Northwest NEWS

October 29, 2001

Home & Garden


Dining In: Soup du jour

Asparagus and Scallion Soup
   1/4 c. slivered blanched almonds (for garnish)
   1 Tbsp. olive oil
   6 scallions, thinly sliced
   2 medium leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
   2 (14-1/2 oz.) cans chicken broth
   1/4-1/2 tsp. dried tarragon or thyme, to taste
   Salt and white pepper to taste
   1-1/2 lb. asparagus (tough ends trimmed), thinly sliced
   1 medium potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
   1 (12 oz.) can evaporated skimmed milk
   If using garnish, place almonds in a saucepan over medium heat. Toast nuts until golden, shaking pan occasionally to prevent burning heat. Add scallions and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender crisp, about 5-6 minutes.
   Add broth, tarragon, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and potato. Bring back to a boil, then immediately reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are very soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
   Puree soup in blender until smooth. Pour back into saucepan over medium heat. Add milk, stirring until soup reaches consistency and color desired. Heat through. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with toasted almonds.
   Makes 6 servings.
   Pumpkin Cheesecake Soup
   2 cans (30 oz. each) pumpkin pie mix
   2 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) chicken broth
   2 c. (1 pint) half and half
   1 c. sour cream
   Nutmeg for garnish, optional
   In a soup pot, whisk the pumpkin pie mix and chicken broth over medium-high heat and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until hot. Slowly stir in the half and half and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until heated through. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, if desired.
   Makes 8 to 10 servings.
   Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard
   4-6 Swiss chard leaves, 2 with stalks intact, cut into thin slices
   1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
   1 rib celery, chopped
   1 Tbsp. paprika
   1 Tbsp. tomato paste
   1 can (14.5 oz.) vegetable broth
   3 c. cooked green lentils
   Pinch of red pepper flakes
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
   4 slices grilled, toasted or stale crusty, country-style bread (optional)
   1 garlic clove, halved
   In a small Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté celery, garlic and chard stems until celery is tender crisp, about 4 minutes. Mix in paprika, then tomato paste. Stir in broth, then 2 c. water. Add lentils and pepper flakes.
   Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Divide soup among 4 bowls.
   If using bread as garnish, rub each slice on both sides with cut side of garlic. Float one slice in each bowl and serve.
   Those who love chard will want to use the full amount. Others may want to use less. One cup dried lentils, cooked with 2-1/2 c. water for 30 minutes, will produce enough cooked lentils for this dish.
   Makes 4 servings.
   Cabbage and Tomato Soup
   1 Tbsp. canola oil
   2 medium onions, chopped
   1 medium carrots, grated
   1 medium leek, white part only, chopped
   1 head cabbage, quartered and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips, about 6 c.
   1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, with liquid
   4 c. vegetable stock or canned broth
   1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
   1/2 1 tsp. dried thyme, as desired
   1/2 tsp. sugar
   1 bay leaf
   Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
   In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot and leek and stir to coat with the oil. Cover pot tightly, reduce heat to medium low and cook 10 minutes. Mix in cabbage; cover pot and cook another 10 minutes, until cabbage is wilted.
   Stir in tomatoes, stock, oatmeal, thyme, sugar and bay leaf.
   Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, until oatmeal is cooked and cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes.
   Serve immediately. Store unused soup in refrigerator. Chilled soup will absorb liquid, so add more broth, as needed, when reheating.
   Makes 6 servings.
   Potaje de Berros, or Pureed Vegetable Soup
   2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
   1 small onion, chopped
   1 small garlic clove, sliced
   2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
   2 small carrots, chopped
   1 c. chopped, peeled butternut squash
   1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
   1 bunch watercress, including stems, coarsely chopped
   2 c. chicken broth
   Salt and pepper to taste
   2/3 c. cooked fresh or frozen corn kernels
   Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, garlic and tomatoes until tomatoes resemble a chunky puree, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
   Add carrots, squash, potato, watercress and chicken broth. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add 4 c. water. Return to boil and simmer uncovered until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes Let soup sit 15 minutes to cool slightly
   Puree soup, including all solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with corn kernels. (The boiling hot soups heats the corn, eliminating the need to cook it separately before adding.)
   Makes 6 servings.
   Super Sunday Chili
   2 Tbsp. canola oil
   1 lb. ground round beef
   1 large onion, chopped
   2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
   2 c. or 8 oz. package soy crumbles
   1/4 c. chili powder
   1 Tbsp. cumin
   1 Tbsp. dried oregano
   28 oz. can whole tomatoes
   Salt and freshly ground pepper
   In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil over medium heat. Add the ground round, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Cook until the meat loses its red color, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat to a bowl and set it aside. Pour out the liquid in the pot.
   Add the remaining oil to the pot and heat over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno and soy crumbles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the cooked meat back to the pot. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook for 1 minute, until the seasoning is aromatic. Add the tomatoes, with their liquid. Stir, breaking up the tomatoes. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 30 minutes, until the chili is thick and the flavors well blended.
   Before serving, season to taste with salt and pepper. Besides improving when kept for 1-2 days and reheated, this chili freezes well.
   Makes 6 servings.