Monday, January 2, 2017

Start 2017 Soup-taculary! Here's the FIVE Building Blocks of SOUP!

Super Soups for the New Year

It's the soup time of the year - Anyone can make delicious soup. YOU can take these building blocks and use your own ingredients to create a your own creative signature soup.

Today on NBC 11 Alive's Atlanta and CO Host Christina and I will go through each of the soups - Here’s the master recipe along with 3 variations to kick the New Year off Soup-taculary!

We’ll talk about the FIVE building blocks of soup:

1.             THE AROMATICS AND OIL – Onions, Peppers, Carrots, Parsnips, Celery, Fennel, Garlic that are slowly sautéed in oil to create a base for the soup. You can use any kind of oil you choose. Canola, Grapeseed, Olive or Avocado oils are all healthy choices.

2.             THE HERBS AND SPICES – Are added when the aromatics are cooking down. Think about your favorite foods to choose which herbs and spices you want to add.  For instance you may be a Pizza lover. Pizza has herbs like Basil, Thyme and Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes. You can use that for a guide to adding those herbs and spices to your soup. (Just remember to use the dried version for soups cooking for over 30 minutes, and then you can use the fresh herbs to garnish.) This is also the stage that you will add salt and pepper.

3.             THE LIQUID – this can be any kind of liquid you want. Chicken, Veggie, Beef, Seafood, even water or coconut milk, dairy or alternative milks, even juices.

4.             THE VEGETABLES/PROTEIN/BEANS/STARCH – these building blocks are not part of the aromatics, these are added later to create the soup. It can be just beautiful vegetables that are cut into bite-sized pieces, beans or lentils, hearty meats, poultry or fish chopped or shredded, or pasta, grains and/or rice. What you add here makes it a chicken soup, a veggie soup or a bean soup!

5.             THE GARNISH – Here’s where you can add the final touches to make it your own. Want a creamy rich soup? An immersion blender is your best friend. You can app up the flavor exponentially by duplicating some or all of the dried herbs that you added along with the aromatics.  This is the time to taste the soup to see if it needs more salt, and to remember that a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice can add a pop of flavor like salt, with NO sodium. But you don’t have to stop with herbs or salt. Think of texture. A crunchy or crispy garnish like a sprinkle of pita or tortilla chips can be just what your soup needs - a cooling plop of Greek yogurt or the creamy dairy of shredded cheese may add lots of flavor and interest to your soup.

Any one can make any kind of soup by following these building blocks! You’re only limited by your own creativity and imagination. Here's three easy and yummy recipes to kickstart your own soup creations.

Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup

2 TB Olive Oil
1 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Cup Chopped Red Pepper
1 Cup Chopped Fennel
1 Cup Chopped Carrot
2 Garlic Cloves, Grated

2 TB Italian Seasoning
1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Tsp each Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, plus more at the end if desired

4 Cups Veg Broth

1 Bunch Kale, thinly sliced
1 Can (15 OZ) Chopped Fired Roasted Tomatoes, undrained
1 Can (15 OZ) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

½ Cup Shredded Parmesan and Basil for Garnish

Step One
In a dutch oven or soup pot, sauté the onions, pepper, fennel, carrots, garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes in the oil together, until the onion is tender and golden about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the kale; cover and cook and stir for another couple of minutes to wilt the kale

Step Two
Add the tomatoes and beans; cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and serve, garnished with the Parmesan and basil.

Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup

2 TB Unsalted Butter
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cups Chopped Yellow Onion
2 Cups Chopped Carrot
2 Cup Chopped Celery or Fennel
2 Grated Garlic Cloves

1 Tsp Dill Weed
1 Tsp Dried Parsley
½ Tsp each Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Juice and Zest from 2 Large Lemons
8 Cups of Veg Stock

2 Cups Shredded Cooked Chicken
1 Cup Pastina or Small Pasta Shapes

1/2 Cup Chopped Parsley
1 Cup Chopped Dill

Step One
Melt the butter and oil together in a stock pot Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the butter mixture until soft, but not browned. Add the garlic and cook and stir until fragrant. Add the dried dill weed and parsley.

Step Two
Add in the zest, juice and veg stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Then add in the shredded chicken, and pasta. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; add in the parsley and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

2 TB Grapeseed Oil

1 Cup Chopped Red Onion

1 Yellow, Orange or Red Bell Pepper Chopped

3 Grated Garlic Cloves

1 TB Chili Powder

1 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

½ Tsp each Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

4 Cups Veggie Broth

2 (15 OZ) Cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
**4 Cups Chopped (about 1⁄2”) Sweet Potatoes, ALREADY roasted with salt, pepper and EVOO

2 (15 OZ) Cans Chopped Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1⁄2 Cup Orange Lentils

1⁄4 Cup Chopped Cilantro

1⁄4 Cup Chopped Green Onions

1 TB Lime Juice

½ Cup Greek Yogurt
½ Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Sauté the onion and pepper in the oil. When soft, add the garlic and cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the next 8 ingredients to the pot and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. When warm, stir in the cilantro, green onions and lime juice. Serve with shredded cheddar and yogurt.

**Roast Peeled ½” Chopped Sweet Potatoes on a sheet tray, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper in a 400F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.

Thanks to Chloe Clark, the fabulous photographer who shot most of the pictures here!

***Want to make your own veggie stock? Just follow my instructions here in this quick and easy video: 

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