Category Archives: Soup

Italian Sausage, Swiss Chard & Bean Soup

It be COLD outside here in Vancouver BC! What is better than some warm soup with crusty bread after a long day of work and/or child rearing? A TV show I discovered on a weird Italian channel we have has given me some inspiration to create a new soup flavour. Lidia’s Family Table is one of my new favorite cooking shows. She’s not annoying to watch and I’ve learned a lot about food and new ways to look at certain ingredients. I took her Savory Potato Broth and then made my own additions for this soup. The broth is easy to make and gives a great base for anything you’d like to add to it. She uses this broth as a base for several of her own soups. You can make the large amount that she does and freeze the other half for later.

Ingredients:

One bunch red or green Swiss Chard
1 can Cannellini or Navy beans, rinsed
2 spicy Italian sausages
8 cups of Savory Potato Broth
1/2 lemon juiced
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
day old baguette for garnish
fresh chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Squeeze Italian sausages out of their casings into a frying pan in little balls and fry up until cooked.

Heat broth and add the can of rinsed beans and cooked sausage. Taste and season again. It may need more salt.

Chop up the Swiss chard (remove long stems) and stir into the soup. Add lemon juice, this will brighten it up a bit. Cook for around 25 to 30 minutes or until chard is soft and no longer crunchy.

Slice bread up into thin slices, brush with olive oil. Scrub each piece with a chunk of garlic (cut in half) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chop up the ends of the baguette into crouton size and toss them in a little oil and salt and pepper. Place in a 425 degree oven for around 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy.

Serve soup with a few croutons, fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley. SO good!

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Black Bean Soup – From Swap Meat

I’m a big lover of soup in the winter months. You can make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for a tired night after work or for those days you just don’t feel like cooking. A good friend of mine that I work with also has a food blog http://www.swapmeat.ca . Melissa is doing her best to create tasty dishes that are vegan, wheat and soy free. She posted this soup the other day and I decide to give it a try tonight. It was super delicious.

The only thing I changed was adding some oregano and chili powder, grated cheese and real sour cream. It was quick and easy and perfect for two people. Check out the recipe here

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Mexican Pinto Bean Soup

Many years ago I lived in California. Being from Canada my experience with Mexican food was limited to the local Taco Time menu. When I discovered authentic Mexican I was never able to return to Mexi Fries smothered in ‘Nacho Cheese Sauce’. From many neighbours and friends in Cali I managed to learn some awesome recipes and stored as many as I could in my head for future use. One that I love especially in the winter months is pinto bean soup. It’s unbelievably cheap and easy to make (though the beans do need to cook for several hours) and as the beans cook they infuse the water with a nutty flavour and fill your house with a wonderful aroma (who knew beans could smell so great?) Ladled into your bowl and topped with all of your favorite Mexican ingredients how can you go wrong? This recipe can easily be made vegan by using dairy-free sour cream and cheese. It’s also a great for a casual dinner party as people can add what they like to their own bowl of beans and broth. Just put your toppings into nice serving bowls and let people add whatever they love.

Mexican Bean Soup
Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

2 cups dry pinto beans
(soak overnight if you can for quicker cooking the next day)
garlic clove
cabbage
cilantro
tomato
green onions
sour cream
grated cheese

Rinse your beans well and dig through them looking for any small rocks or chunks of dirt. Fill up a medium or large pot with water, add beans and bring to a boil. For un-soaked beans the fastest method is to put the pinto beans into a pan, cover with water at least three inches above the beans. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the beans sit for one hour with the lid on. The beans will then be plump and be ready to cook. Bring beans to boil again then reduce heat, add a clove or two of garlic (give it a good smash with the backside of your knife) and simmer with lid on for about two to three hours or until beans are nice and soft, checking every hour to make sure beans continue to have enough water.

For soaked beans – the slower method involves covering the pan of beans with water at least three inches above the beans and soak overnight. The next morning the beans will be plump and ready to cook. Pour beans into a colander and then refill the pot water covering beans at least three inches above the beans. Bring beans to boil. Reduce heat, add some garlic and simmer with lid on for about two to three hours or until beans are nice and soft, checking every hour to make sure beans continue to have enough water. I added at least 4 extra cups of water while they cooked.

Nearing the last 30 minutes of cooking you will add your salt. Salt will really bring out the natural flavour of the beans so don’t skimp too much. Add a little, taste, add more till you get the saltiness you prefer. Adding salt too early on will make the beans less tender.

You can also remove a handful of beans and mash them up and then add them back to the beans for a creamier broth.

Ladle the beans and broth into a big soup bowl. Add a dollop of sour cream and as much grated cheese as you like then top with finely sliced cabbage, diced tomatoes, chopped green onions and cilantro. Throw in some jalapenos or a few shakes of Tapatio hot sauce if you can handle the heat? Sit down, give it a good stir and enjoy! The leftovers are awesome for the next day or you can mash them up for re-fried beans – yum!

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Vegetarian Borscht

So it’s an ugly day outside here in Vancouver. The rain is pouring and the weather is getting colder each morning. What goes well with a rainy day? SOUP. A personal favorite of mine is borscht. There are many different varieties of this yummy dish and I plan to try many of them. I usually make mine with beef stock and chunks of stewing beef (I think this may be my own personal twist as I’ve never had it with meat before anywhere else) but today I decided to try the vegetarian version of it. You cannot go wrong with how healthy these ingredients are. Chalk full of veggies! I prefer my borscht with the zing of vinegar and a big dollop of sour cream just before serving. The beets give the soup a beautiful bright colour and the leftovers are always delicious… serves around 6.

