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Tag Archives: Soup

Feast of Leftovers: Thanksgiving Vegan Vegetable Soup!

The Feast of Leftovers is back! A few years back I wrote about making soup with my leftover Prime Rib dinner. and well I have never had so many Google hits on my site on one day. The search terms: Prime Rib leftovers

While my annual Prime Rib problem has been solved, after any holiday feast my fridge requires some serious attention. Earlier in October it was Canadian Thanksgiving day – and since my daughter is now a vegetarian there were fewer meat options and many more vegetable options. And still way too much food!

To create any soup from leftovers, I make things up as I go along! Soup from leftovers is improvisational cooking and experimentation. This is about making something new from a pile of random items in my fridge and creating a whole new flavour experience. The beauty of soup is it takes time to simmer – and you can do other things.

(I have a very non-vegan Sour Cream Biscuit recipe here if you want something to go with the soup. Easy to make while the stock is simmering!)

Step One: Getting a Base

Soup is liquid and so it is mostly water. You need a few strong flavours things to make your tongue happy! Now in this case I did get to cheat slightly – I had bought some vegetable broth to add to the mashed sweet potatoes I had made for Thanksgiving. So into the pot goes the broth (one opened and one unopened). With the broth goes a medium onion (whole), a few sprigs of fresh parsley, a piece of ginger about the size of my thumb, and some peppercorns in a tea ball so I can fish them out later! And then I explore the fridge. What do we find? A half-can of garlic minced tomatoes. A cup of pureed pumpkin. Some crushed garlic I had saved from something else! All into the stock pot. Oh a half-head of cauliflower – it gets chopped and into the pot! Two sad apples that are on their way to be being dried apple heads. They get peeled, cored and cut and half.

Again, make sure you have enough liquid to cover the contents of the pot. Set on stove-top and bring to full boil, turn down and let simmer for about 2-3 hours. Or even longer! Remember when making soup we want to extract the flavour. Letting the stock slowly simmer will intensify the flavours – just don’t let your stock boil away!

And as I have noted before a large slow-cooker is perfect for this first step in the process. If you use a slow cooker set on HIGH until hot (1-2 hours) and then LOW for 4-6 or more hours. Go skiing and sledding. Or sit back and catch up on Netflix while drinking wine. You may need extra bottles of wine.

Before you walk away you will have to hang around and skim! During the early boiling process a thick foam will appear. Skim this off as best you can to keep the soup stock clear.

While your stock is slow simmering you can prepare any additional vegetables you want to add to the final soup. I explored and found a pepper squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. All needed to cook – and pepper squash is best oven roasted. So I prepped the squash by splitting and scooping out the seeds then seasoning with olive oil and a spicy seasoned salt I have to give it some zip.
I then peeled the sweet potatoes and the carrots for about three cups of chopped vegetables. These also are seasoned with olive oil and the spicy seasoned salt. All into a roasting pan and roasted in the oven at 350 F for 1 hour to make sure it is all nice and soft.

When you think the stock is done, I take it off the heat and let it sit 15 minutes to cool and settle. Once the stock has settled you can skim off some anything I don’t like – and then pick out what I don’t want left in the soup (whole onion, ginger root, peppercorns in tea ball)

Step 2: Season the Stock

Take a new pot and place a fine sieve  over the new pot, then gently and slowly pour your stock into the new pot. Sometimes when making soup from random ingredients The last little bit in the pot may be quite thick with sediment so you may decide to not use that part of the stock. In this case I had added the diced tomatoes and while I wanted the flavour in the broth, I didn’t want the tomatoes in my next step!

Now for the taste test! Get a small spoon and sample the stock. What does it need? Salt? Spices? More flavour? Does it need a little more water? Or maybe some pre-made stock to add both volume and flavour. This is the part where you use the magic of your senses to make the soup your own! While tasting is an important part of making soup do remember to use a new and clean spoon for each taste test! I added some curry for a bit more zesty zing!

Always add any other seasoning or flavouring before adding more salt. If you feel you need more salt add it slowly! Once something is too salty there is no saving it. It is better to let people add their own salt to the finished product.

Step 3: Add our roasted vegetables

Once you have adjusted the seasoning (and the volume of liquid) – we will add the oven roasted vegetables to the prepared stock.

I scooped out the pepper squash, and squished the sweet potatoes and carrots with a fork. I even added back the cauliflower and apple halves that cooked with the broth.

Place the soup on the stove and bring to boil. Turn down to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes or so to allow the vegetables and broth to marry. Once they have consummated their new relationship we get out the hand blender!

Step 4: Finish the soup and eat!

