Category Archives: soups

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Image by Brett L. Licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

Tomato soup may not come to mind when you think of winter holiday entertaining, but thanks to the wonder of hydroponics, we’re getting beautiful local tomatoes all season long.

Greenling has a limited number of inexpensive “seconds” tomatoes available each week, which can be a real money-saver if you’re planning to cook tomatoes in bulk. These tomatoes are perfectly fresh and safe to eat; they are discounted because they usually arrive very ripe and might have a few cosmetic blemishes.

Since “seconds” tomatoes arrive so ripe, you might need to cook them immediately so they retain their great flavor. For this soup recipe, you can roast the tomatoes and garlic in advance of actually making the soup, since the cooked tomatoes and garlic will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to make the soup, just pull out the cooked ingredients and proceed with the recipe as written.

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup (yields 8, 1 1/4-cup servings)

4 pounds tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
5 whole cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons garlic herb butter
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus extra for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Add unpeeled garlic cloves to baking sheet. Rub three tablespoons of olive oil on tomatoes and garlic, and then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Cook tomatoes and garlic for one hour. Allow to cool to the touch before peeling garlic and moving forward with recipe.

Heat herbed butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until it has softened. Add honey, tomatoes, garlic, broth, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or puree it in small batches in a conventional blender. Pour soup through a food mill or strainer into a clean pot. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Gently reheat, if necessary. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of heavy cream and a sprinkling of black pepper before serving.

This dish is part of our Organic Entertaining on a Budget series. A complete menu of recipes is available here.

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Roasted Carrot Soup with Dill

Image by I'm George. Licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

This morning, I woke up groggy, grumpy, and stricken with a mean craving for some vegetables.

I had a cookie hangover, courtesy of the 16 different holiday sweets I sampled  at a cookie exchange last night.

I wish I could say this was my first cookie hangover of this season, but I am all too familiar with the icky feeling of overindulgence, especially during the holidays. This carrot soup is one of my go-to recipes for post- sugar binge recovery.

Roasted carrots and onions have natural sweetness that brings me down gently from the sugar high, and stomach-soothing dill offers digestive relief.  Using skim milk or unsweetened soy milk in place of heavy cream helps to keep the calories down, too, so I can balance out my cookie consumption.

The best part about making this soup the day after a cookie swap is that the carrots and onions roasting in the oven make the house smell like veggies, not cookies. Someday I’ll learn to have just six two cookies at holiday swaps. Until then, I’ll keep some comforting carrot soup in the fridge to help atone for my pastry sins.

Caramelized Carrot Soup with Dill (yields 6, one-cup servings)

3 cups peeled, chopped carrots, about a pound
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup skim milk or unsweetened soy milk*
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large stock pot, cook the carrots, onions and garlic in the olive oil for 25 minutes over medium high heat. Stir occasionally, so that the vegetables caramelize  evenly.

Once vegetables have softened and browned, add vegetable broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and then use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.  Stir in the milk of your choice, along with the dill. Season the finished soup with salt and pepper.

*Check the label carefully when you buy soy milk for this recipe. Many “regular” flavored soy milks add sugar or evaporated cane juice, and using one of those here will result in a soup that’s too sweet. If you must use soy milk with a sweetener in it, add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to help brighten the soup’s flavor a bit.

Customer Recipe: Cucumber Dill Soup

Here’s another great customer submitted recipe for a refreshing late summer soup. We love to share culinary inspiration, keep them coming!

Curah writes –

Had to pass on this recipe that I tried out last week when my girlfriends came over. We wanted to do a light dinner of cool salads and a summer soup .. so I decided to try my hand at a cool cucumber dill soup.  It was super EASY and very cool and refreshing.

Cucumber Dill Soup

4 large cucumbers — peeled, seeded and chopped. (reserve a small amount for garnish if desired)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup milk
Juice of Half a Lemon (or lime)
2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp chopped parsley
Mint for garnish

Process cucumbers in blender or food processor until smooth. Add remaining ingredients (minus mint) and pulse to combine. Chill soup about 1 hour. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with mint sprigs and chopped cucumber (optional)

Thanks for sharing Curah!

Late Summer Vegetable Soup

Is everyone doing a rain dance? Weather.com is saying a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico may bring us some much-needed drought relief this weekend.

To help bring on the water, we are pre-emptively posting a great rainy day soup recipe that utilizes  summer veggies. Cross your fingers!

Late-Summer Vegetable Soup

From MarthaStewart.com

Ingredients

4 ears corn, husks and silks removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
8 ounces green beans (stem ends removed), cut into thirds
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, in juice
1/2 cup orzo

Directions

Cut off tip of each ear of corn. One at a time, stand ears in a wide bowl. With a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release kernels. Discard cobs; set kernels aside.

