Sunday, February 1, 2009

French Farmers Soup

I found French Farmers Soup in a magazine...Fine cooking Magazine, October/November 2007. It was included in the article "How to make Hearty bean & Vegetable soups" Without a recipe. This article gives you a "method" for making a soup.

First of all, one must start with dried beans. So, you do need to include some soaking time in your plan. Soaking 6-12 hours is a standard for most dry beans. I soaked mine all day on Tuesday, cooked them Tuesday night and refrigerated them. (I thought Wednesday would be a snap and I would be able to get them out in no time while getting ready for my bookclub. And if truth be told, it wasn't that hard. I just didn't get good photos because I was busy making a cheese and fruit and bread tray for the bookclub)
(You can find more pictures of the soup process on my other blog here )

The article told me to "create" a flavor foundation.

It gave me choices for the meat: bacon, pancetta, smoked sausage, Italian sausage.

For the aromatics: celery, leeks, onions, shallots

Seasonings: too many to chose from (You have to add the seasonings the compliment the rest of your ingredients and the ones you like)

Then veggie choices: you can choose from any vegetable you want to.

Add a broth, beef, vegetable or chicken.

And a finishing touch! An acid-- wine, lemon juice, vinegr orhot sauce.

A sprinkling of a fresh herb

And a topping: olive oil, croutons, orgrated parmigiano cheese

and there you have it!

The recipe also gave you "measuring" guidelines to follow.

3 cups of veggies
1 tbs of seasonings
1 1/2 cups aromatics
1/4 pound of meat.

It was up to me to decide what to mix and match and make for the soup. But...they had a picture of French Farmers Soup in the article and it looked delicious. I decided to make that one.

I chose baby lima beans. I was a bit hesitant, because my memories of frozen lima beans during my growing up years are not that pleasant. I didn't like the texture of them. but using dried baby ones in this soup....I loved the texture. They were so good! I think it would be a good soup with chickpeas also.

This soup was really good. And my husband, who is also not a fan of lima beans (he swears that's all his stepmother made) liked it very much.

It is said that soup is actually better in a day or two. And I actually have some of this left in my fridge. mmmmm.... SuperBowl food? Pfftt....let's have soup!

French Farmers Soup

8oz dried baby lima beans

1 med. clove garlic1 bay leaf

3/4 tsp kosher salt

Sort thru your beans and discard any little stones or clumps of dirt, and then give them a quick rinse. Transfer to a bowl and cover them with enough cold water to go 3 inches above the beans. Soak for 4-12 hours.Drain and rinse the beans and transfer them to a 3-4 quart saucepan. (I just used my red soup pot--much bigger than that)

Add 1 medium (or 2) garlic clove, smashed and peeled, 1 bay leaf and 6 cups of cold water.

Partially cover to limit evaporation and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and almost creamy inside. The cooking time will vary depending on how long they have soaked and how old they are. Approximately 1 hour.Season with salt.Drain the beans, reserving the liquid and discard the bay leaf.

Heat 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter in a soup pot. To give the soup a more savory, meaty flavor add some bacon or smoked sausage. (I used bacon) Cook until the fat is rendered, 5-8 minutes. Drain off fat and set bacon aside.

Add the 1 1/2 cups celery, leeks and onion chopped ( 1/2 cup of each).

Season with kosher salt and fresh pepper.
Cook until they begin to soften, 4-6 minutes.
Add the seasonings of your choice. I used thyme, about 3/4 -1 tsp.
Add the vegetables, stirring to incorporate with the seasonings and aromatics.
I used a mixture of diced/sliced carrots and a turnip to equal 3 cups.
Add 2 cups of broth. Partially cover and simmer until the veggies are just barely tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the beans and 3 cups more of stock/broth and 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid.
Return the cooked bacon to the pot.
Stir to combine and cook for another 10-20 minutes to meld the flavors.
Taste the soup and adjust seasonings.

Finish your soup with an acid.I chose white wine ---just a splash.
And when I ladled it into a bowl, I sprinkled on some croutons.

Over all, we really liked this soup. It was a good choice

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chicken Tortellini Soup for Souper Sundays

We've had strange weather this January. It started out snowy and cold, cold, cold. Then it soared up into the 50's and stayed there for over a week, as we watched our heavy snow pack melt off. Then Mother Nature threw in a few foggy days, cold and damp, which is unusual for us, the damp, that is. Now we're back to sunshine, but we have wind. A cold, bitter, biting wind.
Good Soup weather.

My post is short today.... we've had a busy week, but I wanted to get this in in time for "Souper Sundays" hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen. Lucky for me, she goes by Hawaii time. (Usually I feel as if I'm running behind on PST, so this is a sigh of relief for me. )

A few days ago, I made this Chicken Tortellini soup. I have a few different recipes for tortellini soup, but this is a good one. It's easy, it's warm, it's good. You could use leftover chicken even-- if you had any. You can throw it together in nothing flat. Add a salad and some french bread and you have a meal.
This is one recipe I've made for years. An old standby, and everyone seems to enjoy it. You can change it around a bit by changing your tortellini. Three Cheese, meat, spinach, etc. The soup is your canvas.

