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Arsip Tag: soup
For someone who was all “Harrumph! Cacio e Pepe Does Not Contain Cheddar Cheese.” a few weeks ago, I have some nerve telling you what I’m going to next, which is that I’m pretty smitten with an unapologetically “100% Inauthentic!”-boasting cookbook, the celebration of American-Asian cuisine that is 101 Easy Asian Recipes from the editors of Lucky Peach magazine. There are recipes for “Mall Chicken,” for Rotisserie Ramen, Dollar Dumplings, Miso Claypot Chicken (No Claypot), and then, the recipe in the dessert section that’s going to make you shut the book and never look back again, that for sliced oranges. You know, like the kind they put out at Chinatown restaurants at the end of a meal.
But wait, hear me out. The miso claypot chicken can be made in a rice-cooker, as in, while you are at work, ready when you get home. In fact, the rice-cooker is one of only two specialty cooking items they recommend, that and a wok, and you can make all of the dishes with neither. The rotisserie ramen makes use of not just the pickings, but the carcass of a storebought bird to make a more robust broth. The dollar dumplings, guys, they’re hilarious: “Even if your first dumpling is fugly, the fortieth will be respectable looking, and by your hundredth you’ll be muttering under your breath in Chinese, wondering when the mah-jongg game is gonna get started.” Oh, and, “Sauceless dumplings are like the crying-on-the-inside kind of clowns; they look the part but something important is missing.” The orange slices? Apparently, this is more of a thing than I thought; Joanne Chang steps in to explain that meals with company were always ended with fruit. Baked goods are for daytime meals, with tea.
Regardless, even a cookbook dripping with irony and tongue-in-cheek descriptors is only as good as its recipes, and here is where the magic happens, as it should: I haven’t experienced or read about a flop yet. And people are actually cooking out of this cookbook because they set out when writing it with real people in mind. “We all work long hours and come home hungry to cold kitchens, or have kids to feed, or want to cook because… for whatever else you can’t control, you can put dinner on the table,” Peter Meehan writes in the introduction, where two rules were set forth: 1. No sub-recipes. 2. No frying. I almost wanted to hug this book when I read that.
You’d think a hot-and-sour soup with no obscure ingredients that takes all of 10 minutes to cook (yes, TEN) would taste like compromise, like something “good enough” for a weekday night, but unspecial otherwise, but we instead found it to be the best we’ve had. The smartest thing I did was buy too many ingredients so we could make it again tonight. Be like me. You won’t regret it.
One year ago: Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic
Two years ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts
Three years ago: Salted Caramel Brownies
Four years ago: Lasagna Bolognese
Five years ago: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Six years ago: Chana Masala and Walnut Jam Cake
Seven years ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes and Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw
Eight years ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Nine years ago: Miniature Soft Pretzels
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Raspberry Crushed Ice
1.5 Years Ago: Apricot Pistachio Squares
2.5 Years Ago: Strawberry Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles
3.5 Years Ago: Charred Pepper Steak Sauce
4.5 Years Ago: Sugar Plum Crepes with Ricotta and Honey
Hot and Sour Soup
From 101 Easy Asian Recipes; they were inspired by Joanne Chang’s version
I went for the hot and sour soup first because it’s my husband’s favorite, even though it previously wasn’t mine. I found the viscous consistency off-putting, and I like heat moderate, at best. Plus, the recipes I’d seen before this one too daunting, with ingredients that, sure, I could easily purchase in New York City, but would be unlikely to use particularly often after that. Not this recipe. The most “out there” ingredient is dried wood-ear mushrooms, which I intentionally dodged to sort out whether it would be just as good with fresh ones (it is). I added bamboo shoots because we like them in there, but the recipe doesn’t require it. There’s no cornstarch; only eggs thicken the liquid. Heat comes from sriracha; sour comes from rice vinegar. There’s pork in it, but I don’t see why you couldn’t make it vegetarian with a vegetable broth and extra tofu and mushrooms. Should you use pork, it calls for 1/2 pound of pork shoulder, which not all butchers will sell you. You could shave off a 1/2 pound and freeze the rest for another meal, or you could do as Joanne Chang does in her recipe, which inspired this, and use 1/2 pound ground pork instead. Pork shoulder will be much easier to cut into neat little strips if frozen or half-frozen first, although I didn’t bother.
