This soup is a family favorite. Every husband, wife and child leaves their bowls clean. It is a very simple soup made with humble ingredients, but the flavors come together to make one of those soul satisfying dishes. The only tough part is cutting all those onions! Our soup has a secret ingredient that gives it a sweet, earthy depth of flavor. By adding a beet, not only do you enhance the natural sweetness of the onions, but together with the thyme, oregano, and the rest of the herbs, you give your soup that little something something that takes it from good to great!
French Onion soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 yellow beet, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced (you can use dried if you don’t have)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cups beef or vegetable broth
2 cups water
½ baguette, cubed (you want to use a harder bread)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
Place butter and olive oil in Dutch oven and add onions. Saute over medium heat and add salt and pepper. When onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes, add beets, garlic, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Continue to sauté over medium heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add balsamic and sugar, cover, and stir every few minutes. You are looking for the onions to caramelize, turning a medium brown color. This will take about 30 minutes.
When onions look soft and caramelized add stock and water. Bring to a boil then turn heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. Check seasoning and adjust salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 400. Toss cubed bread and olive oil and toast on sheet pan until lightly toasted. You don’t want the bread to color, but you do want a crust.
Divide soup among ovenproof soup bowls. Top each individual soup with a handful of cubed bread and a generous handful of each cheese. Place under broiler until bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve!
Yes, it even gets cold in Los Angeles and lately, its been downright chilly! It felt right to create some new soup recipes and this one was inspired by the husbands. Both scoff at soup most of the time, deeming it an appetizer or side dish, and always asking after where was dinner, but both love this soup. By adding the pancetta the soup takes on a heartier flavor, imparting that meatiness they love. The paprika and Zaatar take the soup out of the deli and their basic version, and elevate the soup with depth of flavor and smokiness. One child rejected the soup outright, and the other scarfed it down. Perhaps, he will follow in his Dad's footsteps and embrace the pea.... soup that it is! Serve it with a crusty baguette and everyone will feel satiated.
Yellow Split Pea Soup with Pancetta
2 cups yellow split peas (use green if you want)
4 cups chicken stock (can sub veggie stock)
3-4 cups water
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
4 ounces of Pancetta, chopped into small pieces or use pre-cubed
1 tablespoon Zaatar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a large soup pot, brown the pancetta over medium high heat. You can use a dry pan, as meat will give off its own fat. When the meat is almost crisp, remove from pot and set aside. Add olive oil to the drippings and then the onions and teaspoon of salt. Cook the onions over medium heat until they begin to soften, and then add the carrots, garlic and celery. Stir and cook for a few minutes, letting some bits begin to brown. Add in your spices and stir. Cook for one minute then add the peas. After another minute or two add in your liquids and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about forty minutes, until peas and veggies are soft.
In a blender, blend the soup and return it to the pot. Stir in the reserved pancetta and serve the soup with crusty bread!
When we get a rainy day, and trust us, it is not that often, we make soup. This was a new one for us and was inspired by the half market rotisserie chicken sitting in the fridge. Yes, it is super easy to roast a chicken, but sometimes it is even easier to buy the organic one already ready to roll at the market. When it is just us, the little family of four and not the big family of ten, it usually gets us one dinner, one lunch and then one extra something. This soup combines all the flavors that are a usual home run with the kids as they love Mexican food, and they love playing with their food and this soup lets them have and do both. The flavors of chili, cumin, and cilantro are warming, and when served with all the condiments like avocado, lime, cheese, chips and sour cream, you get the feelings of chili or taco night but the soup is a whole lot lighter. We added some heat with hot sauces and the kids loved crushing the chips into the soup. The oldest wanted it for lunch the next day, and for any mom serving a new dish to pick eaters, that is the best compliment we can receive!
Chicken Tortilla soup
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
32 ounces chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cups water
1 box strained tomatoes, about 26 ounces
1 onion, diced
4-ounce can of mild green chili
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. Ancho chili pepper
1-tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
Tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, cheese, lime, cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and salt and cook for 2 minutes, then add garlic, green chili, and the spices and sauté for five minutes, until everything begins to soften. Add the tomato paste and sauté for 2 more minutes.
Add the water, stock and tomatoes, then the fresh cilantro and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for one hour.
Add the chicken and corn into the soup and cook for another ten minutes so both heat through.
Serve and let everyone top as they like!
Hosting the falling into winter book club means soup, and this tasty lentil soup hit the spot. With the addition of the smoked paprika and pancetta, the soup took on a heartier flavor, filled with spice and that porky richness that pancetta can provide. Yes, there is a bit of dicing, but once it all goes in the pot, you can walk away and let the stove do all the work. Toast some bread for dipping and let the conversation ensue!
Red Lentil Soup with Pancetta
4 carrots peeled and diced.
1 red onion, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bulb of fennel, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces of diced pancetta
3 stalks of celery, diced
8 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 cups of red lentils
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Zataar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. salt plus more to taste
Add olive oil into a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add pancetta and lightly brown. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions begin to soften and turn translucent. Add the rest of the vegetables and the salt. Sauté until they begin to caramelize and soften. Add thyme, zataar and smoked paprika. Stir. Add in the red lentil and stir for one to two minutes. Add in all the liquid, bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until lentils and vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes.
