Tag Archives: Soup

Tortilla Soup

22 Feb

I love Tortilla Soup and make many different yet similar versions of it. What’s so great about Tortilla Soup (in my mind, at least) is that it’s a bowl of hot, slightly spicy (how spicy is up to you), filling soup that’s just what I want on a cold winter day,  yet the flavours take me to southern California and I can pretend I’m sitting in the sun rather than shivering in the ice and snow.

The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a new obsession for me, but if you can’t get them, don’t want to use them because they’re too spicy or don’t like them, simply leave them out and add 1/2 – 1 tsp. chili powder.  If you have it, add 1/2 tsp. of smoked paprika as well.

The fresh, cool avocado that I add when serving the soup is something new for me.  The last couple of times I’ve made this soup I’ve added the avocado and love it.  The creamy, cool avocado is a great addition to the spicy, tart soup flavours.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium orange pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 tomatillos, paper removed, cored and chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced 1/2″
  • 19 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • tortilla chips
  • lime wedges
  • extra cilantro

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Over medium heat, saute the onion and orange pepper in the olive oil for 5-7 minutes, until soft.  Add the garlic, cumin, salt, black pepper and the tomatillo and cook another minute.

Add the chipotle and the adobo sauce and stir through. Add the stock and tomato juice, cover and bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the chicken and beans and cook for 2 minutes, then add the corn.  Cook another 8-10 minutes, or until the soup just comes back to the simmer, the corn is hot and the chicken has cooked through.

Add the lime juice and cilantro, stir through and taste, checking the seasoning and adjusting if necessary.

Top each bowl with diced avocado and serve with tortilla chips and extra lime wedges and chopped cilantro on the side.

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Coconut Sweet Potato Soup

29 Jan

It has been cold here.  I mean really, really cold. I hate to complain about the weather because there’s more to my little region of the world than the cold weather, but when temperatures are hitting -40°C it has a big impact.  By the time the work day is over and I’ve made it through the frigid temperatures back home I’m there for the night and I’m looking for something to warm me up.

One of the best ways to warm up is with a steaming bowl of soup.  Between the weather and the fact that we still have a couple of days left of National Soup Month, I decided to share a quick, simple and delicious recipe with you.  It’s based on the Coconut Sweet Potato Soup that’s in the 2nd edition of my book, Soup – A Kosher Collection with a few changes that reflected my mood and what I had on hand in my kitchen when I made it a few nights ago.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 lbs. (2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 5 cups chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock to keep it parve)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add the shallots and saute for 4-5 minutes, until the shallots are soft but not browned.  Add the garlic, ginger, salt and pepper and cook another 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add the sweet potatoes and chicken stock, cover and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Puree the soup — I like to use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot, but if you don’t have one, use a food processor or blender to puree the soup in small batches.  When it’s pureed and smooth, return the pot to low heat and add the coconut milk and lemon juice, heating until it just returns to the simmer.

Taste the soup and check for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if necessary.  Serve!

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(inter)National Soup Month

7 Jan

According to daysoftheyear.com, January is National Soup Month. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this makes sense — for those of us in the northern part of the northern hemisphere, January can be a bitterly cold month and a warm bowl of soup can warm you from the inside out.

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(c) Pam Reiss

Now, I personally don’t believe you need to have a month out of the year set aside to enjoy soup. I’m an advocate of cooking soup throughout the year — there are so many different types of soups you can make that trying to cram them all into one month is impossible.  Not only that, but different growing seasons mean that some ingredients just aren’t available in January and you need to take advantage in the spring or summer of what’s readily available.

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(c) Pam Reiss

But just because I don’t like to limit soups to one month, it doesn’t mean I can’t get behind supporting and encouraging Soup Month.  I think everybody should make soup all the time.  Meat soups, dairy soups, parve soups, hot soups and cold soups.  Broths, chunky soups, chowders, pureed soups, thin soups and thick soups.  There are so many options.

This weekend I made a big pot of chicken soup.  I admit, it’s the soup I make more than any other.  First, I like to have some in the freezer to use in other recipes or just to pull out when I need a bowl of Jewish Penicillin.  But it’s more than that.  I have a strong connection to chicken soup.  It’s in my bones.  With a pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove top I’m transported to my grandmother’s kitchen. The aromas coming from my pot of soup are the exact aromas that greeted me at the door every Friday night when I arrived at her house for our weekly Shabbat dinner.

