Category: Soup/Stew

Avocado Ramen

This was definitely one of those “How weird, I have to make this!” recipes that have been nagging at it since I found it about a year ago. It was an excuse to add a couple things to my Asian ingredient repertoire that I didn’t have handy—miso and kombu. I don’t know what took me so long, but here we are.

This whole thing comes together really quick, which is not normally the case with ramen when you’re making the broth from scratch. The taste and texture from the miso and avocado were extremely rich and creamy. I could see it absolutely turning off some people, but I was in heaven. I couldn’t eat all of it, so I saved some for the next day. It solidifies into a gelatinous mass. It’s quite the thing to behold. I’d definitely keep this to a ‘day of’ thing, unless you have more broth to cut it with the next day to thin it back out while you’re cooking. I didn’t want to risk diluting the flavor by just adding water.

Inspiration: Tasty Plan

Ingredients

  • 1 strip kombu
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 whole avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup miso paste [I used white]
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 10oz buckwheat noodles
  • 6 large Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Soft boiled egg, cilantro, green onion, sesame seeds, etc. for serving

Preparation

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, Brussels sprouts, and a pinch of salt. Stir often and sauté for about five minutes or so until they’re cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the kombu and water in a large pot. Bring it to a boil before reducing it to a simmer and cooking for four minutes. Remove the kombu. Place the avocado, coconut milk, and miso paste in a blender. Add the broth in batches to the blender and blend until smooth. Once all of the broth is incorporated, return the mixture to the pot and keep warm over low heat.

In a large pot, cook the buckwheat noodles according to the package. Drain and rinse under cold water.

To serve, pour about a cup of the broth in a bowl, add a handful of noodles, some cooked Brussels sprouts, and whatever garnishes you’ve prepared.

Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings

WordPress so nicely sent me a note that I’ve been blogging for six years as of this month. At first, I was like, “Oh yeah, of course.” And then a few seconds went by and it was like, “Holy crap!” Time flies. I am equal parts surprised and not surprised that I’m still doing this. I’ll never forget my first year. My grandma was so proud that I was writing and cooking that she printed every single page of the blog that year, put it in a three-ring binder, and gave it to me for Christmas. It sits on my bookshelf, more as a memory of her than anything, but it makes me laugh. That seems like such a grandma thing to do, and I still think about her nearly every time I write.

This winter is clearly a “things in bowls series.”

This recipe made me so happy. So much comfort in one little bowl. Cornbread is a weakness. Dumplings are a weakness. When their powers combine, I am weak.

Using buttermilk in the dumplings makes all kinds of sense because it’s cornbread, but it ended up being deliciously sour. I probably undercooked them by a minute, but by the time I was slurping my second bowl, all dumplings were cooked through. The brothy, chicken-y, vegetable mixture is the makings of a stellar pot pie but better. After I roasted the chicken thighs, I threw the bones into the mixture while it all cooked down. Can you have too much chicken flavor? Doubtful. I added some diced parsnip to the mixture because I wanted something starchy like a potato, but not actually a potato. The result sweetened the mixture, but not in a bad way. A parsnip is related to a carrot [I learn new things every day], so that sweetness makes some sense.

The dumpling batter reminded me of my days of spooning raw waffle batter into my mouth. I am was that kind of kid.

Inspiration: A Cozy Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup shaken buttermilk

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil [because your Silpat finally bit the dust]. Place the chicken in the middle of the pan and drizzle it with olive oil and generously cover it with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The tops will be golden brown and the juices will run clear. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to cool so you can shred it. Set aside the bones.

In a Dutch oven or a medium sized pot, add the butter on medium heat. Once it is melted, add the celery, carrot, and thyme. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften. Add the flour and stir to coat. Cook for a minute before pouring in the chicken stock and the chicken bones. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then turn it down to medium-low. Cook for 6-7 minutes. The mixture should thicken a little.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk until combined. Set aside.

Add a pinch or two of salt to the soup mixture after tasting. Add a ton [like 10 turns] of fresh cracked pepper. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and drop tablespoons of dumpling down into the boiling point. Repeat until all of the dough is gone. Cover the mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes. They should be fluffy and cooked through. I found stabbing one of them with a knife helped since I hadn’t cooked dumplings before. Move one of the dumplings aside and slip the shredded chicken into the pot. Let the chicken reheat before serving.

Italian White Bean Soup with Rice

I’m pretty sure I used the last jar of my grandma’s tomatoes. Or maybe it was salsa. She made that sometimes. Regardless, the tomato based and that’s what I was looking for. We have this habit of saying “Thanks, grandma!” out loud anytime these jars get opened. There aren’t many left.

This came about in a fit of “I don’t know what I want to eat, but I don’t want to go get anything.” I manage to surprise myself with whatever I have in the pantry. It never feels like much until I start digging into it. This is perfectly acceptable peasant food, and for some reason it has me thinking of An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. It’s still sitting on one of my grandma’s bookshelves. I should get that back one of these days.

