Showing posts with label carrots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carrots. Show all posts

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Going Deep

Veggie Loaded Pasta e Fagioli Soup
With Easter three days away, the end of my Lenten vegetarianism is in sight! But there are still a few meatless meals in my path. After thirty-seven days of flesh-free soups, salads, and pastas, I'll admit I've been missing the illusive and simple depth of flavor that even just a little animal fat supplies. Suddenly lacking my go-to ingredients, I am marveling at how much richness a few ounces of bacon or a thin cut of steak can supply to an entire meal. Not that I want to dismiss veggies! I love them - the crunch, the unexpected texture, and necessary light notes are invaluable guests at the dinner table. With this soup, I was in search of ways to add that savory depth meat so easily provides and came up with spice and smoke. (One of my favorite additions to my vegan chili, for example, are chilis in adobo sauce.) This rich vegetarian twist on a Pasta e Fagioli Soup (literally "pasta and beans") is packed with protein and a variety of delicious veggies with a subtly spicy kick. I topped it with homemade toasted garlic croutons, but any good quality bread is the perfect finish for this richly satisfying soup.

- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
- 2 stalked celery, trimmed and diced
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 c. dry red wine
- 6 c. vegetable broth
- 1 14.5 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh basil with leaves
- 1 Parmesan rind
- 1 small bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn into small pieces
- 3/4 c. dried ditalini (or similar) pasta
- 2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- croutons, bread, and grated Parmesan for serving

Heat olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium. Add diced onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until it becomes soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add chopped carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until all the vegetables soften. Increase heat to medium-high and add paprika and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Add red wine and tomato paste. Cook for one minute. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, vegetable broth, beans, and basil leaves. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once soup reaches a boil, cover tightly, and decrease heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove lid from soup pot and discard bay leaves and basil leaves. Add dried pasta, fresh parsley, and kale to the soup. Bring soup to a boil and cook until the pasta becomes tender and kale is bright green, about 8-10 minutes. Remove soup from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, topping with grated Parmesan, croutons, and slices of crusty bread. Yummy!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Can't Thai Me Down

Thai-Style Red Curry Chicken Noodle Soup
This year September has been much more summery than July and August were. The warm weather, however, was not enough to stop my sweetie from catching a nasty little cold bug.  A big pot of brothy chicken noodle soup is one of my favorite sick-day meals, but I was in the mood for something a little more weather-appropriate. (I'm still wearing sandals for crying out loud, I'm not quite ready to make the transition to sweaters and comfort food.) This spicy take on traditional chicken noodle soup uses lots of fresh garden and framers market ingredients. I really like taking the time to slow cook the chicken breast meat so it's really tender. It's good for a warm summer evening and (fingers crossed) just might have enough punch to drive away a case of the sniffles.

- 1 qt. chicken broth
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper
- juice from 3 limes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
- 1 14.5 oz. can coconut milk
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise into disks
- 2 Japanese eggplants, trimmed and sliced crosswise into disks
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled, sliced in half, and then sliced into half-moons
- 2 fresh green onions, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
- 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp. red curry paste
- 1 package rice noodles (fresh rice noodles work great if you can find them)

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a small sauce pan over medium. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute until it begins to turn fragrant. Add about 2 cups of the chicken broth and the seasoned chicken breasts. You'll want enough liquid to just cover the meat. Add 1 Tbsp. of the lime juice and 1 Tbsp. of the cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken begins to turn very tender. This will probably take about an hour or so.

After the chicken has been cooking on the back burner for 45 minutes or so, start preparing the rest of the soup. Heat the remaining oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add sliced onions and carrots and cook over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant and red pepper slices, season with salt and pepper, and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add red curry paste and fish sauce and stir to combine over medium heat. Add remaining broth, lime juice, ground coriander, red pepper flakes, and coconut milk to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer.

