Homemade soup is both giving and forgiving
Gather up spices, vegetables, meats and more for hot or cold comfort boost.
Soup is universal. Spice it up, tone it down, keep it simple or load it with ingredients. The results are the same: Warm or cold, vegetarian or with meat, it’s comfort in a cup.
It’s delicious and nutritious whether slurped from a cup or savored with a spoon. You could say soup is giving — and forgiving. The newly minted vegetarian at one end of the house and the lifelong meat eater at the other end can both be happy without stressing the cook.
Set an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the heat source and turn on the broiler. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Broil the carrots until they brown and soften, turning them over with a spatula every 5 minutes or so; this should take 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil. Add the ginger and sprig of thyme and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Just before the carrots are done, put the onion in a large saucepan with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the carrots.
Remove the ginger and thyme from the stock and add the stock to the onions and carrots. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the carrots are very soft. Puree the soup until smooth. If the soup seems too thick, add more stock or water and reheat gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with chopped thyme. Serves 4.
Start with a large stockpot over medium-high heat; add oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Once the garlic starts to brown slightly, add the diced onions, diced carrots, diced celery, sliced leeks and diced cabbage; cook for about 5 minutes, still over medium-high heat. Add the salt, white pepper, pepper flakes, paprika, oregano and basil — adding dry seasonings early helps create layers of flavors. Add tomatoes, beef base, and water or stock to the pot with the vegetables; bring entire mixture to a simmer.
Meanwhile, if using dry cannellini beans: Cook the cannellini beans in boiling, salted water with a bay leaf until beans are soft (approximately 20 minutes). Once beans are done (or if starting with cooked beans), set half aside. Puree the other half. Add the whole, cooked beans and the pureed beans to the soup.
Add the potatoes. Let the soup continue to boil for 5 minutes, then add the zucchini and chard to the pot. Cook mixture for another 5 minutes. Add the shell noodles and cook for a final 5 minutes. Serves 15; yields approximately 1 1/2 gallons of soup.
To prepare the yucca, cut off the ends of the root and make 3 to 4 vertical cuts from top to bottom with a paring knife. Peel the two layers of the vegetable: the brown skin and the inner white layer. Cut the yucca in half lengthwise and remove the center woody fiber with a paring knife. Cut the white flesh into 1-inch chunks.
Transfer the yucca to a medium saucepan, cover with fresh cold water by at least an inch, and add a good pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rice.
Place the dende oil, onion, peppers, scallions and celery in a large sauté pan and cook about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir until it gets hot. Add the white wine and reduce by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp stock and coconut milk, then bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and add 1/2 cup of the mashed yucca and the tomato paste and use a whisk to help dissolve them both into the sauce. The sauce will start to thicken naturally; add up to another 1/2 cup of the mashed yucca if necessary. Set aside.
Melt butter, and cook shrimp, 1 minute each side. Transfer the shrimp to the saucepan. Braise the shrimp stew over very low heat, covered, for 5 minutes. Garnish with the tomatoes and cilantro. Serves 6.