Soups, Stews, Chilis and Chowders Part Two: The Chunky

Today I’ll continue my recap of previous posts featuring some of my favorite soups, stews, chilis and chowders. There’s nothing like a nice bowl of comforting soup to take the chill off of your day and put a smile on your face! This particular group of hot soups—the chunky—seems quite timely as our winter temperatures are feeling a bit more seasonal this weekend. I hope you’ll find a bowl of goodness here that you’d like to try. Be sure to click on the name of the soup for a link to its recipe.

bowlofsoup2Moving on from the puréed world, this first soup is creamy, hearty comfort in a bowl. Chicken, Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup has a touch of comforting cream in it and really is just what the doctor ordered along with this next soup below…

Home-styled comfort from the cold...or a cold!

Home-styled comfort from the cold…or a cold!

The classic, clear broth Betsy’s Cure-All Chicken Noodle Soup is exactly what you’re looking for when you need a lift of spirit or body. If you want a great chicken noodle soup with restorative power, you can’t get much better than this one.

soup2This Black Eyed Pea and Collards Soup was created as my way to combine two of my favorite New Year’s food traditions into one dish. But don’t wait until New Year’s Day to try this one. It’s a healthy bowl that fits the bill any time, and especially when collards are at their peak.

Veddy Veggie Soup is a rustic winter vegetable soup full of fresh herbs and a warming secret spice. This is one I developed over many years and it is a perennial favorite. You can use rich, homemade chicken stock, or a vegetable stock for a pure vegetarian/vegan soup. Either way, it’s a winner that freezes beautifully, too.

Add your liquid to the veg, bring to a boil, add the pasta, the finish with meatballs and greens. Absolutely delicious and fit for a wedding of any kind!

In this slightly different take on Ina Garten’s version of this soup by the same name, Italian Wedding Soup is made with wonderfully flavorful chicken sausage meatballs, vegetables, and orzo pasta, is finished with arugula stirred in and then topped with more parmesan cheese. I made this with a dear friend while visiting her in Virginia, and I now think of it as  “Virginia Friend’s Soup.” Whatever you want to call it, it is a special soup worthy of any special occasion.

An awaiting bowl of warm happiness on a cold winter’s night.

Speaking of old friends, this soup was inspired by one. Betsy’s Split Pea Soup with Ham has a story behind it and is an interesting twist on an old favorite. If you like split pea soup, you’ll love this one! And don’t skip the crouton, which adds a lovely texture as well as taste to this rich soup.

Mmmmm. Is there anything chicken stew can’t do?

Chicken and Black Bean Stew. This is the one I make year after year and I never get tired of it. It comes together quickly so it’s perfect to make on a weeknight, it freezes beautifully and it is oh-so-satisfying. I have some in the freezer right now!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve yet to meet a curry I didn’t like. Curries are so exotic, so transformative and so mysterious with their deep spice and depth of flavor. This Curried and Spiced Lentil Stew is my “ode” to curry. It’s a warming stew that contains a lot of my favorite ingredients from curry dishes including lentils, potatoes, tomato and spinach, and it has just a little kick of fresh ginger, too. This stew is the spice of life, I’m telling you!

 

Happiness Is: Betsy’s Cure-All Chicken Noodle Soup

Good for what ails you…home-styled comfort for a rough day or a cold night.

Around here the leaves have turned and fallen, the wind is cold and blustery outside, the fat bird has sung its Thanksgiving song and all that remains are the memories…and few extra pounds, perhaps!

It’s a fun time of year, but a stressful one. The weather keeps changing, the baking and gift giving frenzy is upon us, and with all of that can come an unwelcome cold or case of the flu, or maybe just a touch of the holiday blues.

Fear not, dear ones, I have just the thing for you!

My Cure-All Chicken Noodle Soup is simple and simply comforting. It’s the thing to have after all the stuffing and overstuffing of the Thanksgiving holiday, and to recover with before the next round of partying and eating. Over the years I’ve found that is has the power to not only ward-off oncoming illness, but to surely make anyone with the sniffles or blues feel warm and loved. Even the steam off the bowl is good for clearing your sinuses! Additionally, this bowl of goodness will take the edge off of your hectic day and remind you of cozy comforters and a warm fire in the fireplace. Granted, in some cases it may not replace antibiotics in terms of a cure-all, but it sure can’t hurt!

This soup is wonderful accompanied by a slice of cheese toast. And if you feel so inclined to gild the lily, you can add a few drops of fresh lemon juice and a small bit of sour cream to your bowl to mix in for a little extra comfort and joy. Mmmm, mmm, good!

Betsy’s Cure-All Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes 8 servings

To Start:

3 bone-in chicken breast halves, with skin
1 trimmed and peeled carrot cut into 3-inch pieces
1 1/2 stalks of celery with leaves cut into 3-inch pieces
2 quarters of a peeled onion
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 springs of fresh thyme
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
10 cups of water

Bring the above ingredients to a boil in a large stock pot, reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the chicken breasts are just done through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the stock and set aside to cool, reserving the stock. Strain the stock to remove the vegetables and herbs, then place it back into the pot. While the stock is cooling and when the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and the meat from the bones, and chop the meat into bite sized pieces. Reserve the meat. Skim fat off the top of the stock and discard the fat. Bring the stock back to a boil and add:

3 1/2 cups dried curly or flat, sturdy egg noodles
2 leeks trimmed and sliced, white and light green parts only
2 large carrots peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 1/2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced

Cook the noodles in the stock with the leeks, carrots and celery according to the time on the noodle package directions. When the noodles are done and just tender, add:

3/4 cup dry full-bodied white wine, such as chardonnay
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh button mushrooms
the reserved chicken meat
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Allow the soup to simmer until the mushrooms are done, about 5-8 minutes. Serve in bowls and enjoy!