Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de PolloEverybody has a favorite chicken soup recipe—until very recently, the Chicken Noodle Soup in the archives was mine. I still love that soup (I feel less affection for those horrible photos), but now that I’ve started making this Sopa de Pollo, it’s going to have to settle for being my second favorite.

It seems harsh—pushing aside a recipe I’ve loved for years in favor one that I started making on a whim last fall—but my version of this Mexican chicken soup is so easy, healthy, and deeply delicious that I’m only sorry I didn’t find it sooner.

Sopa de PolloThis Sopa de Pollo is adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe. I saw her version a couple of years ago and then totally forgot about it until I was standing in the produce section of the grocery store a couple of months ago with no idea of what I wanted to make for the week. A quick Google search for Mexican-style chicken soup recipes led me back to Molly’s recipe, and now I’ve spent two months tweaking it and serving it as much as possible. Really. I’ve made it twice at my day job, once for my parents, another time for my little sister, and three more times just for me. I may or may not have a whole batch in the freezer right now. That may seem a little extreme for something I just started making a couple of months ago, but it’s just. that. good.

Sopa de Pollo

So, what makes this soup so outstanding? Well, for one, it only takes an hour start-to-finish. If that doesn’t have you putting ingredients on your grocery list, I don’t know what will. Speed isn’t everything though—let’s talk flavor.

Sopa de PolloSopa de Pollo

The broth here is flavored with a 1/2 bunch of whole cilantro sprigs and a handful of fresh mint leaves, in addition to the chicken and a good pinch of salt. The herbs soften and add incredible depth of flavor as they cook. There’s no need to remove them after cooking either, but you absolutely may if you’d like; just tie the herbs together with twine before you drop them into the pot, and lift them out with tongs when you’re done.

Sopa de Pollo

This Sopa de Pollo is chock full of vegetables, too. You’ll find big chunks of carrot, celery, onion, and zucchini in this soup, in addition to crushed whole garlic cloves and chayote. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a mild-flavored gourd that looks like this:

Sopa de Pollo

I find chayote at a regular supermarket, but if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, feel free to leave it out. My sisters would tell you to swap it for corn. For that matter, you can add or subtract any vegetables you want here—make the soup you want to eat, y’all!

Sopa de Pollo

Take my favorite and make it yours.Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de Pollo
lightly adapted from Orangette
makes about 6-8 servings

3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces (I use chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination)
2 quarts chicken stock
4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium white onion, diced large
2 medium zucchini, quartered, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 chayote, peeled, seed removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 bunch cilantro
leaves from 4 sprigs of mint
Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Combine chicken pieces and stock in a stockpot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, chayote, garlic, cilantro, and mint leaves. Once the soup returns to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove pot from heat and use tongs to fish out chicken pieces.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones and tear the meat into large pieces. Return meat to the pot. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

Serve in shallow bowls. Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Sopa de Pollo

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Sometimes I fall in love with an ingredient or a recipe and I just can’t help but blog about it twice in rapid succession.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Exhibit A: that time I posted two layer cakes in a week.
Exhibit B: when I made cinnamon rolls and monkey bread in the same week with the same dough.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This time (Exhibit C?), I’ve gone a little nuts about old-fashioned oats. I’ve waxed on and on (and on and on and on and on) about how much I love making and eating granola, but even I need a little variety in my repertoire. I mean, who eats their regular everyday breakfast on the weekend?!

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I have lots of weekend breakfasts (or brunches or company breakfasts or holiday breakfasts or whatever you want to call them) in the archives. The one I make most often is a Puff Pancake, but I think that’s about to change because I can’t get enough of these Oatmeal Blender Pancakes.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’ve made these easy-peasy pancakes four times since I got back from Christmas vacation and I don’t see any end in sight. I mean, what’s not to love about a stack of pancakes that’s completely whole grain, comes together in the blender, uses ingredients you probably already have, is vegan and gluten-free, and is still soft and fluffy?!

Seriously, y’all. I’m in love.Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes 12-14 small pancakes

5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 2/3 cups milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free pancakes)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I like canola), plus more for cooking

For Serving:
pure maple syrup
butter or vegan margarine
fresh fruit

Place apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk of choice until it reaches the 1 2/3 cups mark. Let sit 5 minutes or until curdled.

Combine remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender. Add milk mixture. Blend until smooth, about 40-60 seconds. Scrape down the inside of the blender as necessary. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes; it will thicken slightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add batter to the pan in 1/4 cup increments, leaving space between pancakes. Let cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat process with all remaining batter, adding oil to the pan as necessary.

