Entries in soup (7)


curried red lentil soup

Inspired by the flavors of Indian Mulligatawny, this soup is one of my daughter's favorite recipes. She asks me to make it for her all the time.


I find that the flavors get even better the day after it is made. I always make large batches since it is just as easy to make a large batch as it is a small one. My kids love to take a thermos full for school lunch. It also freezes well if we want to save half for another time. 


I buy fresh curry leaves at our food coop but they are also available in Indian grocery stores and even on Amazon.com. If you buy a bag of them they can be frozen for future use. If you cannot get fresh curry leaves you may omit this step and just mince the garlic and ginger into a fine paste.




2-3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced

4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup fresh curry leaves

2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil but olive oil would be just as good!)

2 onions, diced

4 carrots, sliced into rounds

2 stalks celery, finely diced

1 tablespoon mild curry powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

2 pounds split red lentils

12 cups water (more as needed)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 cans coconut milk

fresh cilantro


Combine ginger, garlic, and curry leaves in a spice grinder or small food processer and blend into a paste. Heat coconut oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook stirring frequently for about 4 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add curry leaf paste, curry powder, and garam masala and cook another minute or two until very fragrant. Add lentils, water and salt and increase heat to high to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Add coconut milk and adjust seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro before serving.


green soup


This soup is a perfect antidote to too much Halloween candy. It started out as a simple pea soup but I had the urge to fortify it a bit. The leeks and kale add flavor as well as lots of nutritional benefits and the potatoes give the soup a nice texture.


2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cups finely chopped kale (1small bunch)

4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice

8 cups chicken stock  (use vegetable stock for vegetarian soup)

2 bags frozen peas

1 tablespoon fresh mint (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Soak leeks (after slicing) in a bowl of cold water to remove any dirt. Lift leeks out of water and if there is grit in the bowl repeat process until the water is clean.


Heat olive oil in a large pot and add leeks. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until leeks start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add kale and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes more. Add peas, mint (if using), salt and pepper, and cook another 5 minutes. Puree using a submersion blender (or working in batches in a regular blender). Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.



corn chowder


When corn is in season, bursting with flavor and sweetness, corn chowder is one of my favorite meals. This soup is hearty enough for dinner and can be varied easily. I use whatever potatoes are available at the farmstands...fingerlings, new potatoes, or whatever looks best. You can leave the skin on as long as you are not using a variety with tough skins, such as russets. You can also vary the flavor a lot depending on what herbs you add at the end. Basil really accentuates the summery flavors for me, while cilantro gives a bit of a southwestern taste. Try adding red pepper or some chilies too, if so inspired. Like so many good summer recipes, this is one to adjust to your own liking, based on whatever is best at the local market.


This recipe serves a crowd but you can certainly cut it in half. I like to make a big recipe whether we have guests of not. It is always nice to know you have another meal ready to go, and it freezes well if you want to save it for longer than a couple days.



10 ears corn, husked

1/2 pound bacon

1 large onion, diced

8 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

6 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 quarts new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 8 cups)

10 cups stock or water

2 cups milk

1 1/2 teaspoons salt (if you use water you will need more salt)

freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, cilantro, or basil


Cut corn from cob and set aside. Before discarding cobs scrape them with the dull edge of a knife to remove even more corn pulp. You should have about 6 cups of corn and pulp when you are done.


Cook bacon in a large skillwt over medium high heat, until browned and crispy. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Pour a couple tablespoons of the bacon fat into a large pot and return pot to the burner. Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent and carrots and celery are beginning to soften.


Add bay leaf, stock or water, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender.


Add corn, milk, salt and pepper and cook about 4 minutes more, until corn is tender. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until the liquid is thick but not pureed - there should still be plenty of visible potato chunks and corn kernels. If you do not have an immersion blender you can ladle a few cups of the soup into a blender, puree, and return to the pot.


Stir in fresh herbs and reserved bacon. Adjust seasoning if needed before serving.


homemade chicken stock


As a cook I am sort of lazy. I love great food, but for me the most satisfaction comes with taking really great ingredients and preparing them simply. I pride myself in keeping it pretty easy. I also am somewhat sponteneous in my cooking - my idea of a shopping list is something like this:

salad stuff, veggies, fruit, bread, lunch stuff, 2 dinners, cereal, milk, eggs, butter, etc.

You get the idea! I prefer to be insprired by what I find, rather than be frustrated that avocados are on my list but they are under or over ripe. As a result, things like homemade chicken stock usually get skipped. I want to make risotto or soup right now...not in a few hours or tomorrow.


Recently my dad had a major operation and one of the things that made me feel like I could contribute to his recovery was preparing the most delicious wholesome food I could. In the first days, when broth was a staple of his diet, I made an enormous pot of rich homemade chicken broth. I would like to think that I will forever take this extra step...the broth was so much more flavorful than anything you can buy, and the whole nature of it was different too - much more gelatinous. On an intellectual level I've always known that homemade stock was superior but to really feel like I made something that might help the healing process was a pretty special feeling. 


So, here is how. The list below is what I used but you can vary it somewhat as long as you have a good assortment of veggies.


