Tag Archives: vegetable

Chicken and Farro Soup with Carrots and Shiitakes

Posted by Lynda Balslev

This is a Sunday soup, a perfect antidote to a social weekend with big meals and late evenings. Restorative, healthy, and nourishing, it’s a perfect time-out meal to enjoy on a relaxed and peaceful day, with no reservations and no make-up on the agenda. I used leftover chicken from a roast, but you can easily use a rotisserie chicken from your local store or farmer’s market.

Chicken and Farro Soup with Carrots and Shiitakes

Don’t leave out the shiitakes – they impart a luscious umami flavor to the stock. Barley may be substituted for the farro. Serves 4.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, halved if large
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup farro or pearl barley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it softens without coloring, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and mushrooms. Sauté until the carrots brighten in color and the mushrooms begin to release their juices, about 3  minutes. Add the stock, farro, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the farro is tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the chicken and top off with additional stock if needed. Simmer until the chicken is heated through. Ladle into bowls. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.

Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup

tortilla soup tastefoodPosted by Lynda Balslev

My inspiration for making soup is often a convergence of too many vegetables in the refrigerator with homemade stock and leftovers from a roast chicken. This recipe is not an authentic tortilla soup, as I managed to empty most of the contents of my veggie drawer into it. It’s chock-a-block full of corn, zucchini and peppers, purchased at the farmers market, along with the requisite garlic and onion. Season and spice the soup to your taste. Ideally it should have a little heat, but since our family is divided on what constitutes “spicy”, I pass a bottle of hot sauce around the table so everyone can fire up the soup to their taste.

Harvest Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is meant to be thick. More chicken stock may be added for a soupier consistency. Serves 4 to 6.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded, diced
1 sweet red pepper, stemmed and seeded, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch dice
4 cups chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, with juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 pound shredded cooked chicken
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 cup cooked black beans
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Tortilla chips, broken in pieces

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and zucchini and sauté briefly, 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, plum tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, and cloves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Stir in the chicken, corn, and beans. Partially cover and simmer until thoroughly heated through. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve warm, garnished with the tortilla chips.

Slow Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Sweet Corn

corn pepper tomato soup

Posted by Lynda Balslev

The end of summer delivers bushels of vegetables, namely sweet peppers, corn, and tomatoes to my kitchen. At the same time, the wisp of fall in the air brings a craving for healthy and comforting soups layered with flavor, perfumed with smoke and char. This soup has a little of all of that. I roasted peppers and tomatoes in the oven, slowly to coax out their flavor and natural sweetness, then blitzed them with stock and aromatics. For a vegetarian version, substitute veggie stock or water for the chicken stock, and adjust seasonings accordingly. And don’t be shy about using the grill for slow roasting if you wish to keep the heat out of the kitchen. Simply grill the veggies in a grill pan over indirect high heat to achieve the same slow roasted results.

Slow Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Sweet Corn

For a winter shortcut, one [16-ounce] can Italian plum tomatoes with juice may be substituted for the plum tomatoes; again, be sure to taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serves 4.

6 ripe medium plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 large red bell peppers, seeded, quartered lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
Corn kernels from 1 ear of corn, 1/4 cup reserved as garnish
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat the oven to 450°F. Arrange the tomatoes and peppers, cut-sides down in an oiled baking dish. Roast until the vegetables are softened and slightly charred, about 30 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover. Let cool 15 minutes, then peel away the skin and coarsely chop. Peel the skin away from the tomatoes and coarsely chop.

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent without coloring, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, peppers, cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups stock. There should be enough to cover the vegetables. If not, add more as needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes.

Carefully transfer soup to a food processor (or use an immersion blender). Puree the soup until smooth and return to the pot. Stir in the corn and simmer 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Serve garnished with the reserved 1/4 cup corn and cilantro.

 

Fregola Sarda with Asparagus, Pecorino and Lemon

fregola tastefood

Have you ever tried Fregola Sarda? You should. Fregola is a semolina pasta hailing from Sardinia, Italy. What distinguishes fregola is its shape and flavor. The pasta are rolled balls which are sun-dried and toasted, similar to pearl or Israeli couscous. Their unique shape and texture lend well to soups and salads. I find their nuttiness so addictive and satisfying, I like to keep my preparations simple to allow their toasty flavor to shine through. This dish is light and bright, inspired by the fresh asparagus and lemons in season now at the farmers markets.

