Category Archives: Soup/Stew

Smoky Kale and White Bean Soup.

smoky kale and white beanOver the last few months we have been perfecting this recipe. It has been a lot of fun because this soup is so good. This is a great winter weather dish, not only because it is soup and delightfully warm, but also because it really features the veggies you may have in your winter storage or still in the garden and greens you may be growing in your greenhouse or even outside depending on where you winter! It is also full of protein and stars my favorite healthy powerhouse: kale! Because this soup is so healthy and full of fiber we do not feel too guilty about pairing it with our favorite gluten free cheese bread that completely lacks nutritional value but tastes oh so good with a steamy bowl of soup (you can find a very easy recipe here, that we make with grass fed aged white cheddar cheese).

Smoky Kale and White Bean Soup. Makes 4-6 bowls.


2 tablespoons oil, coconut or olive

1 small onion, diced

2 large carrots, peeled (if you choose) and diced

3 large cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped

8 oz kale, chopped, stems and leaves separated (we use lacinato)

1 quart of smoked chicken stock (if you only make/have regular chicken stock use that plus one smoked ham hock, but be aware you will need to remove the fat, omit the ham, and shred the ham in the hock once softened, I have made it this way twice and it is fantastic, just more work — simmer ham hock in stock until softened and smoky flavor is imparted into the dish, about 2 hours)

1 quart of water

2 cups chopped ham or the meat from the ham hock if using that (we like using a lightly smoked fresh ham)

1 can of cannellini beans (BPA free) or equivalent soaked

sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper as needed to taste (your salt needs will vary based on your stock and ham choices)


Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a 3 quart stock pot. Add onions and carrots and sauté for 10 minutes. Add garlic and kale stems and cook for about 5 more minutes, until carrots and stems are softened. Add kale leaves and cook 2 – 4 minutes, until leaves are tender but not over cooked (unless you like your kale very soft, then you will want to keep going here until the desired doneness is reached). Add stock and water and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat through and serve.



Filed under Beans, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Pork, Soup/Stew

Potato Leek Soup.

Whenever I make stock I end up with 8 quarts. This is of course because I can only can 7! So instead of freezing the eighth quart I usually make something with it while it is fresh. Having just been to the farmers market to pick up some leeks and potatoes, I thought what better than a nice, wholesome, in-season soup. Given that I had also just roasted a chicken, I added some of that too!

Potato Leek Soup.


2 T coconut or olive oil (I used one of each)

1 small onion, diced

3 large leeks (hard green parts removed), sliced and rinsed well

3 medium red potatoes, diced

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 – 1 t dried thyme, crushed

4 T AP flour (can remove to make gluten free)

3 C chicken stock (I use homemade and it has a little smokiness to it)

1 C shredded chicken (optional)

1 C milk (I used 1%)


Heat a 3 quart or larger stock pot over medium heat. Saute onion, leeks and potatoes for 10 minutes, until onions and leeks start to soften down.

Add garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and saute one minute longer. Sprinkle with flour and mix to combine, sauteing for about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. If desired using an immersion circulator, puree leek mixture (I do about 3/4 of my mixture and leave some chunks for texture). Add chicken and milk. Mix to combine and allow mixture to heat through for 5 minutes. Do not boil. Serve with some crusty croutons or a sprinkle of Parmesan (or both like we did!).


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Filed under Soup/Stew, Vegetables

Favorite Dishes of 2011.


Spent Grain Bread.


Fall Chopped Salad.


Smoked Celery Soup.


Veggie Yakisoba.

Veggie Yakisoba!


Pretzel Crusted Chicken Strips.


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Filed under Bread, Chicken, Grains/Rice, Pasta, Salad, Smoker Fare, Soup/Stew

Weeknight Clam “Chowder”.

Clam chowder is a classic comfort food. It’s warm, creamy, and nourishing. It is also one of those high calorie, time consuming dishes to make and I believe it doesn’t have to be. I developed this recipe one weeknight not too long ago as we were running out the door to be somewhere. It came together so quickly and had such good flavor that I added it to the list of standard recipes that I use.

The hubs loves this soup because it is more of a soup than a chowder. According to Wikipedia: “Chowder is a generic name for a wide variety of seafood and/or vegetable stews and thickened soups, often with milk- and/or cream.” The key word in this sentence is thickened. One of the time savers of this dish is that I don’t thicken the soup, there is no roux, no flour, no thickening agent at all. This was not originally on purpose, but as I said above, we were running out the door and I added the broth in a hurry, and completely forgot that I had not added any flour to the mirepoix! So in fact, it is just soup, but it is still creamy and still crazy delicious and I am still calling it a chowder…because clam soup just doesn’t have the same enticing ring to it!

