Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Simple, hearty, and satisfying – and entirely failproof in the crockpot.  Perfect, even for baby!

 Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.

5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

Yield: 4 servings.

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Chicken and Corn Soup

Sweet and savory, nothing beats the comfort of an easy soup on a cold day.



Recipe here.

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Sometime in April, I suffered my first bout of mastitis from nursing Claire.  No fun, let me tell you.  I nursed Rice Kernel for over a year and a half (I didn’t intend to go that long, but that’s another story) with no incident.  My OB even joked with me a couple months back that he was shocked I had never had an infection.  Famous last words.

Within days of coming down with mastitis, I somehow cut up the roof of my mouth – the whole of it – and developed some cold sores.  I know, not a pretty picture – for you or me.  Sorry.  I couldn’t eat much – not because I didn’t have an appetite, but because I couldn’t chew.  I thought about yogurt and smoothies for a few days, but I longed for something savory.  I wanted a real meal.  Filled with fiber, vegetables, and protein, this is a creamy, substantial soup.  I would have loved it paired with a toasted wedge of bread or grilled cheese but, even alone, it more than made me happy at the end of a long week.  (And leftovers nursed me through the new few days of mouth pain….)

Chickpea Vegetable Soup

This bowl is particularly thick....it was chilled and, hence, thickened. Chilled was good for mouth pain. For leftovers, I'd suggest thining with some stock, water or milk/cream/non-dairy milk.


1Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for serving
Fine sea salt 
2 small yellow onions, finely diced
1 medium celery stalk, finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
3 rosemary sprigs (about 4 inches)
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
4-6 cups broth (vegetable, chicken)
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and a pinch of salt and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes with their juice, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Tie the rosemary and bay leaf in a cheesecloth pouch with string. Add the herb pouch, 4 cups of vegetable broth, and 1 tsp. salt to the pot.
  5. Partially cover and simmer gently until flavorful, about 20 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed. Discard the herb pouch.
  6. Purée the soup with a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender.  Add additional broth if necessary.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Divide the soup among 4 bowls.

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Rice Kernel goes to a language immersion program two afternoons a week.  He often takes a cat-nap before the program – a necessary nap, I say.  One afternoon, he skipped his nap so, naturally, upon picking him up at 3 p.m. he promptly fell asleep.  Now, FHE and I have a rule: if you fall asleep past 3, you get woken up after about 30 minutes.  Sounds cruel, I know.  But if there’s any hope of my son going to be at a normal hour and staying asleep through the night, trust me, late afternoon naps must be limited in duration.

On this particular afternoon, I was feeling generous.  Okay, tired.  I let him go about an hour.  After taking the baby out of the car, I picked up Rice Kernel, brought him into the house and put him down on his feet.  Then the crying began.  I knew he was tired, but I had to wake him.  Suddenly the cries turned to screams and shrieks.  Great. 

I calmly asked what I could do to help him; if I could hold him or give him a cold drink.  He screamed.  I told him if there wasn’t anything I could do to help him, he could cry and calm himself down while I put groceries away and started dinner.  So I walked away.  And the ear-piercing screams began in earnest.  I walked back, repeated myself.  He said he didn’t want anything from me.  Scream.  This pattern repeated itself for about 30 minutes.

Finally, the boy said to me (in between sobs): You hurt my feelings by walking away.  Oh.  But you didn’t want anything from me, I said.  No matter, said Rice Kernel, I hurt his feelings. 

A few minutes later, the crying died down and he started being “polite” again.  Suddenly, he said to me, are you cooking dinner?  I said yes.  He said, “Do you think you can make chicken meatballs in soup?”  So that’s what inspired this dinner.

And it was a delicious dinner – a versatile and quick one I will probably turn to again.  One I won’t soon forget.

Spring Chicken Meatball and Rice Soup


1 pound ground chicken
1-2 carrots, grated finely
1/2 cup spinach, chopped (frozen is fine)
1/4 cup grated onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasonings of your choice – I used cilantro
Prepared rice
Prepared stock (I used chicken)
Vegetables of your choice – I used baby bok choy and carrot pieces


  1. Mix the first 6 ingredients together and form into meatballs. 
  2. In a stockpot, bring stock to a boil and drop in meatballs.  Cook until thoroughly done, add rice and vegetables and simmer until vegetables are tender.

