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!

Categories
Soups Uncategorized Vegetarian

Chunky Tomato Soup with Basil and Marsala

Does tomato soup remind you of rainy days back in elementary school? Old fashioned (and usually canned) tomato soup has always been a classic wintertime school lunch option, and many of us still remember the cozy feeling we got when we ate it with the sub-par grilled cheese sandwich served on the side. Sub-par sandwich aside, that meal was comforting and we still remember it fondly. 

Now that we’re grown ups, our palates have evolved and we still want that nostalgic feeling, but we also want food with more intense and complex flavors. This tomato soup offers the comfort of the elementary school version, but the maturity of a hearty, delicious, and flavor-filled meal. The chunky tomatoes, fresh basil, and milk create a balanced flavor. The addition of marsala takes the flavor to another level and gives it an extra pop of sass and boldness. 

Try this soup with a fresh baguette, mozzarella panini, or a fresh salad. It won’t make you forget the tomato soup from your elementary days. The feeling will be the same, but it will taste much better!

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. butter

2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes

1 46 oz. bottle of tomato juice

3 Tbsp. sugar

1 c. marsala wine

1 ½ c. whole milk or cream

¼ c. Parmesan cheese

½ c. basil, chopped

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. 

Next, add the diced tomatoes and tomato juice. Stir to combine. Add the 3 Tbsp. of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, and then turn off the heat. 

Add the marsala, milk, Parmesan, and basil. Stir to combine. Serve hot! 

Categories
Fish/Seafood Soups Uncategorized

Classic New England Clam Chowder

Have you ever been so cold down to your bones that you couldn’t seem to get warm, even hours after being inside? Yep, same here. Winter problems. 

Earlier today I went on a hike with some friends up in the mountains. When we got to the top of the mountain, it was insanely windy and bone-chillingly cold. Frankly, it was quite a comical scene. We were all trying to run away from the wind, hiding behind tree trunks, and screaming and laughing while the pebbles from the dry, frozen lake next to us were sandblasting our legs. The rest of the hike down was much more pleasant and fun memories were made. We laughed a lot about our attempted escape from the winds at the top because there was just no hiding from it!

When I got home an hour later, I was still cold. I took a shower, still cold. When dinner came around, all I could think about was getting warm. I looked around and realized I had all of the makings of clam chowder! Yes! So I whipped it up, ate it and suddenly felt like a new (and warm) woman. No wonder they eat this all winter in Boston. 

Ingredients:

4 6.5 oz. cans of canned minced clams, keep the juices!

2 cups of bottled clam juice

3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 strips of bacon

2 Tbsp. flour

2 tsp. thyme

2 bay leaves

3 c. heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk

6 Tbsp. sherry or marsala

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Dash of Tabasco, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh parsley, for garnish

Drain the clam juice from the canned clams into a large bowl. Add bottled clam juice until the total amount equals 3 cups.

Cook the bacon until crispy in a large soup pot over medium heat, and dice into small pieces. Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and mix together thoroughly, or for about one minute.

Add in the clam juice and mix in. Allow this mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid is thickened. If it becomes too thick, just add more clam juice. Add the bay leaf, thyme and potatoes to the pot and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. 

While the potatoes cook, combine the cream and clams in a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the clams are cooked. When the potatoes are cooked though, add the clams and cream to the large soup pot. Add the sherry, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Mix together and simmer together for 2-3 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh parsley.

Categories
Fish/Seafood Soups Uncategorized

Moqueca Baiana (Brazilian Fish Stew)

People often associate Brazilian food with big chunks of meat and steakhouses, but there’s so much more to Brazilian cuisine – like this beautifully rich fish stew. Moqueca Baiana originated in Bahia, Brazil and was influenced by both Portuguese and African cuisine. 

According to my own super-technical research, the native people of Brazil have been eating this stew for hundreds of years. When the Portuguese colonized Brazil, they discovered it and added coconut milk and new spices to the recipe. The soup changed again when slaves brought from Africa incorporated palm oil into the traditional recipe. This unique meal is a recipe created via a world collaboration, which is why it’s so complex in flavor. 

I hope you enjoy the unique blend of flavors in this stew as much as I do!

Fish:

1 lb. firm white fish, such as sea bass, cod or mahi mahi, cut into bite sized pieces

Juice from 1 lime

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

Soup base:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot, sliced

1 red bell pepper,sliced

1 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk

1 14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1 c. chicken broth

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. paprika 

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Marinate fish in lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in the refrigerator for one hour.

