Tag Archives: soup

Super simple slow-cooker chili

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Chili was one of the first things that my mom showed me how to make while I was in college.  It’s so simple, and can be modified any way that you like.

In my first post-college apartment, my parents gave me a slow-cooker, and chili was the first thing I tried to make with it.  It blew my mind!  I could leave the house while it cooked and let the flavors really develop, and the beans were much more tender.  Now I always make my chili in the slow-cooker. I usually eat it with rice, or try it with baked fries for a healthier version of my favorite food, chili cheese fries.

Slow-Cooker Chili

1 lb. ground sirloin
1 14 oz can of pinto beans, drained
1 14 oz can of kidney beans, drained
1 14 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 chipotle in adobo
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c water

Serve with any combination of the following:
rice
tortilla chips
french fries
baked potato
finely chopped red onion
sliced green onion
grated cheddar cheese

Add all ingredients to slow-cooker. Cook on High setting for 4 hours or Low setting for 8 hours. Stir and break up the beef with a wooden spoon. Taste and add additional seasoning as necessary. I sometimes add a bit of hot sauce (Chipotle Tabasco is my favorite for chili) or barbeque sauce at this point.

Serve with any or all of the desired toppings.

Other simple chili variations:

  • Use ground turkey or pork instead of beef.
  • Use white beans, black beans, or garbanzo beans.
  • Add beer instead of water.
  • Add chocolate!  A handful of chocolate chips (or 1/4 c if you have big hands) add a little sweetness/richness to the chili.
  • Add more vegetables – Try corn, mushrooms, or bell peppers.
  • Use diced tomatoes with green chiles (instead of fire-roasted) and omit the chipotle in adobo, for a less smokey chili.
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Lentil, spinach, and lamb soup

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This was super easy and a really delicious combination. I seasoned ground lamb with coriander and red pepper flakes to give it a spicy lamb sausage flavor.  It paired really well with the lentils!

Lentil, Spinach, and Lamb Soup

1/3 lb ground lamb
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
kosher salt
3 small potatoes (or 1 regular sized one), diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 c lentils
1 bay leaf
4 c chicken broth
3 cups raw spinach
1 T olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the lamb, and break apart with a wooden spoon. Season with salt, coriander, and red pepper flakes, and cook until browned.

Add the onion and garlic to the pot, and saute until soft. Add the carrots, onions, potatoes, lentils, and bay leaf, and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth the pot and increase the heat to medium high. When the pot boils, cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes.

When the lentils are tender, stir in the raw spinach until wilted. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Pozole

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There are flood warnings all over Los Angeles today, so after a soaking trip to the farmer’s market and a mid-day trip to the South Bay for dim sum with my parents, we decided to hole up inside with the dogs.

March Madness for Paco, and pozole-making for me!

I usually use Tori Ritchie’s recipe for New Mexican-style turkey pozole, but after watching someone make pozole with a puree of onions, garlic, and herbs on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, I had to incorporate that technique into my recipe. (I was unable to find the exact recipe online, unfortunately.)  I loved the idea of a fresher, more onion-y flavor. After some internet research, I have found that this technique is most commonly used in pozole verde, which also incorporates tomatillos and jalapenos, but I decided to use it in my pozole rojo anyway.  The result was delicious, and perfect for a stormy afternoon.

Pozole

2-3 turkey drumsticks (2 1/2 lbs)
kosher salt
pepper
1 T vegetable oil
4 c water
2 c chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
1 T New Mexico chili powder
1 onion, diced
1 T fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic
1 32 oz can hominy, rinsed and drained

Garnish:
shredded green cabbage
red onion, finely chopped
radishes, sliced
cilantro
fried corn tortillas or chips
avocado
lime

Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Season thoroughly with kosher salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and brown, making sure that the turkey releases from the bottom of the pan before you try to flip it. Brown the turkey on all sides.

Add the water to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the bay leaf, New Mexico chili, dried oregano, and some additional salt, and allow to simmer for an hour and a half, until the turkey meat is falling off the bone.

Meanwhile, place the onion, garlic, fresh oregano, and one cup of the turkey’s cooking liquid into a blender. Blend until the mixture is a chunky liquid.

When the turkey is cooked, remove it from the pot and leave it on a plate to cool.

Pour the onion puree into the soup pot and continue to simmer for 30 more minutes. When the turkey is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard the skin and bones. Add the turkey meat and the rinsed hominy to the pot, and bring everything back to a simmer.

Serve with all of the garnishes on the side so that people can create their own perfect bowl pozole. Personally, I like LOTS of lime, onion, and cilantro, a few chips, and a few pieces of avocado.  Buen provecho!

Miso udon with fried tofu, spinach, and eggs

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For a quick and healthy lunch, I made miso soup with udon noodles. For added texture and deliciousness, I fried the tofu first. I got the idea from those little packets of instant miso with tiny dehydrated pieces of fried tofu. Yum!

Miso Udon with Fried Tofu, Spinach, and Eggs
(serves 2)

6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
Handful of dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in water for at least 20 minutes
4 cups of spinach
2 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 container of firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch slices
vegetable oil
1 small package udon noodles
2 T white miso paste
2 scallions, finely chopped

First, fry the tofu:
Lay the tofu on a plate or cutting board, over three paper towels. Place three more paper towels over the tofu slices, and press to remove the excess water. Repeat with additional paper towels if necessary.

Once the tofu is dry, heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the tofu and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip and fry the other side. Remove from the pan, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Now, make the soup:
Heat the chicken broth over high heat. When the water is simmering, add the mushrooms (including the water they’ve been soaking in), spinach, and udon noodles. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, then stir in the miso paste.

To serve, put a few pieces of tofu and the hard-boiled eggs into soup bowls. Ladle the soup and noodles into the bowls. Garnish with scallions.

Broccoli, cauliflower, cheese soup

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There has been half a head of fancy organic local cauliflower languishing in our vegetable crisper, and we added some fancy organic local broccoli to the collection on Sunday. Since it’s a chilly 61 degrees in Los Angeles today, I’m making a broccoli, cauliflower, and cheese soup for lunch. My version will be healthy-ish, as I like to preface a meat-heavy dinner with a vegetarian lunch.

We use 1% milk, so I added a couple of tablespoons of cream for richness. You can probably skip this step if you use whole milk, or add more if you prefer a richer soup.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cheese Soup

1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T butter
2 T flour
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 cups of milk
2 cups of chicken stock
(optional) Half-and-half or heavy cream for richness
5 cups of broccoli and cauliflower florets
3/4 c (or more) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Nutmeg or mace

Melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic in the butter until soft, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the flour stir into the butter to make a roux. Allow the flour to cook for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the milk, chicken stock, and cream or half-and half. Bring to a simmer, then add the broccoli and cauliflower. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

When the vegetables are soft, you can puree the soup in a blender or use a potato masher to break up the florets. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Taste and season with nutmeg or mace and black pepper. Serve with lots of Tabasco!