Clam Chowder. Makes four bowls.


1 large potato (or two medium), diced (something with a firm flesh, like a caribe or Yukon gold)

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

2 T olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 t kosher or sea salt

1/2 t fresh cracked black pepper

1 t dried thyme

32 oz chicken stock

12 oz frozen, cooked clams (I used short neck as they are small and I did not have to chop them)

1 C milk

In a large stock pot sauté potatoes, celery and onions in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and sauté 1-2 minutes longer, until garlic is fragrant. Add stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are completely  tender. Add clams and milk and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, just to heat everything through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


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Filed under Fast & Easy, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Seafood, Soup/Stew

Smoked Cream of Celery Soup.

Do you ever make something really good, but find yourself at a loss for how to use it all? I did exactly that with last year’s Thanksgiving duck. We smoked the duck to serve alongside our grilled turkey. It was very good, and I rendered the fat, and that was very good…especially in gravy. And then I made broth out of the bones and skin, and put it in the freezer…and left it there. What exactly does one do with a delicacy like smoked duck broth? Well, I have determined if they are doing anything, most people are not posting it on the internet!

So as the world turns and the autumn air brings in a desire for warm, comfort food, I started thinking about soup. I found this bacon cream of celery soup over on The Kitchn and started thinking about my smoked duck broth. If smoky bacon tastes good in this soup, smoked duck broth should too. And it does! It tastes so good, in fact, that I am no longer intimidated by the duck broth, instead, I am going to see what else I can make with it.

Smoked Cream of Celery Soup.


4 thick cut strips of bacon

5 C celery, chopped into 1 inch long pieces

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 large or 2 small/medium shallots, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 T fresh thyme, removed from stems

1 large potato, cubed

2 C smoked duck broth (can sub smoked chicken or turkey)

2 C chicken broth

2 C milk (you can experiement with how fatty you get-1%, 2% or whole, the soup is pretty creamy without the milk, so you could even try leaving it out)

kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat a large stock pot over medium heat. Ass bacon slices and cook slowly until done. Remove bacon and set aside and chop when cool. Add celery, onion, shallot, garlic, and thyme. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the celery is soft. Add potato and broth. Increase heat to medium-high, bring pot to a simmer, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion circulator puree until smooth. You can use a blender here, but I highly recommend purchasing the immersion circulator…less chance of burning yourself.

Fold milk and bacon into soup. Serve hot with your favorite garnish.


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Filed under Appetizer, Outside of the Box, Side Dish, Smoker Fare, Snacks, Soup/Stew

Harvest Chili & Beery Cornbread.

It is a sad day for any gardener or cook when they cut their hand, and I have cut my hand. My thumb to be exact, and in a really bad way. I will spare the gory details…this is afterall supposed to be an appetizing recipe post. But know, it hurts and the cooking has been quite slow lately. The hubs has been helping and luckily I made this chicken soup before it happened so we have something lying around to eat all week, but I am ready to be healed so I can garden and cook freely once again.

And while I have slowed down, my garden has not. All of the heat and sun that we have been lacking all summer long finally showed up over the last two weeks and my should-be wanning summer garden is producing and an even higher rate than I told you about last week. So, we have to keep cooking, and preserving, and eating! The hubs, what a sweet man, helped me make this great catch all of a chili this weekend.

Harvest Chili.


1 winter squash (I used a Becky squash, but butternut or acorn would work great)

1 lb potatoes

4-6 cloves of garlic

1 T olive oil

1/2 t each of kosher salt, black pepper, and Mexican oregano

2 lb diced tomatoes, skinned and seeded (can sub 2 14 oz cans)

2 14 oz cans of beans (I used one black and one kidney)

1 C fresh corn from the cob

1 C fresh sweet carrots, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

2 T chili seasoning

1/2 C red chile sauce

Preheat oven to 400. Peel squash and remove seeds. Dice into 1/4 inch pieces. Wash potatoes and dice into similar sized pieces. Add both to a medium bowl and toss with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano. Spread evenly onto a silpat lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until veggies are tender and browned on their edges.