Let the soup cool and then blend until smooth! Optional: Add some creamy coconut milk to add some smooth happiness for your tongue!

Enjoy!

Remember this is not an exact recipe so you can experiment and find what works best for you.

Basic Random Ingredient Summary
In Stock Pot (I was emptying my fridge so I just grabbed what I had before it went bad!)
2 litres of vegetable broth
1 medium onion (left whole)
2 cups cauliflower
1 cup pumpkin puree (plain)
1 cup pureed whole tomato (canned or fresh)
1 cup carrots (I had shredded carrots I needed to get use up)
2 apples (peeled/cored and cut in half)
1 peeled chunk of ginger (I used a piece the size of my thumb)
handful of parsley sprigs
couple of garlic cloves
tea ball with black peppercorns (and other spices) (tea ball makes removing spice bits easier!)
Add more water if needed to cover vegetables
Optional: Salt to taste if you are using “no salt-added broth”.

Dump everything into your stock pot and bring to boil, skim off any foam. Place on simmer and let slowly simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Key word is slow. Option: use a slow cooker if you have a large one and leave it for 6-8 hours on low. The idea is to simmer out the flavours in a long slow boil. These vegetables will be removed and composted after we make the stock!

Oven Roasted Vegetables for Soup
I had a pepper squash that I needed to use – and I like the oven roasted flavour.
1 medium pepper squash (or your favourite squash!)
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
1 large carrot
1 medium parsnip root

Pre-heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Cut pepper squash in half and remove seeds. Brush halves with olive oil and season as desired (I use a spicy seasoned salt and black pepper)
Peel and chop the root vegetables (sweet potato/carrot/parsnip) into chunks. Don’t worry about size as the intent is to puree the vegetables with the stock we are making. Place the root vegetable bowl and toss with olive oil and some seasoning (I used curry/salt/pinch of nutmeg).
In a large enough roasting pan place the pepper squash cut side up, and spread the root vegetables around evenly. Place in oven and let cook about 60 minutes. The squash may take longer. You want the vegetables soft with a bit of browning (caramelization) to capture a lovely autumn roasted vegetable essence.
When finished roasting, remove from oven. Let cool slightly, then scoop the squash and squish the root vegetables with a fork. Don’t worry if it is chunky – we’ll fix that shortly!

Putting it all Together
After the stock is ready let it sit to cool for 20 minutes or so. We only want the liquid, so take a soup pot and using a fine sieve, pour the stock into the soup pot. The sieve will remove the chunks. I choose to take out some of the cooked cauliflower and some of the apple to add to the final soup.

Taste the stock in the soup pot and add salt/spices as desired. I wanted a bit more bite so added a teaspoon of Jamaican Curry. Now add the over roasted vegetables (and any vegetables you want to re-use from the stock pot) to the soup pot. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to marry.
Optional: I added 1/4 of orange lentils to the soup to add some protein. Orange lentils take about 20 minutes to cook.

After 20 minutes remove soup from heat and set aside for 20 minutes so we can safely puree the soup! You can use a standard blender if you wish, I have a super-duper immersion (hand) blender that I can stick and the pot and complete the consummation of the soup!
Blend until smooth.

Optional: Add some coconut milk (about 1 cup) with at least a medium fat content to add a creamy mouth feel to your soup.

 

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Feast of Leftovers: Cabbage and Bean Soup

cabbage_bean

I wrote a few Feast of Leftovers posts in the past – and well I think I will keep adding to that theme! This isn’t really leftovers – but it is emptying my fridge of some extra items so here goes! I get most of my visits from people looking to make soup with search terms like : Prime Rib leftovers

There are of course many ways to makes cabbage soup, so I won’t claim this adds anything new to the soup pot! And I do tend to make things up as I go along. Still this one does stick a little more to the recipe as written – but then again don’t let that stop you from experimenting!

(I have a Sour Cream Biscuit recipe here if you want something to go with the soup. Easy to make while the soup is simmering!)

Starting: All about the base…

All soup depends on the base its starts from. In the case of cabbage soup I start with fried onions. Cabbage isn’t an exciting flavour so I like to add some flavours to wake up the taste-buds. Garlic, caraway seeds, bay leaves, hungarian paprika, fresh ground black pepper and spicy sausage! Of course if you are vegetarian you can delete the sausage and add some hot red pepper flakes or a dash of your favourite hot sauce.

