Tag Archive for 'soup'

Turkey Chowder

I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about the spaces in my mind. These ‘unprecedented times’ just feel like a free fall from >insert one of any big skyscrapers in your city of choice< to which the end just might be a mighty thud. When not working I spend my days trying to survive the emotional landmines. Some days are better than others as we live in our pressure cooker – trying to keep everyone in a peaceful state of mind, distract ourselves with cooking, baking or the latest streaming content and simultaneously tethering ourselves to help with those we love that we can no longer physically hug or be in close quarters which leaves me emotionally raw or ‘heart naked’.

And while I don’t often share these thoughts aloud, I have just about run out of rope. If you know me, you know that I am direct. And while I will go out of my way to be positive, I encourage you to read the subtext. Read.| Between.|The.| Lines.| Whether you live in a COVID ‘bubble’ or alone, there is not one scenario that is easier than the other. Everyone craves to be consoled and desperately wishes to wake-up and return to their normally scheduled lives. Well, most everyone, and I applaud those that are in the ‘other’ category for they are truly happy in this space and that is something I admire. I must be honest, despite it all, when I think back on these past months since the pandemic lock-down, there have been some really fantastic things that have happened, and new memories have been created that I truly cherish.

When I reflect back, I can see that my survival mode has been to flip the script. I don’t want every celebratory moment to be compared to what it previously was, and by making it new, or different, it somehow feels less unpleasant. For Thanksgiving, I opted out of cooking altogether. I know, shocking! My goal was to get outside and have an adventure, isolated but an adventure none-the-less. With that declaration made, my aunt/godmother, offered to host an outside socially distanced dinner the night before. Despite my efforts to avoid Thanksgiving, she made it very special for all of us.

Similarly, when the December holiday traditions started to surface, I had decided to opt out of my elaborate decorations.

>basically, pitching the baby out with the bathwater- yes, I too can sulk<

While on the phone with my friend, Shawn, he provided his sage and unsolicited advice to keep the traditions alive. He encouraged me to bake and exchange cookies on a much smaller scale and I listened. In doing so I found some true and deep smiles.

What can you deduce from all of this that I am sharing? Well, I am changing. I think we all are. I think we will feel the effects of this year for many years to come. Personally, I find that I have become an active listener. I’ve learned to read Zoom body cues. I’ve learned that some nights we need space and that it is best not to sit around the dinner table. And while I still find comfort in food and cooking, I am aware that things look a bit different. I have so much screen time logged that it pains me that even here, in my most favorite of hobbies, I struggle to write. I just want to distance myself from my devices.

So, how to we get from here to soup? Well, since my story starts with Thanksgiving, and loops back into the theory that we all need comfort, I am sharing my recipe for Turkey Chowder. For me creating this recipe was like a big hug in a bowl! It hits all of the flavor nodes and yet isn’t the usual turkey soup I’ve concocted for years. I still enjoy the usual recipe, but this year is different and so is this version of my soup. It is a hearty soup that is also light and creamy, very flavorful and loaded with turkey, wild rice and vegetables. Basically, it is the perfect solution to leftover turkey, and it makes enough to freeze half of the soup for another time.

This soup does take a bit of time and energy to get together, but I can tell you it will be well worth the effort.

Turkey Chowder


2 cups uncooked wild rice

1 cup butter, unsalted

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 large carrots sliced into 1/4 -inch coins

8 oz fresh button mushrooms, sliced

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 cup flour

2 cans low sodium chicken broth

12-14 cups water

4 cups half and half

2 TBS soy sauce

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme

½ cup fresh celery tops finely chopped or parsley (or 4 tsps dried parsley)

8 cups cooked and coarsely chopped chicken

4 tsps lemon juice, fresh squeezed


Prepare wild rice according to package directions (cooks approx. 50-60 minutes). Once the rice is cooked it should have a curled appearance with the darker outer shell broken open to reveal the lighter interior. This can even be prepared 1-2 days ahead of time and kept refrigerated.

The remainder of the recipe can be made in one large pot. Melt butter over medium heat. Then add the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic. Stir well and sauté until the onion is softened and translucent.

Add in the flour gradually, until it bubbles slightly. Gradually add in the broth, stirring continuously. Once the flour is combined, turn the heat up and bring the soup to a low boil for 1-2 minutes.

Reduce the heat slightly and add the rice, half and half, soy sauce, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme celery leaves and turkey. Simmer for 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed.