1 ounce (1/2 cup) dried wood ear mushrooms or 5 fresh button or shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral cooking oil
1/2 pound lean pork shoulder, sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1-by-1/4-inch strips, or 1/2 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped scallions, plus more for garnish, if desired
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) bamboo shoots, drained
1/2 pound soft tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (I skipped this)
1 teaspoon black or white pepper
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha, plus more for serving
2 large eggs, beaten
If using dried mushrooms: Cover the mushrooms with boiling water in a small bowl, and let stand until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop the mushrooms.
In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the pork, garlic, ginger and 1/2 cup scallions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the pork is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock and add the bamboo shoots (if using), tofu, 1/3 cup of vinegar, the soy sauce, sugar, pepper, sesame oil, mushrooms and 1 tablespoon Sriracha. Bring the soup to a simmer and season with salt. While stirring constantly, drizzle in the eggs and cook until strands form, about 1 minute. Serve hot, garnished with extra scallions if desired, passing rice vinegar and Sriracha at the table.
It’s not even October yet and my friends were already expressing pumpkin spice fatigue yesterday. I have just the antidote: ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, some lime juice, and a chile. Who’s in?
I have only one cauliflower soup recipe on this site — I shared it over 10 years ago. It’s so good and so simple, no updates have been warranted. But flipping my way through Madhur Jaffrey’s Vegetarian India for ways to sate my steadfast Indian cravings, I knew this would be the next addition to the category. A close cousin to these potatoes and cauliflower (aloo gobi) but formatted as a soup, this is my favorite kind, one that doesn’t expect you to have a quart of homemade or boxed stock at the ready, the kind that trusts it is intensely seasoned enough that just water will stretch the flavors into a full soup. More of these, please. (Here’s another, by the way.)
As for meal strategies, well, this is so typical of me and almost exactly how I roll (except rolling would imply some kind of master plan, and nope, not that either) but I decided I was going to make two things for dinner yesterday, this soup and another even more fall-ish roasted vegetable dish with Indian spices. I made the soup first because it reheats the best and then I didn’t want to cook anymore because why cook two or more things when you can cook one? In the Tomato Rasam Soup in the same chapter, Jaffrey mentions that she likes occasionally likes to serve it with a dollop of plain rice in the center and this was my “a-ha!” moment. A swirl of plain basmati rice, a few toasted wedges of naan and a totally optional swirl of yogurt or cream — plus some cucumber spears on the side, somewhat in the spiced style in the book because I couldn’t resist — and suddenly our soup starter was more of a stew and this is pretty much what counts for dinner around here. A really, really good one.
Thank you: I hadn’t in the least expected such a warm outpouring on my last post. It means everything. I’m carefully reading my way through all of the comments and responding to questions. I love all of your stories.
This Friday afternoon, 9/30: To celebrate 10 years and for a long-overdue catch-up, I want to hang out on Snapchat (@smittenkitchen) and have a Q&A. Snap me all your questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them before my kids find me and demand food/attention. I am so sorry to have to do this, but I am under the weather and need to reschedule in a couple weeks, will announce soon. 🙁
Next Tuesday, 10/4, 6:30 pm: As part of the Food Book Fair, I’ll be chatting with Molly Yeh (My Name Is Yeh) about her first cookbook, Molly On The Range at the new West Elm in Dumbo. [This is a ticketed event. Details here.]
Every week: Every Monday morning, just when most of us are groaning our way back into the weekday grind, I send out a newsletter full of seasonal meal ideas and archive favorites, plus links from around the web and a round-up of anything you might have missed that week. I would never, ever torment us with one of those pop-up sign-up forms — I keep it instead in the sidebar (on desktop; bottom of the page on tablet and mobile) and everything and anything you’d need to know is on this page. Sounds good? See you next Monday!
