Taiwanese Beef Soup: From Sumos to Oxtails

February 4th, 2017

Taiwanese Beef Soup

Before I get to this delightful soup recipe, I have to share some fun I had last week.  I have a dear friend who has moved just over the mountain from me.  Barbara has built a lovely home on acreage with a barn.  She raises goats for their wool and milk.  She prefers a vegetarian diet.  The two of us went to Whole Foods together on a shopping outing.  It is obvious what each of us bought.

Sumos

 

 

Oxtails
Sumo oranges are in season right now.  They are a cross between mandarin oranges and navel oranges.  Barb bought these.  Because I was making the beef soup, I needed both beef shanks with marrow bone and oxtail.  I asked the butcher for oxtail and he went into the walk-in refrigerator and brought out a whole cow’s tail and flashed it about.  “Do you want me to cut this up for you?” he said. The look of horror on Barb’s face was priceless.  He cut it up and we left the store giggling at our incongruent tastes. Barb said, “If you invite me to dinner I would prefer quiche and a salad.”

Taiwanese Vegetable Soup

The heady combination of beef with bones and marrow, plus soy sauce, chilies, star anise and ginger makes for a rich broth and tender meat that cooks slowly for hours.  A meat lover’s delight.  Ladle the soup into bowls and add cooked Chinese noodles and broccolini.  Adjust the amount of chilies to your taste.  I used 2 Thai chilies in the soup and garnished it with slices of Habanero chilies.  I will omit the too hot Habaneros next time, even though they looked pretty.  This was slightly adapted from Hélène Dujardin on her blog Tartelette.  It is best to make this a day ahead of time so you can skim the fat from the top after refrigerating.

TAIWANESE BEEF SOUP

Make this ahead of time so you can refrigerate and remove the fat before reheating

3 pounds bone-in beef shanks with marrow bones still on
1 pound beef oxtails
3 tablespoons canola oil
10 garlic cloves, bruised
one 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into 6 slices,
5 scallions, halved crosswise
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
3 star anise
1 teaspoons peppercorns
2 Thai chili, split lengthwise
1/4 cup roasted red chili paste
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
8 tablespoons light soy sauce
10 cups water
1 pound broccolini, stems halved
1/2 pound Udon noodles
cilantro
extra freshly sliced Habanero red chili (optional)

In a large stock pot, heat half the oil over high heat. Sear half of the beef shanks and oxtails on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and repeat with the remaining oil and beef pieces.
Add  all the remaining soup ingredients, except the broccolini, noodles and cilantro.
Bring to a boil then lower the heat to low, cover with the lid askew and cook for about 3 hours or until the beef is tender and falls off the bone.
Turn off the heat, and remove the beef pieces with a slotted spoon. Let the beef cool then shred it off the bones. Discard the bones. Strain the soup into another pot and put the meat into that pot. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim the fat that has risen to the top then reheat the soup on low heat.
In the meantime, blanch the broccolini in boiling water for about a minute. Set aside. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Divide the noodles and broccolini among 6 bowls, ladle soup over noodles and garnish with cilantro and extra chili if desired.

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Celery Root Velouté

January 28th, 2017

Celery Root Soup

If you would like a luxurious soup to serve as a first course, you couldn’t do any better than this Celery Root Velouté from Mimi Thorisson’s new cookbook French Country Cooking.  It is very simple to make and is quite different from any other soup I have made before.  Starting with a gnarly celery root, one of the least appealing vegetables I have ever seen, you end up with a thing of beauty.

Celery Root Soup

I love the idea of serving the soup with a crisp slice of bacon.  Crumbled into the bowl, it adds a crisp counterpoint to the velvety soup.  My husband and I both loved the flavors achieved with just a few ingredients.  The hint of mustard pairs well with the earthy taste of the celery root.

Celery Root Soup

Whether you serve this as a first course or as a light lunch, you can’t go wrong with this unique recipe.  Another winner from Mimi Thorisson.

CELERY ROOT VELOUTÉ

3 tablespoons salted butter
1 celery root (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into small cubes
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
Piment D”espelette or mild chile powder
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the celery root, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Pour in the milk and stock and bring the soup to a simmer.  Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the celery root is tender, about 20 minutes.

Purée the soup, preferable using an immersion blender.  Stir in the mustard and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve hot, drizzling each portion with a little olive oil and sprinkling with a pinch of piment d’Espelette.  Top each bowl with a slice of bacon.

Makes 6 servings

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Jamaican Chicken Soup for the Dark Days of Winter

January 6th, 2017

Jamacian Chicken Soup

The weather is frightful.  The skies are grey.  But the light still burns in our homes and on our hearths. We have put away the trappings of the holidays and are hunkering down for the long dark days of Winter. Warming soups and bread fresh from the oven are my preferred ways to fight the winter doldrums. And a great soup to brighten your days is this Jamaican inspired recipe.Jamacian Chicken Soup

With the bright additions of curry and allspice, this chicken, black bean and black-eyed pea soup hits all the right notes.  I added Himalayan red rice to the mix because I had it in my pantry.  I found it while cleaning out dated foodstuff.  Sometimes impulse buys get shoved into corners.   Himalayan Red Rice is grown in Nepal and has a red hued bran.  It is colorful for pilafs.

Jamacian Chicken Stew

We have a snow storm predicted for the mountains this weekend so I am happy to have a pot of soup and homemade Rosemary Olive Oil Bread stashed away.  Cooking is a good way to survive anything nature throws at you.

