Claire’s Corn-er

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Is that the best headline yet or WHAT!

Hey, the stars really aligned for me, Becky, and corn soup this week. 

While she was in her corner, feeding soup to her cousins and also making another variation that she hasn’t posted yet, I was in my little corner, drooling over a picture on David Lebovitz’s Instagram feed and realizing: The time for corn soup is now

I only made 3 slight amendments to his recipe, which I mightily endorse:

  • I didn’t have any cream, but also don’t think it needs any!
  • Added a few ounces of a tomato sauce I’d made a few nights prior and needed to use up. A good choice. (A few heirloom tomatoes peeled, smashed, and simmered for a looong time with garlic and a little vinegar.) 
  • Smoked spanish paprika for lack of chipotle powder

Also, because I like to bury the most important information where no one will ever see it: CORN STOCK. The act of boiling corn cobs in water to make the base of a soup has been a big revelation for the staff of stonesoups.tumblr.com this week. 

Slurp on,

— Claire

Kid Critics: “Taco” Corn Soup

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I tricked my cousins into eating vegetables and here’s what they had to say about it:

I like the liquid, I wish it was just liquid. -Elena

It’s a little too watery for me. -Emily

It taste good but it looks gross. I liked everything except the carrots. -Xavier (ed. note: there are no carrots in this soup.)

It takes talent to make a soup like this. It tastes like a taco. -Grace

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Four out of four of my critics said they would eat this soup for dinner, but with the caveat, I’d have to make it. Sorry Aunt Tessie, I tried! 

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears of corn
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic

Shuck the corn and slice the kernels off the cob. Use the cobs to make a stock by covering them in water with some onion, thyme, peppercorns and salt. Bring to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile, dice the pepper, onions and potatoes. When the stock is ready saute the veggies in some evoo until the onion is soft. Add the stock and the corn and simmer until the potatoes are edible. I pureed half of the soup, but it’s up to you! I also added a few splashes of milk so it wouldn’t be too “sour” (Elena’s description of “spicy”) for the kiddos. 

— Becky 

Tomatoes!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Tomato time! I got a huge box for canning and with a few leftover did what we do best here at stonesoups.tumblr.com.

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Super simple:

Douse a baking sheet of whole tomatoes, smashed garlic, and sliced onions in good olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the shit out of it. Peel the tomatoes, discard the peels, and throw everything else in a big pot — especially that sweet syrupy roasty tomato-onion juice.

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Simmer late at night with a stock you’ve made and kept in your freezer for a rainy day. Add some herbs (I used basil and lemon thyme from my backyard). Simmer simmer simmer. And this is summer: You don’t need no cream! Blend it up and call it a night.

Seriously it’s 1 in the morning and you’re making soup go to bed.

— Claire

Finally, A Perfect Carrot Soup

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I’ve been chasing the perfect carrot + ginger soup for years and may have finally found one, thanks to the folks at America’s Test Kitchen. 

This recipe comes from the summer issue of Cooks Illustrated. I recently subscribed and while I have some major qualms with their business model (MY MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DOES NOT INCLUDE ONLINE ACCESS, ARE YOU CRAZY!?) I have to admit, I’ve already learned a lot.

It turns out the trick to great carrot soup is two types of ginger, lots of carrots and…baking soda! The baking soda breaks down the fibers in the carrots (and in vegetables in general) which helps make things smooth. 

Here’s their recipe, on the internet: 

  • 2lbs of carrots, sliced 1/4”
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbl of grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup of minced crystallized ginger
  • 3/4 cup of carrot juice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme

Sauté the onion, garlic, and gingers in some evoo until the onion is soft. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes until the carrots are soft. Pull out the thyme and blend to your desired consistency. 

After re-reading the recipe, I realized I missed a step at the end when you’re supposed to add cider vinegar and more carrot juice. I didn’t miss either. 

Top with chives and a crank of black pepper. 

— Becky 

Fish, Fennel, & Potato Stew

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I think it’s spring. So this is a spring soup I made from Bon Appetit

  • 8 oz. small waxy potatoes scrubbed, sliced ¼” thick
  • ½ medium fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • pound skinless flounder or fluke fillet, cut into 2” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Heat a good splash of olive oil and a bit of butter in a pot over med-high heat. Add potatoes and cook for about 3 minutes. Add fennel and garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and turn the heat up to high. Evaporate most of the wine, and then add 2 cups water. Bring that to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender. Stir in the crème fraîche. Add the fish and cover the pot. Cook for 4 minutes. Stir in the dill and season with salt and pepper.