One year ago: The Perfect Manhattan
Two years ago: Latke Waffles
Three years ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Four years ago: Crackly Banana Bread
Five years ago: Apple and Honey Challah
Six years ago: Beef Chili with Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits
Seven years ago: Date Spice Loaf
Eight years ago: Black and White Cookies and Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella
Nine years ago: Spaghetti with Chorizo and Almonds
Ten! years ago: Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Eggs in Purgatory, Puttanesca-Style
1.5 Years Ago: Baked Chickpeas with Pita Chips and Yogurt
2.5 Years Ago: Whole-Grain Cinnamon Swirl Bread
3.5 Years Ago: Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast
4.5 Years Ago: Raspberry Coconut Macaroons
I don’t know why it took me so long to make this as it combines the only two things I ever want when I’m sick: chicken noodle and wonton soup. The thing is, when you’re sick, you absolutely do not want to cook anything. (Also sometimes when we’re well, to be completely honest. Shh, don’t tell anyone.) And so for a couple nights, we picked up a decent chicken noodle soup in the neighborhood, but when we tired of that, ordered wonton soup instead. It’s usually a disappointment. Sometimes it seems like a quart of bland broth with three floating pockets in it, not the most filling meal. Plus, it’s off the menu for anyone who doesn’t eat pork or shrimp. But this one was not; it was chicken wontons in chicken broth and it was exceptional, the happiest mashup of the two wonderful things.
Had the delivery not come an hour later, forcing me to — gasp! — scramble some food together for the kids anyway, I probably would have never made this. But as I was enjoying my soup, I realized that this would be so ridiculously easy to hack, it might even be done before it arrived next time.
I did make it as soup here, but I also need to tell you that my favorite way to eat wontons when we’re not sniffling and sneezing is Sichuan-style, in chili oil with soy and garlic. Slippery, hot, salty and savory at once, there’s almost no going back after trying them once. This recipe from Fuschia Dunlop seems as straightforward as possible; I’d start with the sauce here if making them for the first time.
* Traditionally, I begin each year on Smitten Kitchen with a soup or stew. Here are a few from previous years: Chicken Chili (2016) My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup (2015), Chicken Pho (2014) Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas (2013) Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame (2012), Mushroom and Farro Soup (2011), Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema (2010) and Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (2007)
One year ago: Chicken Chili
Two years ago: My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup
Three years ago: Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans
Four years ago: Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas
Five years ago: Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame
Six years ago: Chard and White Bean Stew
Seven years ago: Southwestern Pulled Brisket
Eight years ago: Potato and Artichoke Tortilla
Nine years ago: Viennese Cucumber Salad and Lemon Bars
Ten! years ago: Really Simple Homemade Pizza
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Peaches and Cream Bunny Cake
1.5 Years Ago: Green Beans with Almond Pesto
2.5 Years Ago: Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galettes
3.5 Years Ago: Slow and Low Dry-Rub Oven Chicken
4.5 Years Ago: Flag Cake
As will happen, my 12-ounce package of wonton wrappers contained 50 but 1 pound of meat made 58 wontons. What’s a recipe writer to do? Do we buy extra wonton wrappers (you can freeze the rest)? Do we write a recipe for 3/4 pound of ground meat, not exactly standard package size? I went with the latter as even with 6 wontons per bowl of soup, you’ll have extra. (You can freeze these too until needed.)
I include ingredients to “doctor up” storebought stock with ginger, garlic and scallions but I need to be completely honest here: you can probably skip it too. The wontons have the real flavor here, and a little dash of soy, toasted sesame oil and fistful of scallions go a long way at the end to making this an easy weeknight soup, yes, even with that wonton folding.
- 3/4 pound ground chicken
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic chives, regular chives or scallions
- Ground white pepper, to taste
- 50 wonton wrappers (about 12 ounces), thawed if frozen, thinnest ones you can find
- Cornstarch, to prevent sticking
- 8 cups prepared chicken stock or broth, storebought or homemade
- A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 bundle scallions, to be used here and to finish
- Soy sauce or salt, to taste
- 3 ounces baby spinach leaves (a few handfuls)
- Toasted sesame oil and soy sauce, to taste
Form your wontons: Place a few wontons wrappers on your counter. Cover the remaining ones with a piece of plastic wrap. Place 1 heaped teaspoon (from a measuring spoon set) in the center. Use your fingers dipped in water to dampen the edges. Fold one corner diagonally across to the other, pressing air out as you seal it shut. Then, bring the two corners on the wide side of the triangle down below it and use a dab of water to seal them shut. You’re not trying to pull the corners across the belly, but pointing downward. Lightly sprinkle a big plate with cornstarch and place form wontons on it. Repeat with remaining wontons. I found that after I’d made a couple and got the hang of it, I could lay out 6 at a time and get each batch of 6 done in 2 minutes, meaning that this process took me about 20 minutes total.
