White Bean Soup

I made this from Marcella beans from Rancho Gordo. I love all of the Rancho Gordo beans and find them a much better quality than regular store bought dried beans. Once your beans are cooked, the soup comes together quickly. You can garnish it with baby spinach or any other green.

1 c. white beans, soaked overnight-and cooked until tender, do not discard soaking water
1-2 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4# diced ham or you could use cooked sausage or chicken
optional garnishes: baby spinach or any chopped green-kale, croutons, parmesan

Sauté onions, carrots, celery and fennel for 5-10 minutes in olive oil. Add garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add cooked beans and broth and simmer 1 hour. If necessary, add water or stock for the right consistency.

Chile Verde

I often cook a whole pork shoulder and freeze half of it and this recipe is the perfect use for that pork. I am lucky to have access to lots of different fresh green chilies-poblanos, Anaheims, jalapeños which I roast for this recipe-either on a grill or under a broiler. We love to eat this Chile verde with warm tortillas but you could serve it with rice and lots of garnishes like cilantro, lime, cheese.

1-2 T. vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 T. cumin
1 t. Mexican Oregano
1/4 c. flour
1 quart of chicken stock
4 Poblano chilies, roasted, seeded and peeled
3 Anaheim chilies, roasted, seeded and peeled
1-2 Jalapeños, roasted, (seeded if you like)
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1# or more Leftover Pork shoulder, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
fresh limes
tortillas-I love flour or the corn and flour mixed tortillas

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Saute onion for a few minutes, add garlic, cumin and oregano. Stir until fragrant. Add flour and stir for a minute. Add chicken stock, stirring. Purée all of the chilies in the food processor and add to saucepan. Pulse the can of tomatoes in the food processor four times and add to pan. Add pork and cook 15 minutes. Add cilantro before serving with warm tortillas.

Julia Child’s French Onion Soup

From Mastering The Art of French Cooking, which my father gave me in 1982! This soup is an all time favorite-especially when it is snowing and cold outside! It takes time to caramelize the onions but it is well worth it!

2.5# yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 T. olive oil
3 T. butter
1 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
3 T. flour
2 quarts boiling brown stock, beef stock or combination
1 c. dry white wine
salt and pepper
3 T. cognac
rounds of toasted French bread or croutons,bake at 325 degree oven for 30 minutes.
1-2 c. grated Parmesan and or Swiss cheese

Melt oil and butter in a heavy bottomed covered saucepan over medium low to medium heat and add onions. Stir well until evenly coated with the oil/butter mixture. Cook onions slowly for 20 minutes.
Uncover and raise heat to moderate and stir in salt and sugar. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, until the onion have turned a deep, golden brown. This is the most important step in the whole recipe so be patient-it may take longer to get the deep golden brown color! I cooked my onions an extra 20 minutes.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the wine and boiling stock/liquid, scraping up all of the browned bits. Season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes. Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Reheat to a simmer.
Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into a soup tureen or soup bowls over the rounds of bread and pass the cheese separately.

Posole or Pozole

A wonderful winter soup/stew. I get my white corn posole (hominy) from Rancho Gordo, my favorite resource for beans and grains. I prefer to use my leftover pork shoulder which I always seem to have in my freezer. There are so many fun garnishes for this soup-shaved cabbage, cilantro, avocado, radish slices, tortilla chips, sour cream or grated cheese. I have a ristra of New Mexican dried red chiles and I made a paste of 4 chiles by toasting them in a cast iron pan, covering with boiling water for 30 minutes and then puréeing and straining the paste. It adds a lot of flavor to the soup. We like to eat the soup with fresh tortillas, warmed, either corn or flour.

1 1/2 c. dried posole (or substitute canned)
1/2 onion, sliced
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 small multi colored peppers, diced
5 serranos, sliced (or jalapeños-seeded or not, depending on your taste)
1 can of green chiles, dice
Mexican oregano
Cumin, ground
6 c. chicken stock
Leftover cooked pork shoulder or butt, diced

Soak 1 1/2 c. dried posole overnight in water. Drain and add fresh water. Bring to a boil with 1/2 onion, sliced for one hour. Drain.
Saute onion for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and diced fresh peppers. Add green chiles, spices and stock. Bring to a simmer. Add pork and cooked posole. Simmer 30 minutes. Serve with your choice of garnishes.

Fresh Clam Chowder

From my niece Joanie who went to a 9 month culinary program in Pasadena which she loved. This is a simple and delicious soup!
The key to the recipe is to flavor up the fish fumet/clam juice wine stock with herbs and vegetables. I used the top of fennel, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley. You could use fresh thyme or any favorites. I bought Pasterneck clams from Whole Foods which are small and sweet-I buy them by the each and I used 20 for this recipe.

2 c. fish fumet or clam juice
1 c. white wine or blond ale
Bouquet Garni of bay leaf, thyme or any herbs of choice or vegetable tops/scraps
1 # fresh clams or 20 or so of your favorite
1/4 c. thick cut bacon, diced (2 slices)
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 fennel, diced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced (I like these diced on the small size)
1 c. Heavy Cream
fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper
hot sauce of your choice

Cook bacon, rendering fat and cook until golden. Remove bacon and saute onion, celery and fennel until soft.
In another pan, bring stock and wine to a boil, add the bouquet Garni or herbs and peppercorns. Add clams and cook covered until open about 10 minutes. Strain stock through a cheesecloth, reserving. Remove clams from shells and set aside. If you are using large clams, you may want to chop them.
Add clam stock to the vegetables and add the potatoes. Simmer 20 minutes.
Add clams, bacon and cream. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce! Garnish with fresh parsley!

Fresh Corn Carbonara

From Epicurious It is a winner!
It’s the end of our corn season in Colorado but I had four ears left and was excited to try this recipe. I love that half of the corn kernels and corn milk and cream are puréed to make the sauce. I got wonderful thick bacon from a new stand at the farmer’s market called The Noble Hog. I added a roasted, peeled and chopped poblano Chile because we like spice. Very simple to make and delicious! I always reserve a cup of pasta water incase the sauce is too thick and I added about 1/2 c. pasta water to the finished dish.

12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
Kosher salt
3-6 slices thick-cut bacon (about 6 ounces), cut into 1/4″ strips
4 ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 3 cups), cobs reserved
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces), plus more to serve
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, divided

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain.
Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain (reserve fat). Scrape excess corn milk from cobs into a blender by firmly running the back of a chef’s knife down the sides. Add cream, half of the corn kernels, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 2 Tbsp. reserved bacon fat. Purée until a smooth sauce forms.
Toss hot pasta with corn sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and half each of the remaining corn kernels, bacon, and basil in a large bowl.
Divide pasta among bowls and top with remaining corn kernels, bacon, and basil. Season with pepper and top with Parmesan.

Rancho Gordo Marcella Beans

I discovered Rancho Gordo beans in San Francisco at the Ferry Building and have loved them for years. I had not tried the Marcella bean (named after Marcella Hazen) as it was her favorite bean in Italy. They are now grown in Napa and could not be better. You can order them online at Rancho Gordo or sometimes I find them in Whole Foods.The variety of beans that they sell is amazing!

This is a non recipe-ad libbed with what I had on hand and it could not have been better.
Soak Marcella beans overnight after rinsing.
Sauté onion, carrot, celery in olive oil in pot until soft, add a beautiful ham hock and cook a few more minutes. Add beans and their soaking water and cover by two inches of liquid. Add a bay leaf or two. Slowly simmer until soft-they will practically melt in your mouth. I cooked mine for over an hour and kept them in the bean broth. Season with salt and pepper when soft. Serve with any greens, shaved parmesan and extra virgin olive oil.

Chilled coconut corn soup

From Epicurious-a very interesting and simple recipe that is full of flavor. I love the turmeric in this soup and the texture is pure velvet-you can thin it out to the texture you like with either water or make corn stock from cobs.

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (1/2″) piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
6 ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 5 1/2 cups), cobs reserved
1 Yukon Gold potato (about 5 ounces) peeled, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
2 (2″) strips lime zest
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Diced avocado, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and lime wedges (for serving)

Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion, ginger, tumeric, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8–10 minutes.
Break corn cobs in half and add to pot along with corn kernels, potato, coconut milk, lime zest, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until potato is tender, 20–25 minutes.
Discard corn cobs and lime zest, then transfer soup to a blender. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and purée until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large bowl and chill, covered, at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut flakes on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Stir lime juice into soup and adjust seasonings, thinning with water, if needed. Divide soup among bowls, then top with toasted coconut, avocado, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges alongside.

Soup can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Turkey Pho

From the NY Times, a wonderful soup with your leftover turkey and stock from Thanksgiving. Charring the onion halves and ginger add a lot of flavor to the broth. I love all of the fresh tastes from the garnishes.

2 medium yellow onions, halved and peeled
1 (4-inch) piece of fresh ginger (do not peel)
12 cups turkey or chicken stock, preferably homemade
¼ cup fish sauce, plus more to taste
1 star anise
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (1-pound) package dried rice vermicelli
12 ounces mung bean sprouts (about 3 cups)
1 small bunch Thai basil sprigs
3 jalapeños, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 to 3 limes, quartered, to taste
4 cups shredded cooked turkey (about 1 pound)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 large bunch)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 1 bunch)

Cook onions and ginger directly over open flame of a gas burner for about 5 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they are charred on all sides. (If you don’t have a gas stove, heat broiler and set onions and ginger on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes until charred on all sides.) Allow charred ginger to cool, then slice it into 1/2-inch coins.
In a large Dutch oven or similar pot, combine onions, sliced ginger, stock, fish sauce, star anise and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
In the meantime, cook rice noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
Arrange mung bean sprouts, sprigs of Thai basil, jalapeños and limes on a platter and set on the table.
Remove onions, ginger and star anise from the pot. Add shredded turkey to the pot, and return it to a simmer. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with additional fish sauce and/or salt, if needed.
Divide rice noodles, cilantro and scallions evenly among large soup bowls, then ladle hot stock over the top, making sure each bowl gets a healthy serving of turkey. Serve immediately, accompanied by platter of garnishes.
Cover and refrigerate leftovers, keeping noodles separate, for up to 3 days.

Cold Cucumber Soup with Shrimp

From Ina Garten-another winner! I used my home grown cucumbers, peeled and seeded. I would reduce the salt for sure. The flavor and texture is perfect! The shrimp garnish is wonderful in this soup and dresses it up.

2 (17-ounce) containers Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
3 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup chopped red onion
9 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 lemons)
3/4 pound cooked large shrimp, halved
Thin slices of lemon, halved, for garnish
Fresh dill, for garnish

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, half-and-half, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, salt, and pepper. Transfer the mixture in batches to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the cucumbers are coarsely pureed and then pour into another bowl. Continue processing the soup until all of it is pureed. Fold in the dill, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until very cold.

Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Serve chilled, garnished with the shrimp, lemon, and fresh dill.