Category Archives: Soup

Thai Coconut Curry Walleye Stew

Well, I would really call it soup, but my husband frowns at soup, so stew it is. Plus, he eats it over rice 🍛and I slurp it out of a bowl 🥣.

We have a freezer full of walleye currently, but it won’t last long enough. We love it in fish cakes, baked, or planked on the grill. I wanted something different and I already had some cans of coconut cream (unsweetened) in the cupboard, so a curry seemed like a good idea. I was already roasting some peppers for the week and had a package of cremini mushrooms in the refrigerator; all I needed was the ginger, lemongrass, and red curry paste. I used chicken stock, because I already had some, but you could certainly use a fish stock as the base. Should I be making stock with all the parts of the fish that are thrown away? 🤔

This soup was too easy to make, but I’m not complaining.

Thai Coconut Curry Walleye Stew

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Add time to roast peppers, unless you already have a stash in the refrigerator.

Ingredients
  • Extra virgin olive oil for sauteing vegetables
  • 1 small onion, minced (you could use shallots for a milder flavor)
  • 8-10 oz sliced mushrooms (I used cremini, but shiitake would be pretty)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced lemon grass
  • 2-3 teaspoons red curry paste (I used 2 but would use more next time)
  • 2 red or yellow or orange bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (more or less depending on whether you can stand the smell)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cans coconut cream—this is not a sweetened item; it is thicker and creamier than regular coconut milk
  • 1 lb walleye fillets cut in large chunks, about 1 1/2″
  • juice of one lime
Preparation
  1. In a large pot, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until softened, but not browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Stir in the ginger, lemon grass, and red curry paste.
  3. Add chicken stock, fish sauce, and bell peppers and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in coconut cream, bring to a simmer and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add the walleye chunks and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Some of the chunks will flake; some will remain large.
  6. Stir in the lime juice.

Wonderful as a soup, or it could be served over rice for the carb eaters in the family.

Miso Ramen Noodle Bowls with Pheasant Meatballs

Maybe this is mostly a meatball recipe, because the stuff you put in your noodle bowls, other than the noodles, doesn’t need to be prescribed—it’s more likely to be directed by what’s available at your grocery on any given day. Like, for example, the enoki mushrooms that my grocery did not have. I had my heart set on them, so skipped mushrooms altogether. So, first, make the meatballs:

Pheasant Meatballs for Japanese Noodle Bowls

  • Servings: makes about 35 meatballs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 375°; line baking sheet pan with parchment paper.

Ingredients
  • 1–1 1/2 lbs ground pheasant
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 shallots, finely diced (you could substitute green onions)
  • 1-2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • olive oil for baking
Preparation
  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl with your hands, especially to get the two meats distributed well.
  2. Using a small scoop, form the mixture into meatballs of about 3/4-1″, placing them on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the meatballs.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn and bake for another ten minutes.

Feel free to brown them in a skillet, but I’m not really into that, myself. I would, however, like them simmered in the soup, because I don’t care about the browning, so there’s another option.

Miso Ramen Noodle Bowl

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe is simple because it doesn’t require making your own stock, but please do so if you have the time or have some homemade stock on hand.

Ingredients
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • [2 teaspoons dashi powder, if you can find it—I could not ,at my grocery]
  • 9-12 oz Japanese ramen noodles, boiled then rinsed in cold water
  • 1 cup snow peas, steamed in microwave for just 2 minutes
  • 1 can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 can baby corn
  • meatballs (above)
Preparation
  1. Bring stock (and dashi powder, if you found it) to a boil in large saucepan. Stir in chopped spinach and simmer for about 5 minutes until wilted.
  2. Stir in miso and soy sauce.
  3. Arrange noodles, corn, bamboo shoots, and snow peas in bowls. Add a few meatballs and a ladle of stock.

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White Bean Chicken Chili—Slow Cooker

I’m reluctant to call this dish chili, even though I know lots of people do just because it’s a combination of beans and meat. I think it’s a stretch, though, and like so many other dishes, I wish some inventive person had come up with another name. Still, I can see how chili is a good shorthand for it.

I think most recipes use boneless, skinless chicken, but I felt using bone-in chicken would add to the flavor during the long simmer in the slow cooker and also keep the meat from being drained of all its juices, as can happen in slow cooking. I opted for a whole split chicken breast, but I could see using a whole cut-up chicken. Yes, it means you have to add the step of pulling off the meat at the end, but that’s not a big deal.

