Categories
Beef Soups

Rich and Delicious Homemade Pho

If you’re a pho lover, you know it’s all about the broth. We’ve all probably been to pho restaurants that left us utterly speechless (in a good way) and other restaurants that left us wondering if someone just tossed some ingredients in store-bought broth. Everyone knows the really quality pho isn’t just a noodle soup with toppings in run-of-the-mill broth. When it comes to truly amazing pho, the broth is everything. It is the STAR of pho show, not a supporting side character. 

I’m not gonna lie, this broth takes a long time to cook. But I promise, it’s totally worth it. There are a lot of shortcut recipes out there for pho broth, but there’s really no substitute for a homemade bone-based pho broth. Don’t settle for using store-bought broth to make pho. I beg you. Instead, spend a day making this divine broth at home. Maybe even double the recipe so that you can freeze some for the next round of at-home pho. Once you taste it, the payoff will be obvious.

Ingredients:

Broth:

5 lb. beef bones 

2 onions, quartered

10-12 cloves of garlic, smashed

4 1-inch knobs of ginger, peeled

5 whole star anise

5 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 cardamom pod

1 Tbsp. coriander seeds

12 cups of water

⅓ c. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. sugar

Salt to taste

Pho Additions:

8 oz. thin rice noodles

½ lb. very thinly sliced sirloin 

White onions, thinly sliced

Toppings to share:

Thai basil

Bean sprouts

Green onions

Jalapenos 

Lime slices

Chili sauce

Important: you will need to prepare the pho broth the day (or two) before you plan on serving it. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

To begin, you will need to boil the beef bones so that they are clean and will result in a clear, clean-tasting broth. In a large stockpot, cover the bones with water and bring to a boil. Allow them to simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse bones thoroughly. Clean the stockpot.

Line a large baking pan with foil and place the bones, quartered onions, garlic, and ginger on top of the foil, allowing for space between the items. No oil is necessary for this step. Bake for 45 minutes. 

Heat the stockpot over medium heat high and add the spices. Stir for 2 minutes, or until they are fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside. When they are cool enough to touch, wrap them in a piece of cheesecloth, securing it with twine to make a spice sachet. 

In the same stockpot, add the roasted bones and aromatics from the baking sheet. Make sure to include any leftover liquid and brown bits. Add 12 cups of water to the stockpot, along with the spice sachet, fish sauce, and sugar. 

Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for up to 8 hours. Skim the surface of the broth as fat and/or foam rises to the top. Before serving, pour the broth through a mesh strainer into a clean glass bowl or pot. Taste and add salt to taste. 

To assemble the pho, place the noodles, sliced onions, and sliced beef in large bowls. Pour the broth over the top (this cooks the beef). Garnish with your desired topping, e.g. Thai basil, beans sprouts, lime, etc. Enjoy hot!

Categories
Soups Vegan Vegetarian

Thick and Hearty Vegan Chili

If you think you need to put meat in chili to make it rib-stickingly delicious and hearty, I hate to break it to you . . . but you’re wrong. Really, really wrong. This vegan version of chili is full of beautifully-colorful and nutritious veggies and protein-packed beans, making it an ideal choice for a meatless dinner that your whole family will love. 

On top of being healthy, this thick and hearty vegan chili is (gasp!) actually even more tasty than traditional, meaty chili, in my humble opinion. Serve this with a thick chunk of cornbread, a side salad, on top of nachos, or all alone. Whatever way you choose to serve and enjoy this chili, I’m guessing you will want to make it a staple at your house from here on out.  

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium sweet potato, diced

1 4 oz. can of green chiles

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 15 oz. can of kidney beans

1 15 oz. can of corn

1 c. vegetable broth

2-3 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. cumin

2 tsp oregano 

1 tsp. paprika

Salt and pepper

Serve with:

Shredded cheese (or vegan cheese)

Sour cream (or vegan sour cream)

Green onions

Cilantro

Lime

Tortilla chips

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, red bell pepper, sweet potato and green chiles and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the spices, except for salt and pepper, and mix with the cooking vegetables for one minute.

Add the broth, tomatoes, kidney beans, and corn to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the chili to simmer for 30 minutes so that the flavors have time to infuse. Feel free to add more broth, if necessary, during the cooking process. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with your favorite toppings!

Categories
Soups Vegan Vegetarian

Body-Warming Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup with Veggies

Over the past few weeks, everyone in Colorado has been complaining about how unseasonably warm it has been this winter. All we have wished and hoped for is snow – lots of it. We have longed to ski, and sit under a blanket to watch TV, and eat warm soup. And obviously, we really want to break out our heavy sweaters, hats, and mittens. This week, our winter weather wishes were finally granted. It’s finally cold and snowy, and it’s pretty wonderful – mostly because I get to cook winter meals. 

