Tag Archives: soup

Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight Meals

Hey there! I hope you’ve been enjoying my annual post-holidays savory food content. While I love baking desserts and am ready to get back to it, I thoroughly enjoy changing it up for a month every year. I still have one more savory recipe coming your way this month, but it’s more Super Bowl-centric than balanced, nutritious, and delicious.

Before we start talking about cheesy dips and chili and guacamole and brownies though, I want to take a minute to acknowledge some of my favorite cold weather weeknight meals from the archives. After four Januaries (Januarys?) as a blogger, I have a lot of them. For this post, I’ve narrowed the list down to the five that I make most frequently. Three of them are soup—depending if you are a #soupseason person or not, I’ll either say “you’re welcome” or owe you an apology…in the form of a big cookie.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsSopa de Pollo

My iPad keeps autocorrecting “sopa” to “soap” de pollo, which sounds very gross. But this soup is the exact opposite of that—it’s delicious and nourishing with a decidedly Mexican flavor. Oh, and it’s dead easy; the prep takes all of ten minutes. Just put a bunch of vegetables, herbs, bone-in chicken and stock on to boil. Forty minutes later, remove the chicken, shred it, and return it to the pot. And um, well, that’s literally it. Easiest chicken soup ever.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsEveryday Cassoulet

This might be my favorite weeknight meal on this site. I’ve been making it for eight years and it always hits the spot. I mean, who doesn’t like sausages baked with tomatoes, pearl onions, and white beans?! Like Sopa de Pollo, this meal takes one hour start-to-finish and most of it is hands-off. Everyday Cassoulet is hearty without being heavy, and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. While it’s perfect for any weeknight, I’ve made this recipe for multiple dinner parties to rave reviews. Love that versatility!Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsSausage, Kale & White Bean Soup

If you love the flavors in Everyday Cassoulet, this soup is for you! In this one-hour recipe, Italian sausage, white beans, mirepoix (fancy French word for the combination of carrot, onion, and celery), and kale are simmered together in a tomato broth. This is the kind of good & good-for-you comfort food that I love, especially when it’s paired with cheesy Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits!Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsRoasted Cauliflower Soup

I am the sort of person that generally doesn’t care for cream soups or savory dairy-based things (except for this), but this Roasted Cauliflower Soup is so good, it may well change my tune. Made by roasting cauliflower florets until golden and then puréeing them with aromatics, butter, stock and half-and-half, this vegetarian soup is one of my favorites to make and eat. I’m not alone in this—I make it at work at least once every two weeks and it always disappears quickly.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsPasta Bolognese

Now, you may not think of bolognese sauce as a weeknight meal because it takes a while to prepare, but if you simmer a pot on the weekend and then chill it, you can get at least two family-of-four-sized meals out of it. If spending three hours making sauce sounds daunting, just know that most of it is spent letting the sauce bubble away. When all is said and done, the final product is rich, delicious, meaty magic that will have you wondering why you didn’t make a double batch! I like to keep this stuff in the freezer for when the big-bowl-of-pasta mood strikes. And while I have not yet tried it, I imagine this sauce would make killer lasagna.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsHave you made these or any of my other weeknight meals? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Advertisements

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsI love January on this blog. It’s not that I’m not into making desserts all the time—and you know I can’t quit baking completely—but it’s really fun to share recipes that are part of my everyday life. The sorts of things that I make on the weekends and then delegate as lunch or dinner for the next four days. #singlelady Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsI’ve been making this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for the last few months and I can’t get enough. It’s super simple to put together and very wholesome and comforting.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsDid I mention that it’s made almost entirely of vegetables and contains zero dairy? This soup’s creamy, velvety texture comes from one unsuspecting secret ingredient: a turnip.* It’s diced up and roasted with the butternut squash until everything is golden and sweet. Yum.

*Yes, the turnip pictured is comically large. That’s what I get for shopping ten minutes before close on a Friday night.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsThe roasted vegetables are then combined with some softened aromatics and stock (chicken or vegetable, whatever you have on hand), simmered for a few minutes, and puréed into a thick, rich, nutritious soup.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup provides a great blank slate for any number of garnishes. I was tempted to go with crispy bacon or even a wintry pesto, but decided instead to make something out of the seeds from my butternut squash!Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsWhile the vegetables were roasting, I rinsed the seeds to remove the fibrous squash innards. Then I toasted them in a dry pan just until they started to pop. After that, I added some olive oil, maple syrup, ancho powder, cayenne and salt, and stirred until they were brown and crispy.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsThe results are spicy, salty, sweet Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds, perfect for garnishing soup. Or eating by the tiny handful while you wait for your subpar Chinese takeout to arrive, which is exactly what happened to these. Ah, well.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
makes 4-6 servings

1 2 lb butternut squash
1 large or 2 medium white turnips
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large or 2 small Spanish onions, 1/2-inch diced
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Peel butternut squash and use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut it into 1-inch chunks. Reserve seeds for Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds (recipe below).

