Archive for the 'Soups' Category

Lucky Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup

lucky black eyed pea and collard green sop2550

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup

On New Year’s Day, I leave nothing to fate. I always serve big helpings of the traditional Southern dishes that are said to bring good fortune. Two of my family’s favorites are black-eyed peas and greens. The black-eyed peas bring good luck and, since they look like money, the greens are said to bring prosperity.

Since I can use good luck and good fortune any time, I decided to combine these two ingredients into one dish that can be enjoyed year round. This soup pairs these lucky foods with vegetables and smoky bacon for a dish that is hearty and satisfying.

You can start this soup with dried peas, but I prefer the ease and convenience of canned peas. Canned peas require no advance soaking and cook quickly. For New Year’s, I traditionally put collard greens in the soup (don’t want to mess with my luck!) but during the rest of the year, I sometimes substitute kale. To spice it up a bit, add a dash of hot sauce just before serving.

While this simple yet satisfying soup should improve your odds for the new year, it’s 100% guaranteed to make your belly happy.

Happy New Year!

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
3 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 can (14.5-oz) diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
2 cans (15-oz) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch collard greens, tough stems and ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the bacon in a large stockpot and cook over medium heat until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, peas, and collard greens and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer until the collard greens are tender and the flavors have melded, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and sauté the vegetables in olive oil instead.

Freezes well.

Excerpted from The Southern Pantry Cookbook by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks. Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

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Roasted Winter Squash Soup

Squash Soup

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

If you are a fan of acorn and butternut squashes, now is the time to enjoy these hearty cooler weather vegetables. This winter vegetable first started appearing in our local farmers markets in late September and will continue to be in season throughout the winter.

This smooth and creamy soup is one of my favorite ways to enjoy winter squashes. It is a lovely soup that warms the heart and features some of Autumn’s best flavors. And as an added bonus, it is possibly one of the easiest soups to make. Simply roast the squash until cooked, transfer it to a pot, add chicken stock, and then puree.

Roasting the squash with onions and carrots adds a sweet, caramelized dimension to the flavor of the soup. Also, since you are roasting the squash, you don’t have to worry about trying to peel that tough outer layer. Once cooked, the flesh of the squash is easily scooped out.

This soup is also perfect as first course for a holiday meal. Since the squash roasts in the oven, your stove-top is free to cook other dishes for the meal. You could even make it a day ahead if you like.

Deceptively rich, this soup has no cream added. The richness of the butternut and acorn squashes takes center stage in a soup that will your family and guests alike thankful they are at your table.

Enjoy!

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

1 acorn squash (about 1 to 2 pounds)
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 tsp. brown sugar
2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Crème fraiche or sour cream, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut the butternut squash in pieces approximately the same size as the acorn squash.

Place the squash halves, skin side down, in a roasting pan. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar in the cavity of each squash as well as on top of the butternut squash pieces. Scatter the carrots and onions evenly around the squash. Pour 2 cups of chicken stock into the pan, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and roast until the squash are tender when pierced by a knife, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Scoop the squash from the skins and place in a large soup pot. Discard the skins. Add the carrots, onions, and cooking liquid. Then add the remaining 4 cups of chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor or blender. If using a food processor or blender, return the soup to the pot. Adjust the seasonings as needed and heat through over medium-low heat. Serve warm garnished with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream if desired.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: If you prefer a thinner soup, simply add more chicken stock.

Freeze well.

Previously published in The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

 

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup copy

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is the Southwestern cousin of mom’s chicken noodle soup, just with a little more kick and a crunchy topping. And, like it’s relative, it warms the soul and makes you feel good all over.

This quick, no-fuss soup has loads of flavor and uses ingredients that are typically on hand. The soup doesn’t take long to make. In fact, it can be on your table in less than 30 minutes. It’s also an ideal way to transform leftover chicken into a tasty and satisfying dish.  It has become a favorite in my house since my good friend Melissa Petersen of Edible Memphis shared this recipe with me.

Much healthier than it tastes, this broth based soup is loaded with tomatoes, lean chicken, and heart healthy avocado. The cumin and oregano add a richness and depth to the dish without any fat. If you want a little extra kick, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

I like to top mine with a few homemade corn tortilla strips, which are surprisingly easy to make. Just cut corn tortillas into thin strips and fry for about 1 minute in a skillet with vegetable oil. If short on time, use crushed tortilla chips instead. Baked tortilla chips would be a heart-healthy alternative.