Is there anything better than a hot meal after coming home from a snowy drive home from work? I think not. It doesn’t get much more soothing than this body-warming Thai red curry noodle soup with veggies. It’s jam-packed with tender noodles and immune-boosting veggies in a fragrant curry broth, making it ideal for blustery days like today that have, thankfully,  finally arrived for winter.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

2 Tbsp. red curry paste

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 c. cabbage, shredded

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 15 oz. can of coconut milk

7 oz. rice noodles

2 Tbsp. fish sauce or vegan fish sauce

2 tsp. brown sugar

Salt to taste

Toppings:

Green onions, sliced

Cilantro, chopped

Lime juice

Sriracha sauce

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse them, and set aside. 

Heat the avocado oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the curry paste, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the sweet potato cubes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and heat through. Add salt.

Top with green onions, cilantro, lime juice, and sriracha sauce.

Categories
Soups

Soul-Warming Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham Soup

Split pea soup with ham is one of those meals that reminds you of the good old days when you’d come inside from playing in the snow and your mama would have a big, steaming bowl of deliciousness waiting for you. Split pea soup is not only tasty and comforting, it truly warms your body from the inside out. And since it’s officially soup season, this soup is currently top of mind in my world. 

This recipe for slow cooker split pea soup with ham couldn’t be any easier to make. All of the ingredients are thrown into the slow cooker and in just a few hours – voilà – you have a soul-warming soup that will surely bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your tummy. 

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried split peas

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

6 c. chicken broth

1 ham bone or 2 c. ham, diced

Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

Place all ingredients, except for the salt and pepper, into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. 

If you used a ham bone, remove it from the soup and shred the meat before adding it back into the slow cooker. Season the soup with salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste and serve warm. 

Categories
Soups Vegan Vegetarian

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

I’m seriously questioning why on May 11 it’s still soup weather, but alas, it definitely is. As I sit here writing this, there is a blanket of snow on the ground and it’s mighty cold outside. 

I’m a bit disappointed in the weather today, but I am certainly not disappointed in the lovely roasted tomato and red pepper soup that I had for lunch. The roasting vegetables in the oven warmed my home, and the soup warmed my body and improved my attitude. The depth of flavor that results from roasting tomatoes, red peppers, onions, and garlic, all covered in herbs, is outstanding. This soup is also very healthy and filling – and just perfect for a cold day.

Ingredients:

6-7 roma tomatoes, quartered

1 red onion, sliced

2 red bell peppers, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, whole (skins removed)

2 tsp. thyme

2 tsp. oregano 

2 tsp. basil 

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 ½ c. chicken or vegetable broth 

2 Tbsp. tomato sauce

2 tsp. sugar

Salt and pepper

Top with cream, Parmesan, basil and/or fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Place all of the vegetables on a lined baking sheet and rub olive oil all over them. Season with thyme, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. 

Remove the veggies and allow them to cool a bit. Add the veggies, broth, tomato sauce, and sugar to a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the soup into a pot, heat through, and serve.

Categories
Chicken/Turkey Soups

Posole Rojo con Pollo (Chicken Posole with Red Chile)

It’s supposed to be full-on spring at this point, but it has been intermittently rainy and snowy for the past couple of days. And excuse me for saying so, but I am secretly a little happy about the weather because I can use my excuse to make winter food a few more times before the blazing heat rolls in for the summer. 

One of the most comforting and body-warming foods out there is a nice bowl of posole rojo. It’s hearty, warm, and so tasty. It takes quite a while to make, which in my opinion is a bit of a bonus on rainy days like today because it smells glorious while it’s cooking and you can obsess all day about the terrific dinner you’ll get to eat later. 

Ingredients:

Posole:

1 lb. dried hominy 

5-6 garlic cloves, whole

3 bay leaves

2 c. shredded chicken

Red chile sauce:

2 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed

3 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed

½ white onion

3 garlic cloves

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. oregano

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

Serve with:

Sliced radishes 

Cilantro

Limes 

Chopped white or green onions

Chopped romaine

Tortilla chips

Soak the hominy in a large bowl overnight. Rinse and drain the next morning.

Place the hominy in a large soup pot and cover with water. Add the garlic cloves and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer until the posole has “bloomed,” or is soft and opened, about 2 hours. You will need to add more water periodically. Remove garlic cloves and bay leaves. Season the posole with salt to taste. Add chicken into the pot. 

In the meantime, make the chile sauce by placing the dried chiles in a small pot of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Place the chiles, along with ¾ c. of their liquid into a food processor. Add ½ white onion, 3 garlic cloves, cumin, oregano, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Press through a mesh strainer, reserving the liquid and discarding the solids. 