Squeeze a lemon wedge on top of each bowl and serve with crusty bread.

— Josh

You Probably Can’t Make This Soup

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not questioning your culinary capabilities. It’s just you’d first have to: 

  • Buy Becky a copy of Eat With Your Hands (which, by the way, has the best 1-page “dessert chapter" ever).
  • You’d then have to have her make the roasted turmeric chicken (which, by the way, is probably the best roasted chicken you’ve ever had).
  • You’d then have to eat it down to the bones.
  • You’d then have to have her make a stock from those turmeric bones, roasted veggies and thai chilis, and lots of other ingredients that are unknown to you. 
  • You’d then have to be lucky enough to receive some of that stock. 

You’d then have to:

  • Make some magic mushrooms and add some snap peas and garlic to that sautee pan. Add the stock to the veggies and warm it up. Add a lil fish sauce. Pour it into your soup bowl. Cook some rice noodles separately and add them to the bowl. Garnish with cilantro, basil, red onion, squeeze of lime. 

It was exactly what the doctor ordered, i.e. I think Becky was right: It just might cure ear infections. Alas, you probably can’t make this soup.

— Claire

Karfiolleves (Paprika-Spiced Cauliflower Soup)

I’ve accepted the fact that winter is never going to end, so I made some soup to warm up. In my quest to learn to appreciate cauliflower, I chose this Saveur recipe from Budapest of a cauliflower soup with dumplings.

ingredients 

  • 1/3 cup flour 
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt 
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Hungarian hot paprika (I didn’t have Hungarian paprkia, so I used 1 tbsp. regular paprika, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, and 1/2 tsp aleppo chile)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped 
  • 6 cups vegetable stock 
  • 1 small head cauliflower, large stem removed, cut into florets 
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped 
  • parsley chopped

Add 2 tbs. butter and 2 tbs. olive oil to a soup pot and heat over medium. Add paprika and onion and cook until the onion is soft. Add broth, carrot, and cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until veggies are soft. 

Meanwhile, make the dumplings by mixing the flour with 2 tbs. of butter. Use a fork or your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until it’s in pea sized lumps. Then add the egg, and stir until it makes a dough.

After the veggies have cooked through, keep the broth at a simmer and drop 1/2 tsp. sized blobs of dough into the soup. Cook for 3 minutes and serve with chopped parsley. 

Josh

Spicy Split Pea Soup

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Here’s a simple, spicy split pea soup that sticks to your ribs just enough to get you through random pre-spring cold snaps. 

Ingredients:

  • 1lb bag of split peas
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 thai bird chili, sliced
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 carton of vegetable stock
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • fish sauce
  • curry powder

Sauté the onions and carrots in coconut oil, then add the garlic and curry powder and a bit of fish sauce. Toss in the pepper and then the split peas. Top with stock, bring to a simmer and cook covered for about an hour. Puree the soup to your desired consistency, then stir in the coconut milk. Salt to taste. Also, a dash of white pepper couldn’t hurt. 

— Becky

A Simple Soup

Soup, my love, it’s been too long. It was nice to see you last night. 

Ingredients:

  • Beef Broth (maybe 2 cups?)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • A handful of sturdy greens
  • Cheese tortellini
  • Red pepper flakes

De-frost some stellar beef broth. Meanwhile sauté the onion in a pat of butter until translucent, de-glaze with a splash of red wine. Add the garlic for a few seconds then add the greens until wilted, along with a dash of red pepper flakes. Bring broth plus a few cups (another 2?) of water to a boil, add the tortellini and cook for the recommended amount of time, then add the sautéed things. 

Serves 2.

— Becky 

Potato, Cheddar & Bacon Soup

I had a craving today for a hearty potato soup, so that’s just what I made. This potato cheddar & bacon soup is perfect for these cold New Jersey nights and so easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb coarsely chopped bacon (I used a thick cut)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 glove garlic minced
  • 1 carrot peeled, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour 
  • 6 cup chicken stock
  • 3lbs of potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1pound sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Cook the bacon at medium to high heat until crispy or how ever you like your bacon. Pour out all but one tablespoon of the grease and add the butter and heat until melted. Add the chopped leeks, onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Then slowly add the chicken stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook partially covered for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. In a large bowl put the cheese and about a quarter of the soup and mix until creamy then add it back to the pot and heat the soup until almost boiling. Garnish with the bacon pieces and eat up!