Peel turnip(s) and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place turnip and butternut squash pieces on 2 dry rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle each pan with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) olive oil and toss to coat vegetables. Roast 50-60 minutes, tossing every 25 minutes. They should be soft and caramelized in places. (The roasting time is a good time to make Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds.)

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 6-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and crushed garlic cloves and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened. Stir in roasted vegetables. Add stock, water, and bay leaves. Turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Discard bay leaves. Use a stick-blender to purée soup. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Serve soup with butternut seed garnish. Leftovers will kee in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds
makes about 1/3 cup

~1/3 cup butternut squash seeds (from 1 butternut squash)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ancho, chipotle or other chile powder
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
pinch of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

Place squash seeds in a small mixing bowl and cover with water. Use your fingertips to remove pithy squash innards from seeds, discarding them as you go. Pour seeds through a colander and remove any remaining pith.

Place seeds in an even layer on a clean, dry kitchen towel (or double layer of paper towels). Blot dry with another kitchen towel (or paper towel).

Heat a medium heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Add squash seeds and toast, stirring every minute or two, until they start to pop. Do not burn.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in olive oil. Return heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to darken and pop again. Do not burn.

Mix in chile powder, cayenne, salt, and maple syrup. Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds clump. Remove from heat.

Transfer seeds to a plate and let cool completely. Serve with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

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

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

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower SoupHave you ever suddenly had a craving for something you’ve never liked? Weird question, but it happened to me.

If you’ve been coming around here for a while, you know that I am not much for liquid dairy. I like yogurt with my granola and cream cheese on a bagel, but with few exceptions, I simply do not like milk, cream, half & half or anything similar.

Roasted Cauliflower SoupI am here to tell you that I’ve had a breakthrough. While I was ill a couple of weeks ago, all I wanted were vegetables. Being sick though, I wasn’t exactly up for serious cooking. I basically lived on roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, and cilantro-lime vinaigrette for a week. When I finally started to feel like myself again, I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen. I hadn’t cooked since the second week of my vacation, so deciding what to make was more complicated than it normally would be. I thought about lamb ragù, chicken noodle soup, and posole, but it all sounded too heavy. For some reason unknown to me, I started thinking about some roasted cauliflower I had five years ago at a now-defunct restaurant in DUMBO. Roasted cauliflower isn’t anything revolutionary, but I remember this restaurant’s version being startlingly delicious. I couldn’t get it off my mind. And so, I set out to the grocery store.

Roasted Cauliflower SoupNow, I normally would have just grabbed my cauliflower and some sausages or a chicken, but again, I had just had a cold for a week. Meat simply did not appeal. I wandered the grocery store for more than half an hour trying to figure out what to do with this cauliflower. I love roasted vegetables, but they need something else to make a meal. I went to grab some butter (because hi, I’m a baker), when I spotted some half & half, and it hit me–Roasted Cauliflower Soup. Something I have literally never wanted in my life until that moment.

Roasted Cauliflower SoupI trekked home and put the soup together in just over an hour. I roasted the cauliflower. I sautéed an onion and some garlic. I simmered everything in vegetable stock, added some mustard, and blitzed it all together in the blender. I did the unthinkable and added half & half. And then, I fell head over hideous Birkenstocks for this amazing soup. I ate the whole batch in two days, and then I went and made more because it’s just that good.

And that, dear readers, is the very long story of how a creamy soup came to appear on this blog. Mark the date–it may never happen again.Roasted Cauliflower SoupRoasted Cauliflower Soup
makes 4-6 servings

8 cups cauliflower florets (about 2 heads cauliflower)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
1 medium white onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water, divided
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup half & half
chopped parsley, for serving
toasted baguette slices, for serving

Preheat oven to 400F. Place cauliflower florets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Toss together with clean hands. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring at the 20 minute mark. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cauliflower, vegetable stock, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add mustard.

Using an immersion blender (or regular blender, in batches), purée vegetables and stock. Stir in water and let cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat. Stir in half & half. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Serve soup in shallow bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted baguette slices.

Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup