Tag Archives: soup

chicken soup

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I’m normally an anti-bouillon, build it from scratch, chicken soup girl.  I really hate the either too salty or no flavour qualities bouillon brings to the table so hardly a carcass, asparagus end, mushroom stem or handful of wilted parsley crosses my path without being tossed in a bag and frozen for future use in homemade soup stock.  One day I will get around to documenting my process for creating homemade soup stock but today is not that day.  Last night, out of a lack of time & energy & the need to provide the eldest sprog with the nasty bottom sustenance in somewhat liquid form, I caved and made a not-from-scratch chicken soup.  It gave me an opportunity to get rid of some rice leftovers and to test drive a product I’ve only recently discovered.  It was the quickest, easiest chicken soup I’ve ever made & it was pretty damned good so I’ll share that recipe with you instead.

What you need:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

A good pinch of black pepper

1 large cooking onion

2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled

4 cloves of garlic

6 bay leaves

6 cloves*

A healthy pinch of ground nutmeg

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs**

2 (UK) quarts of water (10 cups)

2 cups of pre-cooked rice

1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon(tm)***

3 cups of vegetables of your choice (I used a frozen mix of carrots, broccoli & cauliflower)

6 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried

I started with heating the olive oil in my large stock pot over medium-high heat and because I was concerned with getting the oniony/garlicky flavours into the soup quickly I puréed them together before adding them to the pot.  I should have added the ginger to that mess as I neglected to tell my family that there were large chunks of it they may not want to consume and I think everyone but me got one.  Good times.  So, then I added the onions, garlic, ginger, cloves, nutmeg & bay leaves to the pot and cooked until everything was a lovely, translucent slop.  I then added the thighs and cooked those until lightly browned.  At this point they were easy to pull apart into bite-sized pieces in the pot with a couple of wooden spoons so I did that.  Then in went the water, the bouillon-esque stuff and the rice.  I brought all of that to a boil then added the frozen vegetables & thyme sprigs & let the lot of it simmer until the vegetables were tender.

*The French word for cloves is clous which translates back to english as nails.  I don’t know why I like that so much but it always makes me think of making orange/clove pomanders as a kid at Christmas time.
**Why thighs?  The slightly higher fat content lends itself to better flavour distribution as well as holding its own against other flavours & being easy to pull apart once cooked.
**This stuff is like magic.  The instructions on the jar called for 1 and 1/2 tablespoon per quart of water used but I got away with 1 and 1/2 for the entire batch of soup.  It wasn’t too salty (the stuff is worth about 39% of your daily sodium intake recommendations per 6 gram serving which, compared to others with 45% for 3.5 grams is pretty decent) and my chicken soup tasted chickeny and not bouillony.
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black bean & tomato soup

This is probably the easiest meal we put together in our kitchen on a fairly regular basis.  Its roots are found in the CPHA‘s publication, The Basic Shelf Cookbook, which is something I feel every household should have a copy of.  I don’t actually own the book right now (and before you call me a hypocrite you should know that I’ve owned the book and given it away at least 7 times.)  The contents are brilliant on a fundamental level: simple meals comprised largely of ingredients with long shelf lives which focus on maintaining nutritional integrity.  It can be ordered here for CDN $7.50.

My recipe differs from the original by a couple of steps and ingredients but still maintains the inherent simplicity while stepping up the flavour quotient a couple of notches.  Oh, and it’s entirely vegan if you omit the cheese or replace it with a soy based cheese.

What you need:

1tbsp olive oil

1 tsp. coriander, ground

1 tsp. cumin, ground

1 medium sized cooking onion, finely chopped (vidalias and reds are my favourites for this soup)

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 cans of diced tomatoes (or jars if you do your own)

1 can of black beans (or soak the dried kind if you want to)

1 can of sweet or baby corn (or use leftovers if you’ve got ’em)

2 cups of vegetable broth (or dissolve 2 cubes/packets of bouillon-esque stuff in your 2 cups of boiling water)

1 tbsp dried or 1/4 cup fresh oregano

1 tbsp dried or 1/4 cup fresh basil

A pretty, fresh herb and some cheese for garnish (I’ve got cilantro and cheddar in the pic above but parsley &/or basil are great alternatives to the cilantro if you don’t have any on hand.

Toast the spices in a large pot over medium-high heat until fragrant.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the tablespoon of olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, sweat the onions and garlic in it for 3-4 minutes or until translucent.  Add the tomatoes, corn, beans & stock.  Up the heat again to medium-high and keep it there, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a low boil.  Stir in the herbs.  Move to large bowls and garnish.

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Filed under Product endorsement, Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes

black bean & tomato soup

This is probably the easiest meal we put together in our kitchen on a fairly regular basis.  Its roots are found in the CPHA‘s publication, The Basic Shelf Cookbook, which is something I feel every household should have a copy of.  I don’t actually own the book right now (and before you call me a hypocrite you should know that I’ve owned the book and given it away at least 7 times.)  The contents are brilliant on a fundamental level: simple meals comprised largely of ingredients with long shelf lives which focus on maintaining nutritional integrity.  It can be ordered here for CDN $7.50.

My recipe differs from the original by a couple of steps and ingredients but still maintains the inherent simplicity while stepping up the flavour quotient a couple of notches.  Oh, and it’s entirely vegan if you omit the cheese or replace it with a soy based cheese.

What you need:

1tbsp olive oil

1 tsp. coriander, ground

1 tsp. cumin, ground

1 medium sized cooking onion, finely chopped (vidalias and reds are my favourites for this soup)

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 cans of diced tomatoes (or jars if you do your own)

1 can of black beans (or soak the dried kind if you want to)

1 can of sweet or baby corn (or use leftovers if you’ve got ’em)

2 cups of vegetable broth (or dissolve 2 cubes/packets of bouillon-esque stuff in your 2 cups of boiling water)

1 tbsp dried or 1/4 cup fresh oregano

1 tbsp dried or 1/4 cup fresh basil

A pretty, fresh herb and some cheese for garnish (I’ve got cilantro and cheddar in the pic above but parsley &/or basil are great alternatives to the cilantro if you don’t have any on hand.

Toast the spices in a large pot over medium-high heat until fragrant.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the tablespoon of olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, sweat the onions and garlic in it for 3-4 minutes or until translucent.  Add the tomatoes, corn, beans & stock.  Up the heat again to medium-high and keep it there, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a low boil.  Stir in the herbs.  Move to large bowls and garnish.

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Filed under Product endorsement, Recipes