I thought about going the pasta route, but I need to really be in the mood for pasta and beans. It feels like too much a lot of the time. I went the canned route, even though I did finally make a batch of beans from scratch for the first time at Christmas. What a difference. That would be exceptional here, but canned work. I’m not going to pretend I’m going to go all-homemade-everything around here. That’s a resolution I’m just not making [as I have my first batch of homemade almond milk in the fridge…]. Speaking of resolutions, these cooking resolutions are inspiring. I’ve already got my eye on this pot roast and to freeze some leftovers. That kind of meal planning is unheard of in our house. The fact that I even remembered to take the last of the steaks out of the freezer is worthy of a pat on the back.

Inspiration: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of cannellini white beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preparation

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and celery, cooking it until soft. It should take about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for 30-seconds. Add the stock, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil before stirring in the beans and reducing everything to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the rice before serving. Top with grated Parmesan.

Vietnamese Beef Stew

Man. I cannot begin to describe how good this recipe smells. If you’re at all a fan of Vietnamese food. Make this. Make this now. I remember thinking that I don’t care if it even tastes good. That smell. My god the smell. It comes together quickly. Even if I didn’t use the mandolin to slice up the two onions in record time, it would still be quick. I managed to slow my impatience and actually brown the beef in batches since my Dutch oven couldn’t accommodate two pounds worth. I know how much a difference it makes to texture and flavor, but I’m usually so dang lazy. This actually yielded leftovers for our bottomless stomachs that I happily ate the next day.

vietnamese-stew

Inspiration: Tasting Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2lbs beef chuck, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • salt
  • sliced baguette for serving

Preparation

In a large Dutch over, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Sear the beef on all sides. If you have to do this in batches [I did], do it. It’s necessary for all of that flavor. Once all of the beef is browned, put it all in the pot. Add the jalapeno, star anise, and cinamon sticks and cook, stirring often, until fragrant. That should take about 2 minutes and then your mind will be blown. This is the quinessential smell of Vietnamese food. It makes the house smell awesome.

Add the fish sauce and stir it into the mixture. Use the spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the beef goodies. Pour in the beef stock and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing it to a simmar and covering the pot with a lid. Cook until the beef is tender. It should take a little over an hour.

Add the carrots and cook with the lid off until the carrots are tender—about 10 minutes. taste for salt. Shred the beef with a couple forks before serving.

Serve in bowls with the baguette.

Massaman Curry Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s hardly soup weather anymore. Tax season ended with 80+° weather, and it’s hovered in that range ever since. Despite it being pizza week [think burger week, but y’know, with pizza], I made Thai basil pork my first meal back in the kitchen. Surprise, surprise. I have grand plans, but I’m easing back into it. Besides, pizza week.

This soup was stellar in that way that making something from scratch can be. I had a Massaman curry paste container in the fridge, but I went with the directions. Fresh lemongrass? Check. Fresh ginger? Check. Thai chilies? Check. It’s really, really simple in that way. It makes for a more complex chicken noodle soup, a soup that I normally avoid for its plainness. I spent way more time julienning carrots than I care to admit. My knife skills aren’t THAT good, and I don’t have time space for some fancy peeler. It left me with a ridiculous satisfaction though. Worth it.

Massaman Chicken Noodle Soup

Inspiration: Food52

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce + more to taste
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 4″ piece of ginger root, peeled
  • 2 Thai chilies
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 large carrots
  • 10 small baby potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 3 scallions, greens and white parts sliced and separated
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 12-14oz udon/rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup toasted peanuts
  • Lime juice

Preparation

Heat the chicken stock and fish sauce in a large pot on medium-high heat. Remove the tough, outer shells of the lemongrass stalks. Cut off the root, and then into 6″ pieces. Cut those pieces in half. Add the lemongrass pieces to the stock. Cut the ginger into slices and add to the pot. Smash and peel the garlic cloves and add those. Slice the tops off the chilies and then cut them in half. Scrape out the seeds, or leave them in for more heat. Add to the stock. Increase the heat if the stock hasn’t started simmering.

Cut the carrots so they’re close to a uniform diameter the whole way. You can julienne those pieces for garnish. Slice the remaining carrots into thin medallions and set aside with the potatoes.

Taste the stock for salt or more fish sauce.  You want it to be fairly salty to stand up to the chicken and vegetables it’s about to cook. Add the chicken breast. Simmer until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool before shredding.

Skim the stock to remove the lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Stir in the curry powder and add the carrots, potatoes, and peanuts. Cook until tender. Slice up the scallions, leaving the sliced dark green parts for garnish. Stir in the coconut milk, shredded chicken, and remaining scallions. Once the noodles are cooked through, the soup is ready to serve in bowls topped with the remaining scallions. Taste for more fish sauce or lime juice.