Category Archives: Soup

Baked Potato Soup

TaterSoup

At Poppy’s house we eat soup all year round, at least twice a week. But there are days, like today, where the temperature won’t move up to freezing and will end in single digits. This type of weather doesn’t just suggest a hot hearty soup, it demands it!

This is Poppy’s version of “Baked Potato Soup.” No, you don’t have to bake the potatoes. This soup just contains all the good stuff you might use to top a baked potato (minus the sour cream and butter). It’s easy, but does take a little time. Turn on some good music, pour yourself a glass of wine and lets get cooking.

Ingrediants


Ingredients: 

  • 48 ozs. of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6-7 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 6-7 ozs. of grated sharp cheddar
  • 3/4’s of a large sweet onion
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1/4 pint cream
  • 3-4 dashes of Frank’s hot sauce
  • 4-5 slices crumbled peppered bacon
  • Bunch of green onions
  • Coarse ground black pepper to taste

I start by cooking the bacon. My preferred method is baking it in the oven, on a cookie sheet lined with foil. This makes the clean up incredibly easy and yields evenly cooked bacon. I set my convection oven at 350°, cook for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Remove the bacon, sandwich it between several paper towels to soak up any excess grease then set aside.

Bacon

While the bacon is cooking, peel and dice 6-7 Yukon Gold potatoes or the equivalent. Toss the taters into the chicken broth and start them cooking. Dice the celery and onion and sauté in a mix of EVOO and butter, about two tablespoons apiece. Cook the onion celery mixture until the onions are translucent. Add the onion-celery mix to the potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender.

I like my potato soup a little creamy and a little chunky. Tonight I used an immersion blender until I got that right balance (you can add the cream before or after blending). Once you have achieved the right balance between creamy and chunky add 3-4 slices of crumbled bacon, reserving some for topping. Same with the grated sharp cheddar. Add 5-6 ozs. of sharp cheddar, reserving some for topping. Toss in 3-4 dashes of hot sauce (trust Poppy, this will not burn your mouth, it just ups the flavor). Add at least a teaspoon of coarse black pepper (I add more).

Simmer for a few minutes to let all the ingredients and flavors become acquainted with each other, fill your soup bowls then top with a hefty pinch of crumbled bacon, grated cheddar and green onions … ahhh, heaven!

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Roasted Asparagus-Potato-White Cheddar Soup

MrsG-Soup

“I’m here to apply for that soup tester job”

I thought I would be clever and use the fading azaleas as a backdrop for this soup that features another plant associated with spring, asparagus … but I got photo bombed by “Mrs. G”, the feral cat who has adopted us. I set everything up, pressed the button on my phone then BAM, up pops up Mrs. G … photo bombed by a cat! Why “Mrs. G” you ask, well we got tired of calling her, “that grey cat”. She is a sweet little thing for a feral cat and a fierce hunter. I’ve lost track of the number of dead mice and moles that have been deposited on our front door mat. OK, enough talk of dead rodents, let’s talk about something much better … potato soup with roasted asparagus and sharp white cheddar cheese.

I’m a bit of a slow learner but I’ve figured out over the years how to make my dishes taste good. Now I’m on to the next phase, learning how to make things taste good and be healthy at the same time (not easy for me). Normally I would add cream or at least half-in-half to add some brightness and creaminess to this soup, but in a nod towards fewer calories and a little weight loss for yours truly, I skipped the cream this time.

I started roasting the asparagus first, so I could be peeling and dicing the potatoes while the asparagus was in the oven. After snapping off the hard ends, I coated the asparagus with EVOO and placed it on a foil lined cookie sheet, and popped it into the oven that had been preheated to 385°. I let that cook for about 15 minutes (set on convection, your mileage may vary), then flipped the asparagus over and cooked for another 10-15 minutes (you really can’t mess this up). While the asparagus was cooking, I peeled 6 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes and plopped them into 48 ozs. of low sodium chicken broth and commenced cooking. If you’re feeling ambitious you can create your own chicken broth, but I’m not that ambitious. While all of that is happening I diced 3/4’s of a good sized sweet onion and started sautéing that in a little EVOO. Once the onion turned translucent I added 4 cloves of garlic that had been run through my garlic press.

 

When your culinary planets have aligned, the potatoes are tender, the onion-garlic mix is ready and the asparagus has finished roasting, it’s time to assemble all the ingredients.

Add the onion-garlic mixture to the potato-broth mixture then in batches puree 3/4’s of the soup in a blender. I like a little “chunkiness” to my potato soups, so I don’t puree the whole thing. I’ve got to add my usual warning here … don’t fill up the blender more than halfway and keep you hand on top of the blender to avoid a hot-soup explosion. 

