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Duck Soup

I scoured the internet to try to find something to do with duck bones. Surely there was something other than boring old stock I could use them for. I certainly wasnt going to waste them! And that is when I stumbled upon this great post on Chow that gave me a sense of direction.

Duck Soup served two ways.

[ Serves: 4 | Time: 15 Minutes | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 3.5 / 5 | My Rating: 3 / 5 ]

Ingredients

Bones of 1 duck
1 – 2 litres stock
1 leek, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 – 3 sticks of celery, chopped
1 orange, juiced and zested
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1½ tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves

Method

  1. Brown the bones in a large pot until they are well caramelised. Remove and reserve.

    Caramelised Duck Bones – rendering them in the pot allows you to cook the veggies in the delicious duck fat.

  2. Add the leek, celery, carrot and garlic to the pot and sauté them gently in the duck fat.

    Sauté the vegetables in the duck fat and don’t worry about the caramalisation – you will be de glazing!

  3. De-glaze the pot with the wine and cook for a few minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the tomato paste and flour and cook off for several minutes. Ensure the flour is cooked well – this will take about five minutes.
  5. Add the bones, stock, parsley and bay leaves and boil for about 20 minutes, removing the scum from the surface regularly.

    By this stage, it should start to smell quite fragrant.

  6. Reduce the heat and add the orange juice and rind. Simmer lightly for 40 minutes.
  7. Strain the soup through cloth to remove the vegetables and serve the broth hot or eat it whole as a heartier soup.

Observations

  • I did as the original recipe suggested and strained the soup through cloth and just served the broth for my first tasting. Joe opted to forgo the strained soup and just ate it directly from the pot. I have to admit that I actually preferred it his way. Every other mouthful was a flavour explosion as you got a bit of orange rind and you don’t waste anything by eating it all.
  • I have to admit that I cheated a little. As I was cooking it and tasting it, I could only think of brown rice to accompany it. Just before serving, I made up some brown rice and put some into the bowls before the soup / broth went in. The combination was made of win.
  • Diabetic Note: Nothing scary here, other than the fat. If you are worried about the fat, dry fry the vegetables rather than in the rendered duck fat. I did however, forgo the cream that is suggested in the original recipe for fat / calorie reasons.
  • Ethical Note: Oh how I love meals like this. There is something about utilising the whole of the bird that just tickles my fancy. On top of the fact that I used the bones, I really struggled with discarding the vegetables in the soup just for presentations sake. I had a bowl strained to taste it, but as I mentioned above, I ended up having a second bowl a la natural with rice and it was just fine!

Duck soup served two ways – a la natural and Strained Broth

 

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Slow Cooked Pea and Ham Soup

I stepped outside of my comfort zone today and bought a ham hock that wasn’t free ranged. Why isn’t it free ranged, I hear you ask? Because free ranged pork or ham hocks are almost impossible to source! While the hunt continues for a reliable source of free ranged pork products, I decided to do Pea and Ham Soup in the slow cooker.

I love slow cooked / crock pot recipes during winter. It’s so easy to toss ingredients into the cooker and forget about it while you go off to work only to become a champion at dinner time by presenting you with mouth-watering food. This is one such recipe.

[ SERVES: 6  |  TIME: 6 hours  |  COST: $8  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING:  4  / 5 ]

Ingredients

1.5 litres vegetable stock
1 600 – 800 gram ham hock
2 onions – chopped finely
1 cup dried green split peas
1 cup dried yellow split peas
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped finely
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Garlic Paste
4 – 6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Thyme Paste
splash of oil

Method

  1. Add the oil to a warmed skillet. Add the onions, garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant and browned. Add to the slow cooker.
  2. Rinse the split peas until the water runs clear, removing tough husks that float during the process. Add to the slow cooker.
  3. Cut loose fleshy bits from the ham hock revealing as much of the bone as possible. Add both meat, skin and bone to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the bay leaves to the slow cooker and cover the ingredients with 1 litre of stock.
  5. Cook on high for 4 – 6 hours or until tender.
  6. Remove the bay leaves, ham skin and bones before adding the lemon juice and mint leaves.
  7. Purée the soup in a blender for a smoother soup consistency (optional step).
  8. Garnish with a spring of mint and serve hot.

