Creamy Butternut Squash and Coconut Milk Soup


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Butternut squash and coconut milk are a wonderful flavor combination.  This is the perfect cold weather soup. The ginger, curry and cinnamon will give you that warm fuzzy feeling down to your toes. Serve with warm crusty bread and you have a quick easy meal.

4 cups butternut squash – 1″ dice

2 carrots sliced

1/2 medium onion diced

1 clove garlic diced

1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

6 cups chicken stock or use enough to just cover vegetables

13.5 oz. can coconut milk

1/4 tsp curry powder (+/-) to taste

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a thick bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are fork tender (about 20 minutes). Allow soup to cool then use a blender to puree soup in batches until it is creamy. (Do not put hot soup into blender). Then re-heat the soup to serve.

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Pigeon Pea Stew with Plantain Dumplings – Asopao de Gandules con Bolitas de Platano


This is a popular Puerto Rican vegetable stew called Asopao de Gandules con Bolitas de Platano. It is usually served over rice.

 

Stew:

½ green pepper (large dice)

1 small onion (large dice)

2 cloves garlic

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp dried cilantro

½ tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp olive oil

¼ cup diced ham or bacon

1 tbsp capers – rinsed

12 stuffed olives – rinsed

3 cups chicken broth

1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce

2 – 15 oz. cans pigeon peas (Gandules)

1 cup diced Calabaza or Butternut squash (½ “dice)

1 cup Batata or sweet potato (½ “dice)

Dumplings:

2 large green plantains – peeled and finely grated

1 tbsp corn starch

1 egg white

½ tsp dried cilantro

½ tsp parsley

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

Place peppers, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, cilantro, oregano, cumin and oil into food processor and puree to make sofrito. Sofrito is a Puerto Rican kitchen staple used to flavor many dishes.

Dice ham into small cubes about 1/2″.

Place 3 tbsp of sofrito and diced ham into a large stock pot and saute for about 4 minutes over medium heat.

Remaining sofrito can be frozen for use in another dish.

Rinse olives and capers in cold water.

Add olives, capers, broth, tomato sauce and pigeon peas to the pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Peel the Batata and the Calabaza.

Dice the Batata and the Calabaza into small cubes.

Add diced vegetables to the pot  and simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine dumpling ingredients in a large bowl.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop dumplings into pot and allow to simmer on low heat for about 1 hour with cover slightly ajar.

 

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup


This soup is rich and hearty and has all the flavors of chicken enchiladas. You can turn this soup into  a party  by making a platter filled with the garnishes  then let your guests  have fun garnishing their own bowls.

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup diced onions

½ cup diced green peppers

 1 Jalapeno pepper diced

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried cilantro

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp dried oregano

6 pieces skin off / bone in chicken thighs

2 – 8 oz. cans tomato sauce

1 – 16 oz. can diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup kernel corn

 

Garnishes

Shredded lettuce

Tortilla chips broken into pieces

Shredded cheddar cheese

 Avocado cubes tossed in lemon or lime juice

Fresh cilantro chopped

Lemon or lime wedges

Sour cream

 

Heat oil in a large pot add onions, peppers,  Jalapeno pepper, cayenne pepper,  garlic, cumin, dried cilantro,  salt, black pepper, and dried oregano. Cook until onions are translucent.  Add the chicken, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and chicken stock to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 1 hour or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from the pot and allow the chicken to cool. When chicken is cool enough to handle shred the chicken and add the meat back to the pot. Add corn to the pot and turn off the heat. Ladle into bowls and garnish

Sopa de Pollo con Fideos or Spanish Chicken Noodle Soup


 

    

Whenever someone starts to feel sick around mom, out comes the large caldero (soup pot) and in goes the chicken parts and tons of vegetables. Her chicken soup is thick and chunky and when I have tasted other chicken soups they were watery in comparison. Her soup was almost like a stew. This is a “Heirloom Recipe” dedicated to my Mother but with some of my own variations. I’ll be careful not to vary too far from the original recipe so she doesn’t smack me with her wooden spoon.
 
  

Stock:

6 chicken thighs, skin on

1 large onion quartered

4 stalks of celery coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed

¼ tsp celery seed

1 bay leaf

10 pepper corns

¼ tsp rosemary

¼ tsp thyme

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp parsley

½ tsp cilantro

3 tsp salt

2 quarts of water

Place all ingredients in a large pot at high heat. When pot comes to a boil reduce heat to a low boil and simmer for 1 hour, covered. After 1 hour strain the liquid through a fine mesh, reserve the liquid. Remove chicken and discard the vegetables and spices. Remove the meat from the bone and shred into coarse chunks, discard the skin. Then set the shredded chicken aside to cool.

Soup:

Reserved chicken stock

2 cups diced red bliss or other thin-skinned potato, ½” cubed

1 medium onion, ½” dice

½ cup celery, ½” dice

½ cup carrots, ½” dice

1 – 8 oz. can of Garbanzo Beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed

½ pound fine egg noodles

Reserved shredded chicken

2 cups of fresh spinach, shredded

1 – 8 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

2 slices of lemon

Bring stock to a boil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When boiling starts add potatoes, onions, celery, carrots and beans to un-covered pot and boil for 45 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Add egg noodles and the reserved chicken to the pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. When you open the pot the spinach should be wilted, give the pot a final stir and serve. This soup gets better with age.

Optional: garnish individual bowls with a sprig of cilantro, some diced avocado and a lemon wedge.