Italian Wedding Soup

 

It is bitterly cold out there, perfect weather for arctic foxes or penguins.  In here I feel soup is called for to warm from the inside out. This is American comfort food at it’s best; simple to make, flavorful and always comes out right. My dear friend Cathy made this a lot for her kids.  They used to call this “grass soup” when they were little because it is chock full of fresh spinach that melts into this healthy yet still meaty classic soup.  I make mine with ground chicken for the tiny meatballs.  You could use ground turkey, veal or beef.

You can make this soup with canned broth; but, be sure the package is marked gluten free if you have celiac disease like I do, my favorite choice is Kitchen Basic, and they have a low salt chicken broth broth which is perfect for cooking.  Homemade is going to make it more flavorful if you have some around but sometimes we just don’t have time to make fresh broth.  The recipe is modified slightly from one by Ina Garten, foodnetwork.com. Cathy, being Italian, just tosses it together so I had t0 find a source for a decent recipe and I am happy with my choice.

Don’t freak out if you only have one carrot or don’t want as much of any ingredient; make it your way.  Some versions have fresh dill chopped up and added at the end 2-3 tbsp. of it.

stir fry, pan dowdey and crocus 007

Angie’s Italian Wedding Soup

Meatballs

1 lb ground chicken

1 large egg

About ½-2/3 cup gf bread crumbs

¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

½ tsp. sea salt

Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium to large yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, unpeeled, sliced into quarter rounds

2 celery stalks diced including the leaves

1 or 2 garlic cloves

½ cup white wine

1 1/2 quarts of chicken broth

½ cup tiny gf pasta; I found some tiny ring shaped pasta

1 package fresh baby spinach, 12 oz. size

½ to 1 tsp. sea salt and some fresh black pepper

Directions: Dump the meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl, (beat the egg somewhat before dumping the rest in) stir up with your hands and form into 1 1/4 inch meatballs, 1 and ½ inches maximum.  Place them 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, bigger ones will need a few more minutes. If you feel perfectionistic, turn them half way though the baking, not really that necessary though.

While they bake, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan; I used a two quart one.  Add the diced onion, celery and carrots.  Cook them about 6-8 minutes until soft, add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add the broth and white wine to the soup, stirring frequently; bring to a boil and add the meatballs, reheat, add the pasta, cook until nearly done, add the spinach, cook 1-2 minutes; taste and adjust the salt. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Pour in a bowl.  I topped mine with some more fresh grated parmesan cheese. Perfect meal when you want to sooth a still slightly iffy tummy.

Eight Bean Storm Soup

Snowstorm today, time for a hearty stew.  This is my multi-bean soup with Italian sausage.  I started with a 1.3 lb bag of 4 bean mix and added two kinds of lentil and a bit of a few others.  The thing is, if you have celiac most 15 bean mixtures for soups contain barley which has gluten, a major no no. I found a four bean mix out at Echo Hill country store  in Berks County and added some French lentils; maybe ¼ a cup and some red lentils; another ¼ cup plus a ¼ cup of dried garbanzo beans and a sprinkling of dried limas.  You can use what ever blend you like but I like a good mix for a rich thick stew.   Update: Later on today, at the grocery store I found a bag of 15 beans for soup and no barley!! Giant Store here in town. Great score for more bean soup.

Mine has Italian sausage but you can leave that out if you want a vegetarian version. I personally love sausage in a bean stew. Gives you lots of meaty flavor and a healthy dose of protein. I am guessing you could use other things like smoky ham chunks or maybe a ham hock? I haven’t found any gf ham hocks yet; they all seem to have a touch of gluten so I am kinda discouraged over that.

I enjoyed a hot bowl of this potage with a slice of toasted multigrain gf bread.  It made a full meal without anything else being necessary.   A fresh crunchy salad would go well if you want to round your dining experience out with some greens!

