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!

Categories
Pork Soups Uncategorized

Judiones de la Granja de San Ildefonso (Giant Spanish White Beans and Sausages)

A few years ago, my parents took us on a family vacation to Spain and the cuisine we experienced, both high-brow and low-brow, was unparalleled. The Spanish embrace community cuisine and every town seems to have its signature dish. One of the best signature dishes I tried was in Segovia: judiones de la granja de San Ildefonso. These enormous, creamy white beans are unlike any other beans I have ever tasted. And when they are cooked with Spanish chorizo, ham bones, and paprika, they are indescribably comforting and delicious.

During our travels, we spent some time in a parador in Segovia and what a magical experience that was. Segovia, a World Heritage City, is a magnificent spanish town that is full of history and is crowned at the top of its tallest hill by the Alcazar de Segovia, a royal Spanish castle that dates back to at least the 12th century. Everything about Segovia is extraordinary, and I have such fond memories of this special place. 

While we were in Segovia, we enjoyed a special dinner at the parador and our first course was judiones de la Granja de San Ildefonso. I was blown away by this simple dish rumored to have been first created at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso right outside of Segovia. It is said that these beans were first brought to the palace from the Americas and fed to the royal animals. Apparently, at some point, the royals themselves tried the beans and loved them. This dish has been wildly popular in Segovia ever since, and it’s pretty obvious why these giant beans are so loved once you taste them. 

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried judion beans

3 Spanish chorizo, sliced

1 serrano ham bone (or a regular ham bone will work)

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, mined

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. flour

2 Tbsp. Spanish paprika

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight. Drain and rinse the beans. Put them in a large stock pot with the bay leaves, ham bone, and chorizo. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 3 hours, or until beans are creamy and tender, but still intact. You will probably need to add water as the beans cook, as it will evaporate. 

At this point, you will need to heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onion until golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the paprika and flour and stir until fragrant. Add to the beans and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Categories
Beef Soups Uncategorized

Loaded Taco Chili

I don’t meet very many people who don’t love a warm bowl of chili in the winter. The nice thing about chili is that it can appeal to everyone if the ingredients are changed up a bit. Meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans, those who like spice, and those who don’t can all find a chili to enjoy. My version of loaded taco chili can be adapted to suit any of those tastes. 

This loaded taco chili puts a different spin on traditional chili by adding taco seasoning and refried beans, rather than traditional chili ingredients. The best part is that you get to put all of your favorite taco toppings on it. If you have ever visited my website, you know I am a serious taco fan. Apparently, even my chili has to resemble a taco. And another bonus is that this chili is simple and lightning fast to make. You can go from prep to table in 20 minutes!

Ingredients:

1 lb. organic ground beef (or turkey or meat alternative)

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

15 oz. can diced tomatoes

15 oz. can corn, drained and rinsed 

15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 

15 oz. can refried beans

4 oz. can diced green chiles

8 oz. can tomato sauce

2-3 cups chicken broth

2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste 

Serve with:

Sour cream

Cheese

Jalapenos

Avocado 

Green onions

Cilantro 

Tortilla chips

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook through, breaking up the meat as it cooks. If you are using turkey, you will need a little oil to cook the turkey. When the beef is cooked, add the onions and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, kidney beans, refried beans, chicken broth and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Then, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. 

Top with your favorite taco and/or chili toppings!

Categories
Pork Soups Uncategorized

Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) Ramen

Tonkotsu ramen is the god of all ramens. The depth and complexity of the tonkotsu broth provide the foundation for the earth-shatteringly delectable bowl of happiness that is tonkotsu ramen. It’s the ultimate comfort food for winter. The unbelievably savory broth, toothsome noodles, silky, jammy eggs, melt-in-your-mouth pork, and fresh vegetables will make you feel like you’re sitting in an authentic ramen house somewhere in Japan. 

This isn’t an easy 30-minute recipe, though. This beautiful meal takes time, patience, and love to create. It takes a minimum of two days to make and definitely takes effort . But the end result is 100 percent worth it. In fact, as soon as you finish this, you’ll probably be planning for the next adventure in home ramen making.

Ingredients:

4 c. tonkotsu ramen broth

2 Tbsp. white miso paste

¼ c. soy sauce

Chashu pork belly, thinly sliced

4 servings of high-quality ramen noodles

½ c. enoki or clamshell mushrooms

5 green onions, sliced

Ramen eggs, for topping

Nori, for topping

Heat the ramen broth over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, add the miso paste and soy sauce and reduce to a simmer. Whisk together completely and simmer for 2 more minutes. 

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package and drain. 

To assemble the ramen, place noodles equally between four bowls. Add broth on top. Drop in the chashu, mushrooms, green onion and nori so that they become warm in the broth. Top with ramen eggs and nori.

Categories
Pork Sauces/Dressings/Broth Soups Uncategorized

Slow Cooker Tonkotsu (Pork) Ramen Broth

This rich, delicious broth adds so much depth to just about anything that uses broth as a base. My favorite way to use this is in tonkotsu ramen. When this tonkotsu broth is combined with all of the other ingredients in a good bowl of ramen, the umami taste is mind-blowingly good. 

This version of tonkotsu broth is made in a slow cooker. While the initial part of the process must be done in a stockpot and skillet, the actual broth cooking time of 16 hours is done in a slow cooker. For me, this is much more convenient and safe because I like to cook the broth overnight while I sleep. You will definitely need a large slow cooker to fit all of these ingredients in. If you don’t have a slow cooker, this can be cooked in a stock pot on low for 16 hours. 

Ingredients: 

4 lb. pork bones

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, quartered

10 cloves garlic, smashed

2-3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced

3 leeks, cleaned and halved

2 cups of shiitake mushrooms, halved

Salt and pepper

Place the pork bones in a large stockpot and cover in water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Let the bones cool and then scrub them clean, making sure to remove any fragments of bone. 

While the bones are cooling, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook the onions, garlic, and ginger until they are slightly charred. This will only take a few minutes, about 5. 

Add the pork bones, cooked vegetables, leeks, and mushrooms to a large slow cooker. Cover with 2 inches of water. Set to low and cook for 16 hours. 

Remove the large items with tongs and a slotted spoon and discard. Then strain the broth through a strainer to remove finer particles from the broth. Place the broth in the refrigerator overnight and skim off the layer of fat before reheating it. The broth is now ready to use!