Posts from the ‘soups/stews’ Category

roasted chicken matzo ball soup with quinoa


when i crave matzo ball soup, i make it myself because i can’t get it in the city anymore. seems all the jewish places have moved out of town. i usually can’t get it to taste as good but this time i did it different & it blew away any chicken soup i have ever had or made.

the process is tedious but well worth it.

roast an entire chicken thomas keller style. i coated the entire bird with

-coarse salt
-white pepper
-italian seasoning
-valentina fruit seasoning or some kind of chili lime salt – important

let cool. separate the skin & bones from the meat. make stock. i did a double stock-a previous stock was used to simmer the new bird bones. this added more richness. i also used a pressure cooker which speeds it all up. tossed in 2 bunches of green onion tops, several garlic cloves & above spices.

while the stock is cooking, take a large skillet & fry 5 pieces of chopped bacon till crisp. remove bacon, drain some fat & set aside. chop one large onion & fry 10 minutes. add 3 chopped carrots & 2 chopped celery stalks. add salt, cover & cook 10 more minutes. add 6 chopped garlic cloves, the chicken meat & bacon. add all the spices used on the bird. cook covered on low until the stock is done-about an hour. the pressure cooker is my friend.

drain the stock & combine with skillet. it will be ready almost immediately.

cook the quinoa separate. matzo balls are also separate & very easy. whip 2 eggs with 2 T oil whipping them with electric mixer. stir in one pack matzo meal, chill 15 minutes. cook covered in simmering water 20 minutes. i have made them many times & it seems this is the best way. i used to cook it all together and the flavor is much better cooked separately. you DO want to use the bacon.

i topped it with togarashi. a little romano, but it’s really fine without it.

chicago is having it’s 4th polar vortex- minus 30 degrees w/wind chills. soup is not a luxury. it’s a necessity.

beef broth/french onion soup/polish pork & beans/cucumber apple avocado salad


i was craving a childhood favorite, Soupe-a-lOignon-au-Fromage-French-Onion-Soup-and i wanted it to be really good, which means making the broth from scratch. i have never done this before so i set out to research a few recipes. being a vegetarian for many years, there are still a lot of meat things i’ve been intimidate by. after some research, i decided on emeril lagasse’s beef stock recipe. i used a combo of oxtail sawed by the butcher into half inch pieces, a few marrow bones & a shoulder. the recipe is simple but very time consuming. it took 6 hours & made a gallon & a half of incredible beef stock. enough to make 3 soups!

after chilling the stock, i removed all of the fat & saved it for cooking. check it out


i got busy on the french onion soup first. i cooked all day long because chicago is in the deep freeze right now and i was unable to leave my home & it’s too cold due to poor insulation. using the stove was an easy fix. onion soup is very simple. it’s mostly onions, butter & stock topped with toasted french bread & gruyere cheese. to my utter delight, it turned out delish.


the broth got me so excited i had visions of future bowls of pho & ramen….alas i had a pound of dried navy beans & cooked them in a big casserole for a few hours. i ended up making what i call the yummy dried tomato paste, navy beans, kielbasa, applewood smoked bacon, & one entire head of roasted garlic. turned out fantastic! i called it my polish pork & beans.


in the meantime, i decided to make a salad with chopped cucumbers & apples with avocados in a home made anchovy dressing-anchovy paste mixed with olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper & garlic topped with some parmesan/gruyere cheese-DELISH!


as freezing as it is outside-50 below zero with wind chill-this food will last a few days if i get stranded at home. i’m not sure i’m gonna teach today. it’s just as cold today. but i’m SO glad i got all the ingredients before the predicted cold came. it’s been 27 years since we’ve had this kind of weather. nothing to do but knit, cook, watch tv & wait until the weather gets warm enough to go into. several people have died from this & tons went to the hospital for frozen injuries like frostbite. i hope to god i don’t have to deal with this today. yoga is not that important in my book. wish me luck 🙂

tee’s smothered okra


i bought the treme cookbook a few months ago & just got around to using it yesterday. it’s hard to pick just one recipe but since my husband’s favorite food is okra, i decided to make “tee’s smothered okra,” which is antoine batiste’s “last meal,” request.

the book is cool because each of the characters on the show “treme” offer family recipes & stories behind them. this one was passed on to his mother by his auntie tee. it’s super easy! AND totally delish! VERY similar to gumbo but without a roux & served atop rice-fork eaten rather than spoon. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

1/2 c. canola or olive oil
2 lbs okra (i used fresh) chopped 1/2 inch slices
1 yellow onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 garlic clove chopped (i used 6)
15 oz can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 lb. smoked pork sausage chopped (i used andoullie which is a great flavor enhancer)
1 lb. raw shrimp shelled whole
salt & pepper to taste

i used a cast iron pot-it cooks different than a regular one & is recommended-or a dutch oven. heat your oil over medium heat & add okra, onion, pepper, celery & garlic. cover & cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat with the oil. add salt & pepper. then add tomatoes & sausage & cook 15 minutes. add he shrimp & cook 15 minutes more. add salt & pepper to taste & serve over steamed rice.

i was surprised that salt & pepper were the only seasonings you need. i added file’ as well. the sausage was responsible for flavoring this unbelievably tasty dish. i highly recommend using the best andoullie sausage you can find & fresh jumbo shrimp.