Stir in the fresh lemon juice and season to taste. Serve with bread.

Note: If reheating you may need to thin out the soup with a bit of hot water.

Lentil Soup

There are just certain facts about yourself that are known entities. For example, I’ve always hated mushy cooked carrots (unless they are sweetening up a soup). I function most effectively with everything in its place. My favorite drink is a Negroni; I refuse to pick a favorite color. Chocolate is my favorite food group. Spending time with people I enjoy is always an option. And I have a passion for photos that cannot be satiated. It’s just a fact. I love pictures; I always have. And if you were to scroll through my photo roll on my phone camera you would find that nearly 1/3 of them are food photos.
Continue reading ‘Lentil Soup’

Avocado Chicken Chili

avo chili 1

There is something very freeing in acceptance. No matter the situation, letting go of that thing that bothers you down to the core, and changing your mindset just feels better. In one week I’ve had this conversation with three different people, in three entirely different scenarios. Continue reading ‘Avocado Chicken Chili’

Spicy Tahini Squash Bisque


All I want right now is comfort food, a cozy blanket and a few hours to Netflix binge on some new popular show that I haven’t had time to see. >Okay, and if I am being honest then maybe I’d like to add a swanky cocktail to this fantasy.< It makes sense I suppose, animals hibernate in the winter and store their fat, why should we miss out on all that fun? We are meant to slow down and take it easy. Continue reading ‘Spicy Tahini Squash Bisque’

Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup


Life has a funny way of boosting you up when you least expect it. And that in itself is inspiring. While this was not the recipe I anticipated posting this week, I couldn’t resist. And on this day of Hearts I wanted to share the LOVE.

Last week I had noticed that a new friend of mine, Judith, was listed in an email as the primary contact for our daughter’s school fundraising soup lunch and Lenten festivities. On numerous occasions over the past four months she had helped our family throughout my diagnosis, surgery and recovery. In hopes of somehow helping her, I stepped out of my ‘recovery comfort zone’ and took a bold step by offering to make a pot of lentil soup for the lunch.

Continue reading ‘Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup’

Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew


As the weather keeps its chill button turned on full throttle, I’ve been dreaming about hearty soups. Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew really does the trick. It is a filling one pot meal that has a surprisingly developed combination of spices and a bit of kick to it. At first bite this stew brings on thoughts of far away travels. Continue reading ‘Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew’

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Crisped Prosciutto

One of my favorite summertime meal combinations is prosciutto and melon. This recipe takes that concept and blends it with the ‘gazpacho concept’. While I’ve always admired those who enjoy a good tomato gazpacho, it is one of the few foodie things that has never appealed to me. I have to say that this simple recipe packs a flavorful punch and can easily be adapted for vegetarians.

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Crisped Prosciutto


4 slices prosciutto (vegetarian substitution:1/2 cup pistachios, shelled, toasted and chopped

6 cups ripe cantaloup cubes, chilled

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 TBS fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup chardonnay or Muscato

1 TBS fresh basil, thinly sliced

paprika, dash

creme fraiche (optional)


Make sure that all ingredients are well chilled before pureeing.

Place prosciutto on a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until desired crispness. When cool, crumble and set aside. (Note: when cooking prosciutto in a skillet, the color and consistency of the meat changes; microwave is recommended.)

Puree cantaloupe, honey, lemon juice, mint and wine in a blender or food processor.

Ladle into cups or wine glasses, top with basil, paprika and prosciutto.

Italian Wedding Soup – A Soup-ified Delight

While some of you may imagine that this is a cleaver way to discuss marriage, it is really more about a ‘marriage of food’. That said, I must confess, I had *never* heard about this soup when I lived in Italy – I only discovered this tasty dish a few years ago.

What I can tell you is that the term “wedding soup” is a classic mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata (“married soup”), which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together. Upon further digging, Càrola Francesconis’s masterful ‘La Cucina Napoletana’, dives deeper into the history of this soup-ified dish — she explains:

Minestra Maritata is a traditional Neapolitan greens and meat soup, which owes its name to the fact that the ingredients go well together — si maritano bene, i.e. they are well married. It’s also a very old dish; some food historians say it derives from the Spanish olla podrida (a liquid stew with many meats, link in Spanish) while others say it derives from Roman traditions. The Italian recipes for Minestra Maritata I have seen call for a variety of meats, which are boiled, shredded, and returned to the pot with the greens. The American versions of the recipe often call for meatballs.

