14 January 2014

Soups for a busy day

A good friend in Chicago suggested that I post some new soup recipes to help take the chill out of January. She is not only an excellent human being, but a busy freelance musician and mom to a one-year old, so I'm guessing she doesn't have all day to sit around making the perfectly crafted work of art.  So, here are some soups, for Stephanie and all the rest of you busy people out there in cold climes, that should be easy to put together in a hurry after a long day of commutes, music lessons with babbling little kids, and the rest.  (These also freeze well for later.)

Tomato-Miso Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 1/2 cups water
2 large tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup miso paste 
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3/4 pound soft tofu, cut into 1-inch dice (cooked chicken would work, too)
2 large scallions, thinly sliced
4 small to medium radishes, thinly sliced

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until the mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the water, stir well and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Whisk in the miso and soy sauce and return to a simmer. Add the tofu and simmer for 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the scallions and radishes and serve.

White Bean and Roasted Mushroom Soup

Serves 8

16 oz. mushrooms, halved or quartered
2 large sweet onions, quartered
3 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoon salt, divided
1½ teaspoon pepper, divided
8-10 fresh sage leaves
2 teaspoon dried thyme
48 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
3 – 15 oz. cans white beans, not drained
Additional salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss mushrooms, garlic and onion in olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. (You may want to keep mushrooms separate on baking sheet for roasting, because you’ll have to separate later. So, separate now, or later.) Spread on baking sheet. Add sage leaves and thyme. Roast in 450° F oven for 10 minutes, toss and roast for additional 15 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, add broth, beans, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves to a large stock pot over medium heat and simmer.

When vegetables are done roasting, let cool slightly. Separate mushrooms from other roasted vegetables (if not already separated).

Retrieve 2 cups of the white beans, and 1 cup of broth from the stock pot, add to a blender along with the roasted onions, garlic and herbs. Cover and blend until smooth.

Add pureed bean mixture back to stock pot, whisking in until smooth. Add roasted mushrooms to soup. Salt and pepper to taste.

Warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato-Cauliflower Soup

Serves 8

1 large head cauliflower
olive oil for drizzling
Few dashes garam masala (optional)
3 medium to large sized peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
7 cups water

First, preheat your oven to 400 °F and cut up your cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle cauliflower lightly with garam masala. Place cauliflower onto ungreased cookie sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven and let roast until golden brown on the tops and tender, but not mushy, about 20-30 minutes. There’s no need to flip ‘em. Just remove from oven and let cool while you cook the rest of the soup.
In large stockpot, bring sweet potato, onion, garlic and water to a boil. Salt (abt 3/4 tsp) and stir. Reduce heat and allow to remain at a constant simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Add in cooked cauliflower and divide soup into 2 parts.
Let soup cool and then blend one part soup in blender until very smooth. Combine with second part soup and stir. Salt to taste and warm up over stovetop if needed.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Mushroom Soup

Serves 6

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced finely
2 garlic cloves, roasted and chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, stems removed and leaves finely chopped
1 lb mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped into small pieces
1 - 28 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
4 cups broth
3/4 - 1 cup of cream or milk
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place 2 cloves of garlic, in their skin, onto a baking tray. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and let cool.

In a large soup pot, fry the onions in olive oil, on medium heat, until soft and translucent.

Remove the garlic from its skin, and then chop. Add the garlic, rosemary, and mushrooms, to the pot. Continue to cook until the mushrooms begin to soften.

Add the tomatoes and broth. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour. The soup is ready when it has thickened slightly and the mushrooms are soft and flavorful. You should no longer see raw flecks of rosemary floating on the surface.

Remove the soup from the heat. Add the cream and salt. Stir.