Archive for the ‘soup/stew’ Category

I’ve never had Hot and Sour Soup at a Chinese restaurant, so I don’t even know if I normally like it. But I did not like this recipe! The combination of flavors was way too much for me, and it was a little too spicy for my taste.

But it did get very good reviews on MyRecipes.com, so if you normally like Hot and Sour Soup from a Chinese restaurant, then I suggest trying this (and please let me know how it turned out!)

(Want to try a Chinese soup recipe that I really liked? Try my Egg Drop Soup!)

Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp
adapted from Cooking Light, October 2006

1 1/2 cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 – 1/2  cup  pre-sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons  low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 of an 8-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
1/2  teaspoon  white pepper
3/4  pounds  medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4  ounces  reduced-fat firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2  teaspoons cornstarch
1  tablespoons  water
1  large egg white, beaten
1/8  teaspoon  chili oil
1 tablespoons  chopped green onions

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Add juice, pepper, shrimp, and tofu to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are almost done.

Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly drizzle egg white into pan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chili oil and onions.

serves 2

1 serving = 5 Weight Watchers Points

Calories: 233
Fat: 4.7g
Protein: 38g
Carbohydrate: 9.4g
Fiber: 2.3g

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Another soup, and another Martha recipe 🙂

I found this recipe a little over a month ago, and I’ve made it twice since then – that should give you an idea of how simple and tasty it is. Start to finish, it takes about 30 minutes – unheard of for soup!

The first thing that makes this recipe so quick is that it uses already-cooked turkey. Ideally, you’d use leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas. I did not, so I used Butterball Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Strips.

The second thing that makes the recipe quick is that it uses already-made stock. The original recipe calls for stock that you made yourself ahead of time (it is a Martha Stewart recipe, afterall). But I’ve never had great luck with homemade stocks – they take forever and they never seem to taste as good as the store-bought stuff! So I used “Better Than Bullion” Turkey Base.  It was my first time using it, and I’m a big big fan!

(I modified the recipe a bit – I added a potato and omitted a sprig of rosemary.)

Turkey Noodle Soup
adapted from Everyday Food, (month unknown) 2009

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, diced medium
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 medium white onion, diced medium
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 cups turkey stock (if using Better Than Bullion: 3 tablespoons turkey base + 8 cups water)
1 large potato, cut into dice-sized pieces
2 cups wide egg noodles
3/4 pound shredded cooked turkey

1. In a 6-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrots, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion softens and slightly browns, about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add stock and bring to a rapid simmer. Add potatoes and cook 5 minutes. Add noodles, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer until noodles are tender, 10-12 minutes. Turn off heat and add turkey to heat through.

Serves 6

winter is soup season

1 serving = 5 Weight Watchers points

calories: 257
fat: 6.8g (2.3g saturated)
carbs: 24.6g (fiber: 3.0g)

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I love creamy soups – but I very rarely eat them, because they’re often loaded with heavy cream (helloooooo calories!). But I was pleasantly surprised to flip through the October 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living and see this recipe – no cream!

And what’s better than a warm, “creamy” soup on a cold fall or winter day?! You could eat a large bowl of it as your main meal, or have a small bowl with a sandwich (maybe a warm panini – yum!).

(To be honest, I made this back in October – but was just too damn busy to blog about it!)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Martha Stewart Living, October 2009
3 2/4 pounds butternut squash, halved and seeded (you could also use a sugar pumpkin)
1 onion, peeled and quartered through the stem
2 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps wiped clean
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

1. Preheat Oven to 450 degrees. Cut squash into 2-inch pieces. Combine squash, onion, mushrooms, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Add oil and 2 teaspoons salt; toss to coat, then spread in a single layer. Roast until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes, rotating pan and tossing vegetables halfway through. Let cool, then remove skins.

2. Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium. Pour in 2 cups stock; puree with an immersion blender until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, and puree until smooth. Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Serves 4.

I served mine in my pumpkin-shaped soup tureen – isn’t it cute?! It’s from Crate & Barrel:

my pumpkin-shaped tureen

dig in!

The magazine doesn’t provide nutritional information, but I used a recipe analyzer and estimate that each serving is around 232 calories or 4 Weight Watchers points.

