More Soup Please!

White Bean Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage

White Bean Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage

What happened to our early summer weather? Just when we New Yorkers were starting to forget about the coldest winter in recent years and beginning to complain about the humidity and heat in crowded elevators, temperatures suddenly drop?  And now we’re pulling out our sweaters again and craving hot bowls of soup?

Okay, fine.  So with my bones a little cold and wishing I’d not worn the linen skirt, I turned for comfort in my kitchen.

In my fridge I grabbed some summer greens, carrots and celery, four or five hot and sweet Italian sausages. Staring into the pantry I grab a can of organic cannelinni beans and a box of organic chicken stock.

Here’s what I came up with.

Ingredients:

1 pound kale, stems (and veins, if desired) removed and leaves washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 scallion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large cellery stalk, chopped
1 cans cannellini beans, (29 ounce), drained and rinsed
4-5 Italian sausage (I used two sweet and three spicy) removed from casing
4 cups water
2 cups chicken stock, or reduced-sodium canned broth
Sea aalt and black pepper
4 thick slices country bread
Grated Parmesan cheese, (optional)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, scallion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add sausage and cook until brown. Break up into smaller bits with a fork.

Add about half of the beans, and lightly mash with a fork. Add water and stock, and bring to a boil. Stir in kale, remaining beans, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer until kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Grate fresh Parmesan and enjoy.

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Kale, Chicken and Lentil Soup: Highly nutritious and warming in cold, winter weather

Kale, Chicken and Lentil Soup

Kale, Chicken and Lentil Soup

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olivie Oil
1/2 Cup Chopped Celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (I made mine from scratch)
1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed (or other leafy herb, such as Italian flat-leaf parsley)
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh kale (about 8 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 8 ounces)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup dry red lentils (I used one 15 oz can of Westbrae Natural Organic Lentils)
Directions:
Coat a large saucepan (I prefer my Le Creuset round French oven) with extra virgin olive oil (non-stick spray works too). Preheat over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic to saucepan. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are nearly tender, stirring occasionally.
Add *chicken broth and dried basil (if using) to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in kale, salt, and pepper. Return to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Stir in chicken, tomato, red lentils, and fresh basil (if using). Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more or until kale and lentils are tender.
Makes 6 servings.
*I made my chicken broth by boiling the 8 ounces of uncooked chicken breast in 6 1/2 cups of salted water.  Then used the chicken in the soup.

Portuguese Beef Stew

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This is the perfect dish for feeding hungry friends and family!  Whenever I make it I imagine my two brothers pushing past me to get firsts, then seconds of this stew.  My granny Mary used to make it during the colder months in California and bring it over on a Tuesday night – her day off.

Granny Mary

Hugs & Kisses wtih Granny Mary

Ingredients:

4 pounds bottom round, well-trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil (plus more if needed)
2 large onions, diced (2 cups)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup Portuguese dry red wine
1 pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1/2 pound baby carrots (about 2 cups)
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Portuguese sea salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas, thawed or 1/2 pound fresh haricot verts trimmed and halved
1 pound cooked egg noodles

Preparation:

In a large glass bowl, coat the beef in the flour. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large French Oven over medium-high heat. I prefer using the Le Creuset French Oven.  Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. If not using a French or Dutch Oven, transfer to a 4- 6-quart slow cooker, otherwise remove meat, set aside to add back later. Add the onions to your French Oven and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; remove and set aside to be added back with the beef or transfer to slow cooker. Pour the wine into the French Oven and scrape up any browned bits; add to the cooker or leave in French Oven, adding back your beef and onions and stir in your potatoes, carrots, haricot verts broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and cook in the oven on 325°F for 7 hours.  If you’re using a slow cooker cook on low for 7 ½ hours or on high for 4 hours. Add the peas and heat through.

Serve over egg noodles.

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings

Prep time: 35 Minutes

Other: 7 Hours, 25 Minutes

Beef Stew

Beef Stew, Photo by Jason Homa