Posts Tagged ‘Soups’

From Dish Rachelle:
Clam chowder
I’m pretty sure that in my lifetime I’ve done some serious damage to the clam population of the Northeast. Some of my favorite dishes – and my family’s favorite dishes – center around this one simple ingredient. I grew up eating fried clam strips with tartar sauce with my Mom at Howard Johnson’s at brunch on Sundays and at fish fry places on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. I always ordered the chalky New England clam chowder at Friendly’s when I was little (and we know what a big part Friendly’s played in my childhood). I’ve known my father to cook three dishes, and three dishes only: 1) “Cheese eggs” (aka scrambled eggs with American cheese) 2) Linguine with white clam sauce and 3) Baked clams (see the bottom of this post for a neat trick he taught me). I love Zuppa di Clams and even raw ones on the half shell with cocktail sauce. This is really just starting to sound like a survey of New Jersey restaurant menus.

I’ve made Manhattan clam chowder before (“red”) but never New England. I was very pleasantly surprised. Sorry, clams – this might become another go-to.

Ingredients (makes 2 entrée-sized portions or 4 appetizers)

18 raw whole clams, shells on
2 strips bacon, chopped
Olive oil
½ large yellow onion, chopped
splash of dry white wine
1 large baking potato, diced small
clam stock (see below)
1/3 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
Ground pepper

Start by steaming your clams open. In a large, deep saucepan, place rinsed clams (shells on) in about a half-inch of water. Cover and steam over medium-high heat, giving the pan a shake every few minutes. Cook until the water looks foamy and the shells are all wide open, about 10 minutes.
Steamed clams
With tongs, remove the clams to a bowl. Do not drain or discard the clammy water at the bottom of your saucepan, because this will become the base of your stock! Remove the clam meat from the shells and reserve for later. Place the empty shells back in the saucepan and add about a pint and a half of water, covering and bringing it up to a simmer. Let this cook while you prepare your other ingredients.
Coming out of their shells
Clam stock
Cook the chopped bacon in a soup/stew pot over medium heat. When it looks about done, add the onions and a little bit of olive oil so they don’t stick, and soften. Deglaze with the white wine and add the potatoes.
Diced potato
Return to your clam stock and taste it. It will likely be very salty. Remove shells* and pour the liquid through a cheese cloth to remove any sand or grit that has come from them, and then pour the strained liquid straight into your soup pot. Add some fresh water if necessary to cover ingredients and dilute the salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, mostly covered, about 15 minutes.

Check your potatoes and make sure they’re done. If so, roughly chop the clam meat and add to the pot along with any liquids that emerged. Add the corn and stir. Cook, mostly covered, over low heat for another 5 minutes.
Chopped clam
Add heavy cream and if you prefer a thicker soup, the cornstarch (you can dissolve it in a little bit of warm water first to make a paste so that it’s not gritty in your mouth). Plate and season with ground pepper.

*You can toss them, or rinse and save them for another use. My Dad used to make baked clams using canned clams – easy, but without the benefit of shells for easy baking and nice presentation. No problem: when he ordered clams casino at a restaurant, he used to ask the waiter if he could keep the empty shells so that the next time he felt to urge to make baked clams he’d have them on hand.
Mutual admiration society, clam edition

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From Dish Deanna:


I don’t know about any of you, but I hate winter. As soon as the weather starts turning from summer to fall to winter, I can’t help but become a little grumpy. The biggest problem for me is the cold weather. I usually try to solve this problem with hot tea, Starbucks, hand warmers, space heaters, and SOUP. I’ve always loved soup no matter the weather. When I was in middle school my mom would make me soup for lunch and pack it in a thermos. Whatever contents of the soup didn’t fit in the thermos I ate before I left for school. Yes, at 7 am I would have soup for breakfast. Looking back on that I realize how disgusting it is. Regardless, my love for soup has never dissipated. I’ve never been discriminatory with my selections, I love them all equally. However, cream soups are particularly fun for me to make.  This recipe is a family favorite and I’m glad to say I’ve never eaten it at 7 am!



1 ½ cups chicken broth (you can use fresh broth or College Inn Chicken Broth)

½ cup chopped onion

1 small bay leaf

a dash of garlic powder

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all purpose flour (or Wondra)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

1 cup milk

Yields: 3-4 servings

food processed

This recipe is great because it is so incredibly easy and you can use it for any vegetable if you change out the seasonings.  For this recipe, start out by combining the chicken broth, chopped onion, the bay leaf, garlic, and broccoli in a pot.


Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for approximately ten minutes or until the broccoli is tender.


Remove the bay leaf and place half of the mixture into a food processor or blender. Pulse the mixture for 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and repeat with the remainder vegetable mixture.


In the original pot, melt the butter under medium heat. Then blend in the flour (or Wondra), salt, and pepper. Once those are combined, add in the milk. Continuously and slowly stir the mixture until it is thickened and bubbly. If you find that your mixture is too thin, add more flour or Wondra. The thicker your mixture, the thicker the soup will be. Once you have obtained the desired thickness, stir in the blended vegetable mixture. Cook and stir the soup until it is heated. Add salt and pepper to season the soup further. If you like cheddar cheese, you can even add it in to make Broccoli Cheddar!

Like I mentioned earlier, you can use this for any vegetable because the recipe is the same. I’ve included a small chart for popular vegetables and their seasonings, if you want to get adventurous! The great thing about these soups is that you can freeze it for a later time. Enjoy and stay warm!

Vegetable Seasonings Cooking Time Yield
1 ½ cups chopped celery 2 tablespoons parsley½ teaspoon dried, crushed basil 15 minutes 3 cups
1 cup sliced mushrooms 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 5 minutes 2-3 cups
1 cup sliced potatoes ½ teaspoon dried dill weed 10 minutes 3 cups

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From Dish Danielle:


A week before Thanksgiving with no real holiday plans, the bf and I decided to host a little something at my place. We felt the right thing to do was to bring all the turkey day strays together to share a proper feast. The 8-10 person guest list quickly grew to 18… My one requirement: bring a dish to share with the group! This was a holiday potluck, so I honed in on the one dish the hostess would be responsible for: the turkey complete with stuffing.* I ordered a bird from a local farm upstate and was informed she (Florence…yes we named her…), was sacrificed only 4-5 days before our feast! Fresh as a daisy, I had to do right by her. I resolved to use every scrap of pretty Florence that I could, both pre/post roasting.

florence thanksgiving

This meal was honestly the very best Thanksgiving spread I have ever seen/eaten. Everyone’s contributions were absolutely deeeelicious. Although I sent everyone home with piles of left-overs, the bird was far from stripped. I decided to make a soup with the leftover odds & ends.

DISCLAIMER: This recipe is NOT meant to be followed to a tee! Riff on it however you see fit. Hang onto your roasting scraps and see where your soup takes you. This kind of soup can be made all winter long and interpreted in many different ways.  It’s time consuming but fairly hands off, so great to make while you’re having a cozy afternoon at home. What scraps do you having looming in your fridge right now?

soup ingredients


1 bird carcass

3 leeks, rinsed and sliced (tops also rinsed, sliced and set aside)

4 shallots, sliced

1 head of fennel cut into 1” chunks

10 garlic cloves, sliced

2 parsnips

3 carrots

¾ bottle of white wine

1 box veggie stock

3 qts water

3 bay leaves

1 apple, pitted & chopped

1 pear, pitted & chopped

2 apple cores (leftover stuffing scraps)

2 pear cores  (leftover stuffing scraps)

2 stems of sage

1 handful of rough chopped fresh parsley

2 handfuls small potatoes, cut into 2” chunks

1 bunch fresh thyme, pruned and rough chopped

red chili pepper flakes




Start by sautéing leeks, shallots, and fennel in your largest stock pot over med-low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add parsnips/carrots and cook for 5mins. Add wine and raise heat to simmer. Pour the rest into a wine glass and enjoy. Sip and simmer for 20mins. Add stock, water, and bay leaf. Once you’re back to a simmer add Flor the bird! Arrange so it’s completely submerged. Toss in two pinches red chili flakes. Let it bubble awhile…

cheese cloth

Now, pile the leftover scraps into several small heaps: the apples/pears, the cores, the leek tops, and the sage. Using the cheesecloth, bundle 2-3 small piles up into the cloth and tie with kitchen string. Drop satchels into soup and continue to simmer. Add thyme. Season with S&P. Add potatoes. Soup should be just about done when potatoes are cooked to your liking. Remove from heat and discard cheesecloth bundles. Pull the bird out of the soup and allow to cool on large platter. Tear meat off bones, shred into smaller pieces and toss back into the pot.


Once soup has cooled, skim fat off top.

