Last week, I picked up a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard at our Red Stick Farmer’s Market and immediately thought about how great it would taste in a batch of white bean, greens and sausage soup. The combination of beans, greens and sausage, along with aromatic veggies and fresh rosemary, is just delicious in soup. I especially love this in the springtime, but it’s fun to make it year-round with whatever seasonal greens are emerging from local farms.
I thought I’d squeeze in one more hot soup blog before the weather gets toasty and our thoughts turn elsewhere.
Lately, I’ve been making a big pot of vegetable soup on the weekends, starting with homemade beef stock. I went through a phase when I bought beef stock from the store – there are so many good quality ones these days, and it definitely saves time – but honestly, nothing compares to the real thing. And last year, I got inspired to return to homemade stock after we did a fun 225 Magazine story on great local soups. I had the best time picking the brains of local chefs on what makes their signature soups so delicious. Some soups were cream-based, and their success turned on straightforward decadence. But others, like Dang’s pho, MJ’s Café’s black bean and Galatoire’s Bistro’s turtle, were soups that rose and fell on house-made stocks. No surprise, they were tended for many hours at a time.
Chef Kelley McCann at Galatoire’s Bistro told me about roasting a medley of veal bones, including lots of gelatinous joints, before simmering them for hours in order to make a super rich reduction for the restaurant’s signature turtle soup. Even Maureen Joyce’s vegetable stock, used in her black bean soup at MJ’s, called for overnight slow-roasting of multiple root vegetables. Soup seems so simple, but a really good soup requires some behind-the-scenes work.
I’m not sure I have that much time to devote, but I can certainly muster a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon while I’m hanging out with my family and doing loads (…and loads…) of laundry.
So, the question is, which bones are best for creating a stock that makes your soup sing?
I lovvvvvee the flavor of lemon.
And I know I sound like dorky Food Network obsessive when I make the very predictable claim that it adds a necessary note of freshness. But it’s so true! Lemon rocks. That citrusy punch is perfect in so many sweet and savory dishes.
We still have fresh lemons on our backyard tree, and I’ve been furiously finding ways to use the last of the crop before I have to start paying for them at the grocery store. One of my favorite uses has been in a version of avgolemono, the sumptuous Greek lemon chicken soup with rice or orzo. I remember noshing on this light but hardy dish at the old Zorba’s on Perkins Road here in Baton Rouge (where Louisiana Lagniappe is located now). The restaurant reopened last year on Essen Lane, and it still serves this traditional starter.
There are lots of interesting recipes out there for avgolemono, but the defining feature is that beaten eggs are incorporated into the broth, providing unexpected richness……
There are two kinds of New Year’s Eve participants: those who go out, and those who stay home.
I’m generally planted in the latter camp….have been for years….and if you’re like me, there’s a good chance you’re casting about for something special to serve for dinner, something that screams romance, friendship, family or just final decadence before resolutions come home to roost.
I’m here to recommend one of my all time favorite soups, Emeril’s corn and crab bisque. Done right, with its perfect balance of dairy and stock, its tender corn and succulent jumbo lump crabmeat, this soup delivers elegance in a way that others don’t. I’ve served it as a main course and as a starter, and each time I’ve placed it on the table, it’s earned rave reviews.
Here’s one for my vegetarian pals, or anyone who likes to incorporate an occasional meatless main course: a veggie-centric soup-and-sandwich combo made with fresh farmers market ingredients.
A couple of weeks back, I posted on 5 fall produce soup ideas, and briefly mentioned this one: roasted butternut squash soup studded with sautéed summer squash and zucchini. It showcases the range of produce available in south Louisiana right now. We can still get a lot of summer produce alongside the inaugural harvest of fall vegetables. And with fresh tomato bruschetta on the plate, too, this dinner takes advantage of Southern vegetables that refuse to be confined to just one season.
I first got turned on to the Italian peasant soup pasta e fagioli when I took a cooking class on soups at the John Folse Culinary Institute several years ago. I was amazed at how flavorful a soup made of little more than beans and pasta could be. Now I really like to make it because it’s a favorite among my kids, and I can sometimes buy fresh and shelled red beans from Pontchatoula farmer Eric Morrow at the Red Stick Farmers Market. We also have an old school pasta shop here in Baton Rouge, D’Agostino’s, that sells handmade dried pastas. Their birdseye, shown below, is perfect for this soup.
Here’s my pasta e fagioli recipe, referenced in earlier post on fall soups inspired by farmers market ingredients. This version is lighter than many because it uses chicken stock rather than beef, and diced fresh tomatoes rather than tomato paste.