Monday, November 30, 2009

Roasted Tomato Black Bean Soup *heather

 The Weather Woman just used the term: "pea soup" to describe today's weather. Somewhere in the country it's sunny enough to ripen the tomatoes that star in this evening's hearty meal, but that place definitely isn't here on the East Coast. Oven-roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic give this soup a tangy zest. As for thickness, it has a medium body that sticks to your ribs and warms you to your toes on a dreary day like today. Roasting the veggies brings out their natural sugars which combine well with the chili powder and cumin to give the soup a nice zing. The recipe calls for hot sauce to be added at the end. Definitely give it a taste before adding the sauce. The tongues in our house are rather delicate when it comes to spicy food, so I chose to leave this last accent out, and our palates were still happy and satisfied.


7 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 large onion, cut into large pieces (about 1-1/2 inch)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbs. olive oil
1tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 (15.5oz) cans black beans    (preferably low-sodium), drained and rinsed
1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Preheat oven to 375. Toss tomatoes, onion, and garlic with oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in large bowl, then transfer to baking sheet. Roast until garlic cloves have softened, edges of onions are browned, and tomatoes have collapsed, 35-40 min; stirring once after first 20 minutes.

Transfer toasted vegetables mixture to a 4-qt saucepan. Add broth, beans, cumin, chili powder, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat. and simmer 10 minutes.


Remove from heat and blend until smooth with immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender.

I haven't used my immersion blender very much and learned by mistake: keep the blender immersed when it's turned on. Maybe you're saying "duh"  - but I'm telling you my mistake to save you a little clean-up.

Stir in hot sauce. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of cilantro.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Butternut Squash & Green Apple soup *melissa

 If you happen to be reading this and you find yourself basking in the sun of California or some other sunny place...good for you. Here on the east coast we've been subject to an onslaught of rainy chilly weather. What better to pull you out of the soggy grumpies than a creamy butternut squash soup!


2 tablespoons butter
2 large leeks (white and pale green 
    parts only), chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 cup diced carrots
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored,
    and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 quart chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
First chop and clean your leeks. I find that the best way to do this is to give them a quick rinse then chop them in 1/4 " slices....

Place in bowl of cold water and let them soak for a few minutes so that all the sand and dirt stuck between the layers can seep out. 
Then peel and chop your potato, apples, carrots and onion...

Time to attack that squash. Cut off the top, stem and all, then cut straight down from end to end with a large sturdy knife. Don't be scared of the seedy, stringy bit on the inside (but doesn't it look like it should be featured in The Alien movies with Sigourney Weaver?)
Now take a sharp edged metal spoon and scoop away the seedy innards of your squash until it's nice and clean like this..

 OK, now chop chop chop into about 1" cubes....and you're ready to begin the sauteing...

Melt butter in heavy stock pot, add onions and sauté until translucent. Add leeks and sauté for another two minutes (season with salt and pepper.) 

Add potato, squash, carrots and apples along with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Carefully puree soup either with wand blender (if you don't have one...put it on your Christmas list---if you do a lot of pureeing this gadget will save you LOTS of time and clean up.) After soup is pureed add can of evaporated milk, sour cream and white wine. 

Serve with shredded cheddar, a dollop of sour cream and some good sourdough bread. Enjoy and sooth those soggy grumpies away.