Butternut Curry Coconut Soup

Butternut Curry-Coconut Soup

 

Butternut Curry Coconut Soup

I don’t know why kids are so opposed to eating soups with, you know, pieces. Maybe it’s just genetic. My mom’s magic solution to getting us kids to eat her (delicious) soups was to puree them in the blender before filling our bowls. This applied to any kind of soup–be it beef stew, lentil soup, Italian, clam chowder, or vegetable, it went in the blender. Honestly, the thought of eating pureed beef stew or vegetable & noodle soup is pretty repulsive to me now. I can’t bring myself to puree my own kids’ soups because it just sounds so–ugh. Yet I can’t deny that my offspring seem to favor smooth, uninterrupted bowls of soup.

Fortunately there is a way to compromise. Occasionally I serve a soup that is by nature silky-smooth and completely tantalizing that way. This butternut curry-coconut soup probably has the most depth and full-bodied flavor of any soup I have had. I’ve tried a number of butternut or pumpkin and curry soups, but none of them quite made the cut. I think it is the variety of vegetables that make this one stand out, particularly the addition of a sweet potato (i.e. yam).

I try to avoid making the whole “even people who don’t like–insert food–will love this” claim on my blog because I think that is just asking for trouble. I see that said a lot, I actually think it has the effect of making people want to prove to you that they don’t like said food and you can’t make them. (Because not liking a food makes you superior? Beats me!) But that said, if sweet potato isn’t your thing, I will comment that you would be hard-pressed to detect sweet potato in this at all. It doesn’t taste like sweet potato, and the sweet potato is truly indispensable in giving the soup its rich, sweet, enticing flavor. It’s like it fills in a gap in the overall taste of the soup that just can’t be filled any other way.

If you already have roasted squash in the freezer, this recipe comes together very quickly. If you don’t, this post for directions on how to roast a  squash. If you don’t want to turn on your oven, you could use pre-cut squash from the store and add it along with the sweet potatoes.

Enjoy this creamy, fresh soup with rice, cilantro, shrimp, and/or roasted squash seeds as desired. And if you love soups made with winter squash, be sure to try another favorite, Roasted Winter Squash and Ham Bisque.

Butternut Curry Coconut Soup

Butternut Curry-Coconut Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS oil
  • 2 medium-large onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 TBS mild curry powder
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large butternut squash, roasted or peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 20 ounces coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cans)
  • Additional chicken broth as desired

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, and curry powder and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the chicken broth, brown sugar, sweet potato, squash, sriracha, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until all of the veggies are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Use an immersion blender to process the soup until smooth, being careful not to splatter yourself with hot soup. Or transfer to the jar of a blender and process in batches, being careful to vent the steam.

Stir the coconut milk into the soup and cook just until heated through. If you want the soup thinner, add additional chicken broth.

Serve with rice, cilantro, shrimp and/or toasted squash seeds if desired.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/butternut-curry-coconut-soup/
Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

 

Lasagna Soup

Need a special meal to cook for your Valentine? Or just a no-fail staple recipe? I have one for you today! This one never, ever fails to please family and friends, and while it looks and tastes fancy, it doesn’t require any Herculean efforts in the kitchen.

Not a fan of lasagna? You may still want to give lasagna soup a try. It’s just tastier, I say… Let me tell you a little story about lasagna.

A few years ago I went on a trip with a school group. We were very graciously fed by a variety of thoughtful hosts throughout this trip, which lasted about 2 ½ weeks. And nearly every dinner consisted of lasagna, spaghetti, or pizza. Especially lasagna. Although I dearly love variety in my food life, this dietary monotony would normally pose only a minor annoyance.

Lasagna Soup

However…

I was about 2 months pregnant and in the height of morning sickness. As many of you know, finding anything to eat that won’t hit the puke reflex is difficult in these circumstances. It was a little difficult to ride on a bus all day long as well as have almost no control over what I ate. And then there was lasagna. Every. Single. Day. Now don’t mistake me—I did everything in my power to hide my discomfort from my hosts, who were wonderful. I would never be so rude as to insult food that someone had graciously prepared for me. But honestly, by the end of the trip I was hiding in the bathroom at the scent of lasagna/pizza/spaghetti. Bless the family who served us a roast and potatoes on the last day. You are my heroes.

Not surprisingly, I avoided the lasagna (and its comrades-in-arms pizza and spaghetti) for the duration of my pregnancy. Although I no longer have an aversion to lasagna, you’ll never find it on my meal plans. Pizza yes. Spaghetti yes. And lasagna soup, YES!

