Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category


Pressure Cooker Chicken, Bacon, and Lentil Stew

February 20, 2018

Although I’m usually hesitant to acquire new kitchen gadgets, our 10-year-old crockpot has been living with a broken lid hinge/handle for a few years now and has generally seen better days. My husband had expressed interest in pressure cooking a few times over the past couple years, so when Amazon offered the Instant Pot Duo Plus at an excellent price on cyber Monday, I made a rare impulse buy with the justification that I could replace the crockpot and also have a pressure cooker/rice cooker/yogurt maker all in one appliance. (I’ve since learned that many people think the Instant Pot’s slow cooker function is sub-par, so I’m going to test it out for myself before finally getting rid of my trusty old crockpot.)

The only experience I’ve had with pressure cookers is watching my parents cook rice and beans in their old stovetop “jiggler” style cooker, which always made me a bit nervous. But the new electronic countertop cookers have a lot more fail-safes built in, so after reading through the manual to learn more about the pressure cooking process, I started out with a simple batch of plain basmati rice. Success!

My next step was to find some good recipes for actual meals. Although I generally prefer to cook out of cookbooks from sources that I know extensively test their recipes (versus just searching the internet for recipes), my current cookbook collection didn’t include any pressure cooker books. So I turned to Serious Eats, one of the few online sources I trust to produce great recipes. I already had all the ingredients for this chicken stew, so it seemed like a perfect recipe to get started. It turned out perfectly, and I’ve since fallen in love with pressure cooking as a way to prepare easy meals that I can throw together while the kids are napping and still have time left over to get other things done.

Depending on what you’re making, pressure cooking isn’t always faster than stovetop cooking, but the advantage is that with an electronic model, you don’t have to monitor it once the cooking starts. So far I’ve made mostly stew-type meals (including a lot of Indian curries), which is what this type of moist-heat cooking excels at. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more pressure cooker recipes to share over the coming months! Enjoy!

Pressure cooker chicken, bacon, and lentil stew

See recipe


Chorizo and White Bean Stew with Spinach

October 7, 2013

It’s been unseasonably warm in New York in the days since we returned from vacation! I’m expecting the weather to turn cold and dreary any day now; it is October, after all. I made this stew back in the spring but never posted it, so I figured now would be good timing – it will help warm you up on the upcoming chilly fall evenings.

I hesitated to mark this as a “weeknight” recipe as it takes about 45 minutes to make. You can make the most efficient use of your time by chopping up the onion and garlic while the sausage is cooking. You could also cut out about 10-15 minutes by buying pre-cooked chorizo; it would then just need brief browning on the outside. I actually had a difficult time finding fresh chorizo; even Wegmans didn’t carry it! We finally found some at a sausage stand in the indoor section of the public market. If you’d like to use fresh sausage but can’t find chorizo anywhere, spicy Italian sausage makes a good substitute.

This stew was excellent, the sort of food that gets described as “rib-sticking.” :) It’s very filling and would make a wonderful complete dinner with a light salad and some crusty bread. Enjoy!

Sausage and white bean stew with spinach

See recipe


Brown Rice, Lentil, and Spinach Soup

August 1, 2013

Upstate New York has had a reprieve from really hot weather for the last week or so; it’s actually been under 60 degrees at night! Don’t misunderstand – I love warm weather. But I also love leaving the house windows open, feeling the fresh air, not shutting the house up and running the air conditioner constantly. The cooler evening weather has me thinking about warming supper food like soups and braises (and I’m eating some soup from my freezer for lunch as I type this), so today I’m sharing a recipe that I made back in the spring. I think I made this soup while I was eating gluten-free during Lent, so for anyone who needs to stay gluten-free for health reasons, this is a tasty option!

I found this recipe in one of the back-issues of Saveur magazine online, and it appealed to me immediately because it’s a whole meal in a bowl: just add crusty bread or wheat crackers on the side. It’s got Italian sausage, mirepoix, lentils, brown rice, and spinach. Full of fiber and protein! Delicious and healthy. This recipe makes a lot of soup too, so make sure you have a large enough pot. The directions call for a 5 quart pot, but I used my 7 quart Dutch oven and found that it was a good size; I could stir everything without having to worry about splashing over the sides. :) Make it on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll have lunchtime leftovers for a week!

Brown rice, lentil, and spinach soup

See recipe


Zucchini and Spinach Soup

July 15, 2013

Here’s another one from Bon Appetit’s archives, this time going back ten years to April 2003! We received both spinach and zucchini in this week’s CSA bag, so this simple and quick soup looked like a perfect fit to serve with our light supper tonight. I used my stick blender in the pot to purée the soup rather than transferring to a traditional blender. This method worked fine, although I probably could have gotten a slightly finer blend with a regular blender. Not worth the hassle to me tonight, though!