Calories: 232
Fat: 7.2g
Carbs: 44.2g (7.5 g fiber, 9.3g sugar)
Protein: 4g

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My mom makes the *best* seafood stew. She got the recipe from an old coworker and passed it town to me a year or so ago. But I confess that I’ve never actually used that recipe. It’s a recipe that you need to really shop for (lots of ingredients that you don’t normally have on hand) – and I always forget about it when I’m making my weekly grocery list. The other downside to her recipe is that it’s time-consuming.


I found a recipe that takes care of both. Sure, I still had to go out and buy some ingredients- like the fresh seafood and clam juice- but not enough to rack up a huge grocery bill. As for time? This cioppino only took about 30 minutes to make! And it was delicious!


My mom’s seafood stew still reigns supreme, but my new quick cioppino is almost as good and is a great substitute when I’m short on time and money!


Quick Cioppino
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2003

2  teaspoons  olive oil
1/2  to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4  garlic cloves, finely chopped
3  cups  clam juice
1  cup  water
1/2  cup  finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2  teaspoon  dried basil
1/4  teaspoon  dried thyme
1  (24-ounce) bottle tomato-and-basil pasta sauce (such as Bertolli)
16  littleneck clams
1/2  cup  dry white wine
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
1  pound  cod or other lean whitefish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2  pound  medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2  cups  torn spinach

(optional: mussels, scallops)

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add crushed red pepper and garlic; sauté 30 seconds.

Stir in clam juice and next 5 ingredients (clam juice through pasta sauce.)

Add clams. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until shells open. (Discard any unopened shells.)

Add wine and next 4 ingredients (wine through shrimp); simmer 5 minutes or until fish and shrimp are done.

Stir in spinach.

serves 8


The original recipe called for mussels, but Shaw’s didn’t have any, so I used extra shrimp. You can use whatever seafood is fresh and available.

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I loooooooove mushrooms!

Growing up, I actually hated them… I think the turning point came around the time I went vegetarian back in college (I was vegetarian for about 4 or 5 years, but not anymore). Once I learned that mushrooms were a good source of protein, and super-low in fat and calories, I just started making a lot of grilled portobello ‘burgers’ and stuffed mushrooms.

So that was when I started liking mushrooms. I started loving mushrooms in 2007, when I went to Ukraine for the first time. This was when I experienced the magic that is marinated mushrooms! Oh, I went crazy for them… I literally ate every last marinated mushroom in Stas’ parents’ house. When I came home, I bought a whole bunch of marinated mushrooms from the Russian stores in the neighborhood, but nothing compares to the ones I had in Ukraine 😦

Besides marinated mushrooms (yum!), I also love mushroom soups. I typically make mine with only dried porcini mushrooms – no fresh mushrooms. In Ukraine (and probably most of the former Soviet Union, although I can’t say for sure), porcini mushrooms are readily available, both fresh and dried. They’re called “white mushrooms” and are very affordable. Here in the States, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them fresh; they’re available dried, but are a little pricey. What we call “white mushrooms” here are really button mushrooms.

For this soup, I used dried porcini mushrooms and fresh “white” (button) mushrooms. It was gooooood – a mushroom lover’s dream!

One of these days, I’d love to try it with fresh porcinis…


Porcini Mushroom Soup
from Gourmet, December 2008

3/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms (1 cup)
6 cups warm water plus 2 cups hot water, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 lb fresh white (button) mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill

1. Soak dried porcinis in 2 cups of hot water for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a heavy medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onions, butter, and salt; cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown. Add celery, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer porcinis to the pot. Strain the porcini soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a  separate bowl. Add the fresh white mushrooms to the pot, along with with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
4. Stir in tomatoes, remaining 6 cups water, and porcini-soaking liquid. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
5. Purée 1 cup of the vegetables and 1 cup of the liquid in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then return to the pot. Stir in parsley, dill, and salt to taste.
serves 8

what a beautiful pot of mushrooms!

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Lately in the food-blogging community, schii (Russian cabbage soup) seems like “the thing” to make. Smitten Kitchen, Sassy Radish, and Yulinka all posted some great photos. Apparently, The New York Times is what set it all off.