Fix up your stock (optional): While you’re forming wontons, should you want to enhance your stock (see note up top first), chop the white and light green parts of your scallions into 1/2- to 1-inch segments. Cut dark green tops into thin slivers and save for garnish later. Place stock in 3 to 4-quart pot with sliced ginger, the white and light green scallions you’ve just chopped, garlic and soy sauce or salt, as needed, to season. Simmer them together for 20 minutes while you make the wontons, then strain out the ginger, scallions and garlic.
Cook the wontons: Once your wontons are formed, you can cook them right in the simmering broth or you can do so in simmering water — the latter is better so that the cornstarch on the wrappers doesn’t make the soup cloudy. Boil wontons for 3 minutes to cook them inside; this is really all it takes, but if you’re nervous, cut one in half to make sure.
To finish soup: Add spinach to simmering broth and let cook for one minute, until softened. Add cooked wontons to broth and let them warm through again for 30 seconds. Ladle wontons and soup into bowls. I used about 1 1/4 cups broth and 6 wontons per serving. Drizzle each dish with a little toasted sesame oil, a bit of soy sauce (if desired) and scatter with reserved dark green scallion tops. Dig in.
Do ahead: Wontons can be formed and refrigerated for a day, or frozen for a month or longer.
Here are a few things I know to be true: Split pea soup is never going to win the winter soup Olympics. Its signature hue of mushy pea green will never be prized as fashionable by anyone but the unfashionable likes of me. If you know people who stand up and cheer when they hear that it’s a split pea soup for dinner kind of evening, you know amazing, rare unicorn people I would like to have over for dinner more often. It could be argued that split pea soup doesn’t help its cause by its, ahem, mushy texture that usually solidifies into a brick in a fridge overnight, which is why it surprised me as much as it did that when I mentioned making it — along with this black bread — in this food diary I kept for Grub Street last week, so many people asked me for the recipe.
I had been eating split pea soup for at least half my life before I realized it was not traditionally a vegetarian soup. Growing up, my mom made it from, well, tubes from the grocery store that included the dried peas and a seasoning packet and I thought the results were above reproach. The fact that it was usually from Manischewitz probably could have explained the absence of ham hocks, but I don’t like to jump to conclusions or anything.
The times I have made it with ham hocks, I didn’t find it life-changing. For me, it didn’t add enough to be worth changing my usual approach — a solid enough filter for any new recipe decision, you could say — which is a pile of vegetables and aromatics, broth, and split peas, cooked until tender and then pureed in all or part, and generally, if we’re being completely honest here, swiftly rejected by most people in my family for all the reasons listed above.
But I think this most recent version is on to something. A lot of vegetarian split pea soups add potatoes for bulk, but I find it only further mutes a muted soup’s flavor. Instead, I swapped out my usual chopped onion with a few thinly sliced leeks and loved every bit of the results. I kept the carrots and celery, but then, right when I was about to puree the soup I realized somehow for the first time that it might not need it at all? Peas, split, naturally collapse in soup so the texture was already halfway smooth; why nudge it further? I then tried three different finishes. No, I’m not suggesting you need to finish this soup three ways, I just couldn’t decide. The first was a green sauce with parsley, lemon, and garlic, basically a vegetarian gremolata, which usually contain anchovies too. (A salsa verde would be great here too.) Then, a dollop of sour cream. Finally, because I said I didn’t like ham inside the soup but said nothing about on top, we added a bit of crispy bacon in small bits, but I also love it topped with croutons (either gruyere or these lovelies) should you wish to keep it meatless. Any one or even two of these toppings really lift the soup so choose your own adventure.