Yes, you guessed it- while I am of Italian decent, I AM American. My version of this dish keeps to some of the core concepts and consist of green vegetables (I like to alternate between endive and escarole or cabbage, lettuce, kale, and/or spinach) and meats (usually meatballs and/or sausage but shredded chicken is also a nice substitute) and is mixed into a clear chicken-based broth and finished off with a small sized pasta (such as tubettini or macaroni).

Italian Wedding Soup

Meatball Ingredients

1 lb ground chicken
3/4 lb chicken sausage or mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup white bread crumbs (or two slices of white bread with edges removed
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese + extra for serving, finely grated
1/4 cup milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
2 tsps salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Soup Ingredients

2 TBS olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 ½ cups carrots (approx 3-4 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup celery (2-3 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
12 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups small pasta, such elbow macaroni
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
12 oz baby spinach, washed and trimmed
* crusty bread (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Using a heaping teaspoon, drop 1 1/4-inch size meatballs onto a foil lined pan. (This recipe yields approx 40 meatballs.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In a medium-large size pot boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in colander when ready. Ladle pasta into warmed soup bowls, add soup and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then add in the carrots and celery and saute until softened approximately 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the dill and spinach and meatballs and simmer for 3 minutes. Spinach should be wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place a ladle of pasta in the bottom of each warmed dish. Then add in the soup and sprinkle with a little cheese. Serve with a nice crusty bread. Enjoy!

And for my Italian friends, here is something fun that I found while researching this soup, which I am sure you can appreciate. Anna Amalia, gives three versions of the Italian Wedding Soup recipe — one in Neapolitan, one in Italian, and one in English. It seems that while once quite popular in Naples, Minestra Maritata has fallen from popularity due the long list of ingredients called for, and because it is considered to be a heavy soup by modern standards.

****MINESTRA MARITATA di Anna Amalia *****
‘A menèsta ‘mmaritata

Cu nu poco ‘e tiempe e pacienza putite priparà ‘na pietanza ca è ‘o vanto d ”a cucina napulitana.. addo’ carne e verdura s’ammarìtano.. Oggi poco s’aùsa p”a troppa ‘mbuttitura ca nc”e vo’, ma pe’ chi ‘a vo’ pruvà, ‘a ricetta è chesta ccà:
Mettìte a vòllere cu acqua abbundante ‘n’uòsso ‘e presutto, nu salamino (200 g), custatèlle ‘e puorco (300g), 3 sacicce, ‘na còtena, e mièzu chilo ‘e carne ‘e puorco, ‘e carne ‘e vaccìna, nu’ bello pièzzo, 2 cipolle,’na pastunaca, ddòie cape d’àccio, e facitele còcere pe’ ‘nu paio d’ore. Quanno è cotta, levàte ‘a carne, e, dint’o’ stesso broro, facìte còcere dui chili ‘e verdura ammiscàta, e cioè: cicoria, cappuccia, vruoccòle e vrùcculille, già lavata.Quanno ‘a verdura s’è cotta, sì vulìte magnà tutte cose ‘nsieme, ‘nce menàte ‘a carne ‘a dinto, e si’ nò, v”a magnàte come sicondo piatto. Sotto ‘a menèsta mettìtece pane de’ casa abbrustuluto.

Minestra maritata

Con molto tempo e tanta pazienza potrete realizzare un vecchio vanto della cucina napoletana, e campana in genere: questa minestra in cui carne e verdure si “maritano”.
Oggi è un po’ in disuso per il numero e la scelta degli ingredienti necessari, che ormai non fanno quasi più parte della nostra cucina quotidiana.
Per chi pensa di poterseli procurare, ecco comunque la ricetta: Lessate in abbondante acqua un osso di prosciutto, un salamino di circa 200 g, 300 g di costolette di maiale, tre salsicce, qualche cotica , 500 g. di carne di maiale e un pezzo (5-600 g) di carne di manzo. Unite anche 2 cipolle, 1 carota gialla, due coste di sedano e lasciate cuocere per un paio d’ore. Scolate quindi tutta la carne e tagliatela a pezzi. Nello stesso brodo di cottura delle carni lessate 2 kg di verdure assortite, precedentemente lavate, tra cui la cicoria, la cappuccina, i broccoli e i broccoletti. Quando le verdure saranno cotte, unite anche la carne al brodo, se desiderate mangiare tutto insieme, altrimenti servite la minestra di verdure con dei crostini di pane casereccio abbrustoliti e la carne a parte, come secondo piatto.

