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Nourishing and warm, soup is comfort in a cup

  • From news services
  • Published Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, at 10:01 p.m.

MINESTRONE SOUP

Adapted from “Hazan Family Favorites” by Giuliano Hazan (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95)

Serves: 4

1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

2 celery ribs, diced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

8 ounces cabbage (preferably Savoy)

4 ounces green beans

12 ounces boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)

12 ounces zucchini

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or beef broth

Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)

1 1/2 cups canned, drained cannellini beans

Place onion, carrots, celery, olive oil and butter in a 6-quart soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion turns golden and carrots and celery just begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely shred cabbage. Trim ends of green beans and dice them. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Trim ends of the zucchini and cut into 1/2-inch dice.

Add cabbage to sauteed vegetables, season lightly with salt and cook until cabbage wilts, about 5 minutes. Add green beans, potatoes and zucchini. Add broth, 4 cups water and cheese rind. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, 2 1/2 hours.

Add cannellini beans and cook 20 minutes more.

Note: To make Minestrone With Rice, bring 3 cups soup and 3 cups water to a boil. Stir in 3/4 cup arborio or other Italian rice, and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes. Ten minutes into cooking, add a dozen coarsely shredded fresh basil leaves. Serve at room temperature, drizzling each of the 4 portions with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil.

Per serving: 422 calories (38 percent from fat), 18 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 9 g monounsaturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 22 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 1,800 mg sodium.

THE WICHITA EAGLE — Dec. 26, 2012

Wild Rice, Sweet Potato and Apple Chowder

From Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, special to the Washington Post

Serves: 8

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 large (8 ounces) onion, finely chopped (a scant 2 cups)

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste

¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2½ cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth

2½ cups unsweetened apple cider

¾ cup uncooked wild rice

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound (1 large or 2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

Heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Add the cumin and nutmeg; cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Pour in the broth and cider; bring the liquid to a boil, increasing the heat as needed. Stir in the wild rice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the liquid returns to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low (or as needed) so the liquid maintains a low, steady boil. Cook for 20 minutes; add the sweet potato cubes, then cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the wild rice and sweet potatoes are tender.

While the chowder is cooking, heat the remaining teaspoon of oil with the butter in a large (10-inch) nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apple cubes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, tossing them every 30 seconds or so, until the apple cubes are evenly coated, cooked through and lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Taste the chowder, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add the sauteed apple. Cook (over medium-low heat) for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped chives, if desired.

Per serving: 200 calories, 4 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 105 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugar

THE WICHITA EAGLE — Dec. 26, 2012

ROASTED CARROT SOUP

From “The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2: Seasonal Recipes From Our Kitchens to Yours,” by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs (William Morrow Cookbooks, $35)

Serves: 4

6 to 8 large carrots (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt

6 cups vegetable stock, or as needed

1-inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled

1 fresh thyme sprig, plus chopped thyme for garnish

1/2 large sweet onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Set an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the heat source and turn on the broiler. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Broil the carrots until they brown and soften, turning them over with a spatula every 5 minutes or so; this should take 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the ginger and sprig of thyme, turn down the heat, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Just before the carrots are done, put the onion in a large saucepan with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the carrots.

Remove the ginger and thyme from the stock and add the stock to the onions and carrots. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the carrots are very soft. Use an immersion or a standard blender to puree the soup until smooth. If the soup seems too thick, add more stock or water and reheat gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve garnished with chopped thyme.

THE WICHITA EAGLE — Dec. 26, 2012

MIGHTY MULLIGATAWNY

From “Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain,” by Jamie Oliver (Hyperion, $35)

Serves 6

Olive oil

8 1/2 ounces quality ground beef

1 red onion, peeled

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 or 2 chilies, deseeded and chopped

A small bunch of fresh cilantro

1 heaped tablespoon Patak’s Madras curry paste

1 tablespoon tomato puree

Sea salt and ground pepper

1 heaped tablespoon HP sauce

5 cups organic beef stock

1/2 of a butternut squash (roughly 12 ounces)

A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked

A couple of pinches of garam masala

1 cup basmati rice

Plain yogurt, to serve

Put a large pan on a high heat and add a splash of olive oil and the ground beef.

Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the beef, until it starts to turn golden and caramelize. Stir in the onion, carrot, garlic, red pepper, ginger and most of the chilies, and add a splash more oil, if needed. Cut the top leafy section off the cilantro and put aside in a cup of cold water for later. Finely chop the stalks and add to the pan. Cook and stir for around 10 minutes on a medium heat, or until the veggies have softened.

Stir in the curry paste, tomato puree, a good pinch of salt and pepper and the HP sauce. After a few more minutes, when it smells fantastic, pour in the stock. Leave to blip away with the lid on over a medium heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut the butternut squash into 1/2-inch chunks, getting rid of any seeds and gnarly bits (there’s no need to peel it). Put a smaller pan on a high heat. Add a lug of olive oil and the squash. Stir in the thyme leaves and the garam masala. Pop a lid on the pan and cook for around 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until softened and golden. Add a cup of rice to the pan with 2 cups of water and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Replace the lid and cook for around 8 minutes on a medium heat, then turn the heat off and leave to steam for 8 minutes with the lid on.

Fluff up the rice and tip it into the soup. Have a taste, and season if needed. Gently mix together, then divide among your soup bowls with a good dollop of plain yogurt. Scatter over the cilantro leaves and add a sprinkling of fresh chili, if you like.

THE WICHITA EAGLE — Dec. 26, 2012

CARAMELIZED ONION AND SUN-DRIED TOMATO FLATBREAD

From Pat Clark of the Modesto Bee.

Makes 1 flatbread

1 ball fresh pizza dough

Olive oil

1 red onion, sliced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoon ricotta

1 tablespoon jarred basil pesto

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil

Heat olive oil in skillet and add sliced onions. Caramelize over low heat until golden brown, stirring in the balsamic vinegar toward the end of cook time. Roll out pizza dough to a free-form oblong shape. Cover bottom of a cookie sheet with olive oil and place rolled out dough on top.

Combine ricotta and basil pesto and spread evenly over the dough. Top with the onions and bake according to package directions on prepared dough. Add the sun-dried tomatoes during the last 5 minutes, then continue to cook until top is golden brown. Slice and serve.

THE WICHITA EAGLE — Dec. 26, 2012

OREGANO FLATBREAD

From Pat Clark of the Modesto Bee.

Makes 1 flatbread

1 ball fresh pizza dough

Olive oil

1/2 cup prepared pasta sauce

1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Roll out pizza dough to a free-form oblong shape. Cover bottom of a cookie sheet with olive oil and place dough on top. Spread more olive oil on dough. Spread a light layer of pasta sauce evenly over the dough and top evenly with the cheese, then the oregano. Bake according to package directions on prepared dough or until top is golden brown.

THE WICHITA EAGLE — Dec. 26, 2012

Soup is universal. Spice it up, tone it down, keep it simple or load it with ingredients. The results are the same: Warm or cold, it’s comfort in a cup.

It’s delicious and nutritious whether slurped from a cup or savored with a spoon. You could say soup is giving — and forgiving. Throw in anything. Thicken it in so many ways: cornstarch, pureed cooked beans, cooked mashed potatoes, 2 tablespoons of almonds or cashews soaked in hot water and pureed, barley, a flour slurry, with potato starch or semolina flour.

Contributing: Miami Herald, Washington Post, Modesto Bee

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