Serve with a side salad or a slice of cornbread and you have a satisfying meal.

Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Vegetable oil, for frying the tortillas
4 small (4-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

To prepare the tortilla strips, pour enough oil into a large stockpot so that you have a quarter-inch layer of oil. Warm the oil on medium-high heat until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. In batches, fry the tortilla strips until golden brown on both sides, about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Use metal tongs or a slotted spoon to lift the tortilla strips out of the pan, draining the excess oil as you do so. (The tortilla strips should be fairly stiff and crisp. If not, the oil is not hot enough.) Transfer the tortilla strips to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper while they are still warm.

In another large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and shredded chicken. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the flavors have melded, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the fried tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The soup can be made the night before or frozen in advance. Just be sure to add the garnishes (tortilla strips, cheese, and avocado) just before serving.

Freezes well.

 

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Story excerpted from Jennifer Chandler’s bi-weeky Commercial Appeal newspaper column Dinner Tonight.

Photo and Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

 

Cabbage Soup

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Recently I was at my friend Lucia’s house and she gave me a pint of the veggie soup she was making.  I am not normally a huge fan of cooked cabbage so I was pleasantly surprised to find out how tasty the soup was.  When she told me how easy it was to make, I knew this was one I needed for my repertoire. And to top it all off – this soup has nothing bad for you in it!

Lucia uses fire-roasted canned tomatoes and I think that is the key.  They add a nice depth of flavor to the soup.

I made a big pot and then froze it in one serving portions so I have a quick go-to lunch or supper when I don’t have time to cook!

Enjoy!

Lucia’s Cabbage Soup

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 head of green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 cup diced carrots
2 cans (15-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt and black pepper
Hot sauce (optional)

Place the onion, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, and vegetable broth in a large stock pot. If needed, add water until all the vegetables are covered. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm. Season with hot sauce if desired.

Serves 6 to 8.

Freezes well.

Vegetarian and Vegan

Freezer Veggie Soup

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Freezer Veggie Soup

My friend Nevada Presley runs a vegetarian prepared foods business called Get Fresh Memphis.  All her healthy options are yummy, but her soups are one of my favorite things to order.  They are always simple, uncomplicated, and delicious.

I was so happy when she shared this recipe with me for my next cookbook. It is so easy to make since it uses pantry staples like frozen vegetables and canned beans.  Plus, you will be surprised at how flavorful it is. I whip up this soup on days when I feel like a quick and healthy meal. I also keep several servings in my freezer for quick lunches.

Excuse the format of the photo … it’s just a sample of what it’s going to look like in “The Southern Pantry Cookbook.” (Which by the way is due out in the Fall 2014.)

Enjoy!

Freezer Veggie Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14.5-ounce) Italian-style diced tomatoes
4 cups (1 32-ounce box) vegetable broth
1 bag (12-ounce) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (about 3 cups)
2 cups frozen cut okra, thawed and rinsed
1 can (14.5-ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, broth, mixed vegetables, okra, and beans. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: Italian-style diced tomatoes are simply diced tomatoes flavored with Italian seasonings.  If you don’t have a can in your pantry, use regular diced tomatoes plus 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning.

Pantry Short-Cut: A bag of frozen mixed vegetables contains carrots, corn, green beans, and green peas.  You can always add whatever frozen vegetables you have on hand. You can also substitute chicken stock for the vegetable broth.

Freezes well.

From “The Southern Pantry Cookbook” by Jennifer Chandler (release date Fall 2014)

Photo by Justin Fox Burks

Vegetarian Gumbo

veggie gumbo

Vegetarian Gumbo

“Vegetarian Gumbo with Beans?!” – You may question.  I did too … but my friend Justin Fox Burks insisted I give his recipe a try.

Well … as usual … Justin’s recipe was some darn good stuff.  His concoction of veggies and spices offers a tasty gumbo that had everyone at our table asking for seconds.