New Year, New Soup! Traditionally, I begin each year on Smitten Kitchen with a soup or stew. Here are a few from previous years: Chicken Wonton Soup (2017), Chicken Chili (2016) My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup (2015), Chicken Pho (2014) Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas (2013) Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame (2012), Mushroom and Farro Soup (2011), Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema (2010) and Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (2007)
One year ago: Chicken Wonton Soup
Two years ago: Chicken Chili and Ugly-But-Good Cookies
Three years ago: My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup and Popcorn Party Mix
Four years ago: Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans and Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango
Five years ago: Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas and Ethereally Smooth Hummus
Six years ago: Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame and Apple Shartlotka
Seven years ago: Chard and White Bean Stew and Vanilla Bean Pudding
Eight years ago: Southwestern Pulled Brisket and Caramel Pudding
Nine years ago: Fig and Walnut Biscotti and Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew
Ten years ago: Viennese Cucumber Salad and Lemon Bars
Eleven years ago: Really Simple Homemade Pizza and Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Confetti Party Cake
1.5 Years Ago: Peaches and Cream Bunny Cake
2.5 Years Ago: Green Beans with Almond Pesto
3.5 Years Ago: Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galette
4.5 Years Ago: Slow and Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken
While this soup could be vegetarian (using vegetable stock), or even vegan (skipping the parmesan), you could also go in the other direction, adding a ham hock or beef shank for a heartier soup. You could use rice instead of farro, but I do like the chewiness of the grain here.
As always with recipes with short ingredient lists, and rather plain ingredients, seasoning is everything. Keep adding salt and pepper until it tastes right.
Finally, my cabbage tends to brown and seem fully cooked far sooner than the recipe suggests it will be (30 minutes). I end up moving the recipe along sooner, and it’s not a problem. I’ve used savoy cabbage both times; it’s possible that with a regular green cabbage, it might need the full softening time.
- 1 pound cabbage, savoy or green
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 sprig of rosemary or thyme (optional because I’ve forgotten it each time, and not regretted it)
- 1 tablespoon red wine or white wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup uncooked farro
- About 4 cups homemade or storebought chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Shaved parmesan, to finish
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat a glug of olive oil over medium and add the uncooked farro. Toast it, stirring, for a few minutes, until half a shade darker.
When the cabbage is ready, stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with more salt and pepper. Add toasted farro and broth. Bring mixture to a lazy simmer and cook for 25 to 35 minutes, until farro is tender and all the flavors are married. The soup will be very thick, but if you’d prefer more liquid, add another 1/2 cup broth or water. Taste and adjust seasoning again. Stir in lemon juice.
Ladle into bowls and finish each with a drizzle of olive oil and a shower of parmesan, with more parmesan passed at the table.
Do ahead: Soup keeps well in the fridge for 3 days, and for weeks or longer in the freezer.
Tip: I always start with an onion or two more than I need, because due to the vagaries of buying onions from grocery stores in the middle of winter, I never know when I’ll get one kind of banged up inside, except reliably any time I don’t buy extras.
- 3 pounds thinly sliced yellow onions (see Tip)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup dry sherry, vermouth, or white wine (optional)
- 1 bay leaf or a few sprigs of thyme (optional, and honestly, I rarely bother)
- 2 quarts (8 cups) beef, chicken, or vegetable (mushroom is excellent here) stock, the more robust the better
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- One (3/4- to 1-inch) thick slice of bread for each bowl of soup
- 1/4 cup grated gruyere, comte, or a mix of gruyere and parmesan per toast
Uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in salt — I start with between 1 and 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt, or twice as much kosher salt. Cook onions, stirring every 5 minutes (you might be fine checking in less often in the beginning, until the point when the water in the onions has cooked off) for about 40 to 90 minutes longer.
[What? That range is crazy. Stoves vary so much, even my own. If your onions are browning before 40 minutes are up, reduce the heat to low, and if that’s still cooking too fast, try a smaller burner. The longer you cook the onions, the more complex the flavor, but when you’re happy with it, you can stop — the ghost of Julia Child will not haunt you, the Shame Wizard will not taunt you or anything.]
Make the soup: Onions are caramelized when they’re an even, deep golden brown, sweet and tender. Add sherry or vermouth, if using, and scrape up any onions stuck to pan. Cook until it disappears. Add stock, herbs (if using), and a lot of freshly ground black pepper and bring soup to a simmer. Partially cover pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed; discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf if you used them.
