Tag Archive | soup

Roasted Beet and Beet Green Bowl

Beet green bowl

Dishes like these have been my saviour this winter. More importantly, “fresh” winter produce, which surprisingly, given the current climate, has been abundant, has been my inspiration. We have been happily feasting on escarole, arugula, and spinach, mounds of them! So when I came across the bunches of beet roots, red stems still very much in tact and sturdy green leaves, though small, untouched, I had no choice, but to snatch them up. These were not winter grade. You have heard that rant before, and so brought me back to my summer market days…

You know that leafy greens are the only vegetables I boil, and of which I can literally eat heaps. This dish takes that plate of boiled leafy greens to a whole other level. For starters, it incorporates at its center beet root greens, which are often discarded, shameful in my opinion. When cooked, they surrender beautifully reminiscent of Swiss chard. They render the broth a bright ruby red that’s been infused with a hint of garlic and ginger and finished with a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil for body. Roasted beets, really, candied vegetables, are then added, and only because I hate boiled vegetables and because roasting brings out the best in everything, particularly veggies. Topped with a hard boiled egg, it’s a complete meal, hardy bowl, and just a beautiful way to eat more beets!

Every time I make a beet dish, beets at the center or not, I’m reminded how much I really do like beets, but also how much I can’t be bothered to incorporate them more often because let’s face it, they’re a little bit messy. This dish is full bodied, robust, and a celebration of all things beets (beets three ways!) for which its worth getting your hands dirty!

Serves 3

Ingredients:

Roasting Beets:
Beets, quartered 5-6
Olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
Boiling Greens:
Water 4 Litres (16 cups)
Greens, beets, bunches 1.5 lbs
Garlic, cloves, large, crushed 3
Ginger, sliced 2 1-inch Pieces
Salt 2 tbsp
Per Bowl:
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Juice, lemon 1 tsp
Broth, Beet, 3 cups total 1 cup / bowl
Eggs, soft-boiled 3
Chives
Cilantro / dill / marjoram, fresh, chopped Garnish
Black pepper Garnish

Directions:

Roasting Beets

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Toss quartered beets with olive, salt and black pepper.
  3. Bake for 45-60 minutes until cooked and caramelized.

Cooking Beet Greens

  1. Bring a medium pot filled three quarters of the way up with water (4 litres) to a boil.
  2. Generously salt the pot (2 tbsp of salt) and add crushed garlic and ginger.
  3. Simmer for 5 minutes so that water infuses with garlic and ginger.
  4. Add beet greens and cook for approximately 7 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove pot from stove.

Assembly

  1. Add 1 tsp lemon juice (or to taste) and 1 tbsp of olive oil to each bowl and stir.
  2. Using a slotted spatula, divide the beet greens into 3 bowls reserving the beet broth.
  3. Fill each bowl with 1 cup of beet broth.
  4. Place 4-5 roasted beets into each bowl.
  5. Add whole hard-boiled egg to bowl.
  6. Sprinkle each bowl with chives, fresh herbs, and black pepper.

Roasted Chestnut Soup

I have had a love affair with chestnuts in all their forms, ever since I can remember and though extremely versatile, my absolute favourite way to enjoy them is freshly roasted and warm, straight off the hot coals.

These days, we bake them in the oven, but I have fond memories growing up of sitting by the fire, hearing them crackle as they slowly roasted over the hot ambers in my mom’s wood stove. We could barely refrain from digging in as she pulled them from the fire, and we waited impatiently until we could handle them before cracking their shells open and biting into that first mouthful – piping hot, velvety and creamy, delicately sweet, buttery nutty and utterly luxurious. We eat them raw too, but there’s nothing really quite like a warm, roasted chestnut.

We’ll take them anytime, but in my family, they tend to be used to complete a meal, just before the espresso, and what a finale!

They are used in both savoury and sweet dishes. I have made vegetarian tourtières with chestnuts, vegetarian cakes, and they are delicious in stuffings, at the center or as enhancers. One of my favourite panettoni incorporates marrons glacés, but I also love thèse candied chestnuts on their own! There’s a bag of chestnut flour in my refrigerator just waiting for experimentation.

I’ve been wanting to make a soup for a long time, but for that, one requires excess roasted chestnuts, which is rare in my household!

This soup came together quickly and rather effortlessly. I knew what it had to be. I really wanted the chestnuts to shine through so was very careful with any additions, ensuring they were truly complementary, but more importantly, enhancing, taking care not to mask or detract from the chestnuts in any way. Celery wasn’t going to do the trick and carrots were only going to make the soup even sweeter, so I opted for fennel, which needed to be roasted first because I didn’t want the anise flavour to come through too much.

The outcome was nothing less than purely magical for a flavour combination that exceeded expectations. It’s a roasted chestnut soup with a boost, a lift, if you will, that managed to elevate the chestnut to a whole other level. If the quarter roasted fennel bulb wasn’t served as a garnish, you’d never guess it was the active ingredient. The perfect spoonful? A large chunk of the roasted fennel drenched in chestnut goodness.

Earthy, comforting and rich, there’s nothing quite like it. Seemingly made for this time of year, at least, for these parts.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

 Chestnuts, roasted, shelled 2 cups
Fennel, bulbs, large 1.5 (1/2 bulb for soup below, 1 bulb for serving)
Olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
Olive oil 3 tbsp
Leek, large, chopped 1
Garlic, clove, minced 1
Fennel, roasted, ½ bulb, roughly chopped 1 cup
Brandy 2 tbsp
Broth, vegetable 3 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Black pepper
Peppercorn medley 1/4 tsp
Sage, leaves, fresh, chopped 2
Vinegar, sherry 1/2 tbsp
Cream, light 1/2 cup
Bread, crusty Serving

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400F. Bake chestnuts for 30-45 minutes until cooked. Shell.
  2. Reduce oven to 375F. Quarter fennel bulbs. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper and bake for 30-40 minutes until caramelized.
  3. In a medium pan over medium heat, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil.
  4. Add leek and sautee until onions become translucent.
  5. Add garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add roasted fennel ( 1/2 bulb, 1 cup) and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Deglaze the pan with brandy.
  8. Add chestnuts, broth, salt, black pepper, peppercorn medley, and sage.
  9. Cook for approximately 10 minutes until chestnuts are tender.
  10. Remove from heat and puree.
  11. Return to heat. Add vinegar and cream and return to a gentle simmer.
  12. Remove from heat.
  13. Divide soup between four bowls.
  14. Place a quarter of the roasted fennel in the middle of each soup bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.

Lemon Saffron Quinoa Soup


It’s at this time of year that I begin to miss soups, even before I actually stop making them. I push soup season for as long as I can and keep soups on my weekly menu plans until the end of May or early June, if it’s still cool enough. In fact, I don’t typically stop making soups over the summer, at least not entirely.  I just slow it down. I get one or two hot soups in before the summer months are over, not because they are seasonal, but because some seasonal ingredients work so well in soups, but more importantly because I love soups in any season. 

I’m not sure from where the inspiration for this soup came except for the fact that I enjoy soups and love quinoa. Quinoa is now being added to almost everything, soups, chillies, tacos, etc., but as one of many ingredients, and it frustrates me because I never seem to get my quinoa fill. This is a light, brothy soup with plenty of quinoa swimming in a saffron, lemony pool packed with sweet leeks, loaded with parsley and rounded by a soft hit of pepper. It’s intricate simplicity at its best. 

You can have fun with this soup by changing up the broth. A sweetcorn broth works quite nicely, as would a carrot, parsnip, or fennel broth. A single shredded carrot or parsnip is also a nice addition. 

This is a fast weeknight meal that can be made in 30 minutes or so and a complete vegetable protein!

As I lament the upcoming “hiatus” from soups, I must admit that I am tired of the winter grade produce and am wildly anticipating the spring goodies. Oversized bunches of asparagus sit in my fridge as I decide how to celebrate the debut of spring. 

But for just a little while, I’m going to sit on the fence as I reminisce about the days of winter now gone and await the fresh bundles of spring.  So, enjoy a hearty bowl of soup as you awaken from the winter’s slumber and delicately step into spring. 

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

 Olive oil  1/4 cup + 1
 Leeks  2
 Garlic, cloves, minced  3
 Chili flakes  1/8 tsp
 Broth, vegetable  10 cups
 Quinoa  3/4 cup
 Salt  2 tsp
 Black pepper
 Parsley  1 cup
 Saffron, pinches, generous  3
 Turmeric  1/4 tsp
 Zest, lemon, small  1
 Juice, lemon  1 tsp
 Watercress, baby


Directions:

1. In a medium pot, over medium heat, heat oil.

2. Add leeks and sauté for 5-7 until softened, but not browned.

3. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for a couple of minutes.

4. Add broth and bring to a simmer.

5. Add quinoa, salt, black pepper, 3/4 of the parsley, saffron, turmeric, and lemon zest and simmer for 15 minutes (or until quinoa is cooked – check package directions).

6. Add lemon juice and remaining parsley and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

7. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a handful of baby watercress.