Vegetarian Borscht

Ingredients:

1/2 large or 1 small yellow onion, sliced into half moons
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound beets, (2 large beets) shredded with a food processor or peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 large carrot cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter (omit and increase oil for vegan)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 head cabbage (red or white), sliced into small pieces
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dill
5 to 7  tablespoons white vinegar (add 5 and taste, add more if you like)
1 teaspoon salt and ground black pepper to taste
sour cream (use could vegan sour cream as well)

You can cut up your vegetables however you please. You could grate them all by hand or in your food processor, cut them up into matchsticks – whatever you like. I personally like having a little of both for different textures while eating the soup.

Sauté onions and garlic in the butter and olive oil for around 5 minutes on low to medium heat. Add beets, carrots, and potato, vegetable stock and water and bring to a boil. When the vegetables are soft (around 5 minutes), add the cabbage. Cover and bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the dill (you can use fresh, dry or the squeeze stuff I have) and then add the white vinegar, add more if you like it tangy. Serve hot with and a dollop of sour cream and a crusty piece of bread for dipping.

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Vegetarian Spicy Black Bean and Corn Soup

Pretty much every Wednesday night is girls night. It started a few years ago with the shared love (or hate) for Tyra Banks antics on America’s Next Top Model. I believe we just finished ‘cycle’ (how feminine!) 14. There have been very few men who have accidentally attended (say a house guest of the girl who was hosting that night) but for the ones that did – their jaw was basically ajar the whole time in AWE of how loud and obnoxious we all were ON TOP of how loud and obnoxious the TV show was. Upon getting home I rarely can remember who was eliminated that night, but I know I had a great talk with Ali on the porch and Hamsa’s garden looked amazing. But the show isn’t the main reason we get together – it is simply a catalyst for the pure enjoyment of 5 conversations going on at one time, a new Chilean wine somebodies excited about and the FOOD. We usually go with a theme; Mexican, Indian, Free-for-all… 3/4 of my friends are vegetarian, so every Wednesday is a meat free one. The following recipe is from my pal Hamsa. She made this soup in 20-30 minutes and it was awesome. I’ve made it several times since at home and we all love it, especially Graye! (the leftovers are even yummier!)

Via Food and Drink Magazine (Canadian Liquor Store Magazine)
and also found at http://www.kaitsplate.com/
BUT modified by me for extra flavour!

Spicy Black Bean and Corn Soup

Ingreidents:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups onion, finely diced (aprxo 1 1/2 small onions)
2 cups red bell pepper, finely diced (disregard picture, you only need one big pepper)
1/2 tsp. jalapeno pepper finely diced, seeds removed!
2 tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
3 tbsp. tomato paste (I have made this without it as I didn’t have it)
1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 small cans of corn or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed and rinsed
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream!

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onion, red pepper, and jalapeno for 5 minutes or until softened.

Add garlic, oregano, cumin, and chili powder and cook for another 2 minutes. Doing this brings out the flavour of the spices…

Add tomato paste, cook for 3 minutes while breaking up with a spoon. Add diced tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes more.

Add beans, corn and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, lower heat and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop up some cilantro… spinkle it on your bowl of soup with some grated cheese and lovely sour cream… so good! *d

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Borscht ~ A New Take On An Old Favorite

I’ve made Borscht for years. I’m not sure how I fell in love with it as it certainly wasn’t a dish from my Scottish/English and Canadian background, but needless to say I make it quite often and I’m always up for a little tweaking of any previous versions I’ve made. I may have been watching the Food Network channel – I’m not sure, but I saw somebody actually cooking a beef roast in the soup and then adding navy beans! I thought it looked like it might be wonderful and gave it a try. I suggest you do as well – it was AWESOME!

Ingredients:

Small beef roast
1 diced onion
1/2 a cabbage
2 large beets
1 can of navy beans
2 liters of beef broth
1 bay leaf
Salt ‘n peppa and some flour
Oil
Sour cream

Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil on medium/low heat in your big soup pot or dutch oven. Throw in diced onion and saute for 5 minutes. Remove when it becomes soft.

Cut your beef roast in half and heavily salt, pepper and flour both sides. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to your pot. When it’s heated, lay in both pieces of meat and brown each side. When golden and carmelized, remove and set aside.

Slowly add the beef broth, whisking up the brown stuff on the bottom of your pan. Place meat back into the pan, add the sautéed onions and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 2 hours.

Grate up your beets and chop up your cabbage. I grate the beets in my food processor and cut up the cabbage by hand.

After simmering for the two hours remove meat from the pot. Rinse one can of navy beans.

Add beets, cabbage, beans and a bay leaf to the pot.

Simmer for another hour. 20 minutes before serving place your meat back into the pot. Add vinegar to taste. I like mine tangy! Start out with 3 tablespoons and add more if you like. Remember the sour cream will cut a lot of the acidity.

Before serving, remove meat and pull off bite sized pieces. Serve up the soup with lots of sour cream, chunks of meat and buttered bread! mmmm! My test kitchen baby approves!

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