Un piccolo consiglio: perché il piatto sia più leggero, bollire da solo l’ osso di prosciutto per qualche minuto, buttare l’acqua di cottura, e poi cucinare il tutto come prevede la ricetta.

“Married” Soup

With a lot of time and patience you can make this old soup recipe, the pride of Neapolitan cooking, where meat and vegetables are “married” togheter. Today, this soup is not very widely used on account of the vast number and choice of the necessary ingredients, which do not play a part anymore in our daily cooking. For those who are able to procure all the ingredients, here is the recipe: boil in lot of water, the bone of a leg of ham, a salame sausage of about 200gms, 300 gms of pork chops, 3 sausages, some pork rind and 500 gms of pork and beef. Also add 2 onions, 1 yellow carrot, 2 sticks of celery. Leave the lot to cook for a couple of hours, then drain the meat and cut into pieces: In the same meat stock, boil about 2 kg of assorted vegetables, amongst which cicory, “cappuccina” i.e. a type of salad, broccoli and brussel sprouts. When the vegetables are well cooked, add the meat to the stock.

Joost-a like Pasta Fazool – That’s Amore

Depending on the dialect of Italian being used, the word fagioli can even be pronounced “va-zu-l” in Sicilian. A 1927 song by Van and Schenck capitalizes on this latter pronunciation in the rhyme, “Don’t be a fool, eat pasta fazool.” And then there is the more recently famous Dean Martin song “That’s Amore”. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to feel or be in love…even if it is with a bit of bean soup. When love is on the menu, the line is long. >sings to herself, the excerpt below< When the stars make you drool
Joost-a like pasta fazool
That’s amore
When you dance down the street
With a cloud at your feet, you’re in love
When you walk in a dream
But you know you’re not dreamin’, signore
‘Scusami, but you see
Back in old Napoli, that’s amore

(When the moon hits your eye)
(Like a big-a pizza pie, that’s amore)

Attempting to dig back into this blog after a brief bout away I am in dire need of comfort and comfort foods. And this week the cravings were meatless yet hearty. Pasta fagioli or pasta e fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans”, is one of many traditional Italian peasant dishes that was widely available in all regions of Italy due to cheaply available beans and pasta. This recipe should be added to your files under -will keep you warm on a cold winter’s night.

Pasta e Fagioli


4 TBS olive oil, and 2 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 medium size yellow onion, finely chopped
7 cloves garlic, pressed hold 1 clove off to the side
3 cups dried cranberry beans (if rushed buy 3-15 oz cans)
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 sprigs rosemary
2 TBS fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
salt & pepper to taste
7-8 oz tubetti or small pasta
pesto (optional)
Parmesan cheese, grated


In a large pot add 4 TBS olive oil, onions and garlic, salt and pepper and cook on medium-low heat until onions are translucent. Add in tomato paste and coat pan without allowing the paste to burn.

If using dried beans, place broth and beans in the same pot and bring to a rapid bowl, lid slightly off, for 40 minutes. Reduce heat, add in rosemary, salt, pepper and parsley, basil and oregano. Place lid on pot and turn heat to simmer for 1 1/2 hrs, checking after one hour to see if more water should be added to create sufficient broth.

If using canned beans, place broth and beans in the same pot and bring to a rapid bowl, lid slightly off, for 30 minutes. Reduce heat, add in rosemary, salt, pepper and parsley, basil and oregano. Place lid on pot and turn heat to simmer for 30 minutes.

In a medium size pot with a cap full of oil, bring water to a boil. Once boiling add in 1 TBS of salt and then add in the tubettini or other pasta. Cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.

In a small sauce pan add 3 TBS oil, 1 clove garlic, minced. Cook over a low heat until soft and then stir in rosemary which has been finely chopped. Add this mixture back into the soup.

To thicken soup you can either use a stick blender and puree 1/3 of the soup to gain a nice thickness or you can remove two cups of the beans and smash them in a mug with a fork and then return them to the pot, stirring well.

To serve, place drained pasta in an individual serving bowl, cover with pasta fazool then top with cheese, dash of olive oil and a spot of pesto. That’s Amore.