While soup is finishing, heat your broiler, and if you don’t have a broiler, heat your oven as hot as it goes. If your bread is not already stale (i.e. you did not leave the slices out last night to harden, probably because nobody told you to), toast them lightly, until firm. Rub lightly with a raw garlic clove. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange soup bowls/vessels on top.
To finish: Ladle soup into bowls. Fit a piece of toast (trimming if needed) onto each. Sprinkle with cheese. Run under broiler until cheese is melted and brown at edges. Garnish with herbs. You can eat it right away but it’s going to stay hot for a good 10 minutes or so, if you need more time.
I dreamed up this soup with picky eaters in mind and I know how picky eaters think because I was one. Well, am one. (Shh, don’t tell anyone. I’ve managed to keep it a secret so long.)
My first cookbook has no soup recipes because I didn’t consider myself a soup person, although this makes it sound like a failing of identity and it was really that I found soup depressingly monotonous: must every spoonful be exactly like the one before? A bowl felt a lifetime long. But my second cookbook (and my third, should I ever get to writing that thing, heh) has a big one because I finally figured out how to make soup that kept me interested: fixings. For me, when a soup is simple, it’s about the finishes. I love a salad bar of options and I love to be able to add more as I eat, so no two spoonfuls are exactly alike. This technique has come in handy with every variety of choosy eaters in my family — a husband who doesn’t like smooth soups, a son who can be convinced to eat most things if they have bacon, and a daughter who eats approximately nothing but is known to demolish bowls of kale chips and will steal the bacon off your plate without asking or expressing any level of remorse after. (She’s a cat. I gave birth to a cat.) (Although temporarily a spider.)
This soup started as a lightened-up baked potato soup, swapping beans for some of the potatoes, but it’s way more interesting than that, if you ask me. It’s perfectly cozy solo, but when you set out a little sour cream, parmesan, pancetta, and crispy kale, it’s… fun? Yes, I just called soup fun. You can make it vegetarian by skipping the pancetta, vegan by skipping the parmesan and cream (I’d use a squeeze of lemon), but more important is that no matter how you make it, you can do so quickly. We’re not soaking beans, we’re not making stock, not here, not this time. This is a 40-minutes-top soup, and it’s absolutely perfect for right now.
Good Morning America: What? Yeah, no big deal at all! I was invited to kick off Ginger Zee’s cooking club, where she’s attempting to get her (really cute) kids and husband out of their pasta-obsessed rut. I came to her house to demonstrate this recipe and also another kid favorite, the Pizza Beans from Smitten Kitchen Every Day and the kids and husband ate it all. (I came home and was like “Step it up, fam.”) You can watch me do just this on the show tomorrow (Wednesday 10/30) morning at 8:45am ET, barring any major news that bumps the segment. [Update: Indeed, some news — the worsening fires in California — bumped the segment. I’ll give you a heads-up when there’s a new air date for it. And please, be safe out there.] When there’s a link to watch it online, I’ll add it here.
Are you following SK on Instagram? Every couple Fridays (ideally, every other, but sometimes life gets in the way) I’m doing Live Story demos of a recipe from the archives. Last week, apple cider caramels, the best Halloween candy that is not storebought peanut butter cups. A week from Friday (11/8)? Not sure what I’m cooking yet, but it will be something warm and cozy.
Six months ago: Braised Ginger Meatballs in Coconut Broth
One year ago: Sunken Black Forest Cake
Two years ago: Bakery-Style Butter Cookies
Three years ago: Broken Pasta with Pork Ragu
Four years ago: Baked Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Ragu and Twinkie Bundt
Five years ago: Homemade Harissa and Cauliflower Cheese
Six years ago: Potato and Broccolini Frittata
Seven years ago: Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas and Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones
Eight years ago: Pear, Cranberry, and Gingersnap Crumble
Nine years ago: Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake and Spiced Applesauce Cake
Ten years ago: Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins and Capers and Silky, Decadent Old-School Chocolate Mousse
Eleven years ago: Meatballs and Spaghetti and Cranberry-Walnut Chicken Salad and Pink Lady Cake
Twelve years ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding and Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Thirteen years ago: Pumpkin Muffins and Easiest Baked Macaroni-and-Cheese
I hope nobody you know is sick right now. I hope it’s, at worst, a common cold, common boredom bred by self-quarantine, or a stubbed toe because you tried some ridiculous workout video you found online. Or, if you’re me, last week, after yet another thing fell out of my chaotic freezer onto my foot (I don’t even get to blame “fitness”) I decided to, what’s that word, it feels so unnatural to type… organize? Right, that. I decided to sift through the freezer and see what was taking up so much space and I realized that Deb Of A Few Months (let’s be honest: probably longer) Ago did a very cool thing and made an excess of chicken stock and froze it in one-quart bags which meant that “wohoo! dinner is sorted!”