What’s left then are the other flavors that make the dish a chili and not just a white bean stew or soup. In my chili, the main flavoring is from reconstituted dried ancho peppers—that’s what makes chili red (not tomatoes, please) and gives it its spice. If you’re keeping track of what peppers are called in their fresh and dried versions, you know that anchos start out as poblanos, and I have a ton of those in the garden that we’re hoping will turn red. But I have already roasted, peeled, and seeded a few trays of the green variety for the freezer, so I pulled a few out and chopped them up for this milder chili. I also have some jalapeños in the freezer, but I’d prefer to use those in a salsa or something with tomatoes. I think the poblanos will go well with the other traditional flavors of cumin, oregano, onion, and garlic (I used one of my frozen garlic cubes). I threw in a bay leaf, too, just because I can’t bring myself to cook chicken without one. Here it is ready for the long cook:

I would eat it as it turned out, but I didn’t want my husband to think it was soup—the horror!—so I thickened it with a flour and butter beurre manié. He couldn’t guess the ingredients in the chili—or even that there was such a thing as white chili—but he liked it a lot. I think it’s the poblanos that really made it so tasty.

chili

White Bean Chicken Chili—Slow Cooker

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 1 lb dried great northern beans, soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • about 1 tablespoon mashed, roasted garlic or equivalent
  • 2-3 poblano peppers, fresh or roasted, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • about 2 lbs chicken, bone-in or boneless ( I would leave boneless pieces whole and cut up at end), browned if with skin
Preparation
  1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker, adding chicken pieces last. Make sure to brown the pieces if they still have the skin on for a richer final flavor.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove meat from bones, if necessary, and stir back into the beans.
  4. You can mash some of the beans to thicken the chili or stir in a beurre manié of flour and butter during the last hour of cooking. I always thicken my red chili with a mixture of masa flour and water, and I suppose you could do that here, as well.

*Chicken stock is usually salted, so take that into consideration when salting.

 

Beef Barley Stew

Nothing fancy here, just an old-fashioned beef stew with barley instead of potatoes. As you know, I try to call anything in a bowl that might be mistaken for soup, stew, to make an end run around my husband and his aversion to soup. I gave him both a spoon and fork, and he used the spoon, though. I asked him afterwards if he thought it was soup or stew and he said “stew,” so it was a win. He said it was too thick for soup, which is always “watery”—clearly, he’s not a soup connoisseur.

I could only find quick cooking barley 😦 but it still did its thickening routine, just not by soaking up so much of the liquid or having to cook so long. For vegetables, I stuck to the traditional onion,  green beans, and carrots—there’s a tasty reason those are traditional. I used a beurre manié at the end to slightly thicken the gravy.

Beef Barley Stew

  • Servings: at least 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2-2 1/2 lb chuck roast, trimmed and cubed

olive oil or other fat for browning

1 large onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, grated or minced

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups green bean, cut in 1/2″ pieces

5 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

salt & pepper to taste ( is your beef stock salty?)

1 cup quick-cooking barley (adjust times and liquid if using regular barley)

beurre manié, made from 4 tablespoons each flour and butter (see below)

  1. Choose a chuck roast with good marbling. Trim off most of the fat, especially the hard fat, and cut the meat into chunks—large if you want to eat it like a stew; bite-sized if you want to eat it more like a soup. I cut mine on the smaller size.
  2. In a heavy 6 qt. stockpot, brown the beef in about 3-4 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat until browned all over. Season as you cook, but consider how salty your beef stock might be.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, but not browned.
  4. Add the carrots and green beans, the beef stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Stir in the barley, cover, and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the barley has swelled up and become tender. 1 cup of quick-cooking barley, requires 2 cups of liquid, so I included that in my calculations when determining the amount of beef stock to use.
  6. Stir in the beurre manié until incorporated, continuing to simmer for a few minutes, to cook out the rawness of the flour.

Beurre Manié

In a small bowl, work equal amounts of all-purpose flour and soft butter together until they form a paste with no discernible lumps of flour. I use the tines of a fork for this, but you could use the back of a spoon or even your fingers. Just keep working it until it comes together. Then you can just gather it up with a large spoon and stir it into your hot, simmering or boiling sauce.

Beurre manié is one of those thickening miracles that comes in handy at the last minute. Sometimes, I make a beurre manié with masa harina corn flour and butter to thicken chili at the end. Not only does it thicken, but it adds a nice corn flavor.