Add 4 ozs. of grated sharp white cheddar, a tsp. of coarse ground black pepper, 4 dashes of Frank’s hot sauce, a scant tsp. of Cajun seasoning, then simmer an additional 10 minutes on low heat (covered) to let all the flavors have a chance to get acquainted. Cut up the asparagus in 1″ slices, adding half to the soup, reserving the other half for topping.

Very tasty … and at least semi-healthy!


Ingredients: 

  • 48 ozs. of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 4 ozs. of grated sharp white cheddar ( yellow will work too)
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 3/4’s of a large sweet onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 dashes of Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1 scant tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • coarse ground black pepper to taste

IMG_2390

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Roasted Corn-Potato-Cheddar Soup

RoastedCornPotato2

Life is filled with disappointments. That’s why they call it life … and in the big picture my little disappointment today doesn’t even move the needle. In fact you know it’s been a good day when the biggest disappointment you have is going to the grocery store to get some fresh corn only to find out you have to settle for frozen (Yes, I know, it’s a 1st world problem)!

The good news is that you can make some darn good soup using frozen corn, so let’s get started.


Difficulty: If you can dice potatoes without dicing fingers, you’re golden!

Ingredients: 

  • 48 ozs. of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 4-5 ozs. of grated sharp cheddar (yellow or white, both work well)
  • 12 ozs. frozen yellow & white corn
  • 1/2 pint of cream
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • coarse ground black pepper to taste

Peel and dice the potatoes into 1/4″ cubes and plop them into your stock pot with chicken broth. Bring the broth to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft. In the meantime defrost the frozen corn and toss in EVOO, then place on a foil lined cookie sheet along with the butter and roast at 350° for 15-20 minutes, then toss and continue roasting until they start to brown. Once the potatoes are soft, transfer 2/3 of them along with the broth to a blender and purée until creamy ( do not fill the blender all the way up, allow room for expansion of the hot broth-potato mixture … you have been warned). Return the creamy potatoes to the stock pot and add the roasted corn, cream, grated cheddar cheese, coarse ground pepper, garlic (that has been run through a garlic press or finely chopped) and hot sauce.

Simmer for 5-10 minutes then serve with some crusty bread and enjoy.

Yes, it’s that easy (and delicious)!

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Orzo, Spinach, Lemon and Chicken Soup

ChickenOrzoLemonSpinachSoup

This savory soup has been known to chase away the blues, sniffly noses and mulligrubs! It takes less time to prepare than any other soup I make, has a fresh pick-me-up flavor (courtesy of the lemon juice), is healthy (no cream in this baby), and I believe could be made gluten-free just by substituting rice for the orzo. What are you waiting for? Quick, run to the kitchen and start cooking!

This soup was inspired by a recipe from the “New England Soup Factory Cookbook“, if you are going to have only one soup cookbook, it should be this one. Of course Poppy has to modify everything at least a little … so here is Poppy’s version!


Difficulty: easy-peasy!

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • (1) rotisserie chicken (pulled into smallish pieces)
  • ¾ cup orzo
  • 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 6 ozs. baby spinach (coarsely chopped)
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper (or to taste)

EasyTastyHealthy

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in your stock pot on high heat. Add the orzo, reduce the heat to medium, keeping a slow boil and cook for 5-6 minutes. Once the orzo is done, drizzle in the beaten eggs, stirring constantly until the eggs have cooked into threads. Add the chicken meat, spinach, garlic salt, pepper and ½ of the lemon juice. Why only ½ of the lemon juice, Poppy? Because all lemons are not created equal, this is where you start tweaking …(tweaking, not twerking, don’t get the two confused). Slowly add more of the lemon juice and black pepper until you get the taste you want. You can always add more lemon juice but you can’t take it out …(not even by twerking)!

ChickenOrzoLemonSpinachSoupPint

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Chicken Dumpling, Black Pepper Soup

Chicken Dumpling Soup

Is there anything in the kitchen more under-appreciated or ubiquitous than black pepper? And what’s with this word, “ubiquitous”? I see it everywhere!

If you don’t like the taste of pepper then move on to the next post, there is nothing to see here. However if you enjoy a good brothy (is that a word?) soup with a little bite then keep reading.

I wish I could tell you that I made my own dumplings from scratch, roasted my chicken and created the chicken broth myself … but I would be lying big time. I took the lazy way out and still managed to create some delicious soup using frozen dumplings, rotisserie chicken and ready-made chicken broth.

EasyTastyHealthy


Difficulty: Can’t mess this up!

