Squash Soup with White Beans and Kale

Well, here in New England we are mostly all back online from the October snow storm that broke our trees into pieces.  Friends and family have been keeping their frozen goods in coolers, heating water in beer brewing equipment, and cooking on gas grills for a week or more.  On the flip side of all of the stress and anxiety caused by lack of heat and power, folks really pulled together, reached out to one another, shared their homes, their showers, hot meals.  Out of the bad came some good.

This recipe is good for New Englanders this week  on two counts: 1) it’s vegetarian, so if you lost all of your