Somehow the classic flavors of lasagna—sausage, tomato, garlic, basil, oregano, and melty cheese—are just more appealing in a savory, broth-y bowl than in cheese-pasta-meat slabs. I’m not suggesting you should take lasagna off of your menu if you love it—but then, if you love lasagna, all the more reason to try lasagna soup!

Serve lasagna soup with a side of breadsticks or focaccia and a green salad and you’ve got a classy and crowd-pleasing meal. Hint: I’ve got a knock-out breadstick recipe for you coming right up 🙂

If you’re worried about squeezing ricotta into your budget, go check out my post on how to make it fresh for a fraction of the cost. Or sub in cottage cheese, whichever you prefer.

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Ingredients

  • ½ lb Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups (or 2 cans) chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup small, uncooked whole grain pasta
  • 2 cups roughly chopped spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Optional: shredded mozzarella for garnish

Instructions

In a soup pot, brown sausage until cooked through and drain any excess fat, returning sausage to the pan. Add the onions and sauté for a few more minutes until the onions are softened. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute more, until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, broth, water, and bay leaf to the pot, stirring to combine. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and Parmesan cheese along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

When the soup is done simmering, remove it from the heat and add the spinach, stirring until the spinach wilts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a generous spoonful of the cheese mixture in each bowl along with some of the cooked noodles.* Then fill the bowls with hot soup. Sprinkle with mozzarella if desired.

*If you wish, you can add the noodles to the soup before serving. The drawback to this is that if you have leftovers, the noodles will soak up most of the broth in the soup.

Serves 4-6.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/lasagna-soup/
Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon Smoky Beans

Beef & Bacon Smoky Beans (Slow Cooker)

These beans are a serious eat.Smoky Beans1 I know I’ve mentioned before how awesome beans are, but I’ll say it again. Beans (especially the dried version) are high in protein and iron, nutritious, filling, and dirt cheap. Bring on the beans.

Baked beans are a common potluck side, and I usually take an obligatory spoonful. But these are not your picnic canned pork n’ beans. They are not even Bush’s Baked Beans. They are infinitely better, mouth-wateringly delicious slow-cooked beans, perfect for a winter evening.

This slow cooker dish features three varieties of beans. It is completely from scratch; no canned baked beans are called for. Feel free to substitute according to your tastes. It’s filled out with onions, bell peppers, extra-lean ground beef, and bacon, and the sauce is the perfect balance of sweet and smoky flavor.

I’ve honestly never seen beans devoured in such quantities as these smoky beans. They’re so hearty, I like to serve them as a main dish, with plenty of fresh greens or veggies and dip (like this one or this one), and fresh fruit on the side. And no one ever complains when this Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread hits the table.

If you’ve got a potluck or family gathering coming up, beef and bacon smoky beans are a sure crowd-pleaser. The prep for this dish is very simple, and a few hours later you’re set with a slow cooker full of the best baked beans ever. Enjoy some warm, loaded and smoky beans on a chilly winter day!

Have a merry Christmas, everyone. I’ll be back next week with a New Year’s recipe for ya!

Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon Smoky Beans

Beef & Bacon Smoky Beans (Slow Cooker)

Ingredients

  • 6 oz bacon, cooked and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ¾ lb super-lean ground beef (93% lean)
  • 1 medium or large onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 12 oz tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBS dry mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 2 TBS liquid smoke
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce*
  • 5 cups pinto beans, fully cooked, or 3 (15 oz) cans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups kidney beans, fully cooked, or 1 (15 oz) can, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups black beans, fully cooked, or 1 (15 oz) can, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

**If you want the beans to have a lot of sauce, double all of the ingredients listed after the bell peppers**

In a skillet, brown the beef, onions, and bell pepper until the onions are tender and the beef is cooked through. While the beef is browning, whisk together the tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, liquid smoke, and Worcestershire sauce in a large slow cooker. Add the beans, bacon, and contents of the skillet into the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper if desired, and serve warm.

Makes approximately 3 ½ quarts.

*You can substitute 2 TBS soy sauce and a pinch of cloves for the Worcestershire sauce if desired.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/beef-bacon-smoky-beans-slow-cooker/
Chili Verde Green Chili with White Beans

Chili Verde with White Beans

Are you looking for your St. Patrick’s day meal Chili Verde Green Chili with White Beanstomorrow but corn beef and cabbage just isn’t your thing? (I’m not bashing corned beef here. I absolutely love brown-sugar-and-mustard-glazed corned beef with cabbage.) This chili verde (green chili) might be just what you need to change up the green menu.

