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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Soup

Cheese Tortellini Soup with White Beans

Marc J. Sievers

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Sometimes, there is nothing better than a big bowl of piping hot, satisfying soup. Although soup can be a simple affair, there is no reason at all that you can’t also turn up the luxe factor a bit! For my Cheese Tortellini Soup with White Beans, I started with a store-bought vegetable broth that I infused with thyme, crushed fresh garlic and exotic saffron to kick up the flavor. I especially love the addition of the saffron in this recipe because of the hint of spice and the luxurious golden color it gives to the broth. Top with a generous sprinkle of grated fresh parmesan and pair with warm baguette, et voilà! Weeknight dinner, done!

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Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course, serves 6 as a soup course)

  •  Vegetable Broth – 8 cups, favorite store-bought variety

  • Thyme – 6 sprigs, fresh, tied into a bundle with kitchen string

  • Garlic – 3 cloves

  • Saffron – ½ teaspoon

  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – ½ teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Cheese Tortellini – 10 ounces, favorite fresh store-bought variety

  • White Beans – one 15.5 ounce can, rinsed and well-drained

  • Parmigiano Reggiano – freshly grated, for garnish

Directions 

  1. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the vegetable broth, thyme bundle, garlic, saffron, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Allow to come to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes to allow all the flavors to blend together. 

  2. Next, remove and discard the thyme bundle.   

  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove each garlic clove and crush each one, and return it back into the stock.

  4.  Add the cheese tortellini into the simmering stock and cook according to package directions.  Add the white beans during the last 60 seconds of cooking.  This will prevent the beans from being overcooked.

  5.  Ladle into bowls, top with parmesan cheese, and serve hot.

Tip: To give this soup even more flavor and texture you can add fresh baby spinach when you add in the white beans.  The heat of the soup will wilt the leaves and cook it to perfection in just 60 seconds!

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Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth

Marc J. Sievers

Last year, while Ryan and I were in Paris, we went to an absolutely fabulous and charming Basque restaurant called Beaurepaire.  We went with friends on our last night there.  The restaurant itself was a cozy little place very near to Notre-Dame, on the Left Bank situated at a quaint little cobblestone square along rue de la Bûcherie (one of the oldest streets in Paris).

A friend we were traveling with had suggested the restaurant after she visited it before on a prior trip.  The cuisine is of Northern Basque Country, which is actually in southern France, but is a region of blending cultures where the northern border of Spain and the southern border of France have melded over the centuries.  It is a rustic and earthy cuisine with all of the advantages and refinements brought out in a Parisian restaurant.

We sat at a country-style table and perused the menu, full of surprises, questions, and delights.  I noticed that they had an onion soup available and learned from the waitress that it was, in fact, vegetarian!  She was surprised that I was surprised and further explained that it was made with onions, water, cream, butter, and a little bit of salt and pepper.  C’est tout.

Because my French is non-existent, I asked her again just to make sure we both understood.  She replied emphatically in English, “Absolutely not!  Why would we ever use broth in our onion soup?”  Being a vegetarian, I hardly ever get to enjoy soup at most restaurants as it’s invariably made with some sort of beef or chicken broth (out of laziness, according to our hostess that evening). So, as my first course I elected the Northern Basque-inspired onion soup.

When it arrived I knew I was in for a treat.  The soup was light, rich, and very thin—it rather resembled a sipping broth—and had an aroma I can only describe as deliciously honest.  I knew exactly what was in it.  It was garnished with a few dashes of hot paprika, bit of fresh green herbs, and two pieces of baguette bread lightly toasted with delicious Gruyère cheese melted on top.  After my first sip I literally exclaimed it was the best soup I had ever had in my life.  It was a beautiful savory broth that was lightly flavored with onions and made perfectly luxurious with cream.  It was so incredible that I asked if I could cancel my main course and have an even bigger bowl instead, and of course with more bread!  She happily obliged. 

For almost a year I have talked about the Beaurepaire onion broth, telling anyone who will listen to me about the world’s greatest soup, just how absolutely fantastic it was, and how I was eager to get into the kitchen and try my hand at this delicious savory onion broth.  After a few rounds of testing, especially during the properly chilly winter weather we have been having in Chicago, I finally came up with my version:  Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth.