This soup isn’t substantial enough to make a good main course, but it’s perfect as a first course. Definitely season it generously as the zucchini and spinach will be too bland without salt to bring out their flavors. The amount of cilantro (1½ cups) sounds like a lot, but I didn’t find that it overwhelmed the flavor of the other greens. I bet this soup would also be good with garlic added to the onion in the beginning, or red pepper flakes to give it a bit of a kick. The recipe is very basic and I bet the more adventurous among us could come up with some very interesting variations! Enjoy!

Zucchini and spinach soup

See recipe


Pork and Tomatillo Stew

June 7, 2013

I don’t remember what I was searching for, but last week I stumbled upon a blog titled The Gourmet Project – written by a woman named Teena who decided to cook her way through the Gourmet Cookbook (kind of like Julie & Julia)! She started in 2006 and cooked all 1293 recipes by the end of 2012, and now she’s starting on the sequel, Gourmet Today. Since Gourmet Today is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks that I use constantly, I’m so excited to read about her progress though it! As of her last post, she was about to have twins any day, so I suspect it’ll be a while before she gets back into the project. I would be so intimidated by giving myself a project like that; I tend to take the easy road with a lot of things because I’ve always been a perfectionist afraid of making mistakes. So I think it’s totally awesome that she persevered and made every single recipe. Certainly a big inspiration to me! :)

I decided to make this pork stew recipe (from Gourmet Today, what else?) because my husband bought a piece of organic pork roast on a whim, leaving me to decide what to do with it! It was only about 2 pounds, and most of my recipes for pork roast call for either tenderloin (which this piece wasn’t), or at least double the weight I had. I have no idea if the pork I had was shoulder (the package wasn’t very specific), but I figured it would work. The only extra thing I had to buy for this recipe was the tomatillos, which I’ve not used except to make salsa verde. They are kind of like small green tomatoes that have a loose husk covering them, and they leave an odd waxy feeling on your hands after you peel the husks off (I’ve had this even with organic tomatillos from a farm stand, so I assume it’s some component of the husk and not a pesticide or anything). At first I was skeptical of the amount of cilantro this recipe called for (a whole bunch, stems included??), but since it’s cooked along with the stew and not added at the end like many recipes are, it wasn’t as overpowering as I thought it would be.

Overall we really liked how this stew turned out! I cooked some brown rice to serve it over, and the sour cream on top provided just the right amount of added tanginess. A good recipe for a cool/rainy weekend, and then you’ll have a bunch of leftovers for during the week. Enjoy!

Pork and tomatillo stew

See recipe


Corn and Wild Rice Soup with Smoked Sausage

March 28, 2013

Rather than being thickened with flour, this creamy soup from the Bon Appetit Cookbook contains a whole bunch (almost 4 cups!) of corn kernels pureed with chicken broth to obtain its chowder-like texture. This recipe first drew my attention because it looked like it would make a lot, and having leftovers is great for weeks when I don’t feel like cooking almost every night. I was right – I almost needed to switch the soup out into my largest pot! It just barely fit in my 7-quart pot, so I’d recommend using at least an 8-quart pot to keep spills or splashes to a minimum.

I used the entire 14-ounce piece of kielbasa that I bought rather than the 10 ounces that the recipe called for, since I wasn’t sure what else I was going to use a small 4-ounce piece for later. And since I love kielbasa, I didn’t mind the extra in the slightest. :) This soup does take a bit of time and attention, so this definitely isn’t a weeknight recipe. But make it on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and you’ll have plenty of leftovers for future weeknights!

Corn and wild rice soup

See recipe


Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheddar Chowder

November 19, 2012

Other than making a couple side dishes for the annual Friends’ Thanksgiving party we attended on Saturday, I’ve been feeling pretty lazy in the kitchen for the past couple of weeks. Not sure why, I just haven’t been in the mood to make anything too involved. Unfortunately, no cooking = no leftovers, and I’m getting kind of tired of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. :)

We received a small head of broccoli in our CSA bag last weekend, and I had exactly one potato left over from making the roast chicken, so this recipe (from the Gourmet cookbook) was perfect! It’s a pretty quick recipe – takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. As usual, make sure you start the water boiling before you do any other steps and it’ll save you a bunch of time.

I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand, so I used some half-and-half combined with milk and it still turned out really creamy. An easy and delicious recipe to help get me out of my cooking rut!

Broccoli and cheddar soup

See recipe