Ten Bean Soup with Sausage

Soak 1- 1/12 pounds of dried beans in water to cover.  I set the lentils aside and added them after the soaking as they don’t need the same treatment the other beans need.  Either bring to a boil and let stand an hour or just let stand in the cold water overnight.  I did the quick version!  Drain them well and rinse before returning the swollen legumes to the rinsed pot.  Cover with fresh filtered water and add a bay leaf.  Cook 1 hour, pour in more water as needed and stir so it doesn’t stick or burn.  Then, add the lentils and cook another hour until the beans are nearly tender.  It is hard to say when beans get done, depends on a number of factors, taste often to check for tenderness. And stir that pot! As they approach that almost done spot start the rest of the dish.

Chop into dice:

3 sizable carrots

1 large onion

Mince: 2 big garlic cloves

Add the veggies, stir and cook 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add water if needed.  I like the soup thick but it can’t be solid so add water.

As that cooks start the sausage.  Sauté one lb Italian sausage: brown in a Teflon pan with a touch of olive oil until top and bottom are browned and sausage is mostly done. Let cool a bit and slice into rounds or chunks, set aside.

Add to the soup:

½ a 14 ounce can of spicy diced tomatoes

½ tsp. dried oregano

Sprinkle dried basil

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp smoked paprika

1 beef bullion cube

½ bunch of kale leaves cut into big shreds; I cut off the bigger stems as they can be tough.

1-2 tsp sea salt

Some fresh ground black pepper

Cook ten minutes, add more water if it gets too thick. Stir occasionally.  Taste and add more spice if you think the soup needs more. Add the sliced sausage and cook five minutes more.  Taste and add more salt/pepper as you see necessary.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before ladling out.  Now that is comfort food that is good for you too! Enjoy.

Alternate cooking method that I used this week (2-17).  Cook soaked beans in a separate pot until nearly tender. Meanwhile, saute veggies for about 5 minutes in a big pot in about 2 tbsp. EVOL, add 6 sausage links; cook 8 to ten minutes; add canned tomatoes, then broth and all seasonings.  Cook 5 minutes, add the beans that are about done and cook 10 minutes, remove the sausage and let cook five minutes, slice into rounds and add back in, cook 5-15 more minutes until beans taste done.  Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Originally posted two years ago in January 2015. Minor revisions; recipe remains the same.

Zingy Chicken Coconut Stew

Cold winter, sniffles, chilly fingers: all great reasons to make soup, especially chicken soup.  But I found myself wanting something more, a big bowl of soup with a ton of flavor and some zip in it. So I threw together a quick soup using some broth I made the other day in my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker; to make the broth I put in the roasted chicken carcass and a bit of celery and carrot plus lots of water on for 30 minutes on high pressure and after straining I had a nice container full of rich chicken broth.  I added lots and lots of veggies as well as some great aromatics: slivered fresh ginger and a big clove of garlic. To pull the flavors together I poured in half a can of light coconut milk and added a handful of broken up raw rice noodles (any brand of wide rice noodles will work). Added some cubed roasted chicken and in no time at all I was slurping down this excellently flavored chicken coconut stew. It was like I was eating at a beach soup shack in the islands feeling the warm sea breeze through my hair…  Light zingy flavor and tender chicken with lots of fresh vegetables.  Man, was it yummy and healthy!  Totally guilt free and naturally gluten free if you are careful in choosing your broth.

chicken-coconut-soup

Not the greatest picture but you can see it is chock full of rice noodles and veggies.

Angie’s Chicken Coconut Stew

2 medium sized carrots cut on diagonal into thin coins

2 celery stalks, cut on thin diagonal slices

1 onion cut down the top to bottoms, peeled and cut into long strips

1 tbsp. mild olive oil

1 large garlic clove minced

½ cup chopped green cabbage

2 baby bok choy cut into one inch lengths, bases cut in quarters or eighths

1 quart chicken broth; preferably homemade

4 rounds of thinly sliced fresh ginger cut into narrow strips

½ a can of light coconut milk

1 cup pea pods

½ cup crushed rice noodles

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used leftover roasted chicken breast)

Directions: Sauté carrots, celery and onion in large soup pot in the hot oil on medium heat: about 4-5 minutes, do not brown, add garlic; cook 1 minute, add bok choy and then the broth.  Heat to nearly boiling and add the ginger and cabbage, cook 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, rice noodles, red pepper flakes and pea pods.  Turn heat down to very low and cook 7 to 9 minutes until noodles are cooked through.