This is a very thin, but warmly rich, broth that is perfect for sipping at the beginning of a meal, enjoyed on a cold afternoon to warm up after a day of being outside (Après-ski, anyone?!), and especially when you are feeling a bit under the weather—it instantly warms your toes and makes you feel cozy.  I have found that the best serving size is between 5 to 6 ounces.  The flavors are light, well-rounded, and subtle.  Just as the Beaurepaire chef did, I finish my Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth with a dash of hot paprika and some finely minced flat leaf parsley.

You can serve this either in a teacup or mug so it can be sipped slowly and savored (the teacup adds a bit of fun when serving!).  In fact, as I’m writing, I am watching the snow fall on a fabulous and tranquil afternoon and I have a little cup right next to me to help stay warm!

Happy cooking!


Luxurious Onion Sipping Broth

 

Ingredients (makes about 7 cups)

  • Yellow Onions – 10 cups, sliced ¼-inch thick

  • Butter – 4 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Garlic – 5 cloves, thinly sliced

  • Sea Salt – 1 ¼ teaspoon

  • White Pepper – ¾ teaspoon

  • Water – 10 cups

  • Heavy Cream – ¾ cup

  • Hot Paprika – for garnish, optional

  • Flat Leaf Parsley – finely minced, for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat, add the butter. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes until translucent and tender, stirring occasionally.

  2. Next, add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Then, remove from the heat.

  3. Using a slotted spoon and working in small batches, remove all of the onion and garlic pieces and place them into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently press to expel as much liquid as possible. Once all of the onions have been processed, return all of the liquid back into the pan.

  4. Stir in the heavy cream and gently reheat over low heat.

  5. Check for seasoning, and serve. Garnish with a few dashes of hot paprika and a little fresh parsley, if desired.

Tip: This broth can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Gently reheat over a low heat before serving.

Idea: Since this is really more of a sipping broth it is really meant to either start a meal, or be served as a goûter (afternoon snack) to help warm you up on a chilly afternoon or evening.  Of course, just the broth alone is a fabulous light lunch or dinner with a big green salad, baguette, and some cheeses—très chic!  It is equally as flavorful with or without the addition of garnishes. 

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Curried Pumpkin Soup

Marc J. Sievers

I love taking a classic flavor, like pumpkin, and giving it a flavor-makeover!  My Curried Pumpkin Soup is a new classic in my home this time of year.  The flavors are still very traditional, but the addition of dried yellow curry powder make it a feel a little bit more special and, dare I say, exotic!  This is a perfect soup for a chilly autumn or winter day!  This soup can be prepared up to three days in advance of serving and stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze large containers of soup to be enjoyed at a later time.  Gently re-heat in a large pot over medium-low heat – soup anytime!

This recipe is part of “An Autumnal Feast!  A Collection of Recipes from Watermarc – Art & Appetite”.  Explore the other recipes in this series:

Happy cooking!


Curried Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Carrots – 2 large, peeled, ½-inch diced

  • Leeks – 2 large, ½-inch sliced (white and light green parts only)

  • Yellow Onion – 1 large, ½-inch diced

  • Honeycrisp Apples – 2 medium, peeled, cored, ½-inch diced

  • Garlic – 5 cloves, finely minced

  • Pumpkin Purée – 2 cans (15 ounces each), plus ½ cup (not pumpkin pie filling)

  • Vegetable Broth – 8 cups (preferably low sodium)

  • Thyme – 2 tablespoons, finely minced, fresh

  • Sea Salt – 2 teaspoons

  • White Pepper – 1 teaspoon

  • Yellow Curry Powder (mild) – 3½ teaspoons, divided

  • Half and Half – 1 cup, at room temperature

  • Butter – 6 tablespoons

  • Olive Oil – 6 tablespoons

Directions

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, set over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Once hot, add the onions, leeks, apples, carrots, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and 3 teaspoons of curry powder. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Add the vegetable stock and 30 ounces of the pumpkin puree. Continue cooking uncovered for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Carefully transfer the hot contents of the pot into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Purée for 2 minutes until mostly smooth. The soup should still have a slight texture. Note that you may have to do this in smaller batches if you are working with a smaller processor or blender.

  4. Pour the soup back into the pot and add the half and half, the remaining ½ teaspoon of curry powder, and the remaining ½ cup of pumpkin purée. Whisk until completely incorporated.