Observations

  • Served with hot crusty rolls, a soup like this is hard to beat on a cold winter night like tonight!
  • I like a rustic, chunky soup, so I don’t purée the soup at all. I cook it long enough so the peas dissolve giving it that lovely rich, thick consistency without the need to blitz it.
  • Pea and Ham Soup is somewhat of a classic, and I usually like to include some carrots and celery but today the fridge was bare. If you happen to have some on hand, consider including 1 finely chopped carrot and 1 celery sticks to your soup for vitamin contribution and texture.
  • Diabetic Note: For some reason, yellow split peas are higher in carbohydrate content than the green version. Having said that, though, there is only about 40 – 50 grams of carbohydrates in this entire pot! If you are a pumper or insulin dependent diabetic, you may need a slice of bread with this meal to increase the carbohydrate content.
  • Ethical Note: I wish I didn’t have to resort to using a commercially produced ham hock today but I was limited in options. The use of this commercially produced ham hock gave me some ethical dilemmas and I wanted to walk through them not as justification, but as way of educating. Although ham hocks are considered a waste or by-product of pork farming and are therefore a good ethical choice, animal ethic debates regarding commercially produced pork / intensive farming practices are ever-present. Many animal welfare groups decry such intensive farming practices as cruel and unnecessary. For all of our food options, there are both positive and negative externalities and hidden costs. I urge people as always to become better educated on their meal choices.
 

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Spiced Pumpkin Soup

I do love it when friends visit. I love it even more when they come bearing gifts! A friend just dropped a pumpkin in to me and in this chilly weather, all I could think of was soup!

[  SERVES: 6  |  TIME: 40 MINUTES  |  COST: $3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING:  4  / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 litre vegetable stock
3 cups diced pumpkin
2 cups diced potato
1 onion
½ – 1 teaspoon paprika
½ – 1 teaspoon ground cummin
½ – 1 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cut the pumpkin and potato into bite size chunks. Dice the onion finely.
  2. In a large pot, saute the onion with the garlic until translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the potato, pumpkin and spices to the pot and stir well to coat. Cover with stock and cook until tender.
  4. Using a blender, stick mixer or a masher, pure the soup. If it is too thick, add a little more stock as required.
  5. Season and serve hot with freshly grated parsley as garnish.

Observations

  • I have to admit that I am not a fan of boring pumpkin soup but this addition of spices really jazzed it up for my taste buds.
  • I have left a large variation for the spice usage depending on your tastes. Use your own discretion.
  • Diabetic Note: I used potatoes in this dish to introduce some carbohydrate content. If you would rather, cut back on the potatoes and have it with some hot crusty bread.
  • Ethical Note: This pumpkin was growing wild from my friends compost pile. Using backyard compost is better for your soils compositions and is a wonderful nutrient source for your own gardens. Ornamental gardens are nice, but consider a ground cover vegetable like pumpkin as a wonderful feature for your yard!
  • Note to self: I must remember to wipe down the bowl before I take photos. Excuse my messy photos!  =s

 

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Vegetable soup fit for the gods!

When I was a child, my Grandmother would make her version of vegetable soup. It was rich, hearty and full of gooey chunks of rich cheese. This is my version of her dish.

[  Serves: 6 – 8  |  TIME: 3 HOURS  |  COST: $6 per pot  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 – 2 litres vegetable stock
1 cup potato
1 cup sweet potato
1 cup pumpkin
1 onion
1 tomato
½ cup  carrot
½ cup  zucchini
½ cup  squash
½ cup  cauliflower
½ cup  broccoli
¼ cup green lentils
¼ cup yellow split peas
¼ cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons shredded parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Garnish

4 bite size pieces of pecorino per bowl
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to garnish

Methods

  1. Dice the onion. Skin the tomato and put aside. Cut all remaining vegetables into bite size pieces.
  2. In a large pot, heat a little oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry off until transparent and fragrant.
  3. Add the potato, sweet potato, pumpkin carrot, split peas, lentils, barley and stock. Reduce to a slow simmer and cook with the lid on for an hour or two. The pumpkin should dissolve to enhance the stock while the sweet potato and potato hold their form.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients including the tomato and simmer lightly with the lid off for a further hour or so until all vegetables are tender. The stock should thicken to the desired texture.
  5. To serve, add a few small chunks of pecorino cheese to the bowl and cover with hot soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread.

