Tag Archives: soup

Beer Beef and Barley Stew

In October I made a number of meals based on alcohol. I generally don’t drink a lot of alcohol or cook with it usually. Usually when cooking with alcohol it is wine or in desserts. I don’t like to drink wine so why would I cook with it?

This recipe is based on Sam Adams’ Pumpkin Ale, a beer that I would never drink but turned out wonderful as a base for hearty beef and barley stew. The broth of the stew ended up tasting like the gravy in Shepherd’s Pie. It was incredibly flavorful and filling.

I started with pre-cut stew meat from Safeway and chopped it into smaller pieces. I browned this with shallots and carrots in some olive oil. Then I added a bottle of Sam Adams’ Pumpkin Ale and a cup of vegetable stock. I brought this to a boil then added a half cup of pearled barley. I brought it down to a simmer and let it cook for about forty-five minutes or until the barley was completely tender.

A Different Take on Kielbasa Stew

I have posted on kielbasa stew/soup before. I have stated before that it is a staple around our house. I have never been able to grasp the delicious richness, the depth of flavor that I achieved the first time I made it. I still did not achieve that today, but I got closer and somewhere different today. Part of that is getting our kielbasa from Shopper’s Corner (http://www.shopperscorner.com/).

The Sausage

I’m not sure what bargain Shopper’s Corner made with the Devil, but they have the most amazing steaks, tri-tips, and sausages. According to their website they are:

Shopper’s is one of the last old-time meat markets around, staffed with highly-skilled and entertaining butchers.

We get fresh local fish 7 days-a-week, sell only ultra-fresh USDA Choice and Prime-grade beef, and boast a large selection of sausages, pre-soaked meats for BBQs, and specialty cuts.

Their kielbasa packs a spiced up, fatty punch very different from the rubbery, Vienna sausage on steroid crap you get from Hillshire Farms or the watered down, mealy kielbasa that Wholefoods shills out. I’m not sure if this is how they make it in Poland, but it is one of my favorite sausages. And just to let you know, Shopper’s Corner is located in Santa Cruz so you can enjoy the redwoods, beaches, and delicious MEAT in one place.

Dice the kielbasa up and put it in the soup as the last ingredient along with the kale.

The Vegetables

This time around I left out the parsnips because they were incredibly water and of terrible quality the last time I made this soup. We picked up some lovely pre-historic looking and appropriately named Dino kale at Shopper’s Corner. If you’re not familiar with kale, it is

Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleraceaAcephala Group), green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically.

It can be used in soups, salads, or anywhere you have cooked greens. I was surprised that I like it because I usually hate cooked greens. I find them slimy and mushy, but these were tender and decidedly not mucous like.

The kale was joined by chopped baby carrots, baby new potatoes, half a yellow onion, and a head of garlic. Chop the onions and garlic up first and cook in olive oil first. Then chop the baby carrots and potatoes and add to the onion/garlic mixture. After letting these cook for about twenty minutes, add the chopped kale and kielbasa.

The Liquid

I was lacking stock today. I usually have some stock floating around in the back of my pantry, vegetable, chicken, beef, sometimes fish, but today I was out. And it made a difference. There was a lack of depth in the flavor of the soup that I think can only be gained from using stock.

I tried to make up for it by using some Italian imported white wine that we won’t ever drink. Andrew and I don’t drink wine, but my friend Amy gave me some for my birthday: a bottle of white and a bottle of red. When friends Peter and Susannah came over last weekend they went through the bottle of red and three-quarters of the white, which I decided to use for this soup. It added a nice sweetness and acidity to the soup that was very nice.

The Grain

I wasn’t going to add a grain this time around, but Andrew insists on maximum carbohydrates in a soup. Usually I do barley or a mixture of barley and rice, but this time I did just plain white rice, which I have about twenty pounds of in my pantry. Eventually, the rice soaked up the wine, the kielbasa, the vegetables and became creamy as I left the soup onto boil. I love the versatility of grains.

The Result

It is so pretty! Much prettier than the last stew I made. I am very proud of the aesthetics of this dish.

 

Carrot Curry Soup with Chickpeas

I apologize for the lack of a photo. I had a photo all set up to take and it looked delicious and when I go to take the photo I realized I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. It was at home in Santa Cruz in my computer not at my new place in Santa Clara. I will share the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots, washed, and chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 tbsps. curry powder
  • cayenne
  • salt
  • vegetable stock
  • olive oil

1. Wash and chop carrots into small pieces. Do not peel your carrots. Peeling causes you to lose nutritional value plus its extra work. Just make sure you wash your vegetables well. Put in a small soup pot. Cover with vegetable broth until carrots are covered. Cook on medium high until carrots are tender. Add curry powder, cayenne, and salt. The amount depends on your taste buds. Do not overcook your carrots because you lose nutritional value. They do not have to be completely cooked through since you are going to be putting this soup in the blender.

2. While the carrots are cooking, heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium. Add chickpeas to skillet with curry powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook until heated through and the spices have darkened a bit in color. Take off the heat so they do not burn.

3. Be careful with this next step, you do not want to burn yourself. Pour soup into blender. Add coconut milk. Blend until smooth.

4. Pour into bowl and add chickpeas on top. This will make about four servings.

The end result was a spicy, creamy, carrot soup with the wonderful added flavor and texture of the pan fried chickpeas. I love chickpeas.

Noodle Soup Failure

Yesterday after an exciting trip to 99 Ranch Market, Andrew and I made another version of the spicy noodle soup that I made for him last week. Andrew felt that the soup should be heartier so he suggested we add potatoes. Well, I love potatoes so how could I resist? I forgot that potatoes add a lot of extra starch to broth and can change the entire consistency of a dish.

Everything was  going really well. The carrots and potatoes were looking delicious. I added the vegetable broth and seasonings. The broth tasted amazing. It wasn’t as spicy as last time, but had a certain depth of flavor. While the carrots and potatoes were cooking I chopped the brocolli and the baby bok choy. After about twenty minutes the potatoes and carrots were pretty much done cooking. I can’t believe how the potatoes absorbed the flavor. They tasted so good!

Here is where things went wrong. My soup wasn’t quite simmering when I added the brocolli, baby bok choy, and somen noodles. I increased the heat, but something was still off and the noodles weren’t cooking right. I think in the end, I had not accounted for the fact that the potatoes would absorb a lot of the cooking liquid and my liquid was not simmering hard enough to add the noodles. The noodles turned out gummy and clumped together. They had a raw flour taste that turned my stomach and I think in the end is what caused some serious indigestion for me.

The whole soup was off. Andrew ate it but I could tell he didn’t enjoy it that much and he felt the noodles tasted strange too. The potatoes made the broth thick and starchy. It was lacking the clarity of the broth from the other day.

In the end, I majorly messed up on when I added the noodles. Next time if I want something heartier I will skip the potatoes, add tofu or tempeh instead or maybe some cashews. I added cashews to my soup and they tasted very good with the broth.

Spicy Noodle Soup

Now there are dishes that I am poor at cooking and there are dishes that I am very good at. I am great at cooking chicken, baking, and soups. I love a nice spicy soup with lots of vegetables and noodles in it. I like it so spicy that I start to sweat and my nose gets runny.

The other day Andrew wasn’t feeling well and I had the day off so I drove up to Santa Clara to visit him and make soup. He was just planning on making the chicken and rice soup that I had made him before, but I wanted something spicy and spicy things are good for your health (well, at least they feel good to me!). This is my perfect sick people soup: it is hot, spicy, filled with veggies, and filling. I love spicy food when I’m congested: I can actually taste it!

Ingredients

  • somen noodles (angel hair pasta will also work if you can’t somen)
  • one large head of broccoli, chopped
  • one head of baby bok choy, chopped
  • two large carrots, chopped
  • 1 shallot minced
  • one can of vegetable broth + 3 cans of water
  • 3 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. hot chili oil
  • 3 tbsp. spicy black bean paste
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • olive oil

1. In a large heavy bottomed soup pot heat oil on medium. Add shallot and garlic. Cook until shallot is clear. Add chopped carrots and stir until carrots are coated with shallot, garlic, and oil mixture. Add black pepper.

2. Add 1 can of vegetable broth (any brand will work, this time I used Swanson’s since this is what they carry at Lucky’s grocery store). Add three cans of water. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to let the carrots simmer. Add soy sauce, more black pepper, chili oil and black bean paste. Cook for fifteen minutes or until carrots are cooked.

3. Add baby bok choy, broccoli, and somen noodles. These will be done cooking in a very short amount of time, about two to three minutes.

Andrew said my soup was amazing and he ate it for lunch and dinner that day and the next. The only thing he said that it was missing was meat. 🙂

Thrown Together

Sometimes when I get off work I want a burrito or french fries or something else that I can’t make at home,  then I remember that  I have to eat what I have in the cupboard because it’s already paid for. It was freezing today so I wanted to make something warm and with substance. I threw together a tasty, simple stew of carbohydrates, veggies, and protein.

Ingredients

  • one russet potato, washed and cubed
  • one can of green peas (no salt added)
  • one can of chickpeas
  • one tablespoon of garlic
  • two baby carrots, washed and diced
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • sprinkling of nutritional
  • salt and pepper
  • water

1. Boil water on high. Add nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, garlic, potato, carrot, and brown rice. Reduce heat to medium and put a lid on it.

2. After about twenty minutes add the canned goods. Ladle into a serving bowl and add mustard.

The mustard really made it for me. Otherwise it was kind of a bland dish. You could always make this into a curry or serve it with bread. I just didn’t have either of those.

Kielbasa Stew

My boyfriend is going through a barley phase. I love barley: its cheap, filling, and goes a long way. A couple weeks ago I made chicken soup with rice and barley for him. This weekend I made kielbasa stew with barley, carrots, and parsnips. It turned out absolutely delicious. It was a little on the greasy side because I used three kielbasa when I perhaps should have used three. Andrew ate two large bowls of it and I was tempted to go back for a second myself.

Ingredients

3 pork kielbasa (you can definitely use turkey if you prefer), sliced into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup pearled barley

1 16 0z. carton of low sodium, fat free chicken broth

two carrots, peeled and roughly chopped into bite sized pieces

  • two medium sized parsnips, peeled and chopped roughly into bite sized pieces
  • three medium shallots, diced.
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic

Procedure

Boil chicken broth then add pearled barley. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Add parsnips, carrots, shallots, and garlic. Season to preference. Let cook for about twenty-five minutes until carrots, parsnips, and barley are tender. Then add sliced kielbasa and cook for another five minutes.

The broth came out flavorful, creamy and robust. I love parsnips to no end and think they are one of the best vegetables out there. I suppose if you cannot find them in your supermarket or farmer’s market then potatoes would work as well or any other root vegetable of your choice.