Category Archives: Soups and Stews

Italian Wedding Soup

Just as ancient tales are easily bungled by funky translations (like Charles Perrault’s original story Cinderella, with confusion over a slipper of glass [verre], squirrel fur [vair] or even iron [fer]…a hot mess that Cinderella was), so too do recipes often have translation mix ups.  Although Italian Wedding Soup, a popular dish in this country, hints at origins surrounding Tuscan weddings, the actual name of the soup is minestra mariata or “married soup” – a reference to the melange of greens, broth, meat and cheese.  An apropos name, given that all of the flavors in this soup blend together into something akin to a warm hug.  I’m all about that marriage, if I do say so myself.

Traditional versions of the soup involve a slow simmering stock that can include soup bones (prosciutto to be super authentic) and a variety of greens and broccoli.  I love this soup with pastina, or little pasta pearls that puff up in the broth, but this version, as inspired by the cracked-out craziness of the Canadian show “Bitchin’ Kitchen” uses cheese tortellini.  If you don’t have tortellini, you can swap it out for ditalini (short pasta tubes) or any mini pasta you’d like.  You call the shots – this is your wedding and I don’t want you getting all bridezilla on me.

Recipe for

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
1 lb. of pork
1 small hoagie roll
1/2 c. of parsley leaves
1 egg
1/4 c. of parmesan
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 clove of garlic, very finely minced
pinch of oregano

8 c. of chicken stock
baby spinach
cheese tortellini or ditalini

In a food processor, grind up the hoagie roll, parsley leaves and garlic.  Toss into a standing mixer or mixing bowl and blend with the beef, pork, egg, parmasean, salt, pepper and oregano.  Roll into very small meatballs, about 1/2 of a tablespoon of filling at a time.  Set aside.

In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.  Add the meatballs and let simmer away in the soup for at least 20 minutes.  Grab another pot, fill with water and bring to a boil.  Salt the water and chuck in the cheese tortellini or ditalini pasta, cooking according to the package directions.  Drain.

To assemble the bowl of soup, add a handful of baby spinach and 1/2 c. of pasta to a large soup bowl.  Ladel over the broth and meatballs, top with some cracked pepper and parmasean cheese.

Lexi’s Favorite Vegetarian Chili

I know what you’re thinking, folks, “Really, Angela? Vegetarian chili?” But you must, must, must try this, die hard meat eater or no.  My father, who I am sure is 99% dinosaur (and I’m talking the T-Rex variety) loves this chili like no other, and he doesn’t give out the compliments for non-meat dishes lightly.  He’ll even eat this straight up as a main course with not a bit of meat on the side.  If that ain’t a testament to quality, then I don’t know what is.

My dad scored this recipe for my sister, Lexi, who then passed it to me.  It utilizes veggie crumbles, found in the frozen food section with the meatless entrees and veggie burgers.  A solid number of veggies and beer help round out the flavor for a chili that won’t for one second make you miss beef.  Dress it up with some shredded cheddar or sour cream and you are in business.  It true slacker mode, I have eaten this cold with Fritos scoops and guess what?  Still delicious.

PS. This was the first time that my sister had ever been in the kitchen with me for a photo shoot for the blog.  She laughed at how small the plate was that I took the macro photo from.  Even though I have a bigger kitchen now and more natural light, I still shoot small like I did in NYC in the itty, bitty kitchen with not a bit of sunshine to illuminate my food.  This photo above is her demo of the scale of the photo shoot, and not the amount of chili that I gave her as her ration.  She ate two full bowls, thank you very much.

Recipe for

Lexi’s Favorite Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients
4 tbs. of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely choped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bottle of beer
1 can of vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 can of black beans, drained
1 can of pinto beans, drained
1 can of light kidney beans or pink beans, drained
2 large cans of diced tomatoes (can use 3 cans of Ro-Tel for extra kick)
1 c. of spicy salsa
1 handful of tortilla chips, crushed
1/4 c. of chili powder
1 tsp. of garlic powder
1 tsp. of oregano
salt and pepper

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil.  Add the vegetables and sauté until translucent.  Pour in the beer, the stock and the bay leaves and let simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Stir in the veggie crumbles and let warm while you start opening cans.

Add the beans, tomatoes and salsa and stir.  Mix in the crushed tortilla chips, chili powder, garlic powder and oregano.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes and then taste for salt and pepper.  You can amp up the heat with hot sauce or cayenne pepper if things are too tame.

Serve chili with shredded cheese, chopped onion and diced jalapeno.