I’ve published a few chicken noodle soups recipes to date. I’ve got a quite rushed one and a leisurely one for when you want absolute perfection; there’s a grandma-style cozy on in Smitten Kitchen Every Day, my second cookbook, but one thing I’ve not yet covered is the simplest: a chicken soup you make with already-made stock.*
Once you have it, things are incredibly easy: quick-cooking but never dry chicken thighs, any rice you have around, and this one leans heavily on leeks, as well. I adore leeks because I love onions and I love green vegetables and they’re halfway between, which means that they do double duty. Here, just a little garlic, sometimes a carrot stick or rib of celery (whatever I have to use up), and a couple big leeks perfume an entire pot of chicken broth that we simmer boneless, skinless chicken thighs in. Pull them out, cook the rice, shred the chicken, add it back and I mean, that’s it, You’re done. You just made soup. You’re pretty amazing, not that I have ever doubted it.
Three absolutely key things, however, convert this from “uh, you just boiled chicken, leeks, and rice together” into something more dynamic. 1. Salt and pepper (listen to Oprah, guys) — when you’re trying to get simple ingredients to wake up, it matters. Season each addition, each layer of the soup, well and you’ll build a pot with really robust flavor. 2. A finishing trifecta of an herb or herbs of your choice (I show parsley but also like chives and dill, or all three), some hot pepper flakes, lemon zest, and if you wish, juice too. I also love it with a nice dollop of harissa. 3. Considering this a bit of a springboard recipe, with built-in flexibility. If you’re thinking that “a chicken soup without [any ingredient you’re shocked not to see here] just isn’t chicken soup” don’t skip it. It needs to taste like rustic coziness to you above all — I hope it does the trick.
* Let’s talk about chicken stock: I find store bought chicken stock very uneven; some of it is so excessively chicken-y but not in a way that tastes natural; many are tinny-tasting too. They’re fine, to me, in blended soups or soups with a lot of ingredients (although bouillon paste has always been my favorite, for both space and taste considerations) but I think the broth in chicken noodle soup should taste very real because there’s almost nothing hiding the taste and the only way to do that is to start by making your own.
I, of course, have a recipe for that. But even if you don’t have, say, 3 pounds of chicken wings lying around, I can promise you that if you simmer a chicken carcass from leftover rotisserie with chopped onion, garlic, a bay leaf, a carrot, celery, peppercorns — whatever you’ve got — for 45 minutes and strain it, you’ll need up with something far more delicious than you can get in a box. And you’ll have cleaned out the fridge.
Six months ago: Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan
One year ago: Extra-Flaky Pie Crust
Two year ago: Luxe Butterscotch Pudding
Three years ago: Butterscotch Pie
Four years ago: Everyday Meatballs and Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt
Five years ago: The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake and Cornmeal-Fried Pork Chops with Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes
Six years ago: Kale and Quinoa Salad with Ricotta Salata
Seven years ago: French Onion Tart
Eight years ago: Multigrain Apple Crisps
Nine years ago: Pina Colada Cake and Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers
Ten years ago: Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze and Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
Eleven years ago: Devil’s Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Red Kidney Bean Curry
Twelve years ago: Greens, Orzo and Meatball Soup and Big Crumb Coffee Cake
Thirteen years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Loaf
If you’re in doubt about the size of your corn cobs, round up. If you’re going through a lot of corn this summer, I’d make an extra batch or two of this stock and freeze it — it would be wonderful in risottos, soups, and anywhere you’d use a vegetable broth.