Notes: The amounts of veggies are as fluid as you want to be; leave out something you dislike or don’t have or use more/less of any veggie. I used frozen snow peas as I couldn’t find fresh in the store.  My coconut milk was organic, thin and wasn’t too strongly coconuty. Perfect for this stew. lt-coconut-milkI used baby bok choy but a couple stalks of regular will work just as well; might need to cook slightly longer than the baby choy. If you use store broth: Kitchen Basics has really good gf chicken broth; one 32 ounce box container should do it.  I used home roasted chicken breast but you could use a rotisserie bird, although I suggest you check for gluten free before choosing that route as some stores make their birds with ingredients that make it not gluten free so not safe for those with celiac disease.

Enjoy!

Vietnamese Sour Shrimp Soup

Soup, beautiful soup.  When it’s cold I like a big bowl of steamy hot soup. So does my mom whom I regularly cook a meal for.  In the search for new things to try, I purchased a packet of Vietnamese sour soup.  No idea where but possibly the Asian grocery store on Stefko Blvd. in Bethlehem.  The packet was in my cupboard for a while and the other day I pulled it out, read the recipe, the ingredients and decided to give it a chance.  This was slightly risky as there was no mention of gluten free status regardless of the ingredients.  Celiacs like me have to be so careful; just a touch of cross contamination from shared processing equipment and I feel terrible.  So I try  harder these days not to buy things anymore that don’t say gf. Case in point: I got sick 2 weeks ago from some Korean red pepper flakes I used to make homemade kimchi.  I had to give the entire batch away.  Everyone said it was delicious.  I tasted it and agreed but that taste was enough to ruin my day due to probably cross contamination.

vietnamese-sour-soup-packet

Anyway…I have to say this Vietnamese soup was fantastic.  I sautéed briefly some onion; one small one cut vertically into long threads, some diagonally slice celery and carrots; one carrot and one big stalk of celery plus some of the greens.  In about three minutes I added the packet and water per the directions and after that got hot I added the baby bok choy cut into 1 inch lengths including the green parts and a handful of snap peas, which I cut in half after trimming the ends. After 10 minutes I added a handful of small shrimp which I shelled first, maybe 18-20 shrimps and about a quarter cup of bamboo shoots. Cooked it five more minutes and Bamm I had me a pot of zingy delightful soup.  A major ingredient in this soup base is tamarind juice. I have bought and used tamarind paste, sure adds the tangy sour that is a delight.  Honestly I burnt my mouth the first two times I ate this soup; do darn good I ate it a bit too hot for comfort.  Try to let yours cool a few minutes….if you can!  The spicing is not too hot, just refreshing and infuses the vegetables with it’s zing.  Not weird or off flavored if you were worried about trying a packet from a very different food culture than that of most Americans; just light and delightful.  If you are not a fan of shrimp sub in your favorite protein.  I am sure most anything even tofu will work.

vietnamese-sour-soupThis picture is from pinterest.  I was too hungry to take a picture. Sorry; next time I promise to stop and shoot before I slurp! This soup snap is sort of similar although I didn’t have the thai basil leaves that they put on top nor did I use big pale green pepper slices or tomatoes. Well, I Thought it was kinda similar…  I just ordered my seeds and did choose some thai basil so I can be even more authentic this summer when I make this soup again. It sure is a keeper.  Maybe I will try to make it from scratch in the coming weeks.  I will let you know how that experiment goes.

