Tag Archives: soup

Cambodian Noodle Soup

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With the exception of my travels through the Balkans, I have yet to visit any metropolitan area where I didn’t stumble upon a pho shop.  With their steaming bowls of noodles, broth, and an endless variety of add-ins, these Thai noodle soup shops have a cult like following that make them both universal and hard not to like.  In grad school my favorite lunch was a steaming bowl of pho from the student union.  The options were endless so I could eat there every day without repeating the same bowl of soup twice.

I had never made pho before but decided to give it a try when my craving for the hot broth covered noodles got the best of me.  In browsing through recipe options I came across one in The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, The Splendid Table is my favorite radio program on NPR.  I can even stream their broadcasts online meaning I can get my Lynn Rossetto Kasper fix while living overseas).  I was set to give the pho recipe a try then I turned the page and saw the Cambodian twist on the soup which sounded even more intriguing.  Unable to decide which version to make, I combined the best elements of both recipes to form what I present here.  You can also add or substitute ingredients as your palate or pantry dictates.

The verdict?  This soup is delicious but a lot more work than popping into your local pho shop. But if you don’t have one in close proximity to you, make this soup.  You won’t be disappointed.


For the broth:

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 two inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced

6 whole cloves

1 star anise

Freshly ground black pepper

7 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce

For the soup:

8 ounces linguine-style rice noodles

6 ounces thinly sliced top round steak

1 1/2 cups winter squash, diced

1 cup unsweetened pineapple chunks

1 medium tomato, diced

For the table salad:

10 sprigs fresh cilantro

8 sprigs Thai or other fresh basil

8 mint sprigs

Generous handful bean sprouts

2 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced

1 large lime, cut into wedges

Add-in sauces:

Asian hot sauce

Hoisin sauce

  • Place a rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler and then pre-heat the oven.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and evenly distribute the onion, garlic, ginger, cloves, star anise, and five grinds of black pepper over the baking sheet.
  • Broil for 5-6 minutes until the spices are fragrant and the onions begin to brown.  Scrape the mixture into a large soup pot.
  • Add the broth, sugar, fish sauce, and squash to the pot.  Cover the pot tightly and bring the entire mixture to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  • Meanwhile, place the noodles in a large pan and cover with very hot tap water.  Allow to soak for 20 minutes or until the noodles are tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, then divide evenly between two large soup bowls.
  • Thinly slice the steak into bite sized pieces.  (Hint:  For easier slicing, place the steak in the freezer before you begin making the soup.  Allow it to sit for 20 minutes then remove it from the freezer and slice).  Evenly divide the meat between the two soup bowls.  The hot broth will cook it to a medium-rare
  • Arrange the table salad ingredients on a medium-sized platter and place on the table.
  • When the squash is tender, add the pineapple and tomatoes to the broth and stir well to combine.  Cook for 1 minute to allow the broth to return to a simmer.
  • Ladle the broth over the noodles and meat and serve immediately topped with the table salad and sauces of your choice.

Serves 2

Guinness Stout Beef & Barley Soup


The reemergence of a wintery blast of weather inspired to me make soup this past weekend. When it comes to beef I usually make a beef stew with red wine but decided to kick things up a notch by substituting Guinness Stout in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and turning the meal into a brothier soup since that is what is preferred by my fussy eaters.  In addition to my usual soup vegetables, I added some barley for body and peas and red peppers for added color and flavor.  The addition of the beer resulted in a hearty and comforting dish with a depth of flavor that is absent when using wine.

This recipe will make a reappearance in the fall since I am hoping that the weather will soon be turning too warm for hot soups.  In the meantime, for those of you in cooler climates, try this.  I promise that you won’t be disappointed.