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(c) Pam Reiss

It’s been many years since my grandmother was around to make a pot of chicken soup, but the memories have grown to include my own mother’s pot of simmering soup and the vats and vats of chicken soup we make at work. And having moved into a new home myself in the last year, one of the first things I did was make a huge pot of chicken soup (and meat kreplach), creating the same memory in my own kitchen that I have from my grandmother and mother’s kitchens.

I have recipes for Chicken Soup in both my cookbooks, and they’re great for learning how to make it, but once you’ve been making it for years, you can do it by sight, smell and taste.

No Quantities Chicken Soup Recipe (check cookbooks for quantities)

  • place lots and lots of chicken bones, wings and necks into a large pot, filling your pot 2/3s with chicken parts
  • cover with cold water, and place the pot over high heat
  • bring to a simmer, skimming off any scum that rises to the top
  • as soon as it’s simmering, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, continuing to skim the top until there is no more scum
  • add yellow onions (peeled, but left whole), carrots (peeled and cut into large chunks), parsnips (peeled and cut into large chunks), celery (cut into large chunks) and simmer, skimming until all of the scum is removed
  • simmer another hour
  • add fresh dill, and simmer another 30 minutes
  • taste
  • if it’s too watery, simmer longer, letting the liquid reduce, if it’s rich enough, season with salt to taste
  • use tongs to remove any large pieces of vegetable and chicken and discard (we’re not using chicken with much meat on the bones, just bones, necks and wings, so there isn’t much worth keeping)
  • use a ladle to pour the broth through cheesecloth into clean bowls or pots
  • to chill the soup quickly, the night before I make chicken soup, I fill a few small freezer bags 2/3s with water, expel any extra air, close and freeze – once the soup has been strained, carefully place the frozen bags of ice in the broth and leave for 5-10 minutes  – the soup should be cool and ready for the fridge (remove the bags before refrigerating)
  • leave the soup in the fridge for a couple of hours, then carefully remove any fat from the top of the soup with a spoon
  • reheat when ready to eat or freeze for later use

To purchase the 2nd edition of Soup a Kosher Collection (with new recipes), follow these links:

In the USA: amazon.com

In Canada: amazon.ca

Shana tova! This year is off to a great start.

3 Oct

Shana tova! Happy new year!

It’s funny how things work out.  11 months ago (oy!) I posted  about my plans to move (soon!) and start working on my next cookbook.  I’m still not officially in my new home, but I have basically moved in and will be able to start work on the new book after this month of holidays.  But I don’t want you to think I haven’t done anything over the last year.

Instead of starting a new book, I was lucky enough to have to do some new work on my old book.  Confusing, right?  What happened was the Canadian publisher was out of Soup – A Kosher Collection and it was getting hard to get copies from the American publisher, so thankfully, Whitecap decided it was time to publish the 2nd edition of Soup.  With the decision to publish a new edition I was given the opportunity to include more recipes and the talented people at Whitecap produced some beautiful new photos as well.

In Canada you can start looking for copies in local bookstores, or click here to pre-order from Amazon.ca or here to check the status at Chapters/Indigo.

In the US, you can pre-order from Amazon.com here.

And the first review is in — click here to read it.

We’re only in the first week of 5772  and we’re off to a good start. May the rest of the year be a healthy, happy, sweet and prosperous one for everybody!

Yom Kippur – Breaking the Fast Soup

13 Sep

When I grew up and well into my twenties, my paternal grandparents lived across the street from the synagogue most of my family attended. We’d have most of our holiday meals at their house, everything prepared by my baba (grandmother) and served up by my mother and aunts.

