Turnip Soup

I like turnips raw. They resemble a milder, woodier cousin to the radish, and make an excellent snack with a dash of salt. Many people do not share this opinion, and turn up their noses. (I believe that turnips and brussels sprouts should begin a new marketing campaign, “we really are delicious if you cook us correctly”).

To you turnip haters, try roasting or boiling. They take on a more mellow flavor when cooked, and if pureed become luscious and velvety. Case in point? Turnip soup:

  • 4 large turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 5 leeks, sliced (you could use onions if you don’t have leeks, 1/2 – 1 c should do fine)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup half and half (optional)
  • salt, to taste

Saute turnips and onions in olive oil until almost soft in a medium pot. Add chicken broth and simmer until everything is good and mushy, about 10 minutes more. Puree in batches, and return to pot. Add salt and half and half. Serve warm on a cold day.

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Corn Chowder

Sweet corn, salty bacon, creamy broth. A perfect summer soup.

Corn Chowder

  • 2 ears of corn, cooked and kernals cut off (I wish I had a real measurement for you, though you can use as much corn as you like or as little. I just happened to have two ears left over after dinner a couple nights back and saved it for this soup.)
  • 1 baking potato, peeled and cubed (I like small cubes because they cook faster)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 slices of bacon, sliced crossways into thin strips (I’m especially fond of Bluescreek Farm peppered bacon)
  • 16 ounces chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 heaped T sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar, optional

Put the bacon and onion over medium heat and cook until the onion is soft and the bacon has rendered some fat. Add the potatoes, broth, and corn. Simmer until the potatoes are just tender. Turn the heat off and stir in the milk and sour cream. Serve topped with cheddar if you like.


Cheesy Tortilla Soup

Start with Rick Bayless Mexican Everyday, add Barefoot Contessa at Home, multiply times what I have in my kitchen, and take to the Marion Cunningham Cheese Sauce power, and your product is this soup. It was so delicious. Beware, because portion control is not an option here.

Cheesy Tortilla Soup

  • 4-6 cups chicken broth (I just boiled the heck out of a rotisserie chicken, strained it and added some salt)
  • 1/2 C salsa (I used Kroger brand cilantro because that’s what I had in the fridge)
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 3 corn tortillas, ripped into smaller pieces
  • 1 recipe cheese sauce
  • Salt to taste

In a soup pot, saute your onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the broth, salsa, and corn tortillas. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until the tortillas break up and dissolve. Slowly stir in the cheese sauce. Eat.

If you have them in the house, this would be great with some cooked chicken stirred in after the cheese sauce and/or topped with some cheese, jalepenos, or sour cream. And some tortilla chips on top would be good too. Also some avocado slices…

Taco Soup “Lite”

It’s the new year and I, along with 90% of the US, am eating healthier. I actually was so disgusted with myself that I couldn’t even wait until 1/1 and started the day after Christmas. Day 10, and doing well.

Here’s a Taco Soup recipe that I made up today based on what my fitness plan (I’m following Ten Years Thinner) allowed and what was in my pantry. Yum, and much better than boring diet food.

Taco Soup

  • 1 LB ground sirloin (I bought mine from Bluescreek Farm Meats at the North Market in C-bus)
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 1 5 oz can tomato juice
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 C water
  • 1 – 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • Salt, to taste

Brown sirloin with onion until no longer pink. Drain fat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, then back down to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or more, stirring occasionally. Make sure that bouillon cube dissolves.

The seasonings here are approximations – use as much or as little as you like. Basically this is just a soupy chili, so you could add one of those taco seasoning or chili seasoning envelopes if that’s what you have instead of chili powder, etc. Canned pinto or black beans would make a good addition, too. Also, if you have canned tomatoes, they would do as a substitute for the juice/sauce mix I used. I just didn’t have any on hand.

I ate mine with chopped avocado in it, but for those of you not on a “plan,” feel free to load it up with sour cream, cheese, jalapenos, and taco chips.

Pumpkin puree, part II: Soup for a snowy day

For today’s lunch, I used my pumpkin puree and freshly made chicken stock to make some soup. I would rate this ok. Edible, filling, and even a little cozy since it’s snowing outside today. But nothing that I want to call my friends and tell them about. I think if I made it again, I would probably add some sage.

Pumpkin Soup

  • 2 1/2 C homemade chicken stock (usually I would say canned or bouillon is fine, but since this only has two ingredients, the richness of homemade broth makes a big difference)
  • 2 C pureed pumpkin

Whisk together in a large sauce pan – heat to simmering. Enjoy.

Rotisserie Chicken – possibly my favorite convenience food

I almost never use convenience foods. I don’t have anything against other people using them, I just prefer not to. I try to make a real effort to eat fresh, local foods.

All of these noble intentions are thrown out the window for my secret lover, the grocery store rotisserie chicken. They’re cheap (currently $4.99 each at my local Kroger), delicious, and can be stretched into at least two meals (usually more).

Here’s what I most often do with one, usually on Sundays right after I do my grocery shopping for the week. While I’m getting the meat off the bones, I throw the meat into the chicken salad bowl, and the bones (and skin and whatever else) into a stock pot.

Rotisserie use #1: Chicken Salad for Dan’s lunch

  • Meat from one rotisserie chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 2 – 3 stalks celery, chopped finely
  • 2 – 3 T mayonnaise (I like Hellman’s)

Mix all in a large bowl. Make sandwiches on whole wheat bread all week long for lunch. If you have some, a thin slice of onion or some iceburg lettuce is also good on the sandwich.

That’s all Dan likes in his chicken salad, but I like to make this for showers or other girly gatherings and add walnuts and grapes (cut in half). It is fabulous served on bakery croissants or even those canned crescent rolls.

Rotisserie use #2: Chicken stock

  • Bones and whatever else is left over after you’ve picked the meat off the chicken
  • One onion, peeled and quartered
  • Celery leaves, from one bunch celery
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme
  • salt to taste

Place everything in a stock pot, cover with water and boil for an hour or more. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard solids. Use in your favorite soup, or just drink it plain out of a mug when you have the sniffles.

If I have an onion left over from earlier in the week (you know the unused half that sits in the fridge after you used the rest for another recipe?), I’ll usually throw that in instead of cutting up a new one. As far as the celery, I just throw in whatever is left after I trim and cut up a bunch of celery. No one in our house likes the leaves or the tip tops, so they get thrown in the stock pot. I use Thyme because I have some in my garden.

All these disclaimers to say that the only important thing here is the chicken and the water and the boiling. Throw in whatever else you have – carrots, parsnips, leeks, sage, dried poultry seasoning – these would all be fine here.

I’m going to use the stock I’m making today to make Pumpkin Soup tomorrow.