Add the sauce to the pot containing the posole and chicken and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste. 

Serve with lime, cilantro, radishes, and tortilla chips.

Categories
Soups Vegan Vegetarian

Classic French Lentil Soup

This classic French lentil soup is one of those meals that is so nostalgic and comforting. Eating this just-like-Grandma-used to make soup makes you feel warm and safe, and almost takes you back to a simpler time as you eat it. 

French lentil soup is never fancy or full of exotic ingredients. It’s just real food that tastes wonderful, is good for you, and is clean and pure. Sometimes I wonder if cooking has gotten too showy and complicated, and this soup reminds me every time I make it that yes, often less really is more when it comes to food. 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 c. chicken or vegetable broth

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 ¼ c. French or green lentils, rinsed 

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly brown. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring. Add the broth, tomatoes, lentils, and bay leaves and allow it to boi Reduce the heat to medium low and cook covered for 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender.

Remove from the heat and, using an immersion blender, puree some of the soup while leaving the rest a bit chunky. The amount you puree is totally up to you, as it boils down to texture preference. Puree to your desire. I usually puree about 70 percent and leave the rest chunky. Season with salt and pepper and top with fresh parsley.

Serve with a baguette, salad, or all by itself!

Categories
Sauces/Dressings/Broth Soups Vegan Vegetarian

Traditional New Mexican Hatch Green Chile

As a Coloradan, I may be creating a major controversy here . . . but I love Hatch green chiles above all others. There’s been a long standing green chile superiority war between Colorado and New Mexico for years and years, and although I really enjoy Colorado-grown Pueblo green chiles, my heart belongs to the Hatch variety. 

Hatch green chiles are so tender and smoky,and somehow both delicate and bold at the same time. They are, in other words, in a class of their own. For this reason, I always use them when I make green chile at home. I do, however, add a bit of a Colorado green chile spin by adding a bit of tomato to the mix just because I like it. If you’re a green chile purist, you could just leave the tomatoes out. Either way, you’re gonna want to slather this on everything. 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. butter

½ c. onion, finely chopped

1 c. chopped Hatch green chiles, heat level up to you!

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1 ½ c. vegetable, chicken or pork stock

2 Tbsp. flour

3 bay leaves

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. oregano 

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Whisk in the flour, cumin, oregano, and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the stock and add the bay leaves. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the stock has thickened. Add the chiles and tomatoes and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes so that the flavors infuse. 

Categories
Soups Vegan Vegetarian

Thai Lentil Soup with Red Curry and Coconut Milk

This 30-minute Thai red lentil soup is so flavorful, comforting, and both body and soul warming. It’s also vegan, super healthy, and so filling.Thai red curry, coconut milk, carrots, and fresh lime come together seamlessly to create a palate-pleasing soup that everyone in your family will crave.

Because of the complex and perfectly-blended flavor profile of this soup, this meal tastes like it has been cooking for hours . . . but the truth is that it takes less than half an hour from start to finish. You can, of course, pretend that it took you all day to make. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼-½ c. Thai red curry paste (use more if you like more heat or strong curry flavor)

3 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 c. red lentils, uncooked

4 c. vegetable or chicken broth

1 can full-fat coconut milk

Juice from 1 fresh lime

Salt to taste

Fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the curry paste and tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute. Then, add the lentils and broth. Turn the heat down to low and let the lentils simmer for about 20 minutes, or until they are soft.

Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the coconut milk and lime juice. Add salt to taste (do not add salt before tasting — both curry paste and broth are naturally salty). Top with parsley or cilantro and serve hot.

Categories
Sides Soups

Sushi Restaurant-Style Miso Soup

Have you ever made the mistake of buying a packet of pre-fab miso soup? Guilty. Let’s just say it doesn’t quite live up to expectations if what you were expecting was sushi restaurant style miso soup. When I tried the store version that day, I could almost hear the loser music from The Price is Right.

Anyway, one day I was tired of thinking I had to go to a sushi restaurant to get a good miso soup fix . . . so I tried my hand at making my own at home. And guess what? It was amazing. Even better than the miso soup at most restaurants. When you make your own miso soup, you can really customize the level of miso flavor and all of the add-ins. I love a lot of miso flavor and lots of tofu, green onions, and seaweed in my soup. Now it’s perfect every time and I don’t have to go out to an expensive restaurant to enjoy miso soup. When you make this, be sure to taste along the way so that you can choose your own level of miso taste and the amount of your add-ins! 

Ingredients:  

5 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)

4 Tbsp. white miso 

3 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes

3 green onions, sliced

Dried seaweed, for topping

Bring the chicken broth to a boil, and turn off the heat immediately. Whisk in miso and make sure that there are no lumps. Add the tofu, green onions, and seaweed. Serve hot!