Chicken Soup with Noodles

From an early age, I’ve been a sucker for blubbery noodles in chicken soup.  Doughy and dumpling-esque, these treats could be a meal of their own, languishing in a bath of shredded chicken, carrots, celery and light broth.  We used to go to this restaurant in the mall near our house that was an all-you-can-eat soup and salad buffet.  The main draw for me was always the chicken soup, and I cursed the little crocks there to use for the soup because they just couldn’t contain all the noodle majesty that I was looking for.

Years later, a trip to the substandard Sweet Tomatoes (I know, I should have known) brought back memories of my earlier favorite.  They make a Chicken Noodle that brags about just being chicken and noodles, which would be fine if the soup weren’t flavorless.  And yet, it comes so close to awesomeness with their perfectly doughy, homemade noodles.  I actually had my husband get me two takeout containers of the stuff and scoop out mostly noodles, bring it home and add it to homemade broth of carrots, onions, celery and parsley.  Divine!

But not worth setting foot in a Sweet Tomatoes.  Why couldn’t I make these wondrous babies at home?  Well, after a little research on the web and a little inspiration from For the Love of Cooking, I was able to recreate happiness in a pot.  I’ve officially had my cake and eaten it too.  If by cake, we’re talking about a big ol’ bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Recipe for

Chicken Soup with Noodles

Ingredients
1 egg
1/3 c. of milk
2 c. of flour
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of white pepper

ingredients for chicken soup (chicken, celery, carrots, bay leaves)

In a standing mixer, add egg, milk, salt and pepper.  Mix until blended and then add flour.  Mix on low to medium setting until a dough is formed and a ball gathers around the bowl.  Remove dough from the mixer and knead a bit on a flat surface to gather up dough – very briefly, only about 30 seconds.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into three portions.  Using a pasta roller (or for me, the pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid) roll out the dough on the widest setting until silken and 1/8 of an inch thick.  Move dough to a sheet of wax paper and cut into strips with a cookie cutter.  Know that your noodles will double in size once cooked, so for blubbery ones like I like, I cut them into 1/4 in. by 2 in. lengths, for 1/2 in. by 4 in. noodles once cooked.  Let noodles rest on the wax paper for an hour or so (you can let them hang out while you tend to your soup) to dry a bit.

Make a pot of chicken soup by either following this recipe for homemade chicken soup or by warming 4 quarts of chicken stock with 2 finely sliced carrots, 2 finely sliced celery stalks and a few fresh bay leaves.  Shred the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken and add to the soup.

Drop the noodles into a pot of hot broth and cook until tender all the way through, about 45 minutes.  If you’ve cut your noodles thinner, they will cook faster.  I sometimes cook the noodles up to an hour to get them super tender like dumplings.  The longer you cook, the more broth that is absorbed and the more tender your noodles.

Truffled Potato Soup with Chives

Just as I take true joy in debunking the myth that real men don’t eat quiche, the same goes for soup.  A dish of champions, soup can be hearty and nourishing, but also light and luxe, all at the same time.  I love this soup because it’s the proverbial king of the aforementioned paradox – earthy potatoes are simmered with a homey stock, but then whipped to a smooth majesty of a soup.  The top is kissed with truffle oil – again, another fabulous palette paradox – the earthiness of the truffle essence is delivered via the clarity of the oil.  It’s all glorious, grand and a reminder that we shouldn’t waste a single second dining on anything less than awesome.

Truffled Potato Soup with Chives © Spice or Die

This soup, given that it is thick and hearty, is an excellent base for braised short ribs as well.  I first tried this soup in this manner at the Southern France-focused restaurant, Marseille, as a special plate to cut through the winter chill of the city.  You can still eat it as they served it – a soup with a few shreds of the glorious meat on top.  Or you can give in to your carnivorous proclivities and treat the soup like a pomme puree or elegant sauce to accompany the beef.  I guarantee that either which way you decide to go, you’ll have a rib-sticking meal for even the manliest of men.

Truffled Potato Soup with Chives

1 ham bone
2 stalks of celery
1 onion chopped
2 bay leaves
12 c. of water
4 tbs. of butter
3 tbs. of flour

7 c. of stock (from recipe above)
3 lbs. of yukon gold potatoes
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 c. of cream
small bunch of chives
truffle oil

Begin by adding your ham bone, stalks of celery (tops and all), chopped onion, bay leaves and water to a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil and then lower heat to medium-high. Allow to cook away until the ham has completely fallen off the bone and the stock has reduced to about 7 cups of liquid – about 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Strain stock and discard all of the solids. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly. Set stock aside.

