Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Couple of Super Soups

Now that it's fall, I can't get enough soup for dinner!  It is so comforting and usually doesn't require much hands-on time.  Just throw everything in a pot and simmer away.  Or, better yet, make it the night before in the crock pot so that dinner is ready and waiting when you get home!

As I predicted, the squash, sweet potato, kale, and white bean soup I made the other night was just the beginning of many a soup night at our house.  Here are a couple more tasty recipes that I have made in the past week!

Pumpkin "Chiloup"
The ingredients in this recipe are very much like a chili, but the texture is more liquid-y, like a soup.  Hence the name "chiloup."  I'm sure if you wanted to make it thicker you could just reduce the broth.  Regardless of what you call it, it tastes great and is super healthy and filling.  I enjoyed it along with a pumpkin beer and my pumpkin candle (is that overkill?).

Total time: 30 minutes

1 tbsp. EVOO
3-4 cloves minced garlic
2-3 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
2 cups (or 1 15 oz. can) black beans
2 cups (or 1 15 oz. can) garbanzo beans (chili beans would also be good)
1 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3/4 cup salsa (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional garnishes (cheese, sour cream/greek yogurt, cilantro, hot sauce, etc.)
1. Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium heat.

2. Saute garlic, cumin, and chili powder until garlic is slightly browned and fragrant.

3.  Add broth, simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.

4.  Add remaining ingredients, simmer for 10 more minutes.

5.  Eat as-is, or garnish with chili toppings of your choice.  We used fresh cilantro, Daiya cheese, and Sambal Oelek in ours.

Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup 
(based on this recipe by Martha Stewart)
I wasn't exactly sure what to do with the big bunch of Swiss chard that I bought at Whole Foods last weekend.  I thought it might work well in a soup with lentils, so I took a look online to see what I could find.  This was one of the first recipes that came up, and I just-so-happened to have all the ingredients on hand already.  I'm glad I used the chard this way, because the soup was a real winner!  The only thing I did differently from the original recipe was add a little extra lemon juice and red pepper flakes.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, in juice
2 bunches (about 1 1/2 pounds total) Swiss chard, stalks cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (keep stalks and leaves separate)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Bread, for serving (optional)


1. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes; stir to combine.

2. Add lentils, 5 cups water, and tomatoes with their juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Add chard stalks and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add chard leaves; season with salt and pepper, and cook until lentils and chard are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Stir in lemon juice; ladle soup into bowls.

Since Jay and I both love our food spicy, we always add hot sauce to just about everything.  My friend Vanessa recently told me about a sauce called Sambal Oelek that she declared to be even better than Sriracha!  I didn't think this could possibly be true, but I bought some to try it out.  I hate to say it, but I think she might be right! (Sorry, Sriracha...)  This sauce added an amazing kick to both soups, but it worked especially great in the pumpkin chili.  I have been putting it on everything ever since, and the jar that I just bought last week is already almost gone!  I need to find a jumbo size. 
BREAKING NEWS:  It's a good thing I've found a Sriracha back-up, because right before publishing this post I came across this article:

Intolerable spicy fumes?  Really!?  If you ask me, these people are being big babies.  I, for one, would love to be able to smell Sriracha all day long!  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the judge does not stop production.

Happy hump day! 

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