When you’re ready to cook, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the fish and cook through until slightly browned. Set aside on a plate.

In the same skillet, heat a little more olive oil and cook onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Then, add the carrots and red bell pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, broth, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return the cooked fish to heat up. 

Serve with lime wedges and fresh cilantro. This stew is delicious alone, with a baguette, or over rice or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Categories
Soups Uncategorized Vegetarian

Classic French Onion Soup

Onion soup has been a popular peasant meal since Roman times. Because onions are easy to grow, plentiful and pretty darn delicious, poor people have been enjoying onion soup for millennia. Somewhere along in line in history, onion soup made its way to France and eventually landed in cafes all over Paris. Its popularity spread like wildfire. Like magic, it went from peasant food to a worldwide favorite. 

I’m a big believer that some of the very best foods from many cultures began as peasant meals. Meals like onion soup are inexpensive, healthy, tasty and comforting. The ingredients are simple and uncomplicated, but satisfying and delicious. Onion soup may have had humble beginnings, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s food royalty.  

Ingredients:

3 large yellow onions, sliced

3 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. flour

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 c. beef broth

½ c. red wine

1 Tbsp. herbes de Provence

Salt and pepper to taste

1 c. gruyere cheese, shredded

10-12 slices of baguette

In a large pot, melt butter over medium low heat and cook onions until they are slightly brown, soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the flour and stir to combine. 

Pour in broth and wine and add herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to broil.

Ladle soup equally into four oven-safe bowls. Place on a baking sheet. Put baguette slices on top of the soup, then add cheese on top of the bread. Broil for 2-5 minutes or until the cheese and melted and lightly browned. 

Categories
Pork Soups Uncategorized

Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Spinach

Sometimes a hearty soup is all you need to feel happy on a cold winter’s night. This no-fuss navy bean soup with ham and spinach will warm the members of your family from the inside out and is perfect for either lunch or dinner. 

This cozy-feeling soup is perfect for this time of year because it’s easy on the wallet AND on the waistline. So go ahead, buy the presents and eat the party foods. This is one meal that won’t count as a strike against you in either area.

Ingredients:

1 lb. bag dried navy beans

2 c. ham, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 c. baby spinach

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 c. chicken broth

2 c. water

2 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. paprika

3 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

The night before cooking, sort through the beans to make sure there are no rocks Discard any cracked beans or rocks. Add the beans to a large bowl and cover completely with water and soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and rinse thoroughly with cold water. 

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery and onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, paprika and oregano and stir for 1 minute. Next, add the ham, beans, broth, water and bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for an hour, stirring periodically. 

Check to see if the beans are cooked through and creamy in consistency. Continue cooking until the beans are cooked to your liking, checking every 15-20 minutes. My total cooking time is usually around two hours. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach and stir in until it wilts. Remove the bay leaves and serve immediately.

Categories
Chicken/Turkey Soups Uncategorized

Avgolemono Soup (Tangy Greek Lemon Chicken Soup)

It seems that every culture has its version of a comforting, crave-worthy soup. For many Americans, it’s grandma’s chicken noodle soup. Avgolemono soup, made with a scrumptious base of lemons and eggs, is Greece’s version of grandma’s soup that can always lift your spirits and make you feel safe and warm.

Avgolemono soup is creamy and rich. It tastes like a cream-based soup that will go straight to your hips . . . but the awesome news is that it’s actually very healthy. Best of all, avgolemono soup is so quick and easy to make. The whole process takes less than 30 minutes, making it the perfect meal for a weeknight dinner.

Ingredients:

2 c. cooked, shredded chicken

1 c. carrots, finely chopped

½ c. celery, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

½ c. green onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 bay leaves

1 c. uncooked white rice

½ fresh lemon juice

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery, onions and green onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and bay leaves. Increase to high heat and allow the mixture to boil. Add the uncooked rice and turn to medium-low heat and allow to simmer until rice is cooked (about 20 minutes). Add the cooked chicken to the pot.

Mix together the eggs and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. Add a ladle full of the soup mixture into the bowl and whisk again until mixed. Add egg, lemon and soup mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with parsley and serve immediately. 

I recommend pairing this with pita bread for a perfectly delicious Greek meal.