In a large pot, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook roux for about a minute. Slowly whisk in strained stock so as to prevent lumps. Bring pot of liquid to a simmer.

While stock is simmering away, peel your potatoes and chop into cubes. Add your potatoes to the stock and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the white pepper and nutmeg. Cook until potatoes are incredibly tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. For a chunky soup, mash the potatoes with a potato masher. For a smooth soup, puree with a hand mixer or in a blender. If you use the blender, make sure to do so in batches and always put a kitchen towel over the lid. This’ll keep you from splattering hot soup all over yourself, which is never ever a good thing.

If you’ve blended your soup, return it to the pot. Stir in the cream and taste for salt and pepper one last time. Snip half of the chives into the soup and stir.  Ladle out the soup and top with additional snipped chives and a drizzle of truffle oil – white or black depending on what you can get your hands on.

Note

I call for yukon golds in this recipe, but plain old russets will do the trick as well.  For a real treat, try an heirloom potato – Marx Foods sells them in all colors and textures, many of which would be so very well-suited for this recipe.  Num num!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This potato soup recipe is a lot like a couple of the deluxe salad recipes that I’ve previously posted (see Sesame Mandarin Salad or Thai Chopped Salad) – it’s something that you’d expect to see at a family chain restaurant, but so much better because it has none of the chemicals and preservatives.  Just good ole homemade soup with a bevy of delicious accompaniments all to your liking.  If you love your comfort food without prepackaging, dyes and additives, then this recipe is for you!

The richness of this soup comes from a made-from-scratch, slow-simmered stock that utilizes a leftover ham bone and some savory veggies.  It’s a simple stock to make and is a wonderful use of that bone that folks so often chuck.  What a waste!  The depth of flavor is excellent, and the stock itself can be used in all sorts of recipes – pots of beans, split peas, and cajun dishes like gumbo are all vastly improved with the use of this stock.  Because ham tends to be a bit salty, I recommend that you check the stock for salt after it’s simmered down.

Making the stock is truly the most time-consuming part of this recipe, but nothing is labor intensive at all.  You basically let the stock boil away and go about your business.  Same with the potatoes – they cook on their own until velvety, requiring no additional assistance from you.  Good stuff!  The hardest thing you’ll have to do is decide how chunky or smooth you want it all to be – soooooooo hard, I know.  Speaking of smooth, for a high-brow version of this recipe, try out this Truffled Potato Soup.  Same process, only you’ll feel like you are riding in the car with the dude who requests Grey Poupon.  Bentleys and truffles for everyone!

The soup gets its name from the fact that once it’s finished, you get to embellish it just as you would a baked potato.  Bacon or ham, cheeses of all kinds, scallions and chives, even a dollop of sour cream – all make delicious toppings.  Choose what suits you and tuck in to a hearty bowl of deliciousity.  Yup, deliciousity.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

1 ham bone
2 stalks of celery
1 onion chopped
2 bay leaves
12 c. of water

4 tbs. of butter
3 tbs. of flour
7 c. of stock (from recipe above)
3 lbs. of russet potatoes
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 c. of cream
1 c. of sharp cheddar
1 tbs. of caraway seeds

1/4 of cheese for sprinkling
sliced scallions (optional)
croutons (optional)
crumbled bacon or chunks of ham (optional)
dollop of sour cream (optional)

Begin by adding your ham bone, stalks of celery (tops and all), chopped onion, bay leaves and water to a large pot.  Bring to a rolling boil and then lower heat to medium-high.  Allow to cook away until the ham has completely fallen off the bone and the stock has reduced to about 7 cups of liquid – about 2 – 2 1/2 hours.  Strain stock and discard all of the solids.  Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly.  Set stock aside.

In a large pot, melt butter over low heat.  Whisk in flour and cook roux for about a minute.  Slowly whisk in strained stock so as to prevent lumps.  Bring pot of liquid to a simmer.

While stock is simmering away, peel your potatoes and chop into cubes.  Add your potatoes to the stock and bring it to a rolling boil.  Add the white pepper and nutmeg.  Cook until potatoes are incredibly tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.  For a chunky soup, mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  For a smooth soup, puree with a hand mixer or in a blender.  If you use the blender, make sure to do so in batches and always put a kitchen towel over the lid.  This’ll keep you from splattering hot soup all over yourself, which is never ever a good thing.