I guess it’s fitting, with the cold weather setting in…. who doesn’t love soup when it’s cold? And Russians know soup!

While I broke from the trend of making schii, I did  continue the Russian-soup trend, with my Borsch.

I don’t like borsch (I don’t like beets), but Stas has been aching for some Russian food lately, and I like having soup available on the weekends for him – for a quick lunch option.



1/2 whole chicken, meat removed from bone and cut into nice pieces
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
a few thin slices of red pepper
2 chicken bullion cubes
2 medium-large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 medium beet, peeled and shredded
1 medium onion, diced
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1/2 stick butter
salt, to taste
sour cream, to garnish
fresh dill, to garnish
fresh parsley, to garnish

Place chicken pieces in large pot and fill with water. Put on stove over medium heat; bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that forms.

After 30 minutes, add the potatoes:


cubed potatoes

Cook for 10 minutes and add the cabbage, red pepper slices, bullion cubes, and a generous sprinkle of salt :


shredded cabbage

red pepper slices (I quarter each slice)

red pepper slices (I quarter each slice)


bullion cubes

(feel free to make your own stock. I make my own every so often, once I have accumulated enough chicken carcasses)

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, until they start to brown. Add the shredded beets and carrots, and the can of tomato paste. Using a ladle, pour in some of the soup broth to make the mixture easier to work with. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

before going into the pan

carrots, beets, onion: before going into the pan


in the pan, with the tomato paste

in the pan, with the tomato paste

10-15 minutes after adding the cabbage, pepper, bullion cubes, and salt, the beet/onion/carrot/tomato paste mixture should be ready. Add it to the pot and stir. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then cover and turn off the heat.



serves a lot 🙂

A few notes about my borsch:

  • The red pepper isn’t necessary. Stas likes the little bit of sourness that it adds.
  • Again, feel free to make your own chicken stock or use cans of it, rather than using bullion cubes.
  • Use more or less vegetables, depending on your own preference. Just BEWARE that it IS possible to use too much beets. See the above picture of the beets, onions, and carrots on the plate? That’s how I typically judge how much to use: enough to fit on 1/3 of a plate. One time, I used way too much – and Stas could tell right away.
  • If you don’t have tomato paste, you can also use tomato juice. I’ve done this twice, using V-8, and I just eyeballed the amount.
  • This soup is not an exact science, so play around with it, be relaxed about it, and enjoy it!


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I haven’t always liked beef stew. In fact, up until a few weeks ago, I absolutely hated it!

Stas, on the other hand, LOVES beef stew.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to make him a reallllly lazy version of beef stew, using a McCormick seasoning packet and already-cut beef stew cubes. He thought it was very tasty and asked for it often, but I always felt wrong making it that way.

About a month or so ago – under a combination of guilt and the store being out of the McCormick packet (mostly the latter 🙂 ), I tried a homemade version for the first time… it was so good that I fell in love with it… ME! The girl who always HATED beef stew!!!

It’s an easy recipe – just about as easy as the packet version. It just takes a little more time and requires that you have a few more ingredients on hand. No biggie.

imgp3601what’s not to love???!

Shushka’s Beef Stew
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

3 lb. chuck-eye roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped coarse (1-2 cups, depending on preference)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine (I used Yellow Tail Shiraz)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Step 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place beef cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in large oven-safe dutch oven. Add beef in two separate batches. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding more oil if needed. Remove meat and set aside.


Add onions to the now-empty dutch oven and sautee until almost softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; sautee about 30 seconds longer.


Stir in flour; cook until lightly colored, 1-2 minutes. Add wine, scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add stock, bay leaves, and thyme; bring to simmer. Add meat; return to simmer. Cover and place in oven; simmer for 1 hour.

Step 2: Remove kettle from oven, add potatoes and carrot; cover, and return to oven. Cook for 1 more hour. Remove stew from oven.

Step 3: Add peas and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve.

Serves 6 to 8


As with most stews, this one gets better as it sits – it’s great on the first day, but even better on the second, third, etc.

The liquid is also great over pasta or white rice!

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