guys!  I’ve been cursed with a couple of picky eaters … and a few food allergies to boot. My husband and oldest son are all about meat and potatoes, and it’s difficult to get them to eat their veggies.  My husband is allergic to celery, raspberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, and lemon among other things.  My oldest son is allergic to a bunch of fruits and some veggies. My youngest son’s food preferences seem to change on an almost daily basis.  One day a meal I fix will be his favorite, and the next day he’s chiding me for forgetting that he doesn’t like it.

Will someone explain to me why both my sons like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, sour kraut, Reuben Sandwiches, and spinach? I’m so confused!  Fixing a meal that the entire household agrees upon can be a bit of a challenge, so now you understand one of the reasons I spend so much time experimenting in my kitchen. This soup recipe is the result of some of my tinkering when the boys were small.  Sometimes I serve it with BLT sandwiches, but most of the time they just want it with the bacon added directly to the soup. My youngest tells me the soup is awesome, but adding bacon makes is double awesome. Whatever!  I’m just glad they like it.

A little tip on cooking milk based recipes … to prevent scorching, a large double boiler comes in very handy.  I have a commercial grade 1 1/2 gallon stainless steel double boiler that has been worth every single penny I paid for it. If you don’t have a large double boiler, be sure to keep your temperature low and stir frequently.

Bacon Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
1 head cauliflower, cooked, drained, and trimmed to bite sized pieces
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
5 1/2 cups milk
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more to suit your preference)
Salt to taste
Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Make a standard white roux by melting the butter in your pot, adding the flour, and cooking for approximately 3 minutes so you won’t taste raw flour. Next, add the milk to the roux and stir with a whisk until thoroughly blended.  Seriously… use a whisk, not a spoon. You’ll end up with a smooth, lump free sauce every time.  Slowly heat the milk mixture until it thickens.

In a regular pot you would need to stir constantly to keep your mixture smooth, and to prevent scorching. The beauty of using a double boiler is that you can actually walk away from the pot for a minute or two.  I’m able to work on other kitchen tasks while waiting for my milk to thicken, stopping to stir every couple of minutes.

Once the milk has thickened, add shredded cheddar cheese and stir until it has completely melted into the thickened milk.  Stir in cauliflower pieces. Add cayenne and salt to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve topped with crumbled bacon.

Chilled Avocado Soup

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Temperatures are creeping back into the 90’s and the warmer the weather, the less I feel like eating hot food. One of my favorite cold meals this summer has been chilled avocado soup and BLT sandwiches.  It’s so easy to cook some extra bacon over the weekend and keep it stashed in my refrigerator for use later in the week.  One of my favorite ways to make a BLT is with a little softened goat cheese spread on my toast, instead of the usual mayo. The soup takes 10 minutes to make, including the time it takes to clean up my food processor.  I’ve even been known to whip up a half batch in a large Pyrex measuring cup using a hand held immersion blender.  The ingredients are so simple.

Chilled Avocado Soup
2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 small onion
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs
Salt to taste

Scoop avocado flesh from skins with a spoon into a food processor or blender.  Add buttermilk, onion, vinegar, and dill.  Puree until smooth.  Add salt to taste.  Cover mixture and refrigerate until well chilled. Serves 4.