Observations

  • This is a perfect dish for a slow cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic in a saucepan before adding them to the slow cooker with peas, lentils, barley and root vegetables and cook for 4 hours. Add the softer vegetables and cook for an additional two hours before serving.
  • I grew up with this soup so I know the awesomeness of the cheese in the soup. I realise it sounds exceptionally strange and I would only do it with a very strong sharp cheese such as a pepper pecorino, but the cheese melts to a chewy gooey consistency that mostly holds its form. Finding a piece on your spoon is like a sudden surprise and burst of flavour – the pot of gold beneath the rainbow. I highly recommend you try it for yourself! (So what if I had six pieces of cheese in my bowl. Who’s counting, right?)
  • Serve it hot for the best taste. I always make a huge stock pot full and we have it for lunches for days without anyone getting bored with it.
  • Diabetic Note: This soup is the very picture of hearth, healthy winter dinners. There is such a small amount of barley and potato in the meal that it doesn’t really count towards carbohydrate exchanges. I usually have it with a slice of hot crusty bread (divine for dipping!) to make sure I have enough carbs in the meal.
  • Ethical Note: Using vegetables in season means that they have not been shipped from far and wide (often overseas!). All the better for the economy and environment if you use local produce. Finally, organic lentils and legumes mean the very best in farming practices for sustainability and that one small purchase wont hurt the hip pocket because of their low price.
 

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Chicken and Corn Soup with Cheesy Garlic and Herb Bread

When I was little, I use to love getting Chicken and Corn Soup from the Chinese Restaurant when we would eat out. It was one of my absolute favourites. When I learned what MSG was, and how it affected us, I stopped buying it. This new-found knowledge didn’t stop me from craving it and lamenting it when I saw it on menus.

It wasn’t until the early 90s when my Uncle Joe made this delightful substitute that fell in love all over again. It doesn’t have that creamy thickness that the MSG provides, but the flavour is still there! I hope you will enjoy this easy but healthy substitute.

[  SERVES: 6  |  TIME: 25 MIN  |  COST: <$6  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4.5 / 5  |  Brittanys rating:  5 / 5  ]

Ingredients

400 grams shredded cooked chicken
2 cans creamed corn
1 can baby corn (cut)
1 can corn nibbles (pieces)
400 ml chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Add the chicken stock to a pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the chicken, corn pieces and baby corn, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Add the creamed corn slowly til desired thickness has been achieved.
  4. Season and serve while hot.

Observations

  • You may remember me talking about making home made chicken stock a few weeks ago? I make this soup when I make stock as a way to use up the chicken meat from that process.
  • Sometimes, if the meat is a little light on, or the stock is a little bland, I will turn this into a egg drop variety (which is actually a favourite too!). To create an egg drop effect, whisk two eggs in a bowl and use a spoon to slowly drizzle the egg into the boiling soup. This method cooks the slow steady stream of egg instantly and creates a delicious creaminess to the soup. You will also see this technique utilised in my recent won ton soup recipe.
  • If you prefer a thicker soup texture, you can thicken it up slightly using some cornflour with water. Add the cornflour slowly, a little at a time to ensure that the soup doesn’t become a gluteus mess!
  • Diabetic Note: What’s not to love here? The corn does have carbs, so be careful with adding things such as herb bread!
  • Ethical Note: I turned some day old bread rolls into cheesy garlic and herb bread! Mince some garlic into a bowl and add some shredded parsley, grated pecorino cheese olive oil and butter. Coat evenly on the bread before baking in a moderate oven for 15 minutes, until crispy. Serve hot for a delicious side dish.

 

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Potato, Leek and Garlic Soup

Ahhh winter. The time for fluffy pajamas and hot soup! And today, I get to eat hot soup while wearing fluffy pajamas! WIN!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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Roast Pumpkin and Garlic Soup

Its autumn! That means soup time. Lots and lots of delicious, nutritious, hot steamy soup! A few years ago, I stumbled upon a recipe in a magazine in a doctors waiting room. It was so long ago now that I can’t possibly give it the appropriate credit it deserves, even though I have made several changes over the years.

[  SERVES: 4  |  TIME: 90 MIN  |  COST: <$3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING:  3.5 / 5 |  BrittanyS’ RATING:  4 / 5]

Soup Ingredients

1 litre vegetable stock
1 small – medium butternut pumpkin
1 onion
1 head of garlic
rosemary
olive oil
salt
pepper

Soup Method

  1. Skin and cut the pumpkin in to large pieces for roasting. Peek and quarter the onion. Cut the top off the head of garlic.
  2. In a baking tray, toss the prepared vegetables with rosemary, olive oil and seasoning. Roast in a moderate oven until caramelised. You will need to check the progress every 20 minutes, but it should take about 50 minutes.
  3. Allow vegetables to cool before use.
  4. Carefully remove the garlic from the skins and place the pulp into a blender. Add the remaining cold roast vegetables and any liquid remaining from the roasting process. Pulse and process until smooth. Add vegetable stock as you need if the purée is too thick to blend.
  5. In a small saucepan, add the purée and remaining stock. Stir well and serve when hot. Season as needed.