Kristen

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Ramen! (It Is, Kinda…)

I made the broth for this ramen many days in advance and then simply heated it on the stove while prepping the toppings and noodles.

Ramen Broth

This is a two-part stock. It starts as an umami-heavy kombu/mushroom dashi and then adds a vegetable backbone. Intended to mimic the “two-broth” style of non-vegetarian ramen stock.

Ingredients:

Dashi

Note these are estimates. You can vary by more than double without ruining anything, probably.

  • 1 medium package (3-4 oz) of dried mushrooms
  • 3 sheets of kombu kelp

Vegetables

These are what I used, but please substitute liberally with what you have. Make sure to include some aromatics (onion, scallion, shallot) and some root vegetables (carrots, turnip). The actual ingredients and even possibly the proportions aren’t important.

Aromatics

  • 1 onion
  • 1 bunch of scallions (I use the green parts and save the whites for other uses)
  • 1 leek

Root vegetables

  • 1 large or 2 small shallot bulbs
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 small turnips

Flavor

  • 1 bunch of parsley stalks (what’s left when you use the leaves)
  • 3 stalks of celery

Instructions:

Dashi

  • Fill a very large stock pot with several gallons of cold water. You want to do this properly, right?
  • Put over high heat.
  • Add mushrooms and kombu while water is still cold.
  • When the water reaches a boil, turn it down to medium (or whatever will keep it at a consistent simmer).
  • Simmer for 2-ish hours.
  • Remove the kombu.
  • Simmer for another hour.
  • Remove the mushrooms and reserve for another use, like mushroom pickles.

Vegetables

  • If you’re using a soup sock, load it with the vegetables and submerge it in the simmering water. Otherwise, dump in all of your vegetables and be prepared to strain in a few hours.
  • Simmer for 2-ish hours.

Quality control

Your stock should now be quite brown and fragrant. If it is not brown, continue to simmer for another hour.

Final prep

  • Your stock should have reduced by about half by now. Remove your soup sock or strain out your vegetables and put the stock over high heat.
  • Continue to reduce by about a third of the remaining liquid, skimming every few minutes.

What is skimming?

Skimming is using a fine mesh filter to remove the scum from the top of your stock. This is especially important with meat stocks, but your vegetable stock will benefit from your obsessiveness. Remove scum every 10 minutes or so.

Storage

Cool your stock and store.

  • Refrigerate: In 32oz or smaller containers (so it will cool more quickly) for about two weeks.
  • Freeze: Lasts several months to a year, but just eat it already.

Ramen Toppings

I used tofu skin, the saved mushrooms from the stock and quick-cooked zucchini.

Tofu skin

  • Soak the tofu skins (presumably dried) in warm water for 15-20 minutes until soft.
  • Cut into strips and throw in a hot pan until warmed through.
  • Toss with soy and sesame seeds.

Mushrooms

  • Cut into long, thin slices.
  • Throw into a hot pan until quite warm.
  • Toss with fried chili flakes and chili oil.

Zucchini

  • Cut zucchini in half and then in long, quarter-inch strips so that none of the strips is more than half the length of the whole zucchini.
  • Heat zucchini in a hot pan until they are mostly soft, 5 minutes or so.
  • Toss zucchini with a little soy.

Construction

  • Cook the noodles and add them to the bowl.
  • Add three tablespoons of dark soy sauce.
  • Add one teaspoon or more to taste of sesame oil.
  • Add one teaspoon or more to taste of chili oil.
  • Add about three cups of broth.
  • Quickly add some of each of the toppings.
  • Top the whole thing with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions.

Jeremy

A Thai-rrific Soup

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I present for your souping pleasure a thai-rrific soup comprised of a thai-phoon of flavor and thai-talizing delights. 

Ok, I admit, that last one was a bit of a stretch but seriously, make this soup. I smooshed together two recipes, one for chicken khao soi  and another for spicy curry noodle soup and the result is a spicy, sweet, sour, delightful bowl of yum. 

ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ginger
  • lemongrass
  • chili paste
  • 1 can plus a bit more of coconut milk
  • A quart or so of banging homemade chicken stock
  • 2.5 tbls of fish sauce
  • 1 tbl brown sugar
  • 2 chicken breasts from a chicken you hack yourself =( // =)

for garnish:

  • thinly sliced jalapenos and red onions
  • raw sugar snap peas
  • a slice of lime
  • vermicelli noodles

I covered the sweet potatoes in some leftover turmeric chicken gravy plus some ginger, lemongrass, chili paste, a touch of evoo and some salt. Roast them until they’re tender and browning slightly. 

