Tag Archives: Soup

Sopa de Plátano – Plantain Soup

Sopa de Platano - Plantain Soup

“Mata de plátano, a ti a ti te debo la mancha
que ni el jabón, ni la plancha,
quitan de encima de mi.
Desque jíbaro nací
al aire llevo el tesoro
de tu racimo de oro
y tu hoja verde y ancha; 
llevare siempre la mancha
por secula seculorum”

– Luis Lloréns Torres, Puerto Rican poet

This short poem loosely translates to:  “Plantain tree, I owe to you that stain that neither soap nor clothes iron can remove.  Since I was born here (Puerto Rico), I treasure your golden bunch and your wide green leaves, and will always carry your stain.”  The plantain stain is a metaphor for those traits that make Puerto Ricans unique and that we wear on our sleeves every day, wherever we may be.   Read More…

Tortilla Soup

Dsc_0541

Long hours at the office remain a recurring theme these days.  We stretched out the short ribs leftovers for Monday.  Tuesday dinner was quickly defrosted salmon fillets with salad.  Wednesday, additional fridge foraging with salad.  By Thursday, I needed a hot, gut warming meal but didn’t want to slave over the stove or cutting boards for too long.  I decided to channel my inner Nigella and rummaged through the kitchen to see what I could open, empty out, and go while remaining somewhat ‘brilliant!’.  Here’s what I found

Read More…

Souper Bowl VI – New England Clam Chowder

Dsc_0372

Adapted from Bon Appétit via epicurious.com

My husband and I have been ‘celebrating’ the Super Bowl for seven years now, and our tradition has been to make a soup (hence, ‘Souper Bowl’), fry up some wings, and curl up in the couch to watch the game until I inevitably drift off to sleep halfway through the third quarter.  Sometimes we throw in a little something extra, but the soup and wings are our staples.  Last year was the exception – we hosted a Mardi Gras themed gathering and served jambalaya, crab cakes, and a king cake – washed down with Abita Ambers.  This year, we went back to basics, down to me dozing off.  To my defense, we are in Atlantic Standard Time – one full hour before the US East coast at this time of the year!

Remembering the Soups…

  • 2005 – Beer and Cheese soup (partial fail)
  • 2006 – Corn and crab chowder (WIN!)
  • 2007 – Tomato, sausage and spinach soup (WIN!)
  • 2008 – Corn & crab chowder redux (WIN!)
  • 2009 – Andalusian gazpacho (WIN!)

This year, our winning soup was a New England clam chowder.  I love clam chowder and cannot even remember when was the last time I had some.  It wasn’t difficult to make at all!  The recipe I used and will continue to use is based on Bon Appetit’s 2000 version, conveniently reprinted by the folks at epicurious.com.  All the ingredients are easy to obtain at the regular grocery store – we used canned baby clams.

  • Dice the equivalent of 1 pound of potatoes in 1/2” cubes.  The recipe calls for russets but I had a combination of red-skinned and Yukon.  I used medium three potatoes in total.
  • Set the potatoes to boil in 3 cups (bottles) of clam juice.  Since it is clam chowder, I don’t think there’s a substitute for this one!  After ten minutes, remove from heat.
Dsc_0350
While the potatoes are boiling away, melt in your soup pot two tablespoons of butter and render the fat of four chopped slices of bacon.  When the bacon is starting to get brown, add the following items and cook until soft:
  • 1 1/2 cup of finely diced onions
  • 1/2 cup of leeks, whites and light green parts thinly sliced (ajo puerro)
  • 1 1/4 cups of finely diced celery
  • 2 bay leaves

Once the veggies are soft, add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and cook for two minutes.  This isn’t meant to be a savory roux – just a thickening agent.  The flour shouldn’t pick up any color.

Dsc_0353

Open two 10.5 oz cans of clams, and reserve the liquid.  Add this extra clam juice to the soup pot, slowly whisking it into vegetables mixture.  Add the potatoes in the clam juice, the clams,1 cup of whole milk (the recipe called for half-and-half – I didn’t miss the extra creaminess), and 1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce.  Simmer for about five minutes, and then adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

Allow to simmer uncovered for about twenty minutes, stirring frequently.  The flour might lodge at the bottom of the soup pot and we want to separate it.  The longer the soup simmers, the more it will reduce.  Personally, I like my chowder chunky so I waited at least half an hour before serving it.

We noshed on oven-baked wings (a sign of maturity?) with a coating of butter and hot sauce (nah!) and homemade blue brie cheese dip while the soup finished simmering.  I had a small wheel of cheese in my fridge since the holidays and put together a quick dip with a tablespoon of mayo and eyeballed amounts of light sour cream.  The brie was a lot milder than the ‘regular’ Danish blue cheese and made for a smoother dip (and future salad dressing for the rest of the week).

New England Clam Chowder 2

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Few one pot meals are more gut/heart/sinus warming than a gumbo.  After weeks – nay – months of requests to make one, I finally had a sort of rainy weekend that justified the time consuming process of making this New Orleans cuisine classic.  (I would also say that every time I cook food from New Orleans, the Saints win.  That would be an argument to continue going through the culinary canon of the city in the coming weeks.)  The recipe used this time was John Besh’s master recipe from his book My New Orleans, sans the okra, using the homemade chicken stock shown below.  I cooked the gumbo on Saturday and we got to have leftovers yesterday for dinner.  There is still enough for two starter sized bowls today, which makes the effort worth it.  Read More…

UA-20793997-4