Chicken Tortellini Soup

6 cups water (the recipe says water, but I use about half chicken broth...more than the 3 cans listed right below here. It's a taste thing)
3 10-oz cans chicken broth
1 10-oz can cream of chicken soup
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (or shredded)
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 -oz package tortellini
1 10-oz package frozen chopped broccoli
Parmesan cheese

Combine water, chicken broth, soup, onions, carrots, wine, garlic and seasonings in a soup pot; mix well and bring to a boil. Simmer until carrots are tender. Add broccoli and simmer for 15 minutes. Add tortellini and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

And there you have it.
Simple and good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shrimp and Corn Chowder/Souper Sundays

Happy Sunday! And it's "Souper Sunday" today---my first entry with Deb at Kahakai Kitchen. (I'm so excited to be in the company of these awesome soup makers)

This is an "Almost Homemade" soup, and you can make it in a snap.
Every January, I host a party, which has come to be known as my "soup supper". (see the slideshow to the left? 2008 Jan Soup supper ) I invite friends and ask them to bring a soup, a bread or a dessert to my house and we taste the night away. It's January, cold and snowy and it's just a good night. My friend Julie's husband Dave told me it's his favorite night of the year...I've been doing it for quite a few years now... what a compliment! It comes across as such a "lame" party when describing it...soup! How much fun can eating soup be? But with good friends and lots of laughter... it's so much fun, to brighten the middle of a cold winter.

We're such party animals. Mmmmm....give me some more of that fish stew, it's made with WINE. Oh now, I want some of that lentil soup, oh yeah... bring on the broccoli cheese baby!
We usually end the night with a game. (and then we get really wild)

There are usually 4 or 5 different soups. There have been up to 8 which is too many, because we want to taste them all...but if 8 or 9 show up, we'll struggle thru. I usually buy bowls at the dollar store, or truth be told, there have been a couple of years when I do purchase disposable bowls, but I don't like it very much. It's not just something I like, eating soup from disposable bowls. We just have so many soups to chose from and sometimes we don't want to mix flavors.

There is some good bread too. My sister in law Meghan is well known for her "World famous Cheesy Garlic Bread" but little does she know, in these parts of Northern Nevada, Shelly has taken that over and now it is known as "Shelly's" World Famous Cheesy Garlic Bread.

One year, my friend Lisa brought this Shrimp and Corn Chowder. It's so good and cream and warm. And EASY. It's "almost homemade"....

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 10-oz cans cream of potato soup
1 1/2 soup cans milk
1 16-oz can whole kernel corn, drained
8-oz cream cheese, cubed
2 cups fresh shrimp, peeled, deviened. (big salad shrimp is good)
salt and pepper to taste
dash of paprika

Saute the green onions and garlic in the butter in a medium soup pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the soup, milk, corn, cream cheese. Simmer until the cream cheese is melted, add the shrimp, salt, pepper, paprika and bring to a soft boil. Cook for 1 minute.
Serve with a green salad and fresh buns.

It's the best!!

And let's not forget...
Shelly's World Famous Cheesy Garlic Bread/Meghan Stone's World Famous Cheesy Garlic Bread
(recipe courtesy of Meghan, but the photo is of Shelly's bread)

1 loaf crusty French Bread--preferably Parisian brand if you can get it.
1 cube of butter
3/4 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise
2-3 T. minced garlic
8-oz shredded Parmesan Cheese
8-oz shredded Romano Cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh chopped parsley

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add garlic, saute till brown--about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Using wire whisk, blend in mayo. Add cheeses, mix together. You may add more or less cheese to your liking. Add parsley.

Cut loaf of bread in half--lengthwise. Rub with garlic cloves if desired. Spread on the cheese mixture.

Bake in oven about 10-15 minutes at 375. Adjust time with oven temps.
You can hit the broiler, but watch carefully.

Surfing for Soup

I'm very excited today, for while surfing thru some of my favorite blogs, I noticed there were quite a few with soup recipes.
These are some awesome blogs. I love their blogs... and when I get a soup recipe as a bonus, well, it couldn't get any better for me.

There are a couple of chili's and a couple of cauliflower soups, which I thought was interesting, since cauliflower is not a common soup. Not one you hear about every day anyway.

But the thing I'm most excited about is "Souper Sundays" from Debbie at Kahakai Kitchen. She has a standing invitation for people to link to her Souper Sunday posts, and she'll show-off all our soups.
I'm waiting patiently for a "logo" from her. It should be here within a few days and then, it will be on my sidebar.

All of these are worthwhile blogs and I think you'll enjoy them. I know I do.
Check them out.

Kitchen Clique
with a great "cheese and broccoli" soup. We love Velveeta. (it's good in soups! and chili-cheese dips. Yep, I'm sophisticated. )

A Good Appetite
has a wonderful looking "ham and bean" soup, that I cant' wait to try. I have a ham bone frozen in my freezer. (where else would it be frozen?)

Once upon a Plate
has a beautiful "one-two-three-tortellini-vegetable" soup. And her blog is so...nice. I just love it. It makes me feel calm after a hard day at work.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks
has one of the cauliflower soups. Her blog is funny and exciting. If Once upon a plate is calming, the Pioneer woman revs me up!

Audrey's Favorite Recipes
has the second cauliflower soup recipe this week. I'm wondering if there is a cauliflower conspiracy that I'm not in on.

Wives with Knives
has a good looking and sounding chili recipe. With Mole!

Karen Cooks
has not only a good chili recipe, but she's giving away a soup cookbook!!! By random number. Darn it, I want to be that random number. Oh...I gotta go comment on her blog to be entered. You go too.

Kahakai Kitchen
has "Souper Sundays". I'm so excited for this.