Fregola Sarda with Asparagus, Pecorino and Lemon
Serves 4

1 pound fregola
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt
1/2 pound thin asparagus
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the fregola and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes or per package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to coat.
Cut the stalks of the asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces while keeping the tips intact. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the asparagus stalks and tips. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Saute until asparagus brightens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus are crisp tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and add to the fregola. Add the Pecorino and toss to combine. If the fregola are too sticky, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve warm with additional black pepper.

Baked Root Vegetable Fries

root veg fries tastefood

You can have your fries and still feel virtuous with these colorful roots. Give the russet potato a well-deserved break, and substitute carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, or sweet potato for the ubiquitous spud. As their name implies, root veggies are the roots of growing plants, which means that they are storehouses of energy and nutrients. Not only that, they are jammed with pent up flavor and natural sugars, which translates to sweet, earthy, nuttiness on the plate.

Mix and match your favorite roots and spice to your taste. Simple salt and pepper is always a winner, or spice them up with a zesty mixture of cumin, paprika, and cayenne. And yes, you can have your dipping sauce too without tipping the scales. Try a cool and creamy Greek yogurt sauce infused with garlic and chipotle for a smoky, low fat and highly addictive sauce. Alternatively, ditch the sauce and ramp up the garlic notes with a zesty lemon, garlic and parsley gremolata.

Baked Root Vegetable Fries 
Serves 4 to 6

1 large parsnip
1 large carrot
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium rutabaga
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chipotle Sauce:
3/4 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Lemon Gremolata:
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Heat the oven to 425°F. Cut the root vegetables in 2-inch batons, about 3/8-inch thick. Place in a large bowl. Add the oil,  salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread in one layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven until browned on the bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Move the baking sheet to the top rack of the oven and bake until golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, whisk the chipotle sauce ingredients in a small bowl if using. Serve the fries with the sauce for dipping.

Alternatively, remove fries from oven and toss with the gremolata ingredients.

Simple Sides: Balsamic Roasted Carrots

carrots roasted tastefood

baby carrots, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme sprigs, kale flowers, sea salt 

I bought a sack of tiny carrots today at the farmers market just because of how they looked. They were not your average stick straight roots, but funny finger sized squiggles with knuckles, knobs and twists – think samba dancing semicolons.  New and sweet, these little babies were the first of Spring, demanding the simplest of preparation. I decided to match their sweetness with a sprinkle of sugar, salt and splash of balsamic vinegar. A quick roast in the oven, softened them to crisp tenderness, shellacking the vinegar in a shiny caramelized coat. What you see is a mere half of my bounty, since I couldn’t stop nibbling the rest while taking the picture.

Balsamic Roasted Carrots
Try to select organic carrots, which will save you the fussy step of peeling.

Serves 4 to 6.

2 pounds organic skinny carrots, washed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Small bunch of fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Sea salt flakes

Heat oven to 400° F.  Trim the ends of the carrots. Place in a large bowl. Add oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the carrots. Roast on the middle rack of oven until carrots are crisp tender, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness of carrots.

Remove carrots from oven. Turn on the broiler. Drizzle the carrots with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with sugar, and jiggle the carrots around to coat. Return to top rack in  oven. Broil until slightly caramelized and golden, 1 to 2 minutes, shaking pan once or twice. Serve warm sprinkled with sea salt flakes.

Sunday Soup: Italian Minestrone

Minestrone Soup TasteFood

~ Italian Minestrone Soup ~

Sometimes, all that’s needed is a bowl of soup…to feed your family, to clean your vegetable bin, to warm and to nourish. Minestrone is an Italian vegetable soup that combines any number of vegetables, including tomatoes, leafy greens and potatoes. Beans are also often in the mix – or little pasta tubes called ditalini. I make this soup because I know it tastes great and will handily use up any odds and ends in my refrigerator. While some of the vegetables vary, I always include a hunk of Parmigiano rind in the simmering stock, which will slowly break down and give body and flavor the soup.

Italian Minestrone
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium yellow potato, peeled, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, fronds removed, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 small zucchini, cut in 1/4 inch dice
6 cups chicken stock
1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 2-inch chunk of rind from Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
1 15-ounce can cannellini or northern beans, drained
3 large kale leaves, ribs and stems removed, coarsely chopped
Grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese for garnish
Fresh Italian parsley leaves for garnish

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until beginning to soften, 2 minutes. Add carrots, rutabaga, fennel and zucchini. Sauté until vegetables brighten in color and soften slightly, 3 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. If soup is too chunky, add more stock to desired consistency. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and submerge cheese in soup. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, 2o minutes. Add beans and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add chard and simmer until  chard is wilted, 2 minutes. Ladle into warm bowls. Garnish with grated cheese and parsley.