If you’ve blended your soup, return it to the pot.  Stir in the cream, sharp cheddar and caraway seeds.  Once cheese has melted into the soup, taste for salt and pepper one last time.  Serve with your toppings of choice.

 

Note

For those looking to save time, use premade chicken stock and start cooking at the point where you make a roux from the butter and flour.  Just make sure to warm your stock in a separate pot before adding to the roux.  For vegetarians, leave out the ham stock and replace with vegetable stock (homemade or store-bought), making sure to follow the same process as for the chicken broth just mentioned.

Matzoh Ball Soup

Straight Ballin’

I grew up Catholic, replete with plaid jumpers and JMJ (Jesus-Mary-Joseph) initialed on the tops of all test papers, and yet I’m unabashedly EEO in the kitchen.  In the truest proof of this, I love love love to make matzoh ball soup.  It, for me, is a like a textural wonderland – fluffy matzoh balls swimming in pools of liquid gold broth studded with coins of carrot and celery and shreds of tender chicken.  I wear my shikse badge with pride, but this, my friends, is a champion soup that should know no religious leanings in any direction.  Matzoh ball soup for all!

This old recipe, by way of Vo’s friend from Brooklyn, will make you floaters (not sinkers) assuming that you follow a few key rules.

  • Eggs
    Before you make the dough, make sure that your eggs are at room temperature.  Cold eggs get you a thumbs down from Vo.  A quick trick to get the eggs warm quicker is to put them in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes or so.
  • Schmaltz
    Also, I use butter for the fat in the matzoh balls, but if you have schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) and want to be super traditional, definitely use it.  Sometimes I’ll use some of the chicken fat skimmed from the soup to make the matzoh balls.  It’s goodness – trust me.  If you make your own chicken stock for this recipe, when you let the stock chill, the chicken fat will solidify on top of the stock in a sheet.  Simply scrape this up with a spoon and either use it in your matzoh balls or save it for another use (makes a great rub for roast chicken).
  • Wet to Dry
    Lastly, this is not an exact recipe – if your eggs are not so big, sometimes you’ll need to add an extra egg.  When you mix your dough, if it’s rather thick and dry, give it another egg and a scant few tablespoons of extra broth (or water).  It’s the egg that’s gonna fluff things up for you.

I serve this soup with tons of dill and occasionally, for a splurge, some blubbery egg noodles as well.  If I want to do this REALLY well, I make some of the easiest homemade noodles of all time – it’s like matzoh ball soup heaven.  Also, because I’m fussy at times, I shave my carrots and celery with a mandolin.  It looks gorgeous and imparts even more savory veggie flavor to the stock.  Not to mention, it takes less time for the veggies to cook up.  Try it sometime.  L’chaim!

Matzoh Ball Soup

1 whole chicken (can be cut up or left whole)
3 carrots, peeled
2 stalks of celery
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
water
salt and black pepper

1 1/2 c. of matzoh meal
4 (or 5) large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 c. of melted butter (or schmaltz)
1/4 (or 1/2) c. of chicken stock, at room temperature
pinch of salt
two pinches of pepper
1 tsp. of dried dill (optional)

2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 bag of egg noodles (optional)
chopped dill (optional)

Place chicken (or chicken pieces) into your pot. Cut your carrots and celery into 2 in. pieces and toss into the pot. Add your onion, bay leaf, 1 tbs of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Fill pot with 12 cups of water and set to boil. Boil on high until the chicken starts to separate from the bone and the veggies become soft. Strain broth and put back into the pot. Set aside chicken and vegetables until they are cool enough to handle.

Separate the chicken, shred and set aside. Add the leftover vegetables, chicken skin and chicken bones to the pot and add water to the pot to make around 12 cups of soup (ie. if the water came up to 3/4 of the height of the pot in the first step, add enough water so that the soup comes up to the same level in the pot). Boil until the stock reduces by a quarter. Strain stock and taste for salt and pepper. Throw out the veggies, bones and bay leaf. At this point, you can cool the stock and chill overnight, or you can continue to cook the soup.

To make your matzoh balls, beat your eggs in a medium-sized bowl.  When your butter has cooled a bit (but still melted), beat into the eggs.  Add the chicken stock (I usually just ladle some out from my pot of soup and chill quickly in the fridge until it’s room temp), salt, pepper and dill.  Stir in your matzoh meal, adding more egg or broth if needed to make a sticky dough.  It should be a little gloopy, but not too wet.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Wet hands and divide dough into six portions.  With wet hands, roll portions into balls and drop them into the boiling water.  Turn the heat down to medium and cover the pot of matzoh balls.  Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until matzoh balls are cooked through.  Scoop out of the pot and set aside.