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This is a hearty recipe that is perfect for chilly nights.  Unlike more traditional oxtail soup recipes, this one features full-bodied, spicy coriander, cardamom and cumin with a touch of sweet cinnamon.  It freezes beautifully and is a welcomed meal on any winter night. 

Note: If you prepare the dish and then refrigerate it, an oil layer will coagulate at the top.  Simply spoon it off and reheat for a healthier dish.

Oxtail Soup


  • 2 pounds oxtail, cut into 1″ segments
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2″ knob of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 – 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1″ rounds
  • 1 parsnip, cut into roughly 1″ rounds
  • 5 small red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 yam, cut into roughly 1″ cubes
  • 1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 – 14 ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish


  1. If you’re preparing this recipe in a Dutch oven, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. If you’re using a slow cooker, get it ready by plugging it in and setting it to its lowest setting.
  2. Brown the oxtail in a very hot pan. Remove to a large Dutch oven or slow cooker.
  3. Add the olive oil to the pan you browned the oxtail in and turn the heat to medium. Once the oil shimmers, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, making sure to scrape along the bottom and get up all the meaty bits that stuck to the pan while you were browning the meat. Cook the onions just until they start to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir the garlic and ginger into the onions and cook for another minute, until the garlic and ginger become extremely fragrant. Pour onions, ginger and garlic into Dutch oven on top of the oxtail.
  5. Pour the can of tomatoes into the same pan you cooked the onions in again scrap the bottom to get up anything stuck to the pan. Add coriander, cardamom, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper, stirring well. Cook tomatoes over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, just until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add beef stock to tomatoes and continue to cook until it comes to a simmer. While you’re waiting for the tomatoes and beef stock to heat up, add the carrot, parsnip, potatoes, yam, apple and kidney beans to the Dutch oven or slow cooker and mix well with the oxtail and onions.
  7. Once the tomatoes and stock are at a simmer, add them to the Dutch oven or slow cooker. Give the whole thing a good stir to make sure the sauce covers everything, cover with a lid, and set to cook. For a Dutch oven, place it in your 200 degree oven and let cook undisturbed for 8 hours. If you’re using a slow cooker, turn it to the “LOW” setting and let cook for 8 hours.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley. I serve my oxtail soup with the bones in because I’m too lady to pick them apart before serving – plus I think the bones add to the rustic feel of the dish. If you’re so inclined, feel free to pick out the bones before serving.

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Our December and early January were filled with sunshine and warmth.  Sometime in mid-January, it finally started raining… for days in a row.  Wishing for some warm comfort food, I thought of congee.  Delicious for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it is a nutritious meal anytime of day.  And the best part is, you can add whatever toppings you wish!

Ground Beef Congee


1 cup raw rice
½ lb ground beef (marinated in 1 tbl soy sauce, 1 tbl cornstarch, ½ tsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry)
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 stock (or water)
Our preferred toppings: minced scallions, cilantro, shredded ginger, ground white pepper, frozen spinach (yes, even spinach), peanuts


  1. Wash rice until the water runs clear.
  2. Marinate the beef for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat large stockpot over med-high heat with a few teaspoons olive oil. When hot, add ground beef garlic. Fry until ground beef is browned. Add the stock or wate and rice. Turn heat to high. When boiling, immediately turn heat to low.  Simmer 40 min.
  4. Taste and adjust with soy sauce and pepper.

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I love the flavors of chili, especially on a winter’s night.  But I’m not always in the mood for red meat.  This is the perfect compromise.  For a twist, omit the beans and use 1-2 small new potatoes.

Swiss Chard, White Bean and Chicken Chili, adapted from Giada de Laurentis

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground chicken
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
11/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
8 oz can of diced green chilis, optional
Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, avocado, optional for serving

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, chicken stock and optional green chilis (you can start with half the can and adjust spice later). Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 45-50 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve with optional condiments.

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