If you like this, you might enjoy these recipes:
Kale and Farro Soup from TasteFood
Spring Onion Soup from Sippity Sup
Matzoh Ball Soup from Elana’s Pantry
Lentil Soup from TasteFood
Roasted Tomato and Vegetable Soup from Kayotic Kitchen

Kale and Farro Soup

kale squash farro tastefoodxx

 ~ Kale and Farro Soup ~

I don’t usually make New Years resolutions, but if I did, it would be to get my kids to eat more kale. Do you think they’ll notice the kale in this stew?

January is not only bowl-month in our home, it’s kale month. Bowls of nourishing soups and stews are perfect for the cold weather and a comforting alternative to the highfalutin presentations of Christmas past. And kale is everywhere right now, flamboyantly in season touting deeply colored emphatically shaped leaves, towering in piles on market shelves and tables. Good timing is all I have to say. Kale is a superfood, packed with nutrients and anti-oxidants, and an excellent way to jump start the new year in good health. And why hold back with just one nutritious ingredient? Kale teams up with farro, a nutty ancient grain packed with protein and fiber and chunks of  vitamin-rich butternut squash in this healthy, hearty soup.

Kale and Farro Soup

Either curly green or lacinato kale may be used for the soup. Remove tough ribs from leaves before chopping.

Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup farro
6 cups chicken stock, plus additional stock as necessary
2 cups butternut squash, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1  (15-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1  (2-inch) chunk of rind of Parmigiano cheese
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups coarsely chopped green kale
Grated Parmigiano cheese

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 minute. Add farro and stir to coat. Add chicken stock, squash, tomatoes, cheese chunk, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until squash is tender and farro is cooked, about 30 minutes. (Add more stock to desired consistency if soup is too thick.) Taste for seasoning. Stir in kale leaves; simmer until kale brightens in color and just wilts, about one minute. Discard Parmigiano rind. Ladle into bowls and grate cheese over the soup. Serve immediately.

More bowl food? Try these recipes:
Lentil Soup from TasteFood
White Bean, Chicken, Sausage Stew from the Kitchn
Chicken, Farro, Shiitake Soup from TasteFood
Roasted Root Vegetable Bisque from Eat Live Run
Black Bean, Sausage, Butternut Squash Chili from TasteFood

 

Cheesy Cauliflower Potato Soup

Cauliflower Potato Soup TasteFood

~Cheesy Cauliflower Potato Soup ~

Making purée, er, soup doesn’t get simpler than this. It began as a purée. I made a light and fluffy Cauliflower and Potato purée to accompany a stew this week.  However there was so much purée left over, I thinned the remainder with extra chicken stock and renamed it soup. It’s clearly all about the cauliflower, thickened with potato and spiked with a little garlic and piquant Pecorino cheese. Add just a little stock and you’ll have a light and airy side dish. Add more stock and you’ll have a satisfying winter soup. And since it’s the holidays I fancified both purée and soup with a generous pinch of gifted truffle salt sprinkled over the top.

Cheesy Cauliflower Potato Soup
Serves 6

2 yukon gold potatoes, about 1 pound
1 medium head cauliflower
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 quart chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh thyme leaves
Truffle salt (optional)

Peel the potatoes and cut in 1-inch chunks. Cut the cauliflower florets and core in 1-inch pieces. Peel garlic. Smash 3 of the cloves and mince 1 clove. Place potatoes, cauliflower and smashed garlic cloves in a large pot. Cover with water. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 25  minutes. Drain. Transfer half of the vegetables and butter to the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth. Add remaining vegetables. Puree again. Return vegetables to soup pot. Add minced garlic. Add chicken enough chicken broth to achieve desired consistency (the soup should not be too thick). Bring to a simmer and add cheese, stirring to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional cheese and fresh thyme as a garnish. Optional: Sprinkle with truffle salt.

Harvest Vegetable Soup

Finely fall has arrived in California! When I am not doing my happy dance, then I am making hearty soups and stews exuding warmth and spice – just like this:

Harvest Vegetable Soup
Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, fronds trimmed, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 15-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup bulgur or farro
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2-inch chunk of Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano rind
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped kale leaves, tough ribs removed
Grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese for garnish

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, 2 minutes. Add fennel and butternut squash. Saute 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, stock, bulgur, bay leaf, thyme, oregano and cheese. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until vegetables and grains are tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the kale and simmer briefly until brightened in color and wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Serve garnished with grated cheese.

If you like this, you might enjoy these warming recipes from TasteFood:
Lentil Soup
Minestrone
Black Bean, Sausage, Butternut Squash Chili