Category: Soup

Grilled Corn Chowder

Grilled Corn Chowder
It took me extra time at the corn bin at the farmers market yesterday. I’ve heard some people say it’s rude, but I always peel back the top of the husk to make sure there aren’t any wrinkled or missing kernels or worse, a little inch worm feasting away. This late in the season it seems like the there is some sort of defect in pretty much every cob. You can’t be picky!

I bought some even though it wasn’t in the greatest condition. After devouring corn on the cob for the last couple months, it was time to get every last bit out of it and make grilled corn soup. I started by firing up the grill and then it was back to the stove to sauté veggies and make stock with the plain cobs. I finished off this early fall soup with scallions and chives.
Grilled Corn ChowderGrilled Corn Chowder

Serves 4

6 ears corn, shucked
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
1 leek, white & light green sections thinly sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium baking potato, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced chives

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.

Rub the corn with 2 teaspoons olive oil and grill until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Let the corn cool slightly before slicing the kernels off the cobs. Cut the cobs in half.

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the cobs and bay leaf and simmer for 25 minutes. Discard the cobs and bay leaf. Transfer the liquid to a blender with 1-1/2 cups corn kernels. Blend until smooth. Pour through a mesh strainer into the large saucepan and return to a simmer.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the leeks for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the red peppers, potatoes and flour and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the mixture to the corn stock with the salt & pepper and simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Divide into bowls and top with scallions and chives before serving.

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Green Minestrone Soup

Green Minestrone Soup
I know spring is official when these two trees in our neighborhood start to bud and reveal their delicate pink blossoms. It seems like it happened earlier this year than in the past, but they are hearty trees. Those flowers manage to hang on through the ups and downs of early spring before they fall off, covering the sidewalk and making way for lush green leaves to take their place.

Soup still feels appropriate right now, but its days are numbered. This past winter I made classic minestrone, but I revisited this hearty bowl turning it into green minestrone soup. Each bite was filled with spring veggies like peas and carrots. It was comforting for the chill that seems to be lingering, but it was light enough not to feel like I was being dragged back to those short, dark January days.
Green Minestrone Soup
Green Minestrone Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, thinly slices
4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandolin
1 cup shelled peas, fresh or frozen
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup fregola, cavatelli, ditalini or other small pasta
1-1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Shaved Parmesan for serving

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion & celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the carrots and peas and continue simmering until the carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium saucepan, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al denté, according to packet instructions. Add the pasta to the soup.

While the pasta is cooking, place the parsley, shallots, garlic and remaining olive oil in a food processor and process into a paste. Stir into the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the soup into bowls and top with with shaved Parmesan before serving.

Roasted Spicy Purple Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Spicy Purple Cauliflower Soup
It can take me a couple days to finalize my grocery list, and when I get to the store usually all that time didn’t even matter because what I have my heart set on is out of stock. Or I find something that I never planned on buying that day, but it immediately becomes the must-have item I absolutely can’t live without.

That happened to me on my last trip. Across the produce department I spied cauliflower in every color—white, orange, green and purple. I put two heads into my cart, and when I got home, I made roasted spicy purple cauliflower soup. No matter the hue, this simple vegan soup will turn out hearty and filling.
Roasted Spicy Purple Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Spicy Purple Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

1-1/2 pounds purple cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets*
1/2 pound purple fingerling potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more for serving
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small red onion, roughly chopped*
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 cups  water
Fresh chives for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the cauliflower and potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast the cauliflower until it is tender and the florets are starting to brown at the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until they start to soften. Stir in the garlic and remaining red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes. Add the water cauliflower and potatoes, reserving 1/2 cup cauliflower for garnish. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes.

Carefully transfer the soup in batches to a blender to puree. Return the soup to the saucepan to reheat before serving, Divide into bowls and top with cauliflower, fresh chives and red pepper flakes.

*Note: If you have white, orange or green cauliflower, use a white onion instead of red.

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Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup
Always on my Sunday to-do list is to make a giant batch of soup to last through the week, so I am set with lunch and/or dinner. Once the weather gets warmer and more fruits and veggies are in season, my warm, comforting bowls of soup will morph into hearty salads that I can make first thing in the morning and will still be fresh for lunch at work.

What I love about those salads and what I miss about soup is texture. So often soup is just veggie puree in a bowl, and I want more bite and lots of different flavors. I made vegetarian minestrone soup that eliminated all the jealousy that soup can have for salad. With green beans, pinto beans, kale and pasta, this version was chock full of all sorts of tasty ingredients.
Minestrone Soup
Minestrone Soup

Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup trimmed green beans, 1/2-inch long
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups vegetarian stock
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-15 ounce can kidney beans
1 cup shredded kale
1 cup small pasta (I used mini shells.)
Fresh chives for serving
Shaved Parmesan for serving

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery until they start to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and green beans and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute

Add the tomatoes, stock, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the soup thickens slightly. Add the pasta and kale and continue simmering until the pasta is al dente.

Garnish with chives and Parmesan before serving.

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