2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 pound stew beef, cubed into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup dry sherry

2 large onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

10 baby red potatoes, cubed

3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins

2 bottles Guinness Stout

3 cups beef broth

3/4 cup pearl barley

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup baby peas

  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is seared and brown on all sides.
  • De-glaze the pan with the sherry.  Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and potatoes.  Stir to combine.
  • Add the stout, broth, barley, bay leaves, thyme and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover.  Simmer, stirring occasionally,  for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the beef is tender and the vegetables can easily be pierced with a fork.
  • Adjust seasonings.  Add the red pepper and peas and cook until heated through.

The soup can be made ahead of time then reheated when ready to serve.  I like to make it the day before I want to serve it so the flavors have time to meld. If possible, add the peas and red pepper right before serving since you don’t want them to over cook and turn mushy.

Dill Pickle Soup

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Depending upon your obsession with all things pickled, you are either going to love this soup or hate it.  My husband, who avoids everything that has been bathed in vinegar, is not a fan. I, however, love this soup.  Yes, it is different but then again variety is the spice of life.  More importantly, this soup is ridiculously easy to make.  I was intrigued by the recipe the first time I came across it on the Noble Pig website and when I came across a giant jar of Vlasic pickles that needed to be used up, I just knew I was going to have to try this soup.  So if you love or even like dill pickles, give this soup a try.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.


5 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 3/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 cups finely chopped carrots

1 cup diced dill pickles

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup water

2 cups dill pickle juice

1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • In a large pot, combine the broth, potatoes, carrots, and butter.  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender.
  • Add the pickle and continue to simmer for a few minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sour cream, and water to make a paste.
  • Vigorously whisk the sour cream paste into the soup two tablespoons at a time.  You might initially see some small balls of flour but between the whisking and the boiling they will all disappear.
  • Add the pickle juice, Old Bay, pepper, and cayenne.  Taste and if needed, add a small amount of salt.  Cook for 5 additional minutes then remove from the heat.
  • Serve immediately garnished with pickle slices, fresh dill, and black pepper.

Serves 6-8

Tuscan Sausage & White Bean Soup

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
Tonight calls for soup. After a holiday season filled with rich treats and perhaps a late night ringing in the new year, tonight’s dinner needs to be easy, fast and on the lighter side while still being warming and comforting (since the weather is anything but). So soup it is. And this soup, from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe fits the bill perfectly. It is warm and satisfying without being heavy. And in true Fast Friday form, it is fast. So go ahead and make a pot tonight. Just add some crusty French bread and dinner is served.

1 pound mild Italian sausage links, casings removed

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 (14.5-ounce each) cans diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups uncooked small pasta

9 ounces spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat until browned, 3-4 minutes, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add the carrots, onion, and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the sausage is cooked through, 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, basil, salt and pepper.
  • Bring the soup to a boil.
  • Add the shell pasta, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the pasta isn’t sticking.
  • Stir in the spinach and simmer for another minute until the spinach is wilted.
  • Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

Butternut-Boursin-Bacon Soup


Here is a an easy and interesting soup from the great food blog, The Noble Pig. I’m a huge fan of butternut squash so am always on the lookout for recipes using this squash. My usual butternut squash soup is Asian inspired and infused with the flavors of ginger, curry paste and coconut milk.  This version, rich with bacon and melted Boursin cheese couldn’t be more different yet is equally as delicious.

I’ve tweaked the original recipe just a bit by adding more bacon and even sauteing my vegetables in bacon fat. I think it provides additional depth to the soup but if you prefer, use all butter instead. But then again you probably don’t want to because isn’t everything simply better with bacon?


8 ounces bacon, diced

Bacon grease and butter to equal 1/3 cup

1/2 of a large onion, diced

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

10 1/2 ounces Boursin Cheese with Garlic and Fine Herbs

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

  • Cook the bacon until crispy in a large heavy soup pot set over medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to move the crispy bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  • Add enough butter to the pot to equal about 1/3 of a cup of fat. I used 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • When the fats have melted, add in the onion and the celery, cooking until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add butternut squash and thyme leaves, cook for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour the add the chicken broth to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes or until the squash is soft.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is smooth.
  • Return the pot to the heat, stir in the Boursin cheese, salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, heat until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Serve in warmed bowls topped with the crumbled bacon.