If prepping your own tomatoes, do so while the veggies roast. When veggies are complete, remove garlic to a cutting board to cool before dicing and adding to a 4 quart stock pot (or bigger). Add all remaining ingredients, mix to combine and heat over medium-high. When the chili starts to boil, cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for no less than 30 minutes. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or any of your other favorites and serve with some cornbread.

Dinner for two, plus six pints for lunches during the week!

Beery Cornbread. (As adapted from Edible Portland)


1 C yellow cornmeal

1 C flour

1/2 t kosher salt

1 T sugar

4 t baking powder

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 C pilsner (if you use ale, increase the sugar to 1/4 cup)

1/2 C fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob

1/4 C diced jalapeño, seeded

1 C shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Beat egg in a medium bowl and add buttermilk and beer. Whisk to combine and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Fold in remaining ingredients.

Spray a10 inch cast iron skillet with cooking spray (can use an 8×8 baking dish). Add bread mixture and flatten top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick pushed into the middle comes out clean. Enjoy alongside a big bowl of harvest chili.


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Filed under Beans, Beer, Bread, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Garden, Soup/Stew, Vegetarian

Crock Pot Chicken Soup.

I know it is still hot around most of the country, it’s hot as heck here, finally getting well over 90 for the first time. But I can already feel fall in the air, it is coming (or at least that is what I am telling myself). Fall is my FAVORITE. For me, fall is a great time for soup because there are still plenty of fresh garden veggies but the air is beginning to cool and comfort foods are starting to sound good again.

I got the original recipe for this soup from family friend Sue. She is the one that motivated me to make homemade cream of chicken soup, while making her lasagna. The recipe was originally made as a gluten-free dish and was posted on WebMD, here. I thought this would be better called crock pot chicken soup on my blog, because I am not sure if any of my variations made it less gluten-free and since I am not buffed up in the topic, I did not want to mislead anyone.

Crock Pot Chicken Soup.


2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

1-2 t olive oil

1 t sea salt

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

1 14 oz fresh or canned chicken broth (low sodium)

1 C dried spelt, kamut, or wheat berries

4-6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 1/2 C green cabbage, shredded

1 medium zucchini, diced

2 C potatoes, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 C sweet corn (I used fresh off the cob, but you can sub 1 cup of frozen)

1 lb tomatoes (skinned, seeded and diced) or one 14 oz can

1 T each of three of your fresh favorite herbs, minced (1 t each of dried)

1 T sea salt

1 t fresh cracked black pepper

2 T olive oil

Rub chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the bottom of a six quart slow cooker. Top with broth. Continue to prepare remaining ingredients and layer them into the slow cooker in order as listed above.

Add water if the liquid level does not just cover the ingredients. Place lid and turn on high. Stir top vegetable ingredients after about two hours (not required, I just like stirring things I am cooking in the crock pot!). Cook for 6 hours, or until chicken shreds when stirring.


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Filed under Chicken, Crock Pot Cooking, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Garden, Grains/Rice, Midwest Inspired, Soup/Stew, Vegetables

Cream of Chicken Soup.

What did people do before the Campbell’s Soup Company? Well I suppose that they cooked. Cooked from scratch, with whole ingredients. I was inspired to make this scratch version of this soup when I was challenged to make my family friend Sue’s chicken lasagna “my way”.  I will post the lasagna tomorrow.

I have never liked condensed cream of chicken soup. It just tastes off to me. So I began to wonder, what does homemade cream of chicken soup actually taste like? Did it exist before the red and white can made it a kitchen staple? It must have, though a quick internet search has revealed no history on invention the dish.

While its origins remain a mystery, it is a mystery no more that the humble cream of chicken soup does not have to taste terrible, like the inside of an aluminum can! This creamy and nutrient rich soup turned out great. I used what I needed for the lasagna and froze the rest in pint and quart jars for easy use when needed (much like the convenience that the can offers). If you are feeling ambitious you should give this one a try. You could even add some orzo or rice and made a nice, well rounded, creamy soup to be eaten as a stand alone dish.

I adapted this from Nourished Kitchen, who adapted it from the great James Beard. You could make this same soup with store-bought stock, it just might not have the depth you will achieve by making it yourself. Also, if you want to make a stock from chicken bones and used pre-cooked chicken to make the soup, you could do that.

Cream of Chicken Soup.


4-5 lb whole fryer chicken

1 leek

1 T sea salt

1 t black peppercorn

2 bay leaves

4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 cloves of garlic, crushed with side of knife

4 stalks of celery, including leaves

4 large carrots, including tops

2 small/medium yellow onions

2 T butter

6 egg yolks (you can freeze the egg whites or use them the next day for egg white omelets!)

