Tag Archives: soup

The Nation Has An Appetite: Soup for Rainy Fall Days

Few things better than a nice warm bowl of soup on a rainy autumn day like today. I recently made a batch of Sweet Potato & Pear Soup, and thought I'd share it here, since it's perfect today (Note: the image is not the right soup, but the color is close enough). I was attracted to the recipe by the simplicity, and I added a few things (namely the ginger) to make it my own.

2 large sweet potatos
2 firm pears
1 small onion
1 inch ginger, grated
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 stick butter
1 cup cream
salt & pepper to taste

1. Dice the veggies into 1/2 inch pieces
2. Melt the butter and cook the ginger and onion until the onion is translucent, but not carmelized. Add the other veggies & cook for 3 - 5 minutes.
3. Add the stock, bring to boil, then simmer for 1/2 hour, until everything is tender.
4. Blend*
5. Cool somewhat, then slowly mix in cream, salt & pepper to taste.

That's it. So easy, and so good.

*I bought myself an immersion blender with gift cards I'd gotten for my birthday. One of my best birthday gifts ever. Not even a super top-of-the-line one or anything, but it works so well and the whole process is so much easier than transferring to blenders and cleaning up additional equipment. Highly recommend.

French Onion Soup, the easy(ish) way.

As I said last night I'm not really a soup kind of person. Though, now that I think about it I actually have become more of a soup person over the years. We make a green chili stew when it's not hotter'n the blazes - which here is like 2 months of the year - and I'll order pho over bun every day ... and we've been making this white bean and corn soup ... and we've been making crab and corn bisque ... I'm a soup guy? That doesn't line up with my self image. anywho ...

This is lifted from America's Test Kitchen

4lbs onion - yeah, seems like a lot ... it isn't
3 tbs butter cut into three slices
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 cups of water plus additional for deglazing
4 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of beef broth - I used better than broth - its my secret weapon for beefy magic flavor
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
crusty baguette
shredded gruyere

Cut onions in half through the roots, and slice pole to pole in 1/4 inch slices. Preheat oven to 400˚. Put onions into a well oiled dutch oven, top with butter and a 1/4 tsp salt. Put dutch oven in oven covered for an hour. (their method has you then take the pot out of the oven and stir the onions, replace the pot in the oven with the lid cracked for another 1.5 to 1.75 hours- I just cranked up the heat on the burner and stirred the onions to keep them from burning. You're looking for the liquid to evaporate and for the pot to run dry. When a dark crust begins to form on the bottom of the pan add a quarter cup of water to deglaze the pan. Continue to run the pot dry several times until the onions are dark brown - but not burnt! - and are beginning to break apart. the last time you deglaze the pot use the 1/2 cup of dry sherry and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the water, stock beef broth (or better than broth), bay leaf, and thyme stir to combine, and then bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Slice the baguette into thick slices and bake dry in the oven - drying these out will improve the crunchy texture of the crust when they're submerged into the soup - once dry top with shredded gruyere and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown on top. Serve in a deep bowl with cheesy bread dunked into the bowl.

This was phenomenal. The hardest part is standing over the pot making sure the onions don't burn.

Opening Day Soup

Opening Day Soup

It's been a rough winter here at Chez Hayes. Mrs. Hayes had another stay in the hospital last week, and another surgery. She's home now, recovering, and hopefully won't have any more follow-up procedures related to this last episode. I love winter (it's my favorite season), but yesterday evening, as I wandered through the grocery store, I knew it was time to move on. It was time for spring flavors, to slowly introduce them to a palate grown fuzzy over the grey months. I instantly thought of leeks, and a light, creamy soup. Here's what you'll need:

6 leeks, halved, thinly chopped, & washed 2 carrots, rondelle'd (cut into 1/4 coins) 6--7 medium, thin-skinned potatoes
1/3 cup white wine 4 cups chicken stock 1 cup water
2 egg yolks 2 cups heavy cream butter, olive oil
bay leaf parsley kosher S&P

Cut your carrots first, setting them aside in a prep bowl. Taking a leek, peel the outside layer from the root, then rinse any sand from the first layer beneath. Lop off the dark green top. Repeat with the remaining leeks. Taking a leek, slice off the bottom, then half the root lengthwise. Chop it thinly, in 1/8" strips, including just the beginning of the light green portion of the root. Collect the strips in a colander. After you've processed the remaining leeks in the same manner, place the colander inside a larger bowl, and fill it with water. Agitate the leek strips in the water, then pull the colander from the water. Dump out the water and repeat, shake the excess water from the leeks in the colander, and you've got clean leeks. Now cut your potatoes with a clean knife on a clean board. No need to peel them - they'll cook up quite nicely. Prep's done!


In a heavy pot, melt some butter and drizzle in some olive oil. Once it's hot, toss the carrots in. Sprinkle with kosher salt and grind some pepper over them. I like to build my seasoning as I cook, avoiding huge seasoning adjustments at the end. Cook them until they begin to soften, but be careful to not let them caramelize. We're trying to release flavors without making things too heavy on the back end. Now, before you toss in the leeks, add a little more butter and a little more olive oil. I probably used 4 Tbsp of butter, total, but I wasn't really counting. You'll definitely need to add some, though, because you'll want to get a good coating on the leeks. Add the leeks, a good sprinkle of salt, and a few more grinds of pepper. Watch your temperature, though - you want the leeks to turn translucent, but not golden. Done? Deglaze the pan with that white wine, letting it cook off just a bit. Now add the chicken stock, water, bay leaf, and potatoes. A couple more sprinkles of salt and a several healthy grinds of pepper. Cover, and let it cook until the potatoes are soft enough to break against the pot with a wooden spoon. How long? About as long as it takes to drink a leisurely glass of beer. You are drinking a beer, right? Good.


Now we're hitting the home stretch. Once the potatoes are soft enough, drop your heat down from a boil, pulling the pot off the burner if it holds heat well. Pull out a few ladlefuls of soup, including a fair amount of potatoes, carrots, and leeks, about a bowl's worth in all. You'll need some broth, too, but make sure you don't get the bay leaf in there. Using an immersion blender (or a bar blender - be careful not to blow the top, scalding yourself and making a mess), thoroughly blend the bowl of soup until it's smooth, then add it back to the pot of soup and stir it in. Separate out your egg yolks and put them in the bowl you used to blend the soup. Whisk the eggs together, then add the heavy cream slowly until thoroughly combined. Season with a few sprinkles of salt and a few grinds of pepper, then add the mixture to the soup, stirring, and let it cook for a few minutes. Grab a tasting spoon, check your seasoning, and admire the nap of the soup on the spoon. If you're satisfied with the seasoning, finely chop a little parsley. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle some parsley on top, and you're set. Open another beer, it's time to eat.

Time to eat.
Time to eat.

You could add some croutons if you like, or some crostini. I just wanted straight spring flavor, so I didn't mess around with those, but maybe I could have used a little crusty bread to clean that bowl when I was done. Your call.