Friday, November 14, 2008

Orzo Soup

Orzo is pretty versatile, from time to time I make a kind of risotto with it. This is a very quick and easy, but tasty soup dish.

4 or 5 cups chicken stock 3/4 cup orzo

1 cup spinach, chopped

3 diced Roma tomatoes

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 shakes Chipotle pepper powder

good quality extra virgin olive oil

2 egg whites

fine grain sea salt & fresh ground pepper

4 slices of toasted baguette or old world bread

Some grated Parmesan cheese

Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until just tender - about five minutes. Stir in the chopped spinach. Turn down to simmer

In the meantime, heat the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and a splash of extra virgin olive oil in a separate saucepan. Add salt and pepper as needed

Just before serving, slowly pour the egg whites into the soup, stirring quickly with a whisk. Don’t worry it isn’t supposed to mix in. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve the soup in individual bowls, Distribute to tomato mixture onto the soup, around the edge of the bowl saving about 3 tablespoons. Add one slice of toasted bread to each serving topping it with the rest of the tomatoes and a good half handful of cheese.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gord’s Harira Soup

This is a Lamb and Bean Soup. Many Muslims serve this soup to break the fast at the end of Ramadan. There are many variations on this recipe. All of them are lemony, some omit the eggs, some have only lentils, and still others add noodles or orzo.
This is my, easy to make variation.

1 Lb Ground Lamb
2 cloves Garlic chopped
1 Onion chopped
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Can chick-peas
1 Can lentils
1 Can Tomatoes
1 Tetra Pac Chicken Broth
1 Tsp Black Pepper
½ Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Ground Ginger
½ Cumin
½ Turmeric
1 Tsp Chili Paste
3 tablespoons white rice (Optional)
3 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 cup water (if you like it thick)
2 eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Saute the onion until it is beginning to get transparent, at the garlic stir for about 1 minute then add the ground lamb and cook until it is no longer pink.
As you are cooking the lamb add the cinnamon, ginger, chili paste, turmeric, cumin, pepper, salt.
When lamb is cooked add the tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas and chicken stock stir well and bring to a low boil. Reduce to a high simmer and cook for a hour.

Adjust seasoning, the soup should be peppery. This is the point to add flour if you want. If it seems too thick, thin it water.

Remove the soup from the heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice. Stir into the soup.
Serve at once.

Serves 6.

Navy Bean with Double Smoked Bacon Soup

This is a very good and easy soup to make. I would suggest that you seek out a few sliced of thickly sliced double smoked bacon though. It makes the difference.

4 to 6 cups Chicken or Turkey Stock
1 - 540 ml can of white navy beans, drained
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
3 or 4 slices of thickly sliced, Double Smoked Bacon, cut into small pieces
1 tsp rosemary chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
4 slices of dry baguette, toasted
Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring the stock to a boil then add the beans. Reduce the stock to a simmer.
I think soups should be simple and made on the spur of the moment with what you have in the cupboard so I won’t assume that you have time to soak the navy beans overnight etc. You could make this soup substituting the double smoked bacon for pancetta or regular bacon but, I recommend that you seek out a few slices of double smoked.
This is a great fall soup. You could add a tomato chopped into small pieces near the end if you want something a bit different.
In a separate saucepan sauté the onion in a splash of oil until it is translucent, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two then scrape these ingredients into the stock.
In the same pan cook the bacon until it is almost brown, add the rosemary and stir for a minute or so then add these ingredients.
Stir things around a bit then add the salt and pepper and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes or so.
Serve the soup in wide bowls; put a slice of the dry baguette on top. Grate some parmesan on top and serve.
Will serve 3 or 4

Mixed Mushroom Soup

Not your basic Campbell’s Mushroom Soup.

4 lg. mushrooms (about 250 gr.)
1 sm. handful dried mixed mushrooms such as porcini, chanterelle etc.
1 litre light vegetable broth (or whatever good stock you have on hand)
1 small leek (white part) thinly sliced
1 celery stalk
125 ml. milk
splash of cream
1 Tbsp of butter
1 tsp flour
1 tsp finely chopped parsley leaves (or chives)
1/2 glass of dry white wine
Salt & pepper

Soak the dried mushrooms in enough hot water to cover well (to allow for swelling) while you prepare the rest of the soup (they should soak at least 15 minutes - this can be done earlier).

Chop the vegetables and all the fresh mushrooms finely saving one for the garnish. Add to a pot with the stock. Bring it to a boil, cover, reduce heat and allow to simmer gently 15 minutes before pureeing. After 5 minutes, add the dried mushrooms with the soaking liquid and stir well.

Cut the remaining mushroom into quarters and slice not too finely. Sautée in half the butter until the liquid has reabsorbed. Set aside.

Melt the remaining butter, add the flour, stir well and allow to bubble for a few minutes. Add a ladle of soup and allow to thicken for a minute. Add to the soup with the milk and the cream. Allow to simmer gently for several minutes. Add the white wine and allow another minute of cooking time without the lid.

Serve with a spiral drizzle of cream if you like, then the sautéed mushrooms as garnish with a light sprinkle of parsley (or chive). Delicious with a good whole wheat, light rye or mixed grain bread and white wine.

Variation: a light sprinkle of thyme added to the mushroom as it sautées in the butter is delicious - adding a layer of flavour to the garnish without distracting from the intense flavours of this soup.

Mushroom Barley Soup

This is a recipe I adapted from a cookbook put out by the Fresh Tracks Cafe at the Whitewater Winter Resort in the West Kootenays. I think it is a great warming late autumn soup but it would be good any time.

1 large onion
1 tbsp butter
1 splash olive oil
3 cups chopped mushrooms (regular run of the mill white or brown mushrooms will do but I mixed them half and half with shitake)
¼ cup pot barley
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
1 tsp dill finely chopped (If you prefer you could substitute fresh thyme for the dill)
A pinch of salt
1 tsp of paprika
1 bay leaf
4 cups of chicken stock or 1 - 900 ml tetrapac of chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp soy sauce
1 cup coffee cream or whipping cream depending on how rich you want it.
½ cup chopped parsley

Heat the oil and butter in a put. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are soft then add the barley and the herbs and spices. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil then turn the heat down to medium/low and simmer covered for about 35 or 40 minutes or until the barley is cooked.,
When it is ready, mix in the soy sauce and the cream, reheat to serving temperature and pour it into a large soup tureen, sprinkling the parsley on top and serve.

Corn Soup

Corn soup is not a popular choice in my house but for me, it evokes the memory of cool fall evenings at home growing up. I love it.

1 large onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
½ red or yellow pepper cut into small pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
1 large can creamed corn
1 cup corn nibblets
3 small potatoes cut into small pieces
1 cup milk
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ tsp of Herb des Provences
1 tbsp to thicken if needed
Heat a large sauce pan on medium. Add olive oil and onions and sauté for a few minutes, add pepper and continue until soft and finally add the garlic and cook for a minute or so being careful not to let it brown.
Add the stock, nibblets and creamed corn and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes then add potatoes, salt and pepper. Cook on simmer for another half hour.
Stir in milk, add Herb des Province and bring back to low simmer for about 10 minutes.
* cooking times are approximate