JAMAICAN CHICKEN SOUP

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used Himalayan Red Rice)

Heat oil in a dutch oven.  Add chicken pieces and saute until browned.  Remove chicken and set aside.  Add onion to casserole and cook until transparent.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add all of the spices and cook over low heat for about 1 minute.  Add wine and reduce slightly.  Return chicken to casserole and add the remaining ingredients.  Cover pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and cook for at least 30 minutes.  Garnish with parsley or cilantro if desired.

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Cauliflower, Potato and Leek Soup

September 27th, 2016

Cauliflower Soup 1

Although the weather is still quite hot, Fall is in the air.  The leaves are starting to drop even though the colors have not changed much.  This time of year I start thinking about soup.  I was in the village of Saluda last week with a friend.  Saluda is a quaint town with an excellent bakery, unique eateries and two old fashioned grocery and hardware stores.Saluda 1

On one of the side streets we found this garden maintained by the local garden club with an antique shop at the bottom of the steps.

Saluda 2

Beyond the garden is the outdoor eating area of The Purple Onion where we had lunch.

Cauliflower Soup 1

I had their cauliflower soup with a half of BLT sandwich on whole wheat bread from Wildflower Bakery.  Both were delicious and I decided I needed to make some cauliflower soup at home.  My only regret is that I did not come home with a loaf of that delicious bread.

Cauliflower Soup 2V

 

 

I was very happy with the soup recipe that I came up with.  It is a combination of leeks sauteed in butter, cooked cauliflower, chicken broth or vegetable broth, and potatoes.  It is similar to the classic potato leek soup but is heavier on the cauliflower.  It has only two potatoes in it.  I used my emulsion blender to emulsify it and flavored it with herbs and lots of cracked black pepper.  If you prefer you can add some sauteed sausages or bacon to make it heartier.  We enjoyed it on a rainy evening this week.  Welcome Fall!

CAULIFLOWER, POTATO AND LEEK SOUP

2 leeks, trimmed, sliced and washed
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 32 ounce box of chicken or vegetable broth
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Bouquet Garni of thyme, basil, bay leaves and peppercorns
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets.  Stems removed
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Cooked bacon or sausage (Optional)

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large stock pot.  Dry washed leek slices and add to butter.  Saute over medium heat until soft.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Pour the stock into the pot.  Wrap the herbs and pepper in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with twine.  Place in pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the diced potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, chop the cauliflower and add to a large saucepan with water to cover.  Cook over medium heat until tender.  Save water and scoop the cauliflower into the stock pot with potatoes and leeks.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Emulsify the soup either with an emulsion blender or in a blender.  If using blender, divide soup into several batches.  Return to stock pot.  If soup is too thick add some of the cauliflower water until you reach the desired consistency.  Season to taste with lots of pepper and salt as needed.  Add optional bacon or sausage.

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Crock Pot White Bean and Sausage Soup

January 7th, 2016

Crock Pot White Beans 2

Guess what I got for Christmas?  Yes, I broke down and asked for a new crock pot.  I thought long and hard about it.  I own two; one in Lake Lure and one in Florida.  The one in Lake Lure died this year and the one in Florida was on its last legs.  Both were very, very old.  My hesitation came because I don’t use a crock pot all that often and I thought maybe I could do without one.  But there are times when they come in handy and this new one has some features that my old ones did not have, including a meat temperature probe and a programmable set and forget cooking mode.

Crock Pot White Beans 1

 

A warming soup sounded like the best first recipe to try in the new slow cooker.  It has been rainy and cool in Florida since the holidays, so while I dismantled the Christmas decorations I set the crock pot up to take care of our dinner.  I soaked the dried cannellini beans overnight to give them a head start.  To the pot I also added sauteed turkey kielbasa, sauteed red peppers, celery and onions with garlic and tomato paste.  The liquid ingredients were a mixture of chicken broth and water.  Near the end of cooking I added diced canned tomatoes and Tuscan kale.

Crock Pot White beans 4

Top this lovely soup with toasted bread crumbs and you will feel warm and happy.  I am happy that I have a new crock pot.

CROCK POT WHITE BEAN AND SAUSAGE SOUP (Adapted from William Sonoma)

    • 3 Tbs. olive oil
    • 2 lb. kielbasa sausages, cut into rounds
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3 celery stalks, diced
    • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
    • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 fresh thyme sprig
    • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
    • 1 fresh sage sprig
    • 1  lb. dried cannellini beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
    • 1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
    • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
    • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 bunch Tuscan or regular kale, washed, stemmed and chopped, about 3 cups

    Drain soaked cannellini beans and add to crock pot.  In a large skillet saute kielbasa rounds until lightly browned.  Add to crock pot.  In same skillet saute onion, celery and red bell peppers until wilted.  Add the tomato paste, garlic and pepper flakes and stir together until mixture is fragrant.  Add the mixture to the crock pot along with the chicken broth and water.  Place the bay leaf and a tied bundle of the herbs, plus the salt and pepper to the pot.  Stir to combine.

    Cook the soup on low for 8 hours.  1/2 hour before soup is done, add the drained diced tomatoes and the kale.  Stir into soup.  Return lid to crock pot and continue to cook until kale is wilted, about 1/2 hour.  In a small pan melt butter, add bread crumbs and cook until bread is golden brown.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with bread crumbs.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.