Vietnamese Sour Shrimp Soup:

1 packet Vietnamese sour soup

1 tbsp. mild olive oil

1 medium onion

1 large stalk celery

1 large carrot

1 large baby bok choy or one stalk of regular bok choy

1/2 cup snap peas

1/3 lb (about 20) medium or small shrimp

1/4 cup bamboo shoots

Directions: Saute the veggies (onion, carrot and celery) in oil; 1 1/2 quart sauce pan.  Add water according to the packet and the packet.  Let get hot, add the  bok choy and snap peas.  After ten minutes add the peeled shrimps and bamboo shoots.  Cook five more minutes.  Can put long diagonal slices of scallion on top.

Pork, Poblano Pepper and Black Bean Stew

What to do with leftover pork roast?  There isn’t much eating a plate of pork with all the leftover sides that I can take.  So searching I found this recipe for a soup and of course had to alter it some! Don’t you get tired of rushing out to buy that one or two ingredients you don’t have? Then there are the things I don’t care for like cilantro, creamed corn… Any way; it is pretty darn tasty and a big change of pace from typical holiday food. You may call it a stew; not actually sure where the delineation between soup and stew is.  This is very chunky and hearty so maybe it is more a stew than a soup.

pork-and-poblano-soup

Pork, Black Bean and Poblano Soup: serves 6

1 poblano pepper, roasted

1 ½ tbsp mild olive oil

1 red onion; diced and divided (set aside ¼ of it)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 heaping tbsp. ground coriander

¾ tsp. ground cumin

1 32 oz box of chicken broth, low sodium preferred

2 cups chopped kale (dinosaur kale is my choice for this soup)

1 tbsp. basil pesto

½ can black beans, well rinsed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¾ lb roasted fresh pork cut in ½ inch cubes

Cooked brown (or white) rice for serving

Garnishes:

Sour cream; 1-2 tbsp. per serving

¼ diced avocado per serving

¼ lime in a wedge to squeeze in your soup bowl

Some diced red onion or scallion rounds

Crushed tortilla chips

Chopped fresh cilantro (optional!)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan.  Add most of the red onion, sauté 4-5 minutes stirring often.  Add poblano pepper cut in ¼ inch dice, the minced garlic cloves and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add coriander and cumin and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add broth and beans, bring to a simmer.  Add the chopped kale (Make sure you remove the ribs if you use dinosaur kale aka Tuscan kale.)  Cook 5-8 minutes until the kale gets tender.  Add the pesto, stir well.  Add the cubes of cooked pork and heat through out, add salt and pepper to your taste.  Ladle into large bowls that have about ¼ to 1/3 cup of rice in the bowl and top with the garnishes. I like it with the brown rice or minus any rice. Have had it with or without the crushed chips. My favorite chips are the multigrain ones from Aldi’s; perfect crunch and spot on flavor. Do crumble them a few at a time as you slurp the soup so some chips stay a bit crunchy.  I also tried it with scallion rounds instead of red onion; works great too.  You will love that you can use any combination of toppings to vary the flavors. That is something I appreciate about this soup.

 

This recipe originated on Food Network; titled Pork and Poblano Soup; there were a number of changes I made.

Sweet Corn and Lobster Chowdah

Sweet corn is one of my favorite summer treats.  So is lobster. Why not combine them in a delightful light summer fish chowder? So I did.  This is as good a chowder as any I had when I was living in Massachusetts or visiting New England.

You can vary the fish/shell fish as you wish, ditto for the veggies. Or cut back on the veggies if you are a hater of produce! This is my basic recipe, change as needed to make it less rich, richer or even dairy free. Just don’t overcook it or boil the chowder once the half and half is added.  I used yellow straight squash; love the color but green zucchini will work just as well.