I first tried salsa verde a few years ago at the urging of my husband, who did a two-year service mission in Ft. Worth, Texas among the Spanish-speaking population before we were married. I tried it from a bottle, and it was okay, but not life-changing. Then a few months ago I made a from-scratch version, and guess what I found out? Salsa verde is amazing. I could taste all the flavors that make up a salsa verde–tomatillo, jalapeno, lime, garlic, cilantro, onion…and ever since I’ve been looking for new ways to sneak that magic flavor combination onto the table.

This fresh chili is a perfect showcase for the classic flavors of salsa verde, made hearty with creamy great northern beans and chicken. Roasting the vegetables really brings out the depth of their flavors, and then they simmer together with a roux-thickened chicken broth and seasonings for a rich chili, topped off with a splash of fresh lime juice. With a whole jalapeno, you’ll have a spicy chili; reduce the amount of jalapeno if you want it milder. If you’re getting ready for a chili cook-off and need something that will stand out, this is it. It makes a great fresh-tasting contrast to classic brown and red chilis.

Enjoy this veggie-packed, delicious chili verde for dinner on St. Patty’s day, and then dig in to all those green-inspired desserts!

Chili Verde Green Chili with White Beans

Chili Verde with White Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb tomatillos, husks removed and washed
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and membranes removed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed and cut into several pieces
  • 1 TBS canola oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 a large lime
  • 4 cups of cooked great northern beans, or 2 cans
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded

Instructions

Preheat oven to 500*. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut any large tomatillos in half and place on the baking sheet along with the garlic cloves, onion quarters, jalapeno, and bell pepper pieces. Drizzle oil over the vegetables and toss them with your hands to make sure they are thoroughly coated. Bake the vegetables for 10-15 minutes, or until they are just starting to char.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When melted add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook and stir over medium heat until it begins to smell like cooked pie crust, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking constantly. Add the oregano, coriander, and salt to the pot. When vegetables are done, carefully transfer them and the juices on the baking sheet into the pot, squeezing the garlic cloves out of their peelings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add the green onions, cilantro, and lime juice to the chili.

Carefully process with an immersion blender until smooth. (Or, transfer to a blender jar and process in batches, being careful to allow the steam to escape while blending. ) Add the beans and chicken to the chili and stir to combine. Serve warm with shredded cheese, avocados, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and tortilla chips.

Serves 8-10

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/chili-verde-with-white-beans/

Linked at: Flour Me With Love, Homemaking Linkup, Living Well Spending Less

roasted-winter-squash-ham-bisque-soup

Roasted Winter Squash and Ham Bisque

The first time I made this winter-squash-ham-soup-bisque for my husband, he said “Wow, this is the best tasting bright-yellow stuff I’ve ever had.” I guess things that are bright yellow aren’t supposed to taste good?

In any case, this creamy soup is a family favorite. The sweet, nutty flavor of the squash perfectly complements the smoky bits of ham. It’s a rich, warm dish that is surprisingly filling. I’m not one to serve an array of side dishes with dinner (I’m not that coordinated) so I rely on filling and nutritious main dishes with just a couple of simple things on the side. For example, I often round out a meal with a side of steamed vegetables, maybe some fresh fruit, and some homemade bread. I served this soup a couple nights ago with fresh, homemade whole wheat rolls. They looked and smelled enticing. It was slightly devastating when I tasted a hot roll only to discover I had committed a cardinal sin of bread-making. I forgot the salt. In case you’ve never had bread without salt, I will inform you now that it is not good. Very, very not good.

Not wanting to let 24 homemade rolls become a complete waste, the four of us went on an excursion this morning. My son had suggested that we “feed the birds.” So, we headed to the local “nature park” (it’s actually a sewage treatment area…but that’s not a good subject for a food blog) to feed the gaggle of ducks and geese that live at the, ahem, pond. Well, we pulled up and parked, with our sack of lovely saltless rolls at the ready, only to discover a new feature in the park. It was a duck-food dispenser, something that had not been there previously. It bore signs reading “Please DON’T feed the ducks bread. It is the duck equivalent of junk food and leads to excessive weight gain, malnutrition, and other problems.” Apparently I’m guilty of unknowingly playing McDonald’s to ducks my whole life. So, we popped a quarter in the machine and let our son throw little pellets to the ducks, and the salt-deprived rolls have returned to their sorry position on the kitchen counter.