Bring strained stock to a boil and add the chicken, sliced celery and sliced carrots. Cook until your veggies are tender.

While your veggies are cooking, bring another pot of water to a boil and cook your egg noodles. If they give you a time frame for cooking (ie. 7-9 minutes), cook them for the lesser amount of time. Drain and toss with a small amount of butter or olive oil. Just so you know, I cook and serve the noodles separately so that they don’t become waterlogged and soak up too much broth.

To serve, put about 1/2 c. of noodles in a bowl. Ladle over the chicken, veggies and hot broth. Toss in 1 or two matzoh balls.  Top with a smattering of chopped dill and a couple extra cracks of black pepper.

Notes on Soup

  • Extra matzoh balls can be saved in the fridge in a tupperware container away from the broth.  Reheat in the microwave for a minute or so and then pour hot soup over them.  Leftover goodness.
  • This stock can be prepared with a lot of additional ingredients, to include smashed cloves of garlic, parsley stems, and celery tops. Add these ingredients after you strain the broth the first time when you return the chicken skin and bones back to the pot.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Let It Rain and Clear It Out

I (like most folks, I truly believe) have a palette full of anomalies.  As much as I am a purist when it comes to food prepped lovingly with exquisite ingredients, I’ve been known to slum it up from time to time.  I’ll succumb to the knee-weakening smell of Popeye’s chicken about once a year. Though I’m no Joey Chestnut, I can happily tuck into a plate of piping hot Coney dogs at Nathan’s.  And I will pledge my unequivocal devotion to Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup in the red can.  Artistic leanings aside (and the copy of Andy Warhol’s “Giant” in my living room), I adore slurping up ladlefuls of salty broth, questionable chicken chunks, and tender egg noodles.  I’m an addict.

Chicken Noodle Soup © Spice or Die

That all being said, I truly believe that there is a time and a place for instant vs. homemade – this recipe is just as much of a soul-pleaser as the red canned goodness.  It’s like comparing your parents – you love them individually for different reasons, and both are uniquely indispensable.  I love this soup because, unlike the canned variety, it’s a hearty, rib sticking soup brightened by the freshness of the ingredients.  And, going back to my TPT palette, I am a sucker for egg noodles served any possible way.  I should probably take out stock in Pennsylvania Dutch Brand – stock? Get it?  I know you love soup puns – that’s why you’re still reading my ramblings 😉

The recipe below uses a whole chicken to make homemade stock, but I’ve done this in a pinch before with College Inn broth, a rotisserie chicken and carrots and celery.  Just start with the second addition of veggies and shredded chicken and bring the broth up to a boil.  If you are doing this fake-me-out version, make sure to include copious amounts of fresh parsley to fool your guests into believing that it’s homemade.  Fresh herbs = homemade = majesty.  Trust me, my math is solid.

Further proving that taste is subjective, if you didn’t laugh at the “Chicken Noodle Soup” video yet (with a soda on the side), here’s your second chance.  And can we comment on the fact that the soda on the side is not the stereotypical orange soda, but the Spanish Harlem favorite, Jarrisco?  In “red” flavor, I believe.  Apparently, red is a flavor.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 whole chicken (can be cut up or left whole)
3 carrots, peeled
2 stalks of celery
1 onion, quartered
a couple sprigs of sage
1 bay leaf
water
salt and black pepper

2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 bag of egg noodles
chopped flat-leaf parsley

Place chicken (or chicken pieces) into your pot. Cut your carrots and celery into 2 in. pieces and toss into the pot. Add your onion, bay leaf, 1 tbs of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Fill pot with 12 cups of water and set to boil. Boil on high until the chicken starts to separate from the bone and the veggies become soft. Strain broth and put back into the pot. Set aside chicken and vegetables until they are cool enough to handle.

Separate the chicken, shred and set aside. Add the leftover vegetables, chicken skin and chicken bones to the pot and add water to the pot to make around 12 cups of soup (ie. if the water came up to 3/4 of the height of the pot in the first step, add enough water so that the soup comes up to the same level in the pot). Boil until the stock reduces by a quarter. Strain stock and taste for salt and pepper. Throw out the veggies, bones and bay leaf. At this point, you can cool the stock and chill overnight, or you can continue to cook the soup.

Bring strained stock to a boil and add the chicken, sliced celery and sliced carrots. Cook until your veggies are tender.