2 C heavy cream

Remove chicken from package and pat dry. Remove giblet package and discard or freeze for later use. I used the neck in this dish by adding it to the pot to make the broth. Place the chicken in an 8 quart stock pot. Cut leek into large sections and rinse well. Add to the stock pot. Add peppercorns, salt, thyme, garlic, bay, carrot tops, celery leaves, and one onion (cut in half) to stock pot. Cover everything with cold water. Heat pot to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for two hours, or until the chicken is nearly falling apart tender.

Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool. Remove solids from pot. Strain broth through a sieve and put it back in the stock pot. Simmer broth uncovered, over medium heat as you prepare the vegetables.

Finely chop carrots, celery and onions. Sauté in butter over medium heat until vegetables are tender, 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool. When chicken is cool enough to handle, break it down and chop it. Reserve bones for another batch of stock (I went ahead and just made this at the same time since everything was already out). Place chicken and vegetables in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Beat egg yolks in a bowl and slowly add a few spoonfuls of stock to temper the eggs. Add egg mixture to the stock. At this time you can also add the chicken mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Slowly add the cream.


**Just a note about my observations of this recipe, it is not as thick as you would think if you are used to condensed soup, it is much thinner as it is broth based, still wonderfully tasty, but if you want to thicken it up as a replacer, I would suggest adding a big roux and refrigerating the soup to solidify, then try it out. I have not tried this so if you do and it does not work please let me know.


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Filed under Chicken, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Outside of the Box, Soup/Stew

Root Vegetable Minestrone.

I still have a bunch of spring vegetables kicking around that need to get used up. Even without the root cellar everything has kept surprisingly well in the ground or the refrigerator. Soup is always a great option for using up extra veggies. I have never made a minestrone before today, but it seemed a perfect fit for my needs. According to Wikipedia, Minestrone is  “the big soup, the one with many ingredients” and it often includes “beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock and tomatoes.” How perfect for me that I just so happen to have all of the above on hand!

Root Vegetable Minestrone.


2 T olive oil

4 small turnips, peeled and diced

1 large kohlrabi, peeled and diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 large potato, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 32 oz pack of vegetable stock (I used mushroom)

1 t dried oregano, crushed

1 t dried thyme, crushed

1 bay leaf

1 t kosher salt

1 t fresh ground black pepper

1 15oz can diced tomatoes

1 15oz can of vegetarian beans, drained and rinsed (I used kidney)

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the first 8 ingredients (through garlic) and sautee for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add broth and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and beans and simmer for 20 more minutes, covered. Adjust salt and pepper as needed. Remove bay leaf and serve. Garnish with parmesan cheese or some croutons.


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Filed under Dairy Free, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Italian Inspired, Soup/Stew, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Simple & Chunky Broccoli Cheese Soup.

Lucky for me the weather is finally turning. That means it is time to use up the spring vegetables before they all flower and go to seed. I harvested all of the broccoli because it was threatening to do just that. With so much broccoli florets and stalks on hand I thought that broccoli cheese soup would offer a good solution.

Who doesn’t love a quick, warm, creamy soup…wait did I forget to say cheesy? I love all of these qualities in a good soup. I do also love a low fat, low calorie soup, but this one is not going to be it. Usually I use 1% milk, but my soup is never creamy or smooth enough. So this time I used heavy cream. It definitely worked, but I am starting to feel like Paula Deen with the amount of heavy cream and butter I have been using!

Ingredients (makes four dinner sized bowls)

2 C heavy cream

2 C chicken stock

4 T butter

3 T flour

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic

10 oz broccoli, florets and stems

2  C cheddar cheese, shredded

1 t kosher salt

1 t freshly cracked black pepper

dash of cayenne, optional

Cut broccoli into bite sized chunks. Dice onion and mince garlic. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Set aside. Add 3 tablespoon of butter to a stock pot (I used a 3 quart), melt and add flour. Combine butter and flour into a smooth paste (roux) and cook for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Whisk in broth and cream and bring just to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add sautéed vegetables. Simmer for 5-10 minutes avoiding a full boil. Stir in cheese with a whisk until mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper(s).

Top with croutons or serve with garlic toast.

A note: this soup is best served right when it is made. It has a tendancy to thicken up a lot in the refrigerator. Should you need to refrigerate it you can use some milk to thin it out when reheating.


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Filed under Cheese, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Soup/Stew, Vegetables