Psarosoupa Avgolemono (Egg-Lemon Fish Soup)

Lemon-Egg Fish Soup

Ingredients:

10 cups water
3 lbs. firm fish, cut into big chunks
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
8 New potatoes or 2 regular, coarsely chopped
½ cup white rice or orzo
3 large eggs
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt and Pepper
Lemon wedges, to serve

Directions:

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Carefully, add the fish, bay leaf, thyme, oregano and olive oil. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until the fish is tender. Remove the fish from the broth and set aside. Raise the heat slightly to medium-high, and add the vegetables to the stock. Simmer for 15-20, or until tender. Discard the bay leaf, and then remove about a third of the vegetables from the broth, and puree the vegetables, along with a little broth, in a blender or food processor. This pureeing step is optional, as you can just leave all of the vegetables whole. If you pureed the vegetables, add them back into the pot, and then bring the broth to a boil. Add the rice/pasta, and cook, partly covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and lemon juice until foamy and slowly add about 1 cup of the warm broth, a bit at a time, to heat the eggs. Pour the egg-lemon mixture into the pot, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens slightly and turns yellow. Return the fish pieces to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with lemon wedges. This soup will serve about 8 people and is great with crusty bread and butter.

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It’s All Greek To Me

It's All Greek to MeWell, I thought I’d round off soup week with a trip to Greece. I figured with all the different regions and cultures I covered, I couldn’t leave the Greeks out! My family used to have a tradition, back before we became Orthodox, of spending New Year’s Eve having Greek food and going to see whatever new Disney movie had come out that year. We would go with another family who all had children the same ages as my family, and we would sit in the theatre, the kids separate from the adults, acting like we were there on our own. One of my favourite parts of the evening though would be the fish soup that I would always have. It’s tart lemon flavour always appealed to me, and I loved the big chunks of vegetables and firm fish. Times have changed, and we no longer have this New Year’s tradition, but my mother still makes this soup, usually during the summer or on Shavous, along with a big salad and lots of crusty bread. It really is a meal in itself and fills both my stomach and my memories. Opa!

Best Minestrone Soup

Minestrone

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced in ¼” rounds
6 cups vegetable broth
1 796ml can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 769ml can crushed tomatoes
1 540ml canned kidney beans, drained
1 540ml can green beans, drained
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed and checked*
2 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
2 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoons dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup pasta, seashell or ditalini, or your favourite shape
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth, diced and crushed tomatoes and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, squash, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better. If the soup is too thick, or you would like more broth, you can add additional vegetable broth or water.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and add a heaping teaspoon of salt. You can omit the salt if you’re watching your sodium, but this is really your only chance to flavour the pasta itself. You could also add a teaspoon of bouillon to the water instead of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

* To learn how to check spinach, click here.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups frozen corn kernels
1 15oz. can black beans, drained, but not rinsed
2 cups onion, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups chunky salsa
8 corn tortillas cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup shredded non-dairy (parve) cheese, to serve (optional)
Non-dairy (parve) sour cream, to serve (optional)
Lime wedges, to serve (optional)

Directions:

In a large pot over medium heat, poach the chicken in the chicken broth. Once cooked through, remove the chicken from the broth, and set aside to allow it to become cool enough to handle. Strain the chicken broth to remove any impurities that may have accumulated while poaching the chicken.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven (can be the same one you poached the chicken in), add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they become translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin and mix well, allowing the spices to become fragrant. Then add the broth, corn, beans, lime juice, and salsa. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. While the broth simmers, take the chicken that you have set aside, and using two forks, or your hands, shred the chicken. Add the chicken to the soup and let it simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.

While the broth mixture simmers, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. Fry the tortilla strips in the hot oil until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Place half of the tortilla strips in the bottom of each bowl, and then serve the soup hot with the remaining tortilla strips on top, along with the options of the cheese and sour cream. Serves 8.

South of the Border

South of the Border

When I was a little kid, my family used to travel down to Florida quite often for a summer vacation. My parents would put work aside for 3-4 weeks, and we would all climb into the family car and drive down I-95 to the citrus-laden,  warm (read sticky and humid) sunshine state. The trip usually consisted of a 4 or 5 days in Walt Disney World (truly the happiest place on earth!) and then about 10 days on the Gulf coast in a rented house where we would read, swim, eat, swim, watch a movie, swim… you get the idea. The drive always included though a stop at “South of the Border”, a rest-stop/attraction located just south of the border between North and South Carolina. It was, and still is, a mecca of awful tourist kitsch and slightly offensive novelties. For a kid, it was AMAZING! You would see the signs along the highway, crazy day-glow billboards with moving parts beckoning you to stop, for a little siesta. Truth was though, my parents loved it as much as we did. Recently, my mother stopped by to pay homage on a a road-trip, and she told me it was just like I remembered. With that in mind, today’s recipe is for Chicken Tortilla Soup. A Mexican/Latino spin on what we Jews have been using as penicillin for years. I hope you enjoy the caliente flavours and give yourself a little olé!

Curry-Scented Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, 2 ½ lbs or about 6 cups, peeled and cubed in 1” pieces
2 large sweet apples such as Fuji or Honeycrisp, peeled and cubed in 1” pieces
3 medium onions, diced
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons curry powder
6 cups vegetable stock
1 container (8 oz/250 g) mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons salt
Sour cream and snipped fresh chives (optional)

Directions:

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt butter in over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for 5-6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add squash, apples, brown sugar and curry powder. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until curry powder is fragrant. Add stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook 25-30 minutes or until squash is very soft. Remove from heat. Carefully ladle about one-third of the squash mixture into blender container. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour blended soup into a stand-by bowl for holding while you blend the rest of the soup. Repeat two times with remaining squash mixture. Alternatively, if you have an immersion blender, you can use this rather than transferring the soup. Return soup to stock pot and whisk in mascarpone and salt until mascarpone is completely incorporated. If the soup is too thick for your liking, you can thin it out with additional stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and remove from heat. Garnish each serving with sour cream and chives, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Bonus – When scooping out the seeds from your squash, do NOT throw them away! Clean them under running water to remove any residue, and then toss them with a little oil and spices of your liking. With this soup, since it has a curry flavour, you can toss a little curry powder or even cinnamon or nutmeg on the seeds, along with some salt and pepper. Then spread the seeds out on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. You should just keep an eye on them, as seeds tend to burn quickly! Once done, remove from them oven and toss a few on top of each soup serving as a nice crunchy garnish.

Get Your Soup On

Soup

Is it just me, or did it get noticeably colder lately? I mean, I do realize that it is the end of October, but I just can’t seem to get warm! My Bubbie had a saying, “When you’re old, you’re cold!”, so maybe it’s just age catching up with me. So what’s a girl to do? Make soup of course! Nothing warms you up from the inside like a nice hot bowl of soup. A big bowl, with some crusty bread, and you’ve got a meal! So this week, it’s all about the Soup people. We’ll have broths, creamy purees, and my personal favourite, Stew-oups, a term I learned from Rachael Ray, for chunky soups that are a close toss-up between a soup and a stew. So get your stock pots out, because this week, we’re going to be simmering our way to warm stomachs and warm hearts!