Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall Soups

After a few very chilly mornings and our first thunderstorm, it feels like fall is really here! I love this time of year to be out and about in the brisk weather. From a culinary stand point it is both exciting and creative. Walking around the open-air market is especially pleasurable now. Autumn is an amazing time in the food world. I feel my senses just explode! The colors, and textures of harvest squashes, apples and cranberries, pears the sensuous smells of freshly blossomed rosemary, thyme and sage. As we start gearing up for the holidays I think this is a wonderful opportunity to make soup. Soup is the ultimate comfort food. It heals, inspires and gives the feeling of warmth and love. I love to make all kinds of soups and am constantly creating new recipes. With all the different ethnic influences I can always come up with something fun and different. I have many old standards that people are always requesting and some timeless from my mother and grandmothers. You can make a large pot of soup for dinner and I recommend freezing the left overs in single or double serving sizes. Load up your freezer for quick meals or unexpected guests. Instead of a blender or processor you can use the greatest soup and sauce invention an emulsions blender. A long stick with the blades at the bottom goes right in the pot for a perfect puree. Just always be mindful when pureeing hot liquids. Keep in mind that all of these soups can be made vegetarian by substituting the chicken for tofu, the chicken stock for vegetable stock and the cream with soymilk. I tend to hit a little heavier on the seasoning to add extra richness. Be creative, have fun and share the warmth and love with your friends and family.

Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Chili Cream

3 Red peppers
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup Sherry or sherry Vinaigrette
8 tomatoes peeled and seeded
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme, chopped
1 bunch basil. Chopped
1-tablespoon fresh black pepper
1-cup heavy cream
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut red pepper and roast on 350 oven for 45 minutes. (You can also place directly on a gas flame.) In a large soup pan sauté olive oil, garlic and onion
Add the sherry and stir until it evaporates.
Stir in the tomatoes and stock
Add the herbs and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and red peppers. Simmer 15 minutes. In small batches blend or process the soup until smooth serve with a dollop of chili cream.

Chili Cream
1 green chili
2 cloves garlic
1 cup spinach leaves, blanched in hot water
1/2-cup heavy cream
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper
In a small food processor place the chili, garlic, spinach and process until smooth. Add the lime and salt. Dollop over the soup

Spicy Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

1/4-cup olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red, green and yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Carrot, diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon each cumin and chili powder
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (I like to use yellow if you can find them.)
5 cups chicken stock
1-pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can (15 ozs) black beans, rinsed
2 cups corn kernels
1/2-cup fresh cilantro (for garnish)
1 cup tortilla chips, crunched (for garnish)
Diced avocado
In a large soup pot heat oil over medium heat. Add peppers, garlic, carrots, onion, thyme, cumin and chili powder. Sauté, stirring continually for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, chicken and stock. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 1/2 hour. Remove the chicken breasts and let cool then dice into bite size peaces. Return to pot and add the black beans and corn and bring to another boil. To serve add a handful of chips to the bottom of each bowl add soup and garnish with fresh cilantro and avocado.

Pumpkin and Gruyere Soup
One 5-6 pound pumpkin
1/4-cup butter
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable
2 cups heavy cream
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1-pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
Cut pumpkin in half, Scoop out and strings and seeds.
(You can roast the seeds and float them on top as a garnish and just salt and eat the rest! them) Cut away the hard peel and coarsely chop the flesh. In a large soup pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add the stock and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until pumpkin is tender. About 45 minutes. Blend or process the soup. Return the puree to pot and stir in the cream, orange, lemon, ginger. Reserve a little cheese for garnish (perhaps with some fresh sage) Sprinkle into the soup. Stir over low heat until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 small jalapeno, finely chopped
1 lemongrass stock, bruised
Juice of 3 limes
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups Coconut milk
1 pound boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro for garnish

In a large soup pot sauté the onions, garlic, cumin and jalapeno for 10 minutes. Add the stock, limejuice coconut milk and lemon grass stalk and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until the chicken is tender. Serve at once with a cilantro garnish.

Beet Soup with Horseradish Cream

1 large red onion, chopped
4garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
5 medium beets (2 lb without greens), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red apple such as Gala, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

In a large soup pot sauté. Onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add beets and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
Add stock then simmer, uncovered, until beets are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in vinegar and brown sugar.
Purée soup until very smooth. Return soup to pan, then season with salt and pepper and reheat. If soup is too thick, add enough water to thin to desired consistency. Serve at once with a dollop of horseradish cream.

Horse Radish Dipping sauce
1 16-ounce tub sour cream
6 tablespoon prepared horseradish (or to taste)
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Whisk together in a small bowl. Add pepper to taste.

Cream Of Artichoke Soup
2 Large artichokes
1 lemon
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2-teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4-cup butter
4 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper to taste
Cut stem at bottom of artichoke. Cut the top third of the artichoke and snip off remaining sharp tips of leaves with kitchen shears. Gently pull the leaves of the artichoke to spread them out a bit. In a large saucepan place artichokes in with 3 cups water and juice of one lemon. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and cook for about 45 minutes until very tender. Drain the artichokes and cool down with water. When cool enough to handle cut artichokes in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the fuzzy choke part. Place artichokes in a blender or food processor until very smooth. In a large soup pan sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes in the butter over medium heat. When the garlic is golden add artichoke puree. Whisk in the heavy cream and salt and pepper.Serve when heated through.

No comments: