Sausage, chard and lentil soup

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Sometimes, I think I should rename this blog, “Things I tried to feed my husband.” It’s a long list, and each item on it has been received with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Kil’t kale, for example, was immediately embraced and adapted to work with the metric crap-ton of chard I grew in our garden this summer. The white bean, ham and leek soup has been in regular rotation since the first time I made it, because it’s so easy, inexpensive, and hard not to like.

But a lot of other things I’ve made over the past few months since posting have utterly failed. I made a zucchini rice gratin from Smitten Kitchen that was delicious, but immediately rejected. I bought some amazing kielbasa at a farmer’s market only to realize that apparently the man I married has no Polish blood in his veins. None. (Who is this man?!)

All this is by way of halfway explaining why I haven’t been posting, because I have been assuming that if my husband doesn’t like something, you won’t, either. But you know what? I don’t think that’s true. Mostly because I fell in love with this soup, while he pretty much refused to eat it. Lentils, apparently, not being an acceptable source of protein.    Continue reading

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White Bean and Ham Soup

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March and April are apparently “the hunger season,” when most of the cold storage crops are gone and nothing fresh has come out of the ground yet. It’s also the period in my life when I generally start feeling gloomy and sad, wanting it to either snow and be pretty again like December, or warm up and get sunny like spring and summer are supposed to be.

Really the only thing for this uncomfortable time is to make soup. Soup can make you forget how gross and gloomy it is outside, help you feel better about curling up inside with a book, and make you so happy to be using up the beans stored in your pantry that you almost forget how angry you are to not be wearing your favorite new spring flats. Continue reading

Balance (and soup)

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I am not a particularly graceful practitioner of yoga. My legs don’t straighten in Forward Fold, my high lunge is a little wobbly, and my Downward-Facing Dog is still a work in progress. Warrior II and Three-Legged Dog are better, but I still find myself collapsing in a heap on my mat sometimes, unable to have brought my knee to my nose in plank position while also inhaling deeply and pulling in my lower abdomen.

My yoga teacher is (as it seems all yoga teachers are) an incredibly beautiful woman who makes every single pose look easy and fluid. The trick, she says, is to approach each position with humility and patience, trusting in time that your body will find its own strength and balance.

corn soup dairy free chowder

Balance can be difficult to find during the holidays. There’s so much to do, so much rushing around, so much stress and strife and pressure. There are trees to decorate, gifts to buy, cookies to bake, and carols to sing. Christmas means the joy of spending time with friends and family, but also all of the stress inherent in making sure everything is perfect.

Sometimes, there are too many cookies during the holidays. Sometimes, there’s not enough protein. Sometimes, you find yourself having Diet Coke for lunch at 3 p.m. because you got tangled up in Christmas lights.

That’s when you should stop, breathe, and make some soup. In the course of finding my own balance, I didn’t manage to come up with a new soup recipe for you all. But the point is that soup can be the most meditative of things to make — lots of chopping, lots of stirring, and lots of patience.

And besides, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something really good for your body when you make one of the soups in the following list. And, you know, maybe do some yoga — practice your tree pose — while waiting for it to simmer. It’s all good.

Chicken Quinoa Soup

Chicken, Chard and White Bean Soup

Southwestern Corn Soup

Mulligatawny

Kale and White Bean Soup (via Martha Stewart)

Chicken Quinoa Soup

chicken quinoa soup with lemon and dill gluten freeWelcome to Comfort Food Week! This week, I have three recipes designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, even though it might be cold and sad and disgusting outside. 

Guess what, you guys? It’s cold and flu season. That means that we always have a can of chicken noodle soup in the pantry, ready and waiting for the moment someone in our house gets the sniffles.

I should say that most years we have that can of soup in the pantry. This year, I have plenty of this soup in the freezer, because it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and additive-free — unlike that can of condensed soup we usually buy. It takes a little bit of time, but not nearly as much time as you think, especially if you skip making bone broth, like I did, and buy good chicken stock at the store.

However, the bone broth does give this an extra boost of nutrition. With all of that good stuff in the broth plus the protein of the quinoa and chicken and the amazing flavor of the lemon and dill, you’ll be feeling better in no time. And if you aren’t, that’s okay too, as this recipe makes a ton. You’ll be well on your way to recovery by the time you get through this batch.

Chicken Soup with Quinoa
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 8-10 servings
A perfect sick-day soup. Keep this in the freezer for when the flu strikes.
Ingredients
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 8 cups broth (homemade or carefully selected store-bought)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast chicken breast on a foil-lined pan for about 30 minutes. (You can also pan-fry, but I preferred to roast).
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and sautee for about 10 minutes, or until the onions and celery are soft.
  3. Add broth (I strained mine directly from the slowcooker into the pot). Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until the chicken breast is done roasting.
  4. Shred cooked chicken breast with two forks and add chicken, quinoa, lemon juice and dill. Simmer until the soup is completely heated through. Serve immediately, refrigerate for up to three days or freeze, if desired.
 
Notes
For this recipe, I used bone broth that had been made in a slow cooker with a chicken carcass, about three center-cut marrow bones, a carrot, celery and several peeled cloves of garlic. No ginger, no fish sauce, no vinegar.

 

Chicken, Chard and White Bean Soup with Bacon

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This is one of those recipes that came out of nowhere for me. There I was, picking the leftover meat off of the easiest roasted chicken ever, wondering what I was going to do with the buttload of chard I had harvested from my garden, when it it me — soup. It’s finally soup season. And I could make some with chicken and chard, and I don’t know, white beans? Yes, white beans. Very Tuscan. Awesome. 

This soup is so good that it made me wonder why I hadn’t tried chard in soup before. The reason is simple: it’s a texture thing. I sort of expected it to cook down into a huge mass that wouldn’t blend well with the other ingredients, but it didn’t. It held its texture beautifully, softly wilting but not turning mushy as I had feared. 

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White beans, chicken and the chard combine with garlic and even bacon to make a soup that is incredibly hearty and filling without being too heavy. I brought it for lunch three times last week, and it heated up perfectly each time. Plus, it’s gluten-free and dairy-free — what’s not to love?

If you don’t have leftover roasted chicken as I did, you can use the meat from a rotisserie chicken or from about three cooked chicken breasts. And if you don’t have as much time as I did to cook beans, feel free to use two cans of cannellini beans or whatever white beans you can find.

Chicken, Chard and White Bean Soup
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 40 mins
Serves: 2 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried white beans, soaked
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 sliced bacon, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch chard, de-stemmed and chopped (both leaves and stems)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or bone broth, which is what I used)
  • cooked meat from half of a 5-pound bird, or about 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First, cook your beans. Bring soaked beans and 5 cups water to a boil, and boil for about an hour and a half, or until the beans no longer have a white dot on the inside when cut open. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large stock pot, fry your chopped bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off all but about 2 Tbsp of the grease, then return pot to medium heat.
  3. Add red onion and the stems from the chard. Sautee in the bacon grease until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add white wine, broth, chicken meat and salt and pepper to taste, along with the beans, chard and the reserved bacon (minus however much you want to use for a garnish). Reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour. Serve, topped with crunchy bacon pieces.
 

 

Tomato-Vegetable Stock

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I am on a quest for homemade vegetable stock. When I was paleo, it was fine to just make bone broth all the time, chicken broth sometimes, and not worry about the fact that I was essentially pouring meat into everything I was cooking, otherwise vegetarian or not. Meat on paleo equals protein, bone broth equals gelatin, and all of that was fine with me.

But as I attempt to make this a food blog more about eating healthy, no matter what your diet might be, it occurred to me that some of you would prefer to not ingest cow every time you make soup. You also might prefer to not have to handle oxtails and hacked-off parts of an animal skeleton.

I know this. I get you. We have an understanding.

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Turkey Gumbo

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This recipe is the reason I’ve made turkey three times this year, even though we didn’t actually eat Thanksgiving dinner at home. I was browsing through the Homesick Texan blog, looking for something remotely Paleo (sigh), when this recipe popped up. Obviously meant to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, this looked so delicious that I just had to roast up some turkey, stock up on sausage, and go on the hunt for okra.

Unfortunately, my first attempt completely failed. My second attempt, however, was delicious. I ate it over sort of a bed of white rice (not Paleo, I know, but not not Paleo either) — but apparently, rice is supposed to be used more as a topping or a stir-in. Who knew? A lot of people, but not this East Coast native.

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