Soup’s On

With the weather slowly taking on a wintry chill (with odd, balmy weekends, intermixed, providing much appreciated respite from the frosty temps that soon return), our dinners have moved away from the cold, cool crunch of salads and towards warmer, heartier fare. Soups filled with meat, root vegetables, and leafy greens are the ultimate one pot meal–they are easy to throw together, infinitely flexible, and reheat well for leftovers. In the past two weeks, I’ve tried a few new recipes, and thrown together one of my own.

Sweet and Savory Beef Stew with Pumpkin and Cherries

(Note: I added a few handfuls of kale to my stew; that seems to be my go-to move with hearty, brothy dishes.) Michael loved this savory stew, but the initial recipe left me wishing for a little more depth of flavor. Or maybe it was the slight smushiness of the cherries? I loved the idea of thickening it with pumpkin puree, although using fresh (not canned) pumpkin necessitated doubling the amounts. Given Michael’s reaction, I’m saving it for a remake. Next time, however, I intend to adulterate it with the addition of some garlic, and maybe substituting cranberries for cherries (and adding them later in the dish to retain shape/texture better).

Creamy Cashew Chicken Soup with Kale

Kale again! My recipe note reads: “EXCELLENT. definite remake.” I packed this in mason jars for lunches and was a very happy lunch eater for a few days.

Sunday Soup, Revisited

a.k.a. the basic template for a super easy soup: I chopped up some languishing veggies, used pre-made/pre-chopped ingredients where appropriate, and had a delicious soup for about 15 minutes of active effort. (And yes, there was kale.)

Serves 4

  • 1# sausage of choice (I used hot Italian turkey sausage)
  • ~1 T. bacon fat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 red potatoes, halved and sliced
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 4 c. chicken stock (1 box)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) whole tomatoes, quartered (or just chop with spoon when adding to pot)
  • Kale (pre-chopped, pre-washed to save you time) – as much (or as little) as you want
  1. Brown the sausage in a large Dutch oven. Once sausage is cooked through, remove from pan and set aside (prevents it from getting rubbery while cooking in the broth).
  2. Heat bacon fat in the pan, then add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Stir in the kale and the sausage. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy!

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