2017 has become the year of chili for the little boys of the family and any time we can get protein and vegetables into their growing bodies is a win. The smallest child hates anything that even looks like vegetable, so the fact that he downs this without hesitation is a wonderful wonder. The sweet potato addition is courtesy of goop and Gwyneth Paltrow's chili recipe and we like how it imparts a sweet and heartiness to the dish. We keep this chili mild as we don't want to jinx a good thing, but the combo of spices still brings lots of flavor and smokiness. You could certainly add a jalapeño to kick it up a notch, and that would be a tasty addition.
Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Peppers
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
1 box of diced tomatoes
1.5 lbs of ground dark meat turkey
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 gloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of turkey broth or chicken broth
1/2 cup of sweet peppers, diced (this can be a regular bell pepper)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ancho chili pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander
2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp salt
In a large soup pot or deep saucepan, add 1 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add your onions and 1 tsp of salt and cook a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add garlic, celery, carrots, peppers, and your sweet potatoes and cook over medium heat until all is beginning to brown and soften.
Push the veggies to the side and add the rest of your olive oil. Add your turkey and spread out along the half of the pan bottom without disturbing for two minutes. Them mix all together and cook until meat is cooked through. Add your spices, the rest of your salt and mix. Add in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn heat to medium low and simmer for about 40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve with cheese, cilantro, lime, avocado and sour cream, and let everyone decide!
The little one loves soup, so we are always trying to find new combinations. This "classic" gets a twist by the use of the bounty of late summer heirloom tomatoes. The fennel seeds add a sweet undertone and feel free to experiment with different varieties of heirlooms. When we make it for the kids, we add a gooey grilled cheese on the side for dunking and for the adults a fresh salad.
Heirloom Tomato Soup
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tablespoons of flour
1 small can tomato paste
8 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sugar
4 large heirloom tomatoes or 6 small, peeled and roughly diced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced
In a large pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, shallots and celery and saute until translucent. About seven minutes. Add fennel seeds, garlic, and oregano, and cook another few minutes. Add flour and cook for two minutes, then add tomato paste. Cook for one more minute and watch the heat so bottom does not burn.
Add tomatoes, then broth and bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir, then turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 40 minutes.
Turn off heat and let soup cool. In small batches, puree in blender and then place back on stove. Adjust seasoning and serve with a sprinkle of basil on top.
*optional toppings can be shredded parmesean cheese, toasted croutons, a pinch of red pepper flakes, sour cream.
*to peel tomatoes: bring a large pot of water to boil. Make a small x on the bottom of each tomato and plunge into boiling water for 45 seconds. Remove and place in bowl of ice water. Skin should just slide off.
No summer is complete without making Bouillabaisse. It always reminds my mom and dad of their time visiting the South of France, eating with friends at one of their favorite restaurants, Tatou. The fennel, the saffron, the briny seafood is ideally consumed around a table of friends, sipping a crisp rose. My children love the garlicky rouille smeared on the baguette and dunked into the warm broth.
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned, split in half, then cut into long strips, then diced
2 fennel bulbs, diced plus 2 tablespoons fennel fronds minced
½ cup of celery diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 teaspoons salt
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup white wine
6 cups of canned whole tomatoes with their juice, broken into pieces
12 cups vegetable or fish stock
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 dozen little neck clams, well cleaned
2 dozen mussels, de-bearded and cleaned
1½ pounds of firm white fish (can be halibut, snapper, sea bass or mix)
1 dozen scallops
salt and pepper to taste
In a large Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, fennel, celery, and garlic. Stir and add bay leaf, fennel seeds, saffron and salt. Cook until vegetables are soft but not brown, about ten minutes. Mix in the tomato paste and cook for about two minutes, then pour in white wine. Raise heat and boil for about 3 minutes. Then add in tomatoes, stock, and red pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. This can be made the day before and stored in refrigerator. Bring soup to a boil, turn heat to medium and place clams and mussels in broth. Cover and cook for abut three minutes until shells have opened. Add in the remaining fish, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add scallops, cover and cook for 2 minutes or until all seafood is cooked. Remove any unopened shells. Serve with baguette and rouille.
Rouille (Saffron Garlic Mayonnaise)
Makes about 1 cup
¾ teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon hot broth from the bouillabaisse
1 fresh French roll with crust trimmed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup olive oil
Stir in a small bowl the saffron and 2 tablespoons of hot stock. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. In a food processor process roll into crumbs. Add ¾ of a cup of bread crumbs to saffron mixture and mash with fork until a loose paste forms. Add more stock if too stiff. In food processor or blender add red pepper, garlic and salt. Puree and add in the egg yolk. Pulse bread mixture in, little by little until smooth. Slowly stream in the oil until the mixture is emulsified. Check seasoning. Cover and refrigerate. Use same day.
A square meal is satisfying, nourishing, complete.
A round table includes all.