PERFECT winter dish & great if you are missing new orleans.

absolutely perfect chili


do you remember bishops chili? it was in pilsen-it was a meaty chili that was SO incredibly perfect. they moved to westmont so i haven’t been back for 25 years or more.

anyhoo…i’m always chasing that “thing” that they did SO perfect. less tomatoes, more spices/meat/meat juices…soft awesome beans….

i got pretty close yesterday.

1 medium white onion
2 medium red peppers
2 italian sausage links
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 bulb garlic
1/4 cup red thai chili peppers
generous italian seasoning
3 small cans high quality diced tomatoes
2 small cans butch’s baked beans with sauce

1 cup fine chopped fresh purple basil
1 cup fine chopped cilantro

olive oil for frying

start the onion chopped in olive oil & salt. add sausage casing removed & crumbled to make a gravy. add ground beef. add spices & garlic mashed with the peppers. you can use any kind of hot peppers. i have a thai pepper plant right now that is fertile. after a while, add the red peppers small chopped, seeds removed. cover & cook till everything is combined well-10 minutes or more.

after the meat is properly browned, transfer to pot & add all the canned stuff. cook covered over low heat for a few hours. put fresh herbs in 15 minutes before serving.

you can top with any kind of cheese/sour cream/avocado, however, you really don’t need anything. this is EXCELLENT.

however, i need to go to westmont and eat bishops again. because i think i fell short of what they are. really….the very best in the world.

avocado tomatillo gazpacho with thai chilis


this turned out amazing! easy, very healthy, vegan, super delish! i have a thai pepper plant that is currently getting harvested & i’m substituting them for anything that needs a kick. these are better than jalapenos or serranos-the burn is slow, long, & extremely tasty!

here are the cute peppers


of course you can use any kind of peppers. enjoy!

1 pound tomatillos, papery shells removed, rinsed

boil low for 10 minutes turning once, drain water & place in food processor till blended. press through a screen to remove seeds.

2 slices red or white onion-soak in cold water w/a little vinegar 5 minutes. rinse & chop.
2 to 3 garlic cloves, to taste
several chilis

pulverize the above & add to the tomatillo mixture. then add everything else-

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
5 fresh squeezed limes
2 large avocados chopped
one cucumber skinned, seeded & chopped
one bunch fine chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon whole cumin roasted & ground fresh
plenty of salt to taste
1.5 pounds of the best heirloom tomatoes chopped

pulverize, chill overnight or at least 2 hours. top with sour cream or yogurt! my new summer fave!

fava yamdouille soup

IMG_0589 i had a lovely super long andoullie sausage from our local butcher & have been fascinated with sweet potatoes lately. i really thought these could work together pretty well in a comfort-food kind of way. i was right! sweet & spicy surprise!

2 large cebollitos or 1 med. white onion or leeks
olive oil
2 cups stock or water
1 cup dried fava beans, skins removed, soaked overnight.
5 thick cut pieces bacon
2 large sweet potatoes
4 andoullie sausages
1/2 bulb garlic roasted
salt, white pepper, adobo, cajun seasoning to taste

cook the fava beans in water about an hour. drain & return beans to pot.
slice the potatoes lengthwise & set skin side up on a foil pan. coat with oil & bake at 400 for half hour. set aside to cool. add to fava pot. puree. add the stock/water & cook.

fry the bacon in some oil till brown & pull out meat. set aside. thin slice the onions & fry till soft. slice the sausage & fry with the removed bacon. squeeze out the roasted garlic & add spices. cook 10 minutes. add to the pot. cover & cook 45 minutes low. add stock/water. increase if you want it thinner. it’s pretty thick but i really liked it that way. the fava beans make the texture really great. i used these beans the last time i made chili. they are nutty, light & delightful!

this is really comforting & tasty. cheap & easy!

chili w/lamb pork belly sausage, pub bacon & pastor


chili is probably my best dish. i’ve been creating all kinds of combos since i was a kid. i take full advantage of pqm-publican quality meats. it’s close to work & has the best meat that i know of. i decided to make this chili batch without any kind of beef. instead, i focused on pork & lamb. WOW.

-giant cooking pot-preferably all clad
-olive oil
-4 cups chicken stock
-2 heads of garlic
-2 big shallots
-1 med. yellow onion
-3 bell peppers-red/orange/yellow
-2 hot red jalapenos
-1 lb small red beans
-1/2 lb shelled fava beans
-56 oz. chopped tomatoes
-small can tomato paste
-1 lb slab bacon
-4 giant sausages-i used lamb/pork belly
-1/2 lb pastor
-hot sauce to taste
-entire large bunch of chopped fresh cilantro

-greek yogurt (topping-actually better than sour cream)
-fine shredded sharp white cheddar

creole seasoning, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin, coriander, cinnamon-about a tablespoon of each.

soak beans 1-2 days. drain & rinse.
pre-heat oven to 400. cover heads of garlic in olive oil, wrap in foil & bake half an hour. squeeze into mixture after it cools a bit.

heat pot. add some oil. chop up the slab bacon & cook till brown.


chop shallots & onions & add to pot. chop sausages & add with the pastor.
slice peppers in half, remove seeds, paint with oil & roast 15 minutes. chop & add.
add all the spices.

add beans, stock, & canned tomatoes/paste. make sure to invest in a decent brand.


this is the first time i’m using fava beans. they work great because they have a nut-like texture that goes well in the chili. cover & cook 4 hours or more. uncover & let reduce to desired thickness.

toss in your cilantro & that’s it! top with greek yogurt & cheese. this is an awesome treat for new years day. and my first pot of chili for 2013.