January is Soup Month
Actually, we like to eat soup any month of the year, but January in Hawaiâ€™i seems to be especially good for soups.
We like all types but my favorite soups are smooth and creamy.
You can make meat, fish or chicken based soups or you can make an all vegetarian soupâ€¦Â
You can make soups out of just about any thing. Take a large pot, sautÃ© some onions in olive oil, add a touch of garlic, add water or some stock or broth and start throwing in whatever it is you have on handâ€¦season to taste and cook until done. Thatâ€™s it!
I always save bones, skin and fat when I cook chicken and save in freezer until I have enough to make a good pot of chicken stock. You can do the same with beef, fish, shellfish or vegetables. When cold and the fat has been skimmed off the top, ladle into equal amounts in freezer type bags, label them and freeze flat on the shelves. You will have stock or broth ready whenever you need it.
By the way, if you have dogs, donâ€™t throw away the skimmed fat. They will love a bit of it mixed in with their food.
When using bones or the shells of shrimp or lobster for stock, the broth will have a richer flavor if you roast the bones and shells a bit first, before adding to the water.
Our group of friends enjoys getting together at one of our beach parks every couple of months or so for a potluck. One of the times we got together we decided to make it a â€œSoup & Breadâ€ party. Some in the group brought soups and some brought several different types of homemade breads including two types of cornbread.Â
The park pavilion where we met has electrical outlets so those who brought soups were able to bring them in their crock pots or slow cookers to keep them warm. The soup and bread combination party is a fun one!
Cream of Mushroom Soup
This cream of mushroom soup is one of our favorites. You can use just plain button mushrooms or a combination of different mushrooms for a richer taste.Â
I make my own stocks or broths and usually use chicken stock for this soup. If you use canned stock or broth, taste the soup before you add salt as most canned broth are loaded with sodium.Â
If you donâ€™t want to use whipping cream, you can use half and half or even milk or evaporated milk, but these last two will not give it the silkiness or the richness of the cream. Yields 4 servings.
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups chicken or beef stock or broth
1-1/2 to 2 cups whipping cream or half & half
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Melt butter in sautÃ© pan and add onion and mushroom slices, cooking until onions are limp and mushroom releases as much liquid as possible. Add the sliced garlic and continue cooking until mushroom liquid evaporates. Season to taste.Â
Add the stock or broth and cook down. Add the cream, bring to very low boil. Transfer to a blender and blend until all solids are pureed. Check seasoning again. Pour into serving bowls.Â
Roasted Red Bell Pepper Cream Soup
This is the one I took to the Soup & Bread party. It is so good you might have to double it so everyone can have seconds! Yields 2 servings.
1-1/2 large yellow onion cut in thin slices
4 very large red bell peppers, seeded deveined and halved
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and mashed
4 tiny red Hawaiian chile peppers, seeded
1 cup heavy cream
Heat oven to 400oFÂ
Place on foil lined roasting pan in the order given - onions on bottom, then the peppers and garlic. Drizzle olive oil all over it. Sprinkle with sea salt - to taste. Sprinkle with oregano to taste.
Place the vegetables in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes - check and stir - roast for about 10 more minutes. Pour into blender and give it a whirl until smooth. Add one cup heavy cream and blend again. Place back on stove to reheat before serving.Â
The chile peppers are tiny but pack a wallop, only 4 were just right for us, one more would have been one to many.Â
Broccoli Cheese Soup
The original source for this recipe is Lark Wiley of Ka â€˜Ohi Nani Farm & CSA in Waimea. I made some changes which you can see when you read my notes below.Â
1 bunch broccoli - about 1 1/4 pounds, washed and trimmed
2 cups sliced onions
5 Tablespoons butter or margarine
7 cups chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Cut florets off broccoli and divide into small sections. Simmer in lightly salted water for 2 minutes, drain and immerse in cold water to stop cooking; set aside.
Cut stalks into small pieces; place in large saucepan. Add sliced onions and e tablespoons of butter to saucepan; sautÃ© over medium low heat for 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups chicken broth and oregano to the saucepan; simmer 20 to 30 minutes.Â
Carefully process hot mixture in batches in a blender until smooth.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan, stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Stir in mustard and pepper. Gradually stir in processed mixture and remaining 4 cups of chicken broth. Continue to cook, stirring until mixture begins to bubble. Add milk and cheese; stir until smooth and the cheese has melted. Add remaining broccoli florets and heat through. Serves 8
I cut the recipe in half. Cut the florets into small pieces and cooked it for a couple of minutes in my homemade chicken broth to which I added no salt. Instead of plunging in cold water, I strained them into the larger saucepan with the onions and butter. Reserve the broth. I cooked the vegetables in the butter for about 5 minutes until onion was translucent, and then added fresh leaves from my stick oregano bush, the mustard and half the broth. I then added fresh ground pepper and simmered for a little bit.
This was processed in the blender until smooth. Poured back into the saucepan and added the rest of the broth and cooked down a bit. I did not make the flour and butter roux. I then added about 1/4 cup of half and half. The cheese was not added until the soup was served in the bowl. I had a combination of 3 cheeses all shredded in the same bag and used that. My version yielded 4 delicious servings.
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A hui hou!
Original article can be found HERE