Carefully pour the chicken breast pieces and liquid into the pot with the vegetables. Using tongs you should be able to easy shred the meat into the hot broth. Cover, and simmer soup for an additional 30 minutes. Once the vegetables are soft and the flavors have melded nicely, remove lid and add rice noodles and fresh green onions. The rice noodles will cook quickly. Stir soup to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Once the noodles are cooked (2-3 minutes), remove from heat and sprinkle with remaining fresh cilantro. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with hot red pepper sauce such as Sriracha for an extra kick.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Curry on Home

Curry and Kale Soup with Potatoes and Lamb Meatballs
Soup is one of my favorite meals, not just because of its simplicity and versatility, but practically speaking, it's just a great way to put a twist on leftovers and use whatever is sitting in the crisper or pantry the day before I'm due for a grocery trip. The veggies in this yummy and spicy soup were what I happened to have, but it would be great with any number of produce choices (zucchini, leeks, or arugula certainly come to mind). Try it tonight for a quick and satisfying dinner.

- 1/2 lb. ground lamb
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp. dried bread crumbs
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes, divided
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese 
- fresh Italian parsley
- 2 shallots, one grated, and one minced
- garlic powder
- olive oil for frying
- 1Tbsp. dry cooking sherry
- 2 carrots, grated and diced
- 2 pieces celery, grated and diced
- 1 tomato, seeded and diced
- 4 c. chopped kale
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 qt. chicken broth
- Parmesan cheese rind
- crumbled feta cheese

In a small bowl, combine ground lamb, bread crumbs, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, grated shallot, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. garlic powder, ground cumin, and 2 Tbsp. minced Italian parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using fingers, combine mixture until ingredients are thoroughly integrated, but not over-worked. Carefully roll portions of the lamb mixture into 1 1/2" balls in the palm of your hand, set aside. The mixture will make about 12 small lamb meatballs.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan heat olive oil, about 1 Tbsp. per batch over medium high heat. Add 6-7 meatballs to the hot oil. Carefully brown the meatballs, turning the meat carefully with a pair of tongs. When all sides have a nice brown crust, remove from heat. Cook the rest of the meatballs, adding more oil when necessary. The meatballs only need to be browned, they will cook through completely in the hot broth.

After you have removed the meatballs from the pan, add minced shallot and cook over medium, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. After 2-3 minutes when the shallot has begun to soften, add carrots and celery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until vegetables have softened. Add cooking sherry to pan with diced tomato, curry powder, paprika, 1 tsp. pepper flakes, and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Stir frequently until most of the liquid has cooked off. Add chicken broth, Parmesan rind, and potatoes and bring heat to high. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Remove cover and add browned meatballs to mixture. Re-cover pot and simmer and additional 5 minutes. Remove cover and add chopped kale and 2 Tbsp. minced Italian parsley, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. Cook with kale over medium for about 5 minutes, until it becomes bright green. Remove soup from heat and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve soup with a crumble of fresh feta on top. Yummy stuff!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Soup to Nuts

Roasted Carrot and Potato Soup with Hazelnuts and Garlic Croutons
I was looking for something new for my weekly vegetarian rotation and ways explore the world of vegan cuisine. I've done some successful vegetarian recipes, but vegan cooking is a whole other world. Good vegan food is deliciously nourishing, but bad vegan food is bland and, quite frankly, not very filling. The real challenge is that animal fats provide rich, easy flavor infusions and their absence can make for some pretty dull dinners. Vegan cooking is a fun challenge because it forces me to think differently about flavor. This soup is an easy vegan meal made rich and delicious with curry powder, soy milk, and hearty hazelnuts. Garlic croutons add a great dose of crunch and fresh chives are the perfect finish!

- 6 large carrots, peeled and quartered
- 2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 small yellow potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, diced
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2 c. vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp. yellow curry powder
- 2 c. soy milk
- salt and pepper
- 1 c. roughly chopped hazelnuts
- 1 small handful chopped fresh chives
- 2 c. garlic croutons

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and spritz lightly with cooking spray. Spread potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes evenly on the foil. Heat oven to 425˚F. Drizzle vegetables with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with paprika and roast in oven for 25-30 minutes until vegetable soften and begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.

While vegetables are roasting, heat remaining olive oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot oven medium. Add onion and cook until very soft, about 7-9 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add roasted vegetables to onion with 2 c. of vegetable broth and curry powder. Bring to a boil. Lower and cover. Simmer vegetables over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend soup to a puree with an immersion blender. Return soup to low heat and stir in soy milk slowly until soup becomes creamy. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. When soup is heated through divide among bowls and top each serving with chopped hazelnuts, chives, and croutons. Yummy!