Ingredients: Chop chop chop

Cabbage soup requires some chopping so lets begin
3 large carrots peeled and sliced into rounds
1 large parsnip peeled and sliced into rounds
3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
1 large cooking onion (yellow onion) chopped
1/2 head of a large cabbage shredded (or 1 small cabbage) This is about 4-6 cups of shredded cabbage.
OPTIONAL CHOPPING
fresh parsley finely chopped (don’t over do it – so 1/4 cup at most)
2 stalks celery chopped into small pieces

Seasonings:
2 cloves garlic crushed and minced
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (slightly crushed with mortar and pestle if you have one – but crushing not required!)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (sweet)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste

Stock:
6-8 cups chicken stock (low-sodium) (or vegetable stock for the vegetarian crowd!)
Hot water (fresh boiled)

Cans!
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of white beans rinsed (size of can up to you!)

Other:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 or 2 spicy sausages diced (I prefer Chorizo – a spicy Portuguese/Spanish sausage but any will work)
OR for vegetarian version some hot red pepper flakes to taste)

Part 3: Bringing it all together
In a large soup pot (minimum 6-quart/6-litres) heat the vegetable oil until hot (medium-high heat)
Add the onions and slowly saute the the onions for 10-15 minutes. You do not want the onions to brown! This is a slow frying of the onion to release the sweetness of the onion. Reduce the heat as required to keep from burning/browning.
Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the caraway and paprika and mix the spices into the oil (about 30-seconds)
Paprika burns easily so you don’t want a high heat – medium should be good.
If you are adding sausage add it now. If it is fresh sausage then cook until completely cooked. If you are using dried/smoked sausage the cook until heated through. If you are not adding sausage add a pinch of hot red-pepper flakes to the other spices.

Add the minced garlic and when the smell of garlic hits your nose then add all the hard vegetables (potato/carrot/parsnip and celery if you are adding some)
Saute the spice and vegetables for a couple of minutes. If the vegetables are sticking add 1/2 cup of hot water.

Once the vegetables are well coated with the oil and spice base (and the sausages for you meat lovers!) then add your chicken/vegetable stock to the pot. Add the bay leaves. Bring this to a boil. If you are using a salt-free stock you will want add some salt at this stage – no more than a teaspoon. Remember the sausages will be salty too!

Now add the cabbage to the pot. Don’t worry if it seems full and the stock doesn’t seem to be enough – as the cabbage cooks and softens it will release liquid into the soup.

Let this come to a boil again – and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let cook for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are the desired softness. Taste the broth – remember you are adding the canned tomatoes which will add some hidden salt!

Now add the rinsed canned beans and the diced tomatoes. Add the minced parsley if desired. Bring back to boil and then set to a simmer. Stir in the ground pepper.

Remove from heat and let the flavours blend for 10-15 minutes before serving. Remove the bay leaves if you see them.

Feast of Leftovers: Sour Cream Biscuits

Oh the joys of harvest and fresh local vegetables. After the excess of candy and treats, some simple hearty vegetable soup is what the day requires!

biscuits

As always I have extra sour cream and since I have a large pot of cabbage and bean soup – what any soup needs is a nice freshly baked biscuit. And I love sour cream biscuits. Simple and easy to make – and helps get rid of that sour cream sitting in my fridge. I posted another version of sour cream biscuits that uses vegetable shortening. These use lard – and lard makes the best biscuits. Yes rendered pig fat is a a culinary blessing!
(I will post my cabbage and bean recipe soon – my other soup recipes are: Prime Rib, Turkey)

Ingredients
4 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt (or less if desired)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Lard (at room temperature!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk

parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350°F
Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
In a separate bowl mix the sour cream with the egg until blended.
Place lard in large bowl, and cut with knife into small cubes. Now dump in the dry ingredients!
Use a pastry cutter to blend the shortening into the flour mixture until the mixtures has a course pea-sized texture.
Add the sour cream and cut mixture until it is course crumbs.
Using clean dry hands knead dough 6 to 8 strokes; if dough is too dry and not binding together, slowly add a bit of milk a teaspoon at a time. The mixture should just bind together without being too dry or too moist!
All of the above should be done fairly quickly to avoid over-working the flour and activating the gluten! (which would make the biscuits tough…)
Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Lightly dust with flour if it is sticking to the rolling pin. Fold in half, and then fold in half again.
(Yes that would now be a quarter – but this is cooking not math class!)
Now roll out once more to about 1/2 inch thick and cut biscuits (no bigger than 2 inches wide!)

Place biscuits on parchment paper in a cookie sheet. The biscuits should just be touching each other – this will make them puff upwards more than then expand sideways!
Brush the top with any left-over milk to make the tops brown evenly.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (until desired golden brown on top)

Let cool a few minutes – and then enjoy!

These biscuits are not only excellent with soup but also really tasty with butter and your favourite jam.

Food : Prime Rib BBQ!

English: USCA Choice standing rib roast (2 bone).