Justin and his wife Amy Lawrence are co-authors of the fabulous vegetarian recipe blog “The Chubby Vegetarian.”  Their blog has become my go-to for all things veggie.  It is a great resource for dishes so delicious and creative that you will never miss the meat. This recipe is also featured in their new book “The Southern Vegetarian” (May 2013, Thomas Nelson Publishers).  I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and am loving everything I have made so far. It’s a must for vegetarians and meat-eaters both!

Back to the gumbo … Justin’s recipe calls for liquid smoke. An ingredient I had never used before.  But since it was at Whole Foods I figured it was safe to eat! I used the Hickory smoke flavor. It gave the gumbo that depth that a smoked sausage adds a traditional gumbo.

Enjoy!

The Chubby Vegetarian Gumbo

Click here for the original recipe.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomato (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 dashes Tabasco
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 quart vegetable stock
4 cups sliced okra (1/4 inch slices, stem-end discarded)
1 1/2 cups red beans (1 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed or makes your own)
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (quartered)
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups diced  green pepper (1 large)
1 1/2 cups diced red pepper (1 large)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 ribs)
4-5 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup sliced green onion (for garnish)
5-6 sprigs baby dill (for garnish)

To make the roux, place the canola oil and the flour into a medium-sized dutch oven. (This is the pot in which you will eventually make the gumbo, so using it now saves on dishes later. A heavy pot like this is essential when making a roux because of its ability to distribute heat evenly.) With the oil and flour in the cold dutch oven, turn the heat on medium. Whisk the mixture constantly until you notice that it has become nutty (it’ll kind of smell like — gasp! — fried chicken) and fragrant (both of which happen about five minutes into the process). At this point, turn the heat to low. Keep a close eye on your roux, and whisk the mixture about every minute so no part of the roux burns. Continue in this fashion for about another twenty minutes or until the roux has taken on the color of an old penny. Remove the pot from the heat. Congratulations — you just made your first roux!

Place the tomato, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, Tabasco, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg and oregano into the work bowl of your food processor. This is quite an unconventional method for making gumbo, but it works beautifully. Blend mixture until smooth. This is your flavoring agent for the whole dish. Now return the dutch oven with the roux still in it to a burner set to medium-high heat, and immediately add the mixture you just made in the food processor. Stir to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring the resulting mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, and it resembles a paste. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Once the mixture is heated through, turn the burner to medium-low. Add the okra, red beans, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red peppers, and celery to the pot. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until everything is heated through, but not mush.

To serve, ladle out some gumbo into a bowl and top with about 1/2 cup of rice, a few green onions, and a sprig of fresh dill. Have plenty of crusty french bread and butter on hand for sopping up the amazing broth.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: If you like okra but are not a fan of the sliminess that sometimes can occur with it, sauté the sliced okra in batches in one tablespoon of canola oil until lightly browned. Add the cooked okra to the gumbo. Problem solved.

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Now that the weather has gotten cooler, I am starting to make hearty soups for supper.

Fuel Café in Memphis has had a vegetarian chili that I have loved for years.  Now that I am going meatless one day a week, I figured it was time to experiment in the kitchen and try to replicate this favorite.

Fuel adds quinoa to a traditional vegetarian bean quinoa … so I did the same.  The quinoa resembles the texture of ground beef in the dish … something that is good if your family is used to having meat in their chili.  And … the combo of the quinoa with the beans makes this dish a complete protein. Something that is an added nutritional bonus.

For ease, I used canned beans and tomatoes in my version.  I opted to use fire-roasted tomatoes instead of the regular variety because I like the added flavor they give a dish.  That said, regular diced tomatoes will work just as well.

Garnish your chili as you like … with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced jalapenos, or fresh cilantro.  We enjoyed ours with cornbread.  Next time, I’m making it with my Broccoli Corn Bread (click for the recipe) … I think it will be the perfect combo!

My recipe didn’t turn out exactly like Fuel Café’s … but I did come up with a chili that my whole family loved and that I will definitely be making often. It’s fun to take an idea from a dish you have had out or at a friend’s house and invent your own original!

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cans (15-ounce) black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (15-ounce) red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can (28-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked per package directions
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and water. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with the chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 to 35 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve hot. Garnish as desired.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: For a stronger chili flavor, you can add another tablespoon of chili powder.

Freezes well.


Jennifer Chandler

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