- 2 large yellow onions
- 3 quarts (2.8 liters) water
- 4 large ears or 5 medium-large fresh corn, kernels cut from cobs, cobs reserved
- 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola, safflower, or another neutral oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 (13.5-ounce or 400-ml) can full-fat coconut milk, well-stirred
- Juice of half a lime
- To garnish: Fresh cilantro leaves, lime wedges, toasted coconut flakes, (see below for next three) chile oil, pickled shallots, and/or crispy shallots
Make soup: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium. Add corn kernels, sliced onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and soft, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups of the reserved corn stock; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 20 minutes. Add coconut milk and lime juice. Remove from heat.
Working in batches, pour mixture into a blender. Secure lid but remove the center piece to allow steam to escape. Or, you can use an immersion blender in the pot, as I did. Process until very smooth. Pour soup through a strainer into a pot — I didn’t do this but wished I had — and discard solids.
Serve: Ladle into bowls. Top with garnishes of your choice.
To make a tiny batch of chile oil: Place 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper in a small heatproof bowl. Heat 1/4 cup neutral oil in a small skillet over medium-high until shimmering, then pour over red pepper. Let stand 10 minutes and pour through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the pepper flakes. Dot over soup with caution.
To pickle shallots: Thinly slice two large shallots. Add to a bowl with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons cold water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and a slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Set in fridge until needed. Shallots will be very lightly pickled by the time you’re done making the soup, but if you can give it 1 to 2 hours in the fridge, they’ll be more so.
To make crispy shallots: Thinly slice two large shallots. In a small skillet, heat 1/2-inch of oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots to the skillet, breaking them into rings as you place them in. Cook until deeply golden, watching them carefully, stirring occasionally, and then transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle immediately with salt. They will continue to darken after being removed from the skillet.
If there’s a lot of fat in the pot, pour it off until you have 2 tablespoons left. Add carrot, onion, leek (if using) and cook on medium-high heat until lightly browned at edges, about 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes; it will get a little darker. Add the red wine and cook until it has reduced to just a puddle, about 3 minutes. Return the short ribs and any juices that have collected to the pot. Add garlic, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf, then pour broth over ribs and vegetables. Cover with lid, transfer to the oven, and braise until the short ribs are falling off the bone and everyone in your home is falling over from how good it smells, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the onions: [If you have another large Dutch oven (fancy!) you can use it here. A large soup or stock pot will do, too. Or, you can use a large, deep frying pan for just the onions and finish the soup in the short rib’s pot later.]
Melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in butter and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes. They don’t need your attention.
Uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in salt — I start with 2 to 3 teaspoons of kosher salt. Cook onions, stirring every 5 minutes (you might be fine checking in less often in the beginning, until the point when the water in the onions has cooked off) for about 40 to 90 minutes longer. Onions are caramelized when they’re an even, deep golden brown, sweet and tender. Add sherry and scrape up any onions stuck to the pan, then simmer it until it disappears and you’re swatting strangers who crept in, enticed by the aroma, out of your kitchen.
Finish the short ribs: When the short ribs are cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the broth and transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Strain the broth, discarding the vegetables. If the broth looks fattier than you prefer, you can use a fat separator to remove it, or carefully spoon it off the surface. Discard the short rib bones and pull the meat into large bite-sized chunks. You can de-fat the ribs a bit here, too, if there are easily-removed pieces.
Place the caramelized onions in the final soup pot, if they’re not already there, and rewarm over medium-high. Add broth and bring it to a simmer and season to taste with more salt and pepper. Add short ribs to broth and gently simmer everything together for 10 to 15 minutes.
To make the cheese toasts: Heat your oven’s broiler (or turn it to its top temperature). Coat a large baking sheet with foil, for easiest cleanup. Gently toast the bread until semi-firm and dry to the touch. Rub each with the raw garlic clove. Divide cheese between the toasts and return the tray to the oven until the cheese has melted and the toasts are browned on top.
To serve: Ladle ribs and broth into bowls and sink a cheese toast halfway in. Sprinkle with chives.
Do ahead: I love making this a day ahead of time; short ribs are fantastic the second day, even better, you could argue, plus any excess fat in the broth will be easier to remove once chilled. You can make everything but the cheese toasts early, or just a component or two (the short rib braise, the caramelized onions). Rewarm over medium-high heat until simmering to serve.