If you decide to serve homemade rolls with this lovely bisque, may your bread be better than mine. If it isn’t, don’t even think about giving it to any fast-food-enslaved ducks.

How to Roast a Winter Squash

You can use any winter squash with a rich, orange flesh for this bisque. Butternut is usually the easiest to find at grocery stores, but my personal favorite is buttercup, if you can find it. I’ve seen it at produce stands, farmer’s markets, and occasionally in stores. It has a more subtle flavor than butternut and the flesh is perfectly creamy, akin to a mashed potato texture, rather than having fibers like the flesh of butternut squash.

Preheat the oven to 350 *. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray.

Cut your squash, or squashes, in half and place the halves cut side down on the sheet. If you don’t have a knife that cuts through a raw squash easily, you might try this method from Alaska from Scratch for roasting a squash whole. Bake until the squash is easily pierced, with soft flesh. The time will depend on the size and variety of squash. Mine typically take 45-70 minutes to roast.

oven-roast-winter-squash

Scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff from the center of the squash. Then scrape the soft squash-flesh off of the peel and into a bowl or measuring container. If you are using this for Winter Squash and Ham Bisque, you don’t need to blend it or mash the squash at this point because you will blend the entire soup near the end of the recipe. If you want to keep the squash for something else, you may want to blend it into a smooth puree. Then place it in freezer bags or containers and freeze for later use.

If you want to skip the cutting and scraping steps with the squash in this recipe, you can buy a bag of pre-cut squash, toss it with a drizzle of oil and roast it at 350* for 30 minutes or until soft, then proceed with the recipe. You could also skip the roasting step entirely and add the cut squash with the potatoes, boiling till soft. The only drawback to this is that you lose the roasted flavor dimension.

roasted-winter-squash-ham-bisque-soup

Roasted Winter Squash and Ham Bisque

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 5 cups winter squash
  • 1 cup potatoes, diced (about 1 medium russet)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups ham, fully cooked and diced (preferably a smoked variety)
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ¾ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and rosemary and stir to coat onions with oil. Partially cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add broth, squash, potatoes, and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth, or transfer to a blender and process in batches.

Add the evaporated milk, ham, sugar, curry powder, cinnamon, and black pepper. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. If soup has cooled, return to heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally. Serves 8-10.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/roasted-winter-squash-and-ham-bisque/

Linked at: Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Living Well Spending Less

zucchini-corn-chowder

Zucchini Corn Chowder

I’m pretty sure that if zucchini-corn-chowder you were really bored, you could sit by a garden and actually watch the zucchini growing. It seems that one day there are tiny, hardly noticeable squashes sitting happily on the plant, and by the next morning, you’re facing hordes of 18 inch zucchini-zillas. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but no, it’s not. I’ve got a zucchini battalion marshalling in my backyard.

The good news is, zucchini is a very versatile vegetable. It can star in stir-frys, soups, casseroles, baked goods, desserts, and just about anything else you can think of. Believe it or not, you can even find recipes for zucchini ice cream on the web.

With the cold and rainy weather we’ve been having all week, I turned on the oven and baked some bread for the first time in at least a month. It called for some soup to go with it. Corn chowder is one of my go-to recipes when it’s almost time to go grocery shopping again because it is so versatile and inexpensive. The addition of zucchini seemed natural, and I adjusted the flavors just a little to feature fresh rosemary and garlic. If you want a lighter version, just sub in some chicken or lean ham for the bacon. Also, you’ll notice that I use canned (evaporated) milk in many of my recipes. I like the rich flavor that it has, and that it’s a good food storage item since it’s shelf stable. I use it frequently instead of cream in soup and sauce recipes because it adds a rich, creamy flavor without as much fat. Feel free to use fresh milk instead in the recipe, but don’t add as much water at first, then add additional water or milk until you reach the consistency you like. One of the best parts of this recipe is that it can all be done in one pot, which means fewer dishes to wash!

zucchini-corn-chowder

Zucchini Corn Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 can (14 oz) evaporated milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3/4 cup frozen yellow corn ( or ½ can corn )
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese ( optional )

Instructions

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute zucchini, onion, and garlic until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are becoming translucent. Add the flour and stir until the vegetables are thoroughly coated. Slowly add the milk and then the water, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer and add the rosemary and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the soup is thickened. Add bacon and corn and stir till heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded cheese if desired. Serves 4-6.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/zucchini-corn-chowder/