  5. At this point you can gently reheated, and serve.

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Carrot, Leek, & Potato Soup

Marc J. Sievers

There is nothing I find more satisfying than a big bowl of warm soup this time of year!  My Carrot, Leek, & Potato Soup is filled with fresh vegetables that are cooked until just tender, then puréed into a thick and luscious soup that is perfect for a cool evening dining al fresco, a casual supper, or a weekend lunch.  In fact, this soup is so hearty that all you need to serve alongside it is a basket a crusty French bread, a green salad, and a bold red wine—the ultimate in casual yet chic comfort food!  Best of all, you can store containers filled with this fabulous soup in the freezer for those extra-chilly nights when only a bowl of piping hot stick-to-your-ribs kind of soup will do!


Carrot, Leek, & Potato Soup

Ingredients (makes 5 quarts)

  • Yellow Onion – 1 small, ½-inch dice

  • Red Onion – 1 small, ½-inch dice

  • Leeks – 7 stalks, washed, ½-inch dice, both light green and white parts

  • Carrots – 6 large, peeled, ½-inch dice

  • Yukon Gold Potato’s – 5 large, peeled, ½-inch dice

  • Red Pepper – 1 large, ½-inch dice

  • Garlic – 8 cloves, rough chopped

  • Butter – 12 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Parsley – ½ cup, rough chopped, flat leaf, plus more for garnish

  • Thyme – 2 tablespoons, rough chopped

  • Black Pepper – 2½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Sea Salt – 2 teaspoons

  • Vegetable Stock – 10 cups

  • Half and Half – 1½ cups

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano – freshly grated, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pan or stockpot set over medium heat, add the butter.

  2. Once the butter is hot, add the leeks, as well as both yellow and red onions, red peppers, garlic, parsley and thyme. Cover and cook for 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Next, add the vegetable stock, salt, pepper, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

  4. Working in small batches, transfer the soup into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and process until coarsely puréed.

  5. Return the puréed soup back into the pot. Whisk in the half and half and re-heat over medium heat until hot.

  6. Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

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Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Marc J. Sievers

Winter is in full swing in Chicago—as it is in so many other parts of the country!  We’ve had snow, the wind whipping off of Lake Michigan, and the result for me has been a craving for a big bowl of piping hot soup.

It was just a few days ago that I got the craving for roasted cauliflower florets with bleu cheese sauce for dipping (a favorite snack of mine!), and I decided to make the roasted florets into a soup.  I wanted a soup that would be satisfying, creamy, and filled with fresh vegetable flavors.  I happened to be out of fresh Rosemary and Thyme, so to flavor the soup I turned to my bottle of Herbes de Provence—and I am glad I did! 

My Roasted Cauliflower Soup has beautiful flavor from the dried herbs, including a light floral taste from the lavender.  And since I had two slices of Max Poilane bread left from my loaf, I made those into Butter Croutons to have float atop my luxurious Roasted Cauliflower Soup.  Ryan opened a bottle of chilled Rosé, I filled two huge bowls full of soup, and we watched some old episodes of The French Chef as we enjoyed the snow fall that evening.  It doesn’t get better than this!


Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients (serves 4 as main course, 6 as soup course)

  • Cauliflower – 2 heads, just florets

  • Olive Oil – 6 tablespoons, divided

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Carrot – 1 large, peeled, and ½-inch diced

  • Yellow Onion – 1 small, ½-inch diced

  • Garlic – 4 cloves, finely minced

  • Herbes de Provence – 1 teaspoon, dried, lightly crushed

  • Vegetable Stock – 4 cups

  • Half and Half – 1 cup

  • Green Onions – 3 stalks, trimmed, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Place the cauliflower florets onto a sheet pan and toss with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until lightly browned and tender.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed pan set over medium heat, add the butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the carrots and onions. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.

  4. Add the garlic and Herbes de Provence and cook for another 1-2 minutes more, being careful not to burn the garlic.

  5. Add the stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a slow boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

  6. Add the roasted cauliflower. Using an immersion blender or food processor, pureé the soup until smooth and thick. Stir in the half and half. Reheat over medium heat until just heated through.

  7. Garnish with green onions and croutons. Serve hot.


Butter Croutons

Ingredients

  • Bread – 2 slices, cut into ½-inch cubes

  • Butter – 3 tablespoons, unsalted

Directions

  1. In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the bread cubes. Toast for 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly brown.

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