While your veggies are cooking, bring another pot of water to a boil and cook your egg noodles.  If they give you a time frame for cooking (ie. 7-9 minutes), cook them for the lesser amount of time.  Drain and toss with a small amount of butter or olive oil.  Just so you know, I cook and serve the noodles separately so that they don’t become waterlogged and soak up too much broth.

To serve, put about 1/2 c. of noodles in a bowl.  Ladle over the chicken, veggies and hot broth.  Top with a smattering of parsley and a couple extra cracks of black pepper.

Note on Stock

  • This stock can be prepared with a lot of additional ingredients, to include smashed cloves of garlic, parsley stems, and celery tops. Add these ingredients after you strain the broth the first time when you return the chicken skin and bones back to the pot.

Irish Lamb Stew with Rosemary and Sage

Non-Stop Comfort with No Regrets

My good friend Adella, a fellow foodie and recipe crafter, is exacting with her perfection of a dish.  She believes in absolute measurements in the kitchen (“What’s a dash? What’s a pinch”) and as such, she turns out flawless dishes time in and time out.  How could I not love her to pieces?  When I first started Adesina’s Cook-a-long, I immediately knew that I had to hit her up for a recipe.  Adella and I worked next to each other for 2 years, and in those fleeting moments of free time amidst our crazy schedules, she and I would hash about our successes (and occasional flops) in the kitchen.  She, like I, had a collection of “tried and true” go-to recipes that we kept for friends and family – we don’t have cookbook aspirations so much as a need to document the goodness found behind a particular set of ingredients and methods.  When the stars align in the kitchen, the recipe becomes a mini celebration of the success.  Needless to say, Adella has had her fair share of successes, and her collection continues to grow and grow.  Maybe it is time for her to launch a cookbook :) Continue reading Irish Lamb Stew with Rosemary and Sage

Italian Chicken Soup

Sippin’ Once, Sippin’ Twice

When I think of chicken and rice soup, I always think of the Maurice Sendak books from my childhood, and the ever famous line, “Sippin’ once, sippin’ twice, sippin’ chicken soup with rice.”  Carole King actually made an animated video of a bunch of Maurice Sendak stories called “Really Rosie” which included the “Chicken Soup with Rice” song.  It included dance moves that certainly rival the recent jammie “Chicken Noodle Soup” (with a soda on the side) which is so bad it’s good.  Well, not so much good as hilarious.  I think I only reason that I like the Chicken Noodle Soup video because a) it takes place in my hood and b) features kids with sweet dance moves.

Back to Maurice Sendak, this soup makes me about as happy as the sweet lyrics to “Alligators All Around” – I could only find this sh!t copy with the lyrics over the video, but it’s still good.  And for the record, my best friend Kate loves “P – Pushing People” the best.  Makes me laugh every time, and yes, I know I’m a child for life.

So about this soup – there’s something about the tender rice and chicken, salty parmasean and delicate bits of egg that make this a go-to for me whenever I need a bit of comfort.  Making the stock from scratch is important, but in a pinch, you could make this with broth – just make sure you don’t leave out the egg and cheese.  They are essential to balancing out the flavor of this soup, and a little bit of really good cheese (I always use locatelli) just seals the deal. Continue reading Italian Chicken Soup

Chicken and Rice Soup (Canja)

Brazilian Penicillin?

This soup was a part of my collective food memories well before I had even worked behind a stove.  Both my Brazilian and Sicilian ancestors believed in the power of chicken and rice soup, so as a kid, if I was feeling punkish, this is what I got.  If I was REALLY sick, I had this soup without the veggies and chicken – just broth and either rice or pastina (itty bitty italian pasta as small as grains of rice).  To this day, if I need a comforting meal, I make a pot of this recipe for canja or some Italian Chicken Soup.

The beauty of this soup is that it’s 100% made from scratch, all with ingredients lying around the kitchen.  Sure, it takes a little longer than cracking a can of Progresso, but the resulting soup is like a giant hug.  Last time I checked, canned soups weren’t passing out hugs.  I’ve detailed the recipe below as if you were making it without any leftovers, but know that I rarely actually make it this way.  Typically, I save the bones and leftover meat from a Roast Chicken night and use that as the basis of my stock.  Also, rather than simmering uncooked rice in the stock, I toss in a carton of leftover steamed white rice from Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese takeout.  If you want to learn more about my perfect tricks for stock, take a look at this. Continue reading Chicken and Rice Soup (Canja)