Bread Ingredients

4 slices whole grain wraps
roast capsicum
home-made hummus
basil leaves
cheese

Bread Method

  1. Tear the basil leaves and spread randomly over two pieces of bread. Add some cheese and capsicum as desired. Season.
  2. On two “lids”, spread hummus generously but evenly. Place the lids over the bottoms and place under a grill for 10 minutes – until crispy and the cheese has melted.
  3. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Observations

  • The soup is so tasty but can be a bit rich. A dollop of cream would be delicious for those who do not have to watch their calories.
  • This soup is quite textured as the rosemary doesn’t purée down well.
  • There is a whole head of garlic in this soup. Don’t have a bowl right before a first date.
  • Diabetic Note: I had to add the flat bread to this meal to add in some carbohydrates. You could add some potatoes into the mix if bread isn’t your thing. This soup, on its own is quite lacking in carbohydrates, so be careful.
  • Ethical Note: Using season vegetables is a wise ethical choice for the environment and your hip pocket. At the end of the season, excesses are often cheap and left to rot. Preparing and freezing meals such as this will allow you to enjoy the tastes long after the season has ended.
 

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Won Ton Soup

You may remember a few weeks ago I posted a “how to” guide on wrapping won tons? It is one of our favourite light quick lunches, so we tend to have it quiet often. I thought it was only fair to show you how I used them and how many variations to won ton soup exist. This is just a teaser…

This variation is fairly traditional. Clear broth (I use a vegetarian broth, but traditionally you would use chicken), lightly boiled vegetables (carrots, spring onions, celery, brocoli and bok choy) and won tons.

This variation is commonly called an egg drop soup. Again, I use a clear vegetable based broth with lightly boiled vegetables (carrots, spring onions, celery, zucchini and bok choy), vermicelli noodles and won tons. Whisk an egg until light and airy and slowly pour your egg into the hot soup in a very slow steady stream while mixing continually.

Shredded Chinese (wombok) cabbage, egg plant, and egg noodles all make great alternatives. Don’t go over board with your soy sauce – you don’t want to lose the integrity of the flavours that are present.

 

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How to wrap won tons

Wonton noodle soup in Boston's chinatown

Wonton noodle soup in Boston's chinatown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been a busy day in the kitchen! When I can I try to get myself organised for several lunch time meals for midweek nourishment when time is tight. This week, we will be feasting on a winter favourite in this household – hot, delicious, satisfying Won ton soup! I have posted on how to make won ton soup before in the past, but today I decided to make a “how to” on wrapping them.

[  Makes: 35  |  TIME: 20 – 30 MINUTES  |  COST: $6 – 8  TOTAL ]

Ingredients

1 packet commercial won ton wrappers
250 grams of minced pork or chicken
1 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl
  • Lay your wrappers on a board with a good gap between wrappers. Put one teaspoon of mixture in the centre of the wrappers, and moisten the edges of the wrapper (see photo below).
  • During the wrapping process, you will want to expel any air inside the won ton. This will stop it from falling apart when cooked.
  • After your won tons are wrapped, place then on a tray that has been covered with some grease proof baking paper. Ensure there is clear space around each won ton and that they are not touching.
  • When ready, place the tray into the freezer for 2 hours. Place the frozen won tons into an air tight container for storage. Once frozen, won tons are good in the freezer up to three months.

How to: Tortellini Style Won Tons

  1. With your meat mixture in the centre, fold your wrapper in half and seal. Wet one tip of the triangle (photo 1).
  2. Apply a little pressure on the centre of the wrapper to allow it to fold in half (photo 2).
  3. Press the two tails together so they stick together (photo 3).

How to: Square Style Won Tons

  1. Fold two sides up to meet in the centre to form a triangle. Press the tip firmly to form a seal, but leave the sides open (photo 1).
  2. Bring the other two sides up to meet the centre, firmly pressing all seams to seal the contents. Try to expel any excess air during this stage  (photo 2).
  3. Your square won ton should be firm but with clear stiff edges (photo 3).

How to: Purse Style Won Tons

  1. Bring all sides up to the middle, and press lightly to expel any excess air (photo 1).
  2. Using your thumbs, press hard to form a tight seal with all loose edges (photo 2).
  3. Place on a hard surface and press lightly to form a flat side (photo 3).
 
12 Comments

Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Food: Diabetic Friendly

 

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