Saturday, February 09, 2008

Soup's On!

I love making a big pot of soup in these winter months. I'm not sure what I appreciate more--the easy integration of vegetables into a healthy meal, the warmth, the ease, or the abundance that results. All are appreciated. Over the last couple of weeks I've tried out several recipes that I really enjoyed. Two of them came from the Better Homes and Gardens Recipe Card Series Slow Cooker, October 2004 that I picked up in the free pile from my library (donated books that are not saved for the annual book sale).

Shrimp Creole
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes.......................2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz can chicken broth............................ 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 cups chopped onions...........................1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup chopped green pepper........................ 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sliced celery........................................1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce *
1 6 oz can tomato paste................................. 1 bay leaf
1/3 cup sliced green onions......................... 1 1/2 lb peeled cooked medium shrimp*

Combine undrained tomatoes, broth, onions, sweet pepper, celery, tomato paste, green onions, garlic, paprika, black pepper, salt, hot pepper sauce, and bay leaf in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove bay leaf and discard. Stir shrimp into vegetable mixture; heat through. Serve immediately over hot cooked rice.

*Jennifer's notes: I didn't have hot pepper sauce (Tabasco style), so I used cayenne pepper instead. I used frozen cooked shrimp, thawing as directed first. I also added some smoked link style sausage.

Mexican Minestrone
2 cups diced red-skinned potatoes
2 14 oz cans vegetable broth*
2 cups frozen cut green beans*
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
2 cans Mexican style stewed tomatoes*
1 cup salsa

Combine potatoes and frozen green beans in slow cooker. Add black beans, undrained tomatoes, broth, corn, garbanzo beans, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 11 hours or high for 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours.

*Jennifer's notes: I used chicken broth. I'm glad I bought the frozen green beans, which I don't generally use. They held up much better than canned and added a great flavor. I don't know if I found the particular kind of tomatoes, but used the green pepper and onion variety. I also threw in some spices: cumin and a bit of chili powder. This was SO good and enjoyed by all in the family. I just finished off the batch today, and I think I'll make another one soon.



This recipe came out of a book from which I've made quite a few delicious soups and stews, Jump Up and Kiss Me: Spicy Vegetarian Cooking. Seeing it out on the counter, always leads Amanda to question, "Are you going vegetarian?" I assure her I am not (although I love a great vegetarian meal and if my family were more open to it and I had someone to prepare delicious vegetarian meals, I think I could). If we happen to go out to dinner and I order a salad or a veggie pasta dish shortly after I've answered this question it fuels her theory, "See you are going vegetarian!"

Spicy White Bean Soup with Tomato
2 cups dried small white beans.........................1/2 tsp ground fennel*
1 yellow onion, cut in half..............................1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 celery stalk..................................................1 can tomatoes, diced, with juice
1 bay leaf..........................................................freshly ground black pepper
2 T olive oil..........................................................2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped yellow onion................................1 tsp dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.............................1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Rinse beans and soak overnight. Drain beans and cover with 2 qts water. Add halved onion, bay leaf, and celery. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are soft. Remove the onion, celery, and bay leaf. Salt to taste, puree half the beans in a blender*, and crush the other half with their liquid. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the fennel and cayenne and cook a few minutes longer, until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and cook, breaking them up with a spoon, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir the bean mixture into the tomatoes and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes. Season liberally with pepper. Combine the parsley, garlic and thyme and stir into the soup just before serving.

*Jennifer's notes: I made this on the stovetop, but it could easily be adapted to a slow cooker. Also, as further proof that I am not "going vegetarian," I used chicken broth, since it's what I had on hand. I do not have fennel in my cabinet. I didn't even know that there was such a thing as ground fennel. I probably through in some cumin instead. I often skip the puree step (and did). It probably would have been better, but my shortcut step is to take a potato masher and just crush some of the beans. This was not an all-time favorite, but I enjoyed the kick and it's quite different than other white bean soups I've made (I posted a recipe for another one I liked last year), so I'd probably make it again.

3 comments:

Rich said...

The Mexican minestrone sounds great! I completely agree with the chicken base. I usually use beef for a more traditional minestrone, but I think chicken would work better with the Mexican flavors.

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I think Mexican style stewed tomatoes is what we southerners call Ro-tel. But I could be wrong on that. = )

They all sound yummy!

Susanne said...

I love soups as does most of my family. All three of these sound great!