Dark green portion of a few leeks, thinly sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

4-6 carrots, sliced or chopped

4-6 stalk celery, chopped

1 or 2 parsnips, sliced or chopped

2 small onions, quartered (leave skins on but trim off roots)

3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 bay leaves

parsley stems

1 whole chicken (rinsed, gizzards removed)

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt


Submerge leek greens in a large bowl of cold water to remove any dirt. Lift the leeks from the bowl and if there is sediment in the bowl wash it out and repeat this step until the water is clear.


Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, parsnips, onions, garlic, and leeks, and cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are begining to soften but are not browning, about 10-15 minutes.


Add bay leaves, parsley stems, chicken, peppercorns, salt and 20-24 cups of water. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for 60-90 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from pot, leaving the rest to continue simmering.


Once the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones. If you have time and want to make a really rich broth you can toss the bones back in the pot and continue simmering for another 30-60 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the solids out of the broth and discard them.


It is best to cool the broth before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer - I recommend making a large icebath and cooling it quickly, working in batches if necessary. This will help prevent spoiling. 


By the way, if you do not want to use the cooked chicken for soup it is perfect in chicken salad with cashews.



lentil soup



I served ham at our last New Year's party and only about 2/3 of it was eaten. I threw together this soup the next day and it was so delicious.  If you want ham in the soup but don't have a ham bone lying around you can buy a small fully cooked ham, such as a ham hock. If you want it to be strictly vegetarian omit the ham and use vegetable stock or water for the liquid. Our babysitter had tried a recipe for lentil soup that added a cinnamon stick to the pot and she raved about it. I was intrigued so did the same here...it added another dimension to the soup without being overpowering...I would definitely do it again.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 carrots, thinly sliced

4 stalks celery, diced

8 ounces mushrooms, stems removed, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic

1 pound french lentils

1 ham bone (optional)

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

2 qts. chicken or beef broth 

1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste

1 pound chopped kale

1 teaspoon vinegar


Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over high heat and add onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, lentils, ham bone, bay leaf, cinnamon, stock and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add salt and pepper and cook until lentils are very soft and ham is fork tender and falling off the bone. Stir kale into soup, working in batches if necessary, and cook another 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Add vinegar and cook 5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.


thai coconut curry


Inspired by the delicious flavors of Tom Kha Gai Soup, I wanted to make a dish hearty enough to be a complete dinner. This broth is quite versatile...I used ingredients that my family enjoys but I have tried many variations: You can substitute shrimp or tofu for the chicken, try fingerling potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, or add broccoli, spinach, or green beans. One thing I have found is that sauteing the green vegetables separately ensures that they are cooked the way I like them - with a little bite. However, if you prefer to keep the dish washing to a minimum you can just add them to the broth for the last few minutes of cooking. I often make some brown rice and stir that in when serving.



1 32 ounce box chicken stock (about 4 cups)

2 cans coconut milk

1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

2 stalks lemon grass, tender center part only, cut into 3-inch lengths and smashed

3 kafir lime leaves (can substitute curry leaves)

1 chili pepper (seeds removed)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/3 cup fish sauce

cilantro stems (save leaves for use as garnish)

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)


Combine all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a simmer, and cook 20 minutes. Strain and return to pot. This step can be done ahead.



olive oil or butter for sauteeing

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, seeded and cut into matchsticks

2 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces 

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

2 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

8 ounces snow peas

cilantro leaves for garnish


Bring broth to a simmer on stove. Saute the onion, garlic, and red pepper in a little olive oil or butter and add to the broth. Add sweet potatoes and cook 8-10 minutes, until almost cooked through. Add chicken and simmer 3-4 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.


In the meantime, saute zucchini until just starting to brown. Add snowpeas and cook until bright green. Add to curry and serve. Garnish with cilantro leaves. 





tortilla soup


I used to live near City Bakery in Manhattan, which, in addition to being famous for its delicious cookies and croissants, happens to make a delicious tortilla soup. I wanted it more often than they sold it and had to learn to make my own. This version is creamier than City Bakery’s but more than satisfied my addiction. While the spicy chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are available in most supermarkets, they might be too spicy for some budding palates. You could minimize or omit the peppers entirely, depending on your family’s spice threshold, and let people add tobasco (or any hot sauce) to taste. I like to serve the soup with the avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, and chips in separate bowls so everyone can add their own -- my kids always love to have that little bit of control!


1 poblano pepper
1 28 ounce can tomatoes 
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters 
3 cloves garlic  
1 cup cilantro 
1 teaspoon dried epazote (optional, you can substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano)
1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (optional)
1 8 ounce container sour cream
1 teaspoon sugar 
2 teaspoons salt
1 32 ounce box chicken broth 
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts 
2 cups finely grated chihuahua cheese (can substitute monterey jack)
   diced avocados
   tortilla chips 
   lime wedges


Roast poblano pepper over the flame of a gas burner until charred. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic; let sit 10 minutes. Remove and discard charred skin, seeds, and core.


In blender combine poblano pepper, tomatoes and their liquid, onion, garlic, 1/2 cup cilantro, epazote, chipotle peppers, sour cream, sugar, and salt. Cover and blend until nearly smooth. Put mixture into a large pot and add chicken broth and chicken breasts. Bring to simmer; cover and cook for 10 minutes. 


Remove chicken from pot and set aside until cool enough to handle. Shred chicken into bite sized pieces and add back to pot. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with grated cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, remaining cilantro, and lime wedges.