Monday, March 30, 2009

Potato, Cheese and Green Chili Soup

Okay, so here it is - what I think is the best soup I've ever had! It comes from the book "Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons" by Nava Atlas

5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
5 cups vegetable stock (I used the full recipe of Onion & Garlic stock mentioned below) or water
1 tbsp canola or olive oil (I used olive)
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped (I used red as we didn't have any green)
1 cup chopped fresh, ripe tomatoes (substitute canned if good, ripe tomatoes are unavailable)
1 cup cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 4-oz can chopped mild green chilies
1 tsp chili powder
8 oz reduced-fat cheddar cheese or cheddar-style soy cheese, grated (I didn't weigh out my cheese, I just used a big chunk that we had in the fridge)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the diced potato in a soup pot and cover with the stock or water. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered, until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a small skillet. Saute the onion over medium heat until it is translucent. Add the garlic and green pepper and saute until the mixture begins to brown lightly.

Remove half of the potatoes from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon and place them in a shallow bowl. Mash them well, then stir back into the soup pot, followed by the onion-bell pepper mixture. Add the tomatoes, corn, green chilies, and chili powder. Add additional water if the soup is too dense. Stir together, return to a simmer, then simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle in the grated cheese, a little at a time, stirring it until it is fairly well melted each time (soy cheese may not melt as completely). Season to taste with salt and pepper and allow the soup to simmer over very low heat, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes.

Serve at once, or let stand for an hour or so before serving. Heat through as needed and adjust the consistency with more water if the soup becomes too thick.

I had 5 bowls of this soup over 3 days (it really is the best soup I've ever tasted - have I mentioned that?), and even my two sons had second helpings!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Onion and Garlic Broth

Last night I made what I think is probably the best soup I've ever had! It was amazing... But I'll get to that later ;)

The other day I went to the library to pick up a book that our daughter had put on hold. While I was there, I decided to see if there were any books I'd like to check out, too. I did a few searches and came out of the library with 5 books just for me :)

I've been inspired by a friend's blog ( ) to think even more about how to conserve. One of the books I took out of the library was "Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons" by Nava Atlas. I'm not a vegetarian, but certainly could be. But with 4 other people in the family it's much easier to make some days meatless than to go completely vegetarian. Usually, when I see a recipe that looks really yummy, I'll go out and get whatever I need to make it. However, following my friend's example I decided to only make meals that I already have the ingredients for in the house. Let's face it, I have cupboards, a fridge & freezer, 2 pantry shelving units and a deep freeze absolutely full of food already - so I should be able to find some recipe that uses items I already have, right?

And boy, did I!

First, I made an Onion & Garlic Broth. Here's the recipe:

1 tbsp. canola oil (I used olive)
1 large onion, chopped, or 2 medium leeks, white parts only, cut into 1/4 inch rings (I used 2 medium onions)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced (I used 6 as we all like garlic)
6 cups water
1/4 cup dry red wine (I used a Chilean Shiraz)
salt to taste
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper, optional

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. If using leeks, separate the rings and rinse them well to remove grit. Add the onion or leeks and saute over moderate heat until golden. Add the garlic and continue to saute until the onion or leeks brown lightly. Add the water, wine, salt, and optional pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes. You may leave the onions and garlic in if you wish (I did), or strain the stock through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.

Now it's ready to use as either a clear broth if you're not feeling well, or you can use it as a base for any soup that calls for vegetable broth. I used it for the above mentioned best soup I've ever had... I'll do another post with the recipe for that soup later. But for now, let's just say it has potato, cheese, and chiles. Did I mention it was the best soup I've ever had? Stay tuned for the recipe...

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures. As soon as the broth was finished I had to leave to take my doctor to Halifax for an eye appointment, and as soon as we got home I had to start making the aforementioned best soup I've ever tasted.