Meanwhile, cut up your chicken. I had never done this before and found it both sad and satisfying. There are lots of helpful videos online to guide you through your first time, I watched this one a bunch before starting. I can say with certainty that I will never look at a piece of chicken the same way again. As an added bonus, I used the rest of the chicken to make a double chicken stock that is amazing. 

Saute shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and half a tin of yellow curry paste until the kitchen is intoxicatingly fragrant. Add a few tablespoons of the solid part the congeals at the top of a can of coconut milk and simmer until everything really melds together. Then add the rest of the coconut milk, the chicken stock, and the chicken. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the chicken is done. 

When the chicken is ready, (10-20 minutes) remove it from the broth and shred it. Add it back to the pot along with the sweet potatoes. Meanwhile, cook your vermicelli noodles. 

Serve soup over the noodles and top with red onion, jalapenos, a slice of lime and raw sugar snap peas. 

— Becky 

Molto Buona Soup

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When I can’t be cooking soup, the second best thing is to read about cooking soup, which is how a link Lizzie sent me a few weeks ago became a permanent tab in my browser. The bright orange pasta e fagioli was my first foray into the 6 soups chef’s make in the winter. It’s a hearty, rib sticking soup, perfect for a chilly day.  

Ingredients: 

  • evoo
  • a thin slice of pancetta, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • sprigs of thyme and rosemary
  • a bay leaf
  • a cup of marinara sauce, I used this as an excuse to try Marcella Hazan’s simple sauce recipe. It’s delicious! 
  • 1 (15oz) can of dark kidney beans and another can of light kidney beans
  • chicken stock
  • itty bitty pasta
  • parsley for garnish 

(This is a pretty close re-creation of Delio Susi Jr.’s original recipe) Heat the evoo in a large pot. Add the pancetta and cook until it’s crispy, then add the onions, celery and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent then add the marinara sauce, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and one can of beans. Add the stock and 4 cups of water. Bring it all to a boil and then simmer for half an hour. Pick out the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf and then puree the soup until it’s smooth. Add the other can of beans and simmer gently.

Meanwhile cook up some pasta in a separate pot. Thin out the soup with water if it’s too thick. Serve soup over pasta and top with grated parmesan and fresh parsley. 

Buon appetito!

— Becky 

BROON WAHZ Soup

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I’m currently obsessed with cutting vegetables into the perfect brunoise. My carrots are pretty good but I’m really struggling with onions. To be honest, everything was more of a dice…but hey, practice makes perfect, right? The other thing — burnoised vegetables belong in a beautiful consommé and one day I’ll make it that way, with lots of butter to boot, but for this round I wanted something heartier.

Brunoise:

  • 2 onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 white potatoes, peeled

Other things:

  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 package of dried porcini mushrooms
  • glug of red wine
  • chipotle in adobo
  • cumin
  • veg stock

Spend a lot of time chopping things. Sauté in evoo, a splash of red wine to de-glaze the pot never hurt anyone. Add the cumin and chipotles, then the crushed tomatoes, mushrooms and stock. Simmer everything for a good while. 

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— Becky 

Second Date Sausage and Lentil Soup

For my second date with a Georgetown law student, I decided to make soup. This seemed like a very logical thing to me for a few reasons: A) It’s cold out and B) any college student (even a 26-year-old man fully capable of taking care of himself) appreciates a home-cooked meal. 

I found the recipe here and modified it slightly. 

Ingredients:

  • 5 stalks of celery
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 sausage links (I used hot Italian pork, but really anything would work)
  • 2 or 3 glugs of red wine
  • salt, pepper, dried thyme (to taste)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese + some rind

Chop the celery, carrots, and onion into very small pieces. Saute in soup pot with the garlic in olive oil until soft. Add bite-sized pieces of sausage to the mix and let cook for a minute or so. Glug in the wine. Throw in some salt, pepper, and thyme. Add water and bring to a gentle boil. Add lentils and parmesan. Once it starts boiling again, bring the temp to the lowest setting, put the lid on it, and wait 1.5-2 hours. When the soup is finished cooking, remove two cups (avoiding the sausage) and puree it in food processor or blender. Add back to pot. 

Serve with some bread, maybe a few slices of parrano, and finish up that wine you opened.  

My date brought over 2 additional bottles of red wine, so to say we had an enjoyable dinner is an understatement, really. Unfortunately, he’ll be spending his month-long winter break in California, but I am hoping this soup was enough to convince him that a third date is a good idea. 

— Kalee