Ingredients:

  • (1) rotisserie chicken (use approx. ⅔’s )
  • 6 ozs. frozen flat dumplings
  • (3) stalks celery
  • (1) small yellow onion
  • (3) large cloves of garlic
  • (1) medium carrot
  • 62 ozs. low sodium chicken stock
  • ½ pint Half & Half
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • coarse ground black pepper

Started by adding the low sodium chicken broth to your stockpot and bring it to a simmer. Use half of the package of frozen flat dumplings (about 6 ozs). I know the recipe calls for a lot of chicken broth, but it reduces and becomes more concentrated during the preparation, no need to add any chicken bouillon. As I added the frozen dumplings, I broke them in half … not that it affects the taste in any way, it just makes the soup easier to eat with a spoon. As the dumplings cook (about 20 minutes), dice the celery and onion and sautéed them in a tbsp. of butter and equal amount of EVOO. While the celery and onions are adding their aromas to the kitchen, finely chop 3 large cloves of garlic. Add those to the onion-celery mix when the onions are translucent. Keep sautéing while you grate a medium-sized carrot directly into the broth.

Separate the meat from the rotisserie chicken into small pieces. I didn’t want this to turn into a stew or even a chowder, so I only used about ⅔ of the chicken meat, saving one breast for another use. Add that to the broth along with the celery, onion, garlic mix and keep simmering. Add the Half & Half (you could use cream of course) and the hot sauce. Now it’s time for the black pepper to make it’s entrance. As a noob food-blogger, I didn’t measure the black pepper I added, partly because I was grinding it from my pepper mill directly into the soup. Set your pepper mill to coarse and crank at least 10 times into the broth. Let simmer for a few minutes then taste. I can tell you that I added at least another 10 turns of the pepper mill, probably more, but use your own judgement, keep tasting the broth … you can always add more pepper, taking it out is … well, impossible.

Keep simmering a few more minutes before serving, let it rest a bit then serve to your hungry family and friends.

Sidenote: My plan is to start using a decent SLR for my food photography, but up until this point all the photos you see on the blog have been taken with my iPhone 5. (I’m old enough to remember when you used phones for calling people … crazy)

Chicken-Dumpling-Black-Pepper-Soup

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Tuscan Ham, Bean and Spinach Soup

TuscanSoup

 See what I did there? Just by adding “Tuscan” to the name, this soup sounds so much more refined … unlike my “Layered Veggie Thingy”! (I’m learning)

This soup is quick and easy to throw together, lots of fiber, low in calories and full of flavor.

EasyTastyHealthy 

The Cannellini beans are the stars of this soup, packed with protein, iron, magnesium and folate they are the perfect complement to the ham and spinach. Since I don’t plan anything but my vacations very far in advance, I just use canned beans rather than soaking the dried beans overnight and cooking them.


Difficulty: Souper easy!

Ingredients:

  • (3) cans Cannellini beans
  • (1) can chili beans in chili sauce
  • 10 ozs. diced ham
  • 5 ozs. baby spinach (chopped)
  • 48 ozs. low sodium chicken stock
  • (1) tsp. minced garlic
  • (1) tbsp. hot sauce (Frank’s or similar)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)

Drain and rinse the 3 cans of Cannellini beans, add 2 of the cans to your stockpot. If there is a trick to this recipe at all, it is using a potato masher to mash the beans in the bottom of your stockpot. This will thicken the soup and change it from just being some beans floating around in chicken broth to a rich hearty bean broth.

After the beans are sufficiently smashed add some of the chicken broth and stir, making sure that none of the beans are stuck to the bottom of your stockpot, because no one likes burnt beans in their soup! Add the rest of the chicken stock, the remaining can of Cannellini beans, the chili beans with their sauce, the ham, then start warming.

If you are lucky enough to have a good ham bone by all means use it, it will kick the flavor way up, if not dicing a ham steak will suffice, which it what I did this time.

While everything in the stockpot is heating, wilt the chopped spinach in a skillet with a drizzle of EVOO. Once it is thoroughly wilted add the minced garlic and continue heating for another minute.

Add the spinach-garlic mix to the soup along with a tablespoon of Frank’s hot sauce and a generous grind of coarse black pepper. Let it simmer a few minutes then taste the broth. Add more pepper or hot sauce as needed or perhaps a pinch of chili powder or Cajun seasoning. Simmer a few more minutes then serve with a crusty bread or cornbread. Yum!

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Poppy’s Potato-Cheddar-Sausage Soup

It was a dark and stormy night. Cop cars suddenly converged on a house just a few doors down from me. Moments later though the mist I could see them leading a ghostly figure away in handcuffs. Apparently this person had failed to provide hot, hearty soup for their family.

Yes, some weather is so miserable that’s it’s actually a crime not to make a batch of creamy, comforting, delicious soup … don’t be that person. Poppy is here to help!

 Poppy's Potato-Cheddar-Sausage Soup

Introducing Poppy’s “Potato-Cheddar-Sausage Soup”.

In Poppy’s not-so-humble opinion, a good potato soup should be creamy yet have some chunky goodness to it. Start by peeling and dicing 6 medium to large Yukon Gold potatoes into ¼” cubes. Drop the potato cubes into 48 ozs. of low sodium chicken broth. If you’re ambitious and want to make your own broth, go for it, but that’s a topic for another day. Crank up the heat and cover your stockpot. Continue reading

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