Posts tagged ‘soup’

Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin) Soup

Has it really been over two weeks since I’ve last posted? Argh!

I admit, between Thanksgiving, getting ready for finals, work, and getting ready for Christmas, I’ve been a bit…busy.

Who hasn’t though, right? It’s the busiest time of the year for many of us.

I love it though! OK, the finals, maybe not so much, but Thanksgiving, getting ready for Christmas, etc. I just love the Christmas season, no matter how busy it is! Bring it on! I’ll fly through it all with Johnny Mathis Christmas music playing and a ginger bread latte in hand! And maybe a cookie…or two.

Anyway, I made this weeks ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it.

I love making kabocha soup in the fall/winter months. Albeit it’s still in the high 70’s here, but it’s the spirit of winter that counts! I think…

Kabocha is one of the sweetest kinds of squash out there. It’s dark green on the outside, and bright orange on the inside. It’s delicious! Plus, unlike many squashes, the rind (peel? skin?) of kabocha is edible, and really tastes no different from the orange inside. That means that while you can peel it if you want, it isn’t necessary. Kinda like potatoes. I usually peel off any rough spots, but the rest I leave on. I’m all about simplifying things, you know?

This is a very simple soup. It’s all about the delicious sweet flavor of the kabocha. It’s just kabocha, onion, chicken broth, cream (or milk or half and half), and salt and pepper. Simple. Easy. Delicious.

Kabocha Soup

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium kabocha, washed, de-seeded, and cubed (5 – 6 cups) (peeling the kabocha is optional)
  • 1 medium-small onion, diced
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken broth (may substitute vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)
  • 1 c. cream, half and half, or milk
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and kabocha and saute gently about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add broth and raise heat until boiling. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and continue to simmer until kabocha is tender, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat. Uncover, and use an immersion blender to blend soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, allow soup to cool until no longer scalding hot, then process in batches in a blender until smooth, and return to pot.
  4. Add cream, mix well, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

December 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm Leave a comment

Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

I love stews.

Stew is a relative term though. It’s basically just a chunky, hearty soup, right?

Okay, I just checked. According to Dictionary.com a stew is, “a preparation of meat, fish, or other food cooked by stewing, especially a mixture of meat and vegetables.”.

Something cooked by stewing…yeah, I guess I left that part out.

Evidently, a stew is also a brothel, and “stews” is a neighborhood occupied mainly by brothels. Who knew, right?! Thanks Dictionary.com! What would we do without you?

Now that it’s no longer in the 80’s here (it’s even been getting into the 40’s at night!), I no longer have to pretend it’s cool out when I make fall food, and I actually feel a need for warmer foods. It’s great. I admit, I have a terrible fear it’s going to get back into the 80’s, but I won’t go into that…

This stew is hearty, filling, and (drum roll please) healthy! But tasty-healthy, not meh-healthy.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, who found it on Cookin’ Canuck, and I honestly have no idea where it originated from. Isn’t the internet great?

This is a chicken broth based soup with pieces of chicken breast, chunks of butternut squash, spinach, tomatoes, and cooked brown rice in it. It’s very tasty, very filling, and the butternut squash adds a lovely sweetness to it.

 

Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

(serves 6)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed
  • Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 c. cooked brown rice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Spread out cubed squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat squash. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. In a large pot, heat 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken, onion, garlic, oregano, and sage, and cook gently 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add broth and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Add squash, spinach, and rice. Cook until heated through and spinach wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

November 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

It’s November!
That means soup and stew season is on!

Of course, here in Houston it’s still in the 80’s and everyone is wearing shorts and t-shirts/tank tops….

But it’s the spirit of the season that’s important!!
Heck, if all else fails, I can still turn my air conditioner way down and pretend it’s cold outside, so I can make hot soups and stews. That’s just the kind of commitment I have as a food blogger. Electric bill be damned!

So if you’re ready to get on the ball with fall/winter soups and stews, and want to warm your bones on those chilly fall evenings (or at least pretend you need to) here’s a great one to try out.

I found this in my Jamie Olive cookbook, Jamie’s Dinners. It’s a hardy stew full of sausage, tomatoes, spinach, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), a little ham, diced onion, celery, and garlic all in chicken stock. The interesting addition to this stew, however, is crumbled hard-boiled egg. It sounds strange, but it really goes well in the soup.

Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 2 Tbsp.  extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 1/2 oz. chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 5 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. diced ham
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and crumbled
  1. Add oil and sausage to a large pot over medium heat. Cook until sausage starts to brown, 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover the pot, and let it gently cook without coloring for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and add spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 40  minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in ham and crumbled boiled egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

November 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Fish Chowder

I love fish chowder.

When I was a kid, it was my favorite dish that my mom’s cooking. I even found my old diary from elementary school, and in the beginning it had a fill in the blank section where you listed your favorite things, and for favorite food I wrote, “Mom’s fish chowder”. Incidentally, one of my brother’s hated this soup as a kid, but only because he hated carrots (he still hates carrots as a matter of fact…).

It’s a a very simple soup, but really good. The secret is the seasoning. You use one package of the Ranch Buttermilk Salad Dressing spice mix as the seasoning of the soup. If this sounds odd, trust me, it’s not. It doesn’t make the soup taste like ranch dressing either. It just gives it great flavor.

And it goes great with plain scones (made the same as my dark chocolate chip walnut scones, just without the chocolate and walnuts) with honey and butter on them. That’s how my mom always served it. Ah, memories!

To start, chop up a whole onion, a few carrots, and a few potatoes, and saute them in some butter or olive oil in a large pot for about 8 – 10 minutes.

Add as much fish as you want, but on average use 15 – 16 oz. boneless skinless white fish fillets. Saute them in a skillet with some butter or olive oil until slightly browned, then flip them and cook them on the other side until cooked through and flaky.

Add two cups of water and the fish to the vegetables. Break up the fish into chunks with your spoon, and turn up the heat. Bring the soup to a boil then turn down the heat so it’s just simmering, cover the pot, and let it summer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 – 8 minutes.

Whisk together two cups of milk (or 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup cream or half and half) with the contents of one package of Ranch Buttermilk Dressing mix. Pour the mixture into the soup, mix well, adjust the seasoning to taste, and then heat the soup through before serving.

 

Fish Chowder

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 3 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large russet potatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • About 16 oz. boneless skinless white fish fillets
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. milk (or substitute 1/2 c. of the milk with cream or half and half)
  • 1 package Ranch Buttermilk Dressing mix
  1. Saute onion, potatoes, and carrots with 2 Tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes.
  2. Saute fish fillets with 1 Tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium heat until fish has slightly browned on one side. Flip the fillets and cook on the other side until cooked through and flaky.
  3. Add water and fish fillets to the pot with the vegetables and turn up the heat. When mixture starts to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 5 – 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk together milk (and cream/half and half if using) and dressing mix in a small bowl. Pour mixture into the soup, mixing evenly, and then return soup to heat and cook until heated through. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

October 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Gumbo

I love gumbo.

Mainly because it’s spicy and has okra in it; two things I love dearly.

Did you know “gumbo” is the Bantu (language spoken in certain parts of Africa) word for okra? That is why no matter what gumbo recipe you use, you must always have okra in it. Okra-less gumbo is just wrong. I will be morally offended if you make gumbo with no okra in it. Okay, so maybe I won’t be offended, but seriously, the okra makes gumbo so good. Just sayin’.

I keep my gumbo pretty simple. Saute onion, celery, garlic, and green pepper, make a roux with flour and oil or butter, add broth, whisk to thicken, and your spices, okra, and 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, add your chicken and sausage/ham (if using), let it simmer a good 30 minutes, and you shrimp, let it cook another couple minutes, and serve. Bam. Some people will only eat gumbo with rice, but I prefer it with some fresh crusty bread or even cornbread.

 

 

Gumbo

(serves 6 – 7)

  • 4 – 5 Tbsp. melted butter or oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 – 5 Tbsp. unbleached flour
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 – 4 tsp. cajun seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 c. sliced okra (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 c. sliced andouille sausage or diced ham
  • 2 c. chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. If using andouille sausage, heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add sliced sausage. Stir sausage and cook until slices browned on each side. Drain off fat, and set aside (if using ham, you can skip this step).
  2. In a large pot, heat butter/oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper, and saute gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
  3. Add flour and stir until all oil is absorbed. If flour is still powdery add a little more oil. Cook 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Whisk in chicken broth, and continue whisking until broth thickens slightly.
  5. Add bay leaves, thyme, cajun seasoning, oregano, okra, tomatoes, sausage/ham, and chicken. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaves. Taste and check spiciness. If you want it spicier, add more cajun seasoning.
  7. Add shrimp, and cook for 3 – 4 more minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste [note: a lot of cajun seasonings already have salt in them, so you may not need to add any extra salt].
  9. Serve with fresh crusty bread, steamed rice, or cornbread.