Divide pancakes among serving plates. Top with butter, maple syrup, and/or fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

10 Minute Stovetop Granola

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaIf you’ve been around here awhile, you know I’m a bit of a granola junkie. I eat the stuff almost everyday. I have five recipes in the archives and another twenty that haven’t been posted. Heck, I even have a recipe for Granola Cookies! What I’m saying is that if you’re into granola, you’ve come to the right corner of the internet.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaAll the recipes in the archives are made the traditional way—baked at a relatively low temperature with frequent stirring to prevent burning. Each variation makes enough for three weeks worth of breakfasts. Yes, granola is a great thing to prep-ahead and have stashed in your cabinet on busy mornings.

But there are times when I am out of town for a week, or that I am working on a breakfast recipe for an extended period, or even that I just don’t have time for breakfast at home. And, very occasionally, I come up with a flavor combination that simply doesn’t work (Orange-Pistachio comes to mind), and then I’m stuck eating subpar breakfasts for three weeks so that I don’t waste food…10 Minute Stovetop Granola

…until recently, that is.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaI started making granola on the stovetop this past October and I totally love it. Not only does it take just a quarter of the usual cook time, but it makes a smaller batch! This means that I don’t have to worry about it turning stale in a few weeks or just growing tired of the flavor combination—it’s gone long before that happens.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaToday’s granola recipe was made as most of mine are: as a way to use up odds and ends from my mix-in cabinets. There are oats of course, but the rest is just based on ratios.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaFor two cups of oats, I add in one cup of chopped nuts and seeds (pecans, pepitas and sunflower seeds, in this case). Those get toasted in a dry skillet until they are fragrant and the seeds are starting to pop.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaNext come three tablespoons of oil (I used coconut) and six tablespoons of sweetener. I went for maple syrup and dark brown sugar for this batch, but if you don’t like the idea of straight-up sugar in your breakfast, you may sub coconut sugar or use all maple. Don’t forget to add some salt for balance.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaCook the granola a few minutes more before removing it from the heat and adding in some dried fruit. I went with dates—I impulse-bought a huge bag of them on a recent trip to Costco and now I’m throwing them in everything. If dried fruit isn’t for you, leave the granola as-is.

10 Minute Stovetop Granola10 Minute Stovetop GranolaSpread the granola out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let it cool. If you’re the type of person who adds chocolate chips to granola, this is the time.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaPile your finished granola into a jar. Who knew oats, nuts, and seeds could look so pretty?!

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaThis Stovetop Granola doesn’t cluster much, but that can be remedied by using a thicker sweetener like honey or brown rice syrup. Real cluster enthusiasts might want to add an extra tablespoon or two, just in case.

I, however, don’t mind clusterless granola. Paired with some plain yogurt and a full French press…well, I have no complaints at all.10 Minute Stovetop Granola

10 Minute Stovetop Granola
makes about 1 quart

2 cups old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free granola)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raw pepitas
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup chopped dates (I used deglet noor)

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add oats, pecans, pepitas, and sunflower seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant and toasted (about 4-5 minutes). Do not burn.

Remove pan from heat. Add coconut oil and allow to melt. Stir to coat the oat mixture. Stir in dark brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt. Return pan to medium heat and cook/stir for 2-3 additional minutes, until sweeteners are incorporated. Remove granola from heat. Stir in chopped dates.

Transfer mixture to parchment-lined pan and allow to cool.

Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

10 Minute Stovetop Granola

Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

Parmesan & Black Pepper BiscuitsMy sister, Eliot, arrived at my apartment Wednesday morning, fresh off a flight from India. She was super jet-lagged (hey there, 11.5 hour time difference!), but stayed mostly-awake while I baked these Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits. Once I was done photographing them, I gave her one to try, and all she could say was “mmmm.” It could have been because all she’d eaten for the previous two weeks was Indian food or that all biscuits are wonderful or that she was half-asleep at the time…

Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

…but probably not, because I was doing the exact same thing. These cheese biscuits, y’all. They’re my favorite soup side.

Parmesan & Black Pepper BiscuitsParmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

They first came to be a couple of Oscar Nights ago when I made them to go with a batch of Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup. Those biscuits (and Leo’s win!) were thebest things to happen that night, and I’ve been toying with their formula ever since. The resulting biscuits are flaky and buttery with a warm, salty, spicy, slightly-funky flavor that is everything you could want on a cold winter’s night.

Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

Oh, and they’re super easy to make. I mean, if you turn on the oven now, you can have a batch of warm biscuits in about 40 minutes. Just combine some flour, cornstarch, a touch of sugar, baking powder, salt, and black pepper in a bowl…

Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

…and add some freshly grated parmesan. If you don’t want to shell out for Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano is less expensive and works just as well.

Parmesan & Black Pepper BiscuitsParmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

Cut in some cold butter and fold in buttermilk until a dough forms. Pat it out and fold it a few times to build some layers.

Parmesan & Black Pepper BiscuitsParmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

Use a round biscuit cutter or a sharp chef’s knife to cut biscuits. Place them close together on a parchment-lined pan and brush a little more buttermilk on the tops.

Parmesan & Black Pepper BiscuitsParmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

Then bake ‘em until they’re golden on top, light and tender in the centers, and singing you their cheesy siren song.

Parmesan & Black Pepper BiscuitsParmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

Trust me, you won’t be able to resist.

Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits
makes 12-14 biscuits

1/2 cup unsalted butter, very cold
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly-cracked black pepper
1 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
3/4-1 cup buttermilk, very cold

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Cut your stick of butter into two 4 tablespoon pieces. Cut one piece into four batons, and cut the other into very thin pats. Refrigerate until needed.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Whisk in grated parmesan. Add chilled butter. Using your fingertips (not your palms!) or a pastry blender, cut cold butter into flour mixture until it is roughly the size of peas.

Pour in 3/4 cup cold buttermilk. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. If it seems dry, add more buttermilk by the tablespoon.

Turn dough (and any unincorporated flour bits) out onto a floured surface. Flour your fingertips and pat the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Fold dough in half, and turn one quarter turn. Pat out until it is 1/2-inch thick again. Repeat folding/quarter-turning/patting out until you have done it four times total. Re-flour your surface as necessary. For more tips on folding, see here.

Cut dough with a biscuit cutter or sharp knife (not serrated). Cut directly down—do not twist. Place biscuits close together in your prepared pan. Pat biscuit dough scraps into a cohesive piece, and cut until you have used all your dough.

Brush biscuits with extra buttermilk.

Bake biscuits for 14-15 minutes, until they have risen and are starting to brown. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Serve.

Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits are best the day they are made, but can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits

Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupAs is my tradition, for the next three or four weeks, this baking blog will be a little light on the sweets and treats. It’s not that I don’t love making them anymore—that’s definitely not the case!—it’s just that I need to eat some non-sugary, non-flour-based food.

I mean, I ate vegetables over the holidays. But I also ate bread, cheese, chocolate covered pecans, a small slice of Chocolate Cream Pie, a not-small slice of Vanilla Layer Cake, my friend David’s wicked-good habanero cheese grits, a Bavarian Ham Sandwich that was basically the best thing I’ve ever eaten, a peanut butter cookie that was delightfully crumbly and tasted sort of like bacon (?), a Costco croissant that I enjoyed more than I’d like to admit, and fudge. So much fudge. Why did nobody tell me how good fudge is?!

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupUm…all that is to say, I need to eat some real food. That doesn’t mean a month of boring recipes though—boring doesn’t fly around here. Nope.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupFirst up is this Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup. It’s a wintertime favorite of mine, and almost everyone I make it for asks for the recipe. I’ve made it three times since Thanksgiving and went to a dinner party where it was served. What I’m saying is that once you try this soup, you’re going to want to make it again and again.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupBeyond being hearty and full of vegetables, Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup is way easy and comes together in under an hour. Just brown the sausage and add some mirepoix (fancy French word for carrot/celery/onion) and garlic. Throw in some tomato paste, thyme, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and chicken stock before stirring in two cans of cannellini beans, some torn kale and a little parsley.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupThat’s it. Super easy. Pretty good for you too.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean SoupSo easy and so good for you, in fact, that you’ll have time to make and batch of Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits and won’t feel too bad about eating two of them. That recipe will be up Friday!Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup

Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup
makes 3 quarts, 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
3 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into thin half-moons
3 stalks celery, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
4 cups chicken stock
2-4 cups water (as needed)
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
1 bunch lacinato kale, cleaned, stems removed and torn into pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher or sea salt to taste, if needed

Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Transfer cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot.

Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until starting to soften (about 8-10 minutes). Return sausage to the pan, add tomato paste and stir to coat. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, until tomato paste begins to darken. Add bay leaves, thyme, optional red pepper flakes, chicken stock, and enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

Remove bay leaves. Add beans and kale and let cook 5-7 more minutes, until greens have wilted a bit. Stir in parsley. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve.

Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Sausage, Kale & White Bean Soup