Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In The Soup.....

I have never felt a change of seasons quite as rapidly as this one. It seems as though autumn appeared overnight. And while I still consider this time of year to be my favorite, I have to say enough is enough with the cold rain. Blech. There is one thing that makes me feel better when it’s nasty out……soup! You can call it stew or bisque or chili or even “stoup” (hate that one), they all mean warm, comfort food.

Two things happened last week to make for a soup extravaganza at my house. First, my co-worker, Brenda brought me another boatload of tomatoes (love that picture--it was from the first batch). Second, we had the challenge going on at BakeSpace that I mentioned in my last post--- I had the pleasure of picking out a recipe from Chris Coyle’s (Tyler’s Aunt) kitchen---and I chose to do her lentil soup. Here is the recipe as Chris wrote it:

Lentil Soup

• 2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1-2 Cloves minced garlic
• 2 large onions, chopped
• 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
• About 2/3 bag of lentils - rinsed and checked for stones
• Water
• 2 cans beef broth
• Salt and pepper
• Dried dill
• 2 cans chopped tomatoes - I prefer the Delmonte Mexican Blend
• **Diced smoked ham if available - or a drop or two of Liquid Smoke

Sauté the garlic, onions and celery in olive oil until tender. Add the lentils and water just to cover. Add the beef broth, salt, pepper and 2 Tbsp dill; let simmer for about 45 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and ham or liquid smoke. Once the ham and tomatoes are heated through, adjust dill to taste. Add broth/water if you want your soup thinner.

When serving, sprinkle additional dill, or float a sprig of fresh dill on top

** For the ham, I prefer a Morel E-Z Cut. Although the price keeps going up, this is definitely my favorite ham. Whenever we make it, I use the leftovers for the soup.

I’m kind of terrible at following recipes (even my own). The trouble is, I’m always out of one thing or another and end up making substitutions. So, I started out just fine with the olive oil, garlic, celery and onions. But then I had just a handful of carrots that were starting to dry out and I threw those in, too. Lentils? Check. Beef broth? Check. Dill? Oops. Shoot, no dill. Hmmm…what to use? Ah, how about some Italian seasoning? Yup, that looks good. Oh, and there are some bay leaves that I just bought. Let’s throw a couple of those in there.

As for the tomatoes, well, I had just roasted those beautiful tomatoes that I got from Brenda. A few turns in the food mill to shed the skin and the seeds and that went into the soup, too.

 No ham, either, but I did have the liquid smoke--two bottles, in fact. One of those things that you just don’t use that often and then forget you have, so you buy another one. Then, of course, I couldn’t top it with dill, so I used a little Parmesan cheese.

I have to say that this is one really good pot of soup. And I promise to use the dill next time! Thanks, Chris, for a fabulous recipe.

Since I still had a load of tomatoes, I made a pot of Turkey Chili with Black Beans on Sunday. My chili has always been pretty basic and this one was no exception. . First, I cooked my own black beans. My husband has a little issue with high blood pressure, so we want to make sure the sodium content is low. Then, I just sautéed, in olive oil, a chopped onion, and two cloves of crushed garlic.

I added one pound of ground turkey to this and fried it until it was no longer pink. Then I usually add two cans of whole tomatoes, but this time I used some of my freshly roasted tomatoes--I couldn’t even tell you how much, since I didn’t measure—and I added 2-3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 cup of hot picanté sauce, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Oh yeah, and about half of the cooked black beans (I froze the rest). I let all of this simmer for about 45 minutes.

Mmmm....hot, spicy Chili. Perfect for a crappy weather day!


  1. I could really go for some of either of those right now. Fall slapped up upside the head in the last couple of days, it's total soup weather.

  2. Those both look really good and comfy. I love soup/stew/stoup weather!

  3. Both your soup and chili looks so good and comforting. I made chili on Monday myself. It's soo good for this weather. I can never get enough soup recipes so maybe you'll have some more in your recipe box to share. lol

  4. Those both look great!! I think I need to get a food mill!!!