February 22, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Feb. 20 – 26

I’m running a bit behind today, so I’ll be brief.

Here’s this week’s menu plan….
(that was pretty brief, wasn’t it?)

Minestrone soup

Chijimi (Korean savory seafood pancakes)

Mexican burger burritos

 

Menu Plan for February 20 – 26:

Mon: Pinto beans and cornbread (good old fashioned food! At least, in this area it is!)

Tues: Minestrone soup and fresh bread

Wed: Mexican burger burritos

Thurs: Kimchi chigae (spicy kimchi and tofu stew) and chijimi (savory seafood and onion pancakes)

Fri: (eating out)

Sat: Fish chowder and plain scones (it may seem an odd combination, but it’s great! Trust me!)

Sun: Roast chicken with baked sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts

February 20, 2012 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

Roasted Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

This morning Hisa and I went to the pool to swim laps. After finishing, I went back into the ladies’ locker room and realized they had music playing for once (they don’t usually play music in the morning). Unfortunately, it was country western music.

Now, except for a brief period in my early elementary school years when my best friend tricked me into thinking I liked country music (I was young and gullible), I’ve always disliked country music. Actually ‘dislike’ is a bit ambiguous. I’ve always hated country music vehemently.
When I started listening to the song playing in the ladies’ locker room, however, I felt that it was actually a pretty good song. It had a nice melody, and was a very happy and uplifting song. I realized, I was actually enjoying the song!

Maybe I’m learning to like country music, I thought to myself. That would an amazing step for me! Being able to accept and enjoy all forms of music; even country western music!

As I was reveling in this profound moment, the next song started playing. I started listening to it to see if I would be able to accept and enjoy this country song as well.

It was a song about a guy who painted his Chevy (and everything else) in camo.

It was then I realized that, no, I probably won’t ever enjoy country western music.

It was pretty cold out here yesterday, so it was a great day for hot soup and fresh bread. I wanted to make a creamy squash soup, but I wanted it to have some natural sweetness. In Japan, I would always make kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) soup, which is a naturally sweet squash (much more so than butternut or acorn squash), so I didn’t need to add anything extra.

In the end, I decided to use roasted acorn squash and sweet potatoes. Let me just say, the result was fabulous, and the combination of roasted squash and sweet potatoes somehow tasted like everything a warm winter soup should.

First, cut two acorn squashes in half, scoop out the seeds, and place them face down (do squashes have faces?) in a sprayed baking dish. Bake them at 375° F (190° C) for about 45 minutes, then take them out, and let them cool.

 

Meanwhile, add a few lugs of extra virgin olive oil and 2 Tbsp. of butter to a large pot over medium heat. In your food processor, whiz one medium onion, two stalks of celery, and two large sweet potatoes (or you can dice it all up). Add it all to the pot, and let it saute slowly for about 10 minutes. I used garnet sweet potatoes, which, if you’ve never had, are wonderful. They’re very sweet and delicious! I recommend them. 🙂

 

Scoop out the flesh of the roasted acorn squash, and add it to the pot.

 

Add one 32 oz. container (4 cups) of chicken broth, 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, and 1/8 tsp. allspice. Mix well and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

 

Use either an immersion blender (I used my new immersion blender that I got for Christmas. Love it!), or a blender to blend the soup in batches and return it to the pot.
Add 1 c. whole milk, half & half, or cream; season with salt and pepper to taste; and serve with fresh homemade bread.

Yum. That Smart Balance margarine is my parents’ by the way. Hisa and I use butter. 😉

Roasted Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

(serves 5 – 7)

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 32 oz. (4 c.) chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1 c. whole milk, half & half, or cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375° F (190° C).
  2. Cut acorn squash in half. Scoop out seeds, and place face down in two, sprayed baking dishes. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remover from oven and let cool.
  3. Add olive oil and butter to a large pot over medium heat. In a food processor, process onion, celery, and sweet potatoes (or finely chop with a knife), and add to pot. Saute gently for 10 minutes.
  4. Scoop out flesh of acorn squash and add it to pot.
  5. Add chicken broth, thyme, and allspice. Mix well and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
  6. Use an immersion blender, or blend soup in a blender in batches before returning to pot.
  7. Add milk and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste, heat soup through, and serve.

 

 

 

 

January 27, 2012 at 3:29 am Leave a comment

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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