Garnish with fresh parsley, serve with crusty bread and a glass of apple cider. Enjoy turkey day’s bounty one more time and count the things you’re thankful for. It’s holiday season y’all.

*I hate to admit it but, dish Amelia’s pumpernickel & rye stuffing bested this hostess’s!

Florio final

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From Dish Gwen:

Recently two events came together in my life, leading me to make mushroom soup. The first was that I got a new blender, after six months of having a busted old useless one taking up valuable shelf space in my kitchen. The second was that I started growing oyster mushrooms. I’ve been making this soup for years but I don’t make it often. Now that I’ve made it for my 20 month old son and he loved it, I have a feeling it will become part of our regular household menu. Plus it takes less than a half hour to make so it’s kind of a perfect dish.

– ½ lb oyster mushrooms, chopped (you can also use shiitakes, buttons, portabellos, whatever!)
– ½ cup chopped white onion
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– ½ teaspoon salt
– ¼ teaspoon white pepper
– 2 cups whole milk
– fresh parsley, chopped


In a deep sauce pan, simmer the olive oil, garlic and onion on medium/high heat until they begin to brown, then throw in the mushrooms. Toss everything together with the salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add about ½ cup of water to loosen any brown bits or caramelized coating from the bottom of the pan, and turn off the heat. Carefully pour all of the contents into your blender, cover, and blend until you get a smooth puree (takes about 1 minute). Pour the puree back into the pot on medium/low heat, and add the milk, stirring so everything combines into a smooth, creamy mixture. Add additional salt as desired, and once it’s steamy hot serve in bowls with crusty bread. Serves 4, and this soup freezes well so got ahead and stash some away for later in a tupperware!

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From Dish Nicole:

We are in the home stretch of summer SLD’ers. Last weekend was Labor Day weekend and even though I do not get the summers off like my teacher friends, it still pretty much means the end of summertime activities. I have had a wonderful season of weekend getaways, weddings and beach excursions, but alas all good things must come to an end. The post Labor Day weather here in NYC has been rainy and humid which all you commuters know is not fun. I am beginning to long for cool, crisp fall weather. Today being rainy, again, I wanted to create a meal that wouldn’t send me out to the grocery store to get supplies. Luckily I have a stocked pantry and some leftover roast chicken breast in the fridge so I could easily create this light and spicy chicken, orzo and lime soup. I think that the summer citrus flavors combined with the warm soup base perfectly represent seasonal transition.

Here is what you will need:
¾ cup Orzo
6 cups of chicken broth
2 chicken breasts- cut into bite sized pieces (I used pre-cooked chicken but you can start with raw breasts)
6 cloves of garlic- thinly sliced
1 medium red onion- diced
2 jalapeno peppers- seeded and thinly sliced
The juice from 2 fresh limes
1 large tomato- seeded and chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
(Yields approximately 6 servings)

Start out by heating the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the diced garlic, jalapenos and onion until the onions soften and start to brown.

If you are using raw chicken, add the diced chicken and cook until it’s cooked through. If using precooked chicken, add the diced chicken and sauté for about 1 minute and then add the chicken broth, lime juice, cilantro and tomato. Reduce the heat to simmer. This is a good time to take a taste test and season with salt and pepper. I for one like soup a little on the salty side but this soup doesn’t really need too much, thanks to the lime juice.

For the next step, you have a couple of options: If you plan on eating the soup right away and not having any leftover, you can add the orzo right into the broth and serve once the orzo is cooked completely. If not, I suggest cooking the orzo separately and add per serving. This prevents the orzo from getting too mushy and absorbing all of the broth while waiting in the fridge to be consumed once again. So once you have made your orzo cooking decision, your kitchen should be completely fragrant with limey, garlicky soup smells and anyone in close proximity will be salivating. So serve it up piping hot with some tortilla chips and you have yourself a crowd pleaser.

The next day at the office I found myself shopping online for new leather boots. I brought in the leftovers for my coworkers to sample and it passed the test with them as well. I think I am ready for the fall.
This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.

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From Dish Amelia:

I’ve been cooking for a family in the city recently that needs (among other things) fresh homemade chicken soup on tap. Meaning, I go in there twice a week and make chicken soup from scratch and now I can do it with my eyes closed. I mean, I knew how to make chicken soup, and stock, and green chile stew, and Mexican style chicken soup, and lemony Mediterranean chicken soup, etc, but now I feel like I can really bang out a chicken soup pretty good. There are a million ways to do it, and I do it a little different each time, but I felt like sharing it because its a staple we all need at some point, for illness, or comfort, or hunger, or memory. It’s healing, and it can get us through.