I promise you that chowder lovers will be crazy for this fish soup!

lobster chowder

Sweet Corn and Lobster Chowder  six servings

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion; one large

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups fish broth or chicken if that is what you have

1 pound of Yukon gold or small red potatoes, diced

½ to 3/4 cup of summer squash diced

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1 carrot diced

One large ear of sweet corn (could add another ear if you adore corn)

1 lobster tail (thawed)

¼ lb bay scallops

1/3 lb cod, dice into large chunks

6-8 large shrimp, shelled

1 tbsp shredded fresh basil

1-2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp fresh oregano leaves

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

½ cup half and half (cream if you want it rich or milk for less rich)

1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Heat the oil in a two quart sauce pan, add onion, cook 3-4 minutes, stirring, don’t let brown.  Then add garlic and cook another minute.  Add the broth.  When it is hot again add the potatoes.  Meanwhile, while broth heats cut the sweet corn off the cob, put the cob in the broth as it will release a lot of flavor.  Set the kernels aside to add later. Add the lobster tail to the hot mixture; let it cook about 6-7 minutes, remove and let cool a few minutes, snip open the underside and remove the meat, dice and set aside: will add back when potatoes are done.  Add the summer squash, red pepper and carrot, cook until all the veggies are nearly done, no more than 15 minutes.  Remove the corn cob. Add the cod, the scallops and the shrimp.  Let cook about five minutes.  Add the half and half and return to medium heat.  Do not boil.  If the soup is too thick add more half and half or more broth. Add the sweet corn kernels, the cooked lobster meat, salt, pepper and the fresh herbs. You could sub in snipped up rosemary for the oregano if  you like.  As soon as it is hot; sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Great with fresh gf French bread or rolls and a green salad.

The inspiration for my recipe is the potato, corn and monkfish soup in Jane Brody’s Good Seafood Book. A number of changes have been made.  Great cookbook for seafood lovers.

 

Spring Pea Soup

Spring is a great time for a light flavorful soup.  One that celebrates healthy eating: this is food code for fresh vegetables.  Pea soup sounded good but I couldn’t find a recipe for a creamy pea soup, looked at a few veggie soups and combined them into this recipe.  I used frozen peas; fresh ones are hard to find and pricy. peas

Tips: You need to blend this up – blender or food processor.  You might want to put a kitchen towel over the blender in case of flying hot soup! Don’t boil it once you add the half and half; will curdle.  I used homemade chicken broth – use a good quality broth if you can’t make your own.

The flavor is not just peas; you have the other veggies and the broth not to mention the butter and half/half.  It is not too thick or too rich.  As Goldilocks said “just right.”  It is a lovely springy shade of green and would make a perfect first course for a dinner party or just for your family.  My mom loves soup for supper and she adored this one. Healthy, quick to make and packed with flavor: that’s what I want these days in a soup. On a hot day it would be lovely cold. Chill the bowls before filling and serving.

pea soup 013

Spring Pea Soup

Ingredients

1 medium onion

1 celery stalk

2 cups frozen peas: ½ cup peas and rest (see below)

1.5 tbsp. butter

3 cups chicken broth

1 ½ cups peas (rest of 2 cups)

½ cup half and half

1.5 tbsp. butter

4 tsp. gluten free flour blend; I used my favorite brown rice/potato starch/tapioca mix (See my pie crust recipe for the blend or use King Arthur’s blend; same thing.)

Directions

Cut the onion into small dice, same for celery.  Heat a medium saucepan: 1/5-2 qt size, add 1.5 tbsp. butter. Add onion, celery and cook 3 minutes.  Add first measure of peas.  Stir and cook 1 minute.  Add broth.  Cook 15 minutes.  Add rest of peas.  Cook 3 minutes.  Let cool slightly, puree in blender in 2 batches, keep lid on tight, can cover with kitchen towel in case of liquid escapage.  Return to sauce pan while you make the rue.

Heat second amount of butter in a small sauce pan and add flour when it is melted.  Stir and cook a minute, add ½ tsp salt and a sprinkle of white pepper.  Add the half and half, stir well until lumps are gone.  Add a ladle of soup to it and stir until fully blended.  Add back to the rest of the soup. Heat stirring constantly until hot but not bubbling.  You can thin it with more broth or water if it is too thick. Serve hot and enjoy the flavor of spring in your soup spoon.

Originally posted by me in May 2015