For most holiday and Shabbat meals at Baba’s, meat was on the menu.  But to break the fast of Yom Kippur, we always went with a lighter, dairy meal. When services ended at the synagogue, my family would file out the back door and stroll the half-block to the house.  Every single year, we’d be welcomed by the aromas of coffee brewing and freshly baked cinnamon rolls and blueberry or Saskatoon berry buns wafting from the kitchen in the back of the house to the entrance and living room.
Dinner would be any combination of kugels, knishes, blintzes, fish, salads and other dairy dishes.  But the one thing I remember the most was Baba’s Yom Kippur Soup. Once we were all gathered around the table, challah and the milky vegetable soup was always the first course.  Now, though we ate this soup every year, it wasn’t always the same.  It was always close, but the vegetables in the soup were determined by whatever was plentiful in the garden that took up her back yard.
This recipe, Baba’s Break-the-Fast Soup, was first printed in my cookbook Soup – A Kosher Collection (2004 – Whitecap).
Feel free to add or remove vegetables depending on your likes and dislikes or on whatever is fresh from your garden.
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 Tbsp. | 45 mL olive oil
1 small carrot, peeled and diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small
1/2 small parsnip, peeled and diced
6 cups | 1.5 L vegetable stock
1 medium red potato, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups | 375 mL green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch | 2.5 cm pieces
1/4 lb. | 125 g button mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch | 5 mm thick
3 Tbsp. | 45 mL all-purpose flour
3 cups | 750 mL 2% milk
2 oz. | 50 g thin soup noodles
1 Tbsp. | 15 mL  fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp. | 5 mL salt
1/4 tsp. | 1 mL black pepper
Over medium-low heat, sauté the onion in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, stirring as it cooks.  Add the carrot, celery and parsnip and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.
Add the stock and potato, cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the beans and mushrooms, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer gently for 15 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and milk.  Make sure the mixture is well blended and there are no lumps.  Whisk the mixture into the soup and add the noodles. Bring the soup back to a simmer.
Cook until the noodles are tender and add the dill, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Starting to think about Rosh Hashana (and meat kreplach)

12 Aug

It’s been a hectic summer and though it feels like summer just started, we’re less than a month away from Rosh Hashana.  It’s hard to believe and I’m sorry if I’m making you think about something you’re not ready for.  The good news is that there’s still plenty of time to prepare goodies for the holidays.  

 
One of the things I love for Rosh Hashana (or erev Yom Kippur) is a steaming bowl of chicken soup with home made meat kreplach.  The silky dough surrounding the oniony meat filling is my favourite soup accompaniment. 

 
When I was growing up, my grandmother always made kreplach for the holidays and when my parents started our catering company, meat kreplach were always offered for Rosh Hashana. It’s true that some time and work is involved in making them, but they really are quite easy to make and wonderful to have in the freezer.
 
A few years ago I put together a step-by-step kreplach demo (with pictures) for eGullet.org.  You can find the demo here. I  hope you try making them and enjoy them during the holidays (or anytime!).
 
 

 

Cold Weather and Beef & Barley Soup

16 Jan

I am going to try my best not to complain about the weather.  Winnipeg (known to some as WinterPeg) gets a bad rap – and this winter has been really nice.  Until last week, when it turned bitterly cold.  On Friday the temperature hovered at about -33 C and today it’s better, but still a bone-chilling -23.

It’s during cold spells like this that I like to pull out the big soup pots and let a batch of soup simmer away, warming the house and then warming me.

Beef & Barley Soup
1 1/2 lb. (or more) marrow bones
2 lbs. flanken (short ribs, I use “Miami ribs” which are quite thin)
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1-2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 – 19 oz. can of mixed beans, rinsed and drained
18 cups cold water
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

You’re going to need a big pot for this one.  I use a heavy, enamel coated, cast iron pot – but any big stock pot that isn’t thin and flimsy will do.

Rinse the ribs and bones.  Place them in the pot.  I must confess – my ribs weren’t completely thawed, so they went in whole.  If you’d like to cut them up a bit to make them more manageable, you can do that now.  You could, of course, leave out the marrow bones if they aren’t your cup of tea – but marrow is a wonderful thing.  The bones will add more flavour and the marrow will add some richness.

Pour the cold water over the bones and then the pot goes onto the stove (medium-high until it just starts to simmer).  It won’t take long for scum to start coming to the top of the pot.  Skim it.  Skim it all – be vigilant.  Stir things up every few minutes to release more scum – and reduce the temperature so that the water is just barely simmering.  It will take a good 20-30 minutes for the scum to stop – keep skimming until the water is pretty clear (don’t worry about it being completely clear – just make sure that the scum has stopped forming, and remove whatever you can).  You’ll find yourself with a bowl full of scum and foam to dispose of. Loosely cover the pot and let the meat simmer for 45 minutes.