1 extremely high quality and cute whole chicken, 3 lbs (organic, free range, local)
1 bunch very skinny asparagus, cut in one inch pieces, at an angle
8 carrots (I like doing 4 normal carrots, and 4 Kyoto carrots. These are sometimes found at the farmers market and they are pink. PINK!)
1 small onion, quartered
1 bunch of celery, base cut off, stalks divided into two piles
half a bag of frozen peas (or 4 oz fresh peas)
1 bunch dill
some sliced mushrooms
a few cloves of garlic

Get a pot and bowl. With your awesome poultry shears that can cut anything, cut chicken into four pieces.

Pull off any skin you can and throw it out (some will remain). Wash the pieces and put them in the pot. You will divide your vegetables into the “Ugly” and the “Pretty”. The uglies will go directly the pot. The uglies are half of the celery, cut into large 2-3 inch pieces, the 4 regular carrots, cut into big pieces, the quartered onion, a few mushrooms if you want and a couple cloves of garlic. Cover all the chicken and uglies with water and add an inch or two more. Cover and put on medium low heat.

Prep your pretties: Thinly slice the kyoto carrots and remaining celery, and put in the bowl with peas and asparagus segments. Set aside.

Make five other dishes. To finish soup, check chicken by reaching in with tongs and grabbing the drumstick. If the bone slips right out, you are ready to rock and roll. Pull out al the chicken with the tongs and let them cool in a bowl. With a shallow perforated spoon lift out all the ugly vegetables, as they are through doing their beautiful work. Discard them. Lift out as many impurities as you can see.

When the chicken is cooked enough to barely handle, pull the good meat off the bones. I like doing this part and it reminds me of this scene in Amelie when the guy shows his grandson the “oyster” of a roast chicken. I discovered something I didn’t know about chicken anatomy while doing this. When you dissect it this way there is a perfect piece tucked up next to a shaft of cartilage in the breast that looks like a lobster claw or some dang thing. It makes me smile every time.

Put the chicken meat back in the pot, add the pretty vegetables, some dill, and a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Let it simmer a bit more until vegetables are tender but still bright green. If asparagus turns brownish you’ve gone too far. When soup is cool enough, chill in the fridge. Skim off any other fat or impurities you don’t want. Heat as needed. Drink the broth, pick out what you don’t like, add rice, ladle a little bowl or have some with a sandwich.

Whatever you want to do, it will help get you there.

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From Dish Amelia:

My first solid food was a pickle. I am told that while stopping for lunch on a driving trip with my godmother, my mother went to the bathroom and I reached out for and obtained a pickle. She returned and to her horror I was gnawing on it, toothless wonder that I was, and my godmother shrugged. I’ll be 30 in few days and have been doing the kind of stock-taking (not stock making) that I tend to do around the birthdays. I also found out just this week that my great-great-great grandfather was born in Warsaw and is buried in Greenwood cemetery right here in Brooklyn. And coincidentally, perhaps, I’ve made this pickle soup. Pickle soup sounds weird and gross, but its not. This one is kind of based on a recipe from a beautiful Polish cookbook called Rose Petal Jam and they call it cucumber soup. Really, its a brothy soup with lots of vegetables and some salt brined (not vinegar-brined) half sour pickled cucumbers grated into it, for a subtly sour, satisfying and refreshing soup. It’s called Zupa Ogorkowa. (Pr. “Oh-gor-koh-vuh”). I’ve made it twice, but I think it might have already been in my DNA.

1-2 qts chicken stock, (box or homemade)
2 parsnips, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
a few stalks of celery, chopped
a 6 inch piece of smoked kielbasa, chopped (optional)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
4 (brine pickled not vinegar pickled) pickles, half sour or sour, grated
1/3 cup or more of sour cream
1 bunch dill
s&p to taste
chopped green chile (optional)

If you are using kielbasa, fry it for a long time in olive oil with the onion and bay leaf. Add the parsnip and the carrot and cover with stock and water. When it comes to a boil add the celery and potatoes. When the potatoes are tender, take out some of the stock in a pyrex measuring cup and whisk in the sour cream, then add it all back to the soup. Add the ogorki (pickles) and a bit of green chile, if you like. Makes about four quarts.

Sprinkle fresh dill on top to serve.

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