Serves 4-6

Sausage Tortellini Soup w/ Garlic Croutons


It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Here is another satisfying and delicious soup idea that is adapted from the Noble Pig. The soup includes spicy sausage (substitute sweet or mild Italian sausages if you prefer) and tender tortellini in a herb filled tomato broth. And don’t forget the croutons since they are really the finishing touch for the soup. Feel free to use slightly stale bread or a different combination of herbs if desired.


For the soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound spicy Italian sausage links, cut into bite sized pieces

1-1/2 cups chopped onion

cloves garlic, finely minced

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves

1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried red chili peppers

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

10 ounces fresh spinach and cheese tortellini

4 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves

For the garlic croutons:
1 loaf French bread, cubed
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon paprika
To make the soup:
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.
  • Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently until cooked through and browned on all sides. Move to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Add the onions to the pan and saute until soft; about 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Meanwhile, add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, sugar, chili peppers, pepper and salt to a large, heavy bottomed soup pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the onion-garlic mixture and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.
  • Add tortellini and cook according to package directions, usually about 7-9 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked sausage and stir in spinach until just wilted.
  • Serve immediately topped with the garlic croutons.

To make the croutons:

  • While the soup is simmering, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium-high until foamy.
  • Sprinkle the garlic powder, basil, thyme and paprika to the butter.
  • Add the bread cubes and toss until well coated.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and tossing frequently, cook until the bread is crusty and toasted on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Serves 4

Chilled Cucumber Buttermilk Soup w/ Dilled Shrimp


Regular readers know I love soups and I’m a big fan of chilled soups when hot summer days call for something light and refreshing for dinner. Gazpacho or even a fruit soup might be the first ones that come to mind but they are really just a jumping off point. In reality, the possibilities are endless. I came across this soup from William Sonoma’s Soup of the Day when I was looking for a first course for a recent dinner party but it can just as easily be served as a light dinner when accompanied by a loaf of crusty bread (which is actually how we ate the leftovers the next night).

Because I was serving a crowd and think soup only improves with age, I tripled this recipe which meant blending the cucumber in batches. Lacking fresh buttermilk I used rehydrated powder from King Arthur Flour with good results. To make the soup richer I used half milk and half water when rehydrating the buttermilk. I also substituted Greek style yogurt for the plan yogurt called for in the original recipe.

I’ll admit, I was initially a bit unsure about the combination of ingredients but realized that since I like them all individually I would probably enjoy them together. My guests shared my skepticism but in the end every drop of the soup was scraped from the bowls proving that this recipe is indeed a success and a tasty way to eat your veggies.


5 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped

4 green onions, white and tender green parts, chopped

2 large cloves garlic

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups plain whole Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 pound bay shrimp, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

  • Place the cucumbers, green onions, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add the buttermilk, yogurt, and lemon juice and puree.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least a 1/2 hour.
  • To make the shrimp, place the shrimp and dill in a small bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve the soup topped with the dilled shrimp.
    Serves 4

Pea & Mint Puree w/ Lemon


A pureed soup is my favorite starter for a formal dinner.  It can be made ahead of time and the recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled to serve a crowd.  With the arrival of spring my mind has been turning to fresher and lighter ingredients and peas and mint are the ultimate spring ingredients.  Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma’s Soup of the Day, this soup has become my go-to recipe for spring entertaining.  The bright green color makes for a beautiful presentation with the mint adding a pleasant surprise for guests.  Served with Lemon-Parmesan Madeleines this is the perfect starter for a larger meal but can also stand alone with a green salad and some crusty French bread for a light lunch.