While the meat is simmering, prep your vegetables. I like everything chopped about the same size (small) – this is pretty forgiving soup though, so you decide how you like it.  Rinse and drain the beans and barley.  When 45 minutes are up, add all of the vegetables, beans and barley to the pot.

Loosely covered and another 45 minutes of simmering.

When I say ‘loosely covered’ I mean that it should be covered, but left open just a crack.  I want some of the liquid to evaporate during cooking, but not too much.  Make sense?

Add some salt and black pepper, taste, add more if necessary.  Serve it up with some crusty bread.

This does make a lot of soup – but on a cold winter weekend, it doesn’t seem to hang around. Should you find yourself with a lot of leftovers, it can be frozen and then reheated when another cold snap hits.

Lights, Camera.. Borscht?

3 Jan

I had no soup plans for the week.  Our store has been closed for over a week and it’s taking so much energy to get back into things.  But when I got to work on Tuesday there was a  message on the machine from a local food magazine.  They want me to come in tomorrow for a photo-shoot! Their February issue is focusing on soup – I wrote a soup cookbook – there you go.

All I need to do is get to their offices in the morning, ready for pictures, with some soup already prepared. Easy enough.  They requested borscht – so I made a batch from the recipe in my cookbook.

Borscht can be made in so many different ways.  When I make it at work, I usually go for more of a sweet and sour tone.  This version is very subtle in it’s sweet and sour flavour.  You could always add some sugar or lemon juice to kick that up.  Feel free to add some cabbage – and garnishing with sour cream is encouraged.

Beet Borscht
10-12 small beets (2 lbs. | 1 kg) peeled and cut into ½” cubes
1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped and ½” cubes
1 can (28 oz. | 796 ml) crushed tomatoes
8 cups | 2 L cold water
1 Tbsp. | 15 mL salt
1/4 tsp. | 1 mL black pepper
1 Tbsp. | 15 mL granulated sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. | 20 mL lemon juice

Another version, which I love, is meat borscht. Start by bringing some stewing beef up to a low boil in the 8 cups (2 L) of water, skimming off any residue and simmering approximately half an hour – until the meat is cooked and tender. Then add the vegetables and follow the recipe. The meat will be sweet and tender.

Method:
Place the beets, carrot, onion, celery, tomatoes and water in a soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the beets are fork-tender.

Add the salt, pepper, granulated sugar and lemon juice. The seasoning may need adjusting, but it should have a subtle sweet-and-sour flavour.

Chinese Kreplach?

24 Dec

Tonight dinner was a simple affair.  I had a crazy morning at work yesterday – fighting the Christmas food shoppers to get some needed fruit and vegetables for work.  As I pushed my way through the crowds and glimpsed the long line-ups at the cash registers, I decided that picking up some things for home would be a good idea.  The thought of returning to the store after work was too stressful!

I’ve had visions of wonton soup in my head for a few days now, so I bought some baby bok choy, Chinese broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms and green onions.  The chicken stock, wonton wrappers and ground chicken I had at work – and everything else was at home.

The wonton filling was a mix of ground chicken, finely chopped mushrooms and green onions, fresh ginger, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and 1/2 of an egg white.  I let the wrappers thaw, brushed the edges with water – filled with some chicken filling and set aside.

As the wonton assembly was under way, I was slowly bringing the chicken soup (diluted with water) to a simmer.  In went some quartered mushrooms – after a few minutes the wontons and then the Chinese broccoli went in.  Simmer another minute or two and in goes the baby bok choy and the peas.  Seasoned with soy sauce and it was ready to go.

Easy to put together, and one of my favorite soups.  The trick to making this not a good soup, but a great soup, is using really good homemade chicken broth.  Tonight I used broth from work (made the same way I would make it at home) – but plans for this week is making a big batch of chicken soup at home.  I’ll eat some of it as ‘classic Jewish chicken soup’ and hopefully have enough to stick in the freezer for the next time I’m craving the wontons.