Preparations

First you will need a Prime Rib roast. How big should it be? Depends on how many people and how much meat they like to eat! And how much you want to spend!

HOW BIG?
The rule of thumb is: 1 Rib feeds 2 People. So a 2 Rib roast would feed 4 People. For a backyard BBQ feast that has a lot of other food you can probably estimate 1 Rib for 2.5 People. This is assuming 1 Rib is equal to about 1 Kilogram or about 2.2 Pounds.
Adjust things accordingly for weight!

When you buy your Prime Rib roast look for one with good layer of fat. Fat is flavour. Fat keeps the meat moist while cooking. You can always cut off the fat when serving! You want at least a 1/4 inch (less than 1 cm) of fat on the side away from the bones.

Get a GOOD Meat Thermometer!
The most important item you need in cooking a Prime Rib roast is a good meat thermometer! Prime Rib should not be overcooked. Yes you can estimate times but really the best way to cook this premium cut of meat is with a good, reliable and accurate thermometer. I use a digital thermometer that stays in the roast throughout the cooking process. The one I use has a long lead from the meat probe to an exterior display that sits outside the oven. Very nice for monitoring the cooking progress without opening the door!

COOKING THE ROAST

1) Let the meat come to room temperature before roasting. This may take an hour. A cold Prime Rib will not cook properly, with the outer portion overcooking. Never try and cook a frozen Prime Rib roast!!! Use paper-towels to pat dry the surface of the meat.

2) DO NOT SALT. Salt pulls the moisture from the meat. Season with garlic, or some other rub if you desire. I just rub on some fresh ground pepper.

3) OPTIONAL: Garlic! grab a garlic clove or two and slice into small slivers. Now take a very sharp thin knife and slice small holes all around the roast, inserting a garlic sliver into each hole.

4) OPTIONAL: While the roast is sitting out (see step 1) you can do this! BBQ Rib is even better with a good roast rub. Here is a rub recipe (and you can make your own!).

1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake

Mix together the pepper, onion, garlic, parsley and pepper flakes.
Remove the butcher’s twine and lightly coat the roast and ribs with oil.
Season on all sides (including the space between the ribs and roast) with the dry rub. Re-tie the beef roast and ribs back together. Now let sit at room temperature for an hour.

5) Set up your BBQ (grill) for indirect heat and preheat to low (250-300°F).

6) Place the roast, bone-side down, on a roasting rack and pan combination. Add enough beef stock or water to fill the pan about 1 inch deep. Optional: Add some dried mushrooms to flavor the liquid base! If you are using a digital thermometer insert it into the roast!

7) Place the roast and pan on the grill on the indirect side where you don’t have any burners on. Close the grill lid and cook until the rib roast hits 10 °F less than your desired level of doneness.
NOTE: This should take about 3 hours for medium rare. It’s a good idea to turn the roast around every 45 minutes or so. (For rare – pull at internal temperature of 115°F. For medium rare – 125°F. For medium – 135°F).

8) Remove the roast and pan set up and let rest at room temperature until the internal temperature stops rising – about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, turn up the grill heat to high (you want it very hot – about 500 °F).

9) Taste the au jus (seasoned broth in the pan) and season to taste with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the au jus warm.

10) Now fully remove the rib bones. Then place the rib bones cut side down over the heat. Also sear the roast 2-3 minutes on the cut side and 1-2 minutes on the other sides.

11) Once the outside of each portion is nicely seared remove from the grill. You may let it rest for a few minutes but it isn’t needed – as it already settled during the previous rest.

12) Slice as desired. Top with some of the au jus and serve.

Sit back and enjoy summer!

Feast of Leftovers: Sour Cream Biscuits

The wonder of this time of year is how much food can be squeezed into a refrigerator, and how much food I can consume without trying!

I seem to have extra sour cream and since I have been making soup – what every soup needs is a nice freshly baked biscuit. And I love sour cream biscuits. Simple and easy to make – and helps get rid of that sour cream sitting in my fridge.
(My soup recipes are: Prime Rib, Turkey)

 

Ingredients
2 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
Use a pastry cutter to blend.
Add the shortening and cut shortening until mixture has course pea-sized texture.
Add the sour cream and cut mixture until it is course crumbs.
Knead dough 6 to 8 strokes; if dough is too dry and not binding together, slowly add a bit of water a teaspoon at a time.
Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Fold in half. Roll out again and fold in half, and half again.
Now roll out to about 1/2 inch thick and cut biscuits;
bake on greased cookie sheet 10 to 15 minutes (until desired golden brown on top)

Let cool a few minutes – and then enjoy!
Not only excellent with soup but also really tasty with butter and strawberry jam.