In a Dutch oven or 5-quart pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Add zucchini, green beans, corn, tomatoes (with juice), and orzo; cook, uncovered, until orzo is tender, 8 to 11 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meatless Monday: Gazpacho w/ Goat Cheese

Recipe found on Real Simple

This quick & refreshing gazpacho recipe incorporates lots of seasonal veggies – and you don’t even have to turn on the stove! If you haven’t tried local goat cheese, give Pure Luck Chevre a try with this one and you won’t be sorry.

Gazpacho with Goat Cheese
Serves 4

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Working in batches, place the tomatoes, garlic, onion, bell peppers, and cucumbers in a food processor and pulse until almost pureed.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with the goat cheese, corn, and cilantro.
  4. Drizzle with the olive oil and serve with the crusty bread (if using).

Sorrel Soup

sorrelsoup

Sorrel is one of those odd greens that you won’t find in (most) grocery stores, but it pops up around here at farmer’s markets and CSA boxes this time of year. People usually don’t know what to do with it, but it really is delightful so I wanted to share an easy way to use up a bunch. Sorrel has a very sour, lemony flavor when raw, which mellows considerably when cooked. Some people like to put raw sorrel in salads, but that’s not my cup of tea. I prefer a good sorrel soup.

Sorrel soup recipes often include cream, but it’s not an ingredient I usually have around the house and it’s not the healthiest thing, so I thicken my soup with some 1% milk, flour, eggs, and potato. You puree everything together and don’t taste the egg and potato – you’ll just notice the nice body they give the soup. And because you puree everything at the end, don’t worry about finely chopping the ingredients. Just roughly chop, cook briefly, puree, and voila: you have a flavorful soup to brighten up any summertime lunch.

Sorrel Soup (adapted from Recipezaar)

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 leeks, chopped
1 boiling potato, peeled and chopped
1 bunch sorrel, ribs removed, chopped
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp flour
5 cups chicken stock
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup 1% milk
black pepper

In a large Dutch oven, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and potato, reduce heat to low and cook slowly until the leeks become translucent, 7-10 minutes.

Add sorrel to the pot, sprinkle with flour and salt and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes until the sorrel wilts. Gradually whisk in the stock and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so, till the potatoes are tender.

Using a traditional or immersion blender, puree the mixture until it’s smooth. Return to the saucepan over low heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk. Stir about a cup of hot soup into the milk mixture and gradually whisk it all back into the pot. Stir in the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes until the soup thickens slightly. Do not let it come to a boil or the yolks will curdle. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

– Stephanie

Escarole, White Bean and Sausage Soup

When I saw that we were getting escarole from Tecolote Farms in our Local Box, I was excited for two reasons: (1) I have been craving sausage and escarole soup something fierce (2) I was already planning to visit Tecolote Farms on Saturday for a food swap. It seems silly when I write it down, but I felt like seeing the farmers who grew my Local Box escarole would be like seeing celebrities!!

Tecolote farmers Katie and Dave did not disappoint when I saw them last Saturday.  Their fields are about half an hour east of my house in Austin, flanked by live oak trees and dirt roads.

At the food swap, I managed to keep my celebrity-farmer-worship in check long enough to trade Farmer Katie some muffins for some Tecolote mustard greens. After the food swap Farmer Dave was kind enough to give us  swappers a tour of the farm.

Dave discussed some of the challenges of organic farming in Texas (draught, wind, heat, politics) and gave us some delicious, fresh-picked samples of the crops they’re growing at Tecolote this spring. Here he is, picking some peppery micro-greens for us to try.

As I had hoped, I got to see some of the Local Box escarole while it was still in the field! Dave didn’t seem to mind my paparazzi farm photos too much.

Visiting the farm in person really helped me appreciate how many hours of work local farmers spend providing food for us each week in the city. I left Tecolote Farms with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for locally sourced produce. And a renewed craving for that sausage and escarole soup.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I sourced the sausage in this recipe from Meyers’ Sausage in Elgin. Any sausage would work fine, but I am partial to either Meyers’ smoked sage or Richardson Farms‘ brats because their rich flavor complements the creamy beans and bitter greens in this hearty soup.

Escarole, Sausage and White Bean Soup (serves 4-6)
4 links sausage
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
1 head escarole
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
1-3/4 cups cooked white beans, such as cannellini (2, 14.5 ounce cans)
1 cup cooking liquid from the beans (or liquid from the can)
1 quart chicken broth

Cut off the tough bottom stem of the escarole, then wash the remaining leaves in cold water to get rid of any grit. Set the escarole leaves aside to dry. Slice spring onions and mince garlic; set aside.

Slice sausage into rounds and place in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally. Once the fat from the sausage starts to render, add onions and garlic to the pot and cook until tender. Add Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon of water to the pot as the sausage mixture continues to cook. Meanwhile, slice the escarole leaves into thin ribbons and mince the parsley. Add these to the pot along with the red pepper and stir. Continue sauteing greens until they lose half their volume, for about 5 minutes.

Once there’s enough room in the pot, add the cooked beans, 1 cup of bean liquid, and 1 quart of chicken broth. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and allow soup to simmer for about 15 minutes before serving.