2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 shallots, minced

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

3 cups fresh or frozen peas, plus more for garnishing

1/2 cup chopped mint, plus small leaves for garnishing

1 Tablespoon sour cream

Grated zest of one lemon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil for drizzling

  • In a large, heavy stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  
  • Add the shallots and cook until soft, 5 minutes.  
  • Add the broth and bring to a boil.  
  • Add the peas, reserving a few for the garnish and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes.  
  • Stir in the chopped mint.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  • Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, food processor, or use a stick blender.  
  • Return to the pot, stir in the sour cream and warm over medium heat.  
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest.  
  • Season with salt and pepper an serve, garnish with the mint leaves, peas, and drizzled with the olive oil.


Creamy Shrimp Creole Soup w/ Bacon Cornmeal Dumplings

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This is another fabulous recipe courtesy of The Noble Pig.   Shrimp is my favorite seafood and I love it when it is paired with tomatoes and the tummy warming flavors of Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper.  I like my food spicy but feel free to reduce the amounts of both seasonings if you want a more mild flavor.  While the list of ingredients is long, the soup comes together quickly.  You can chop your vegetables while the bacon cooks then make the dumplings while the soup cooks.  Try it and love it tonight.


For the soup:

3/4 pound raw large shrimp, deveined and tails removed

4 slices thick cut bacon, diced

1 1/2 cups celery, diced

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/3 cup all purpose flour

3 1/4 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup original flavor V-8 juice

1- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup scallions, minced

  • Cook the chopped bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp.  Remove half of the chopped bacon from the pan and 1 tablespoon of the drippings (keep separate), reserve this for the dumplings.
  • Add the celery and onion to the remaining bacon and drippings and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.  Whisk in the flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the stock, V-8, tomatoes, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, thyme, sugar, cayenne pepper, and the bay leaf.
  • Bring to a boil and cover.  Reduce the heat to allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes while it thickens.
  • Add the heavy cream once the soup has simmered for 15 minutes.

For the dumplings:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup finely chopped green onions

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup buttermilk

  • Combine the flour, green onions, cornmeal, and baking soda in a small bowl.
  • Cut the butter into the flour mixture with two knives until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Add the reserved bacon and drippings and the buttermilk stirring until a moist dough forms.
  • Gently divide the mixture into 12 equal portions.
  • After the soup has simmered for 15 minutes, drop the dumplings, 1 at a time, into the pot.
  • Cover and cook for 8 minutes, carefully turning the dumplings after four minutes.
  • Add the shrimp and cook for three more minute or until the shrimp are opaque in color.
  • Garnish each bowl with parsley and scallions.

Serves 6

Hot Plate Cooking *** Potato Garlic Soup ***

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This recipe fulfills two of my immediate needs. First, for those of you who have never visited Belgium in February, most days are cold and damp, or in my mind, soup weather. You know what I am talking about; weather that drives you inside and makes your body crave warm and comforting food. That has essentially been every day since we arrived at the end of last month and is likely to continue until….well…all year around. Second, this recipe is easy–ridiculously easy in fact. If you want to get really basic, all you need for kitchen utensils are a sharp knife, a spoon, a soup pot, and a burner. If you want to get fancy, as I did in celebration of our unaccompanied baggage arriving, you can use a vegetable peeler and a stick blender. But the later are only conveniences as you can remove potato peels with a sharp knife and use a spoon to break up the potato chunks. If you use this method, the soup will be chunkier but just as tasty.

Eating this soup is like sipping a loaded baked potato.  It is rich, creamy, and satisfying in a way that good comfort food always is.  I topped my soup with two of my favorite baked potato toppings–crispy fried pancetta and shredded Cheddar cheese–but you can add your own favorites instead.  Green onions, sour cream, or even bits of steamed broccoli would all be good.  Most importantly, however, this soup is easy.  And that is what you really want when you don’t have a lot of time.


1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and sliced into rings

1 large white onion, thinly sliced

8 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings:

1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

4 ounces pancetta, diced and fried until crispy

  • Place the potatoes, onions, garlic, salt, and chicken broth in a large stock pot set over medium-high heat.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
  • Return the soup to the stove and add the heavy cream.  Stir well and gradually reheat the soup being sure that it does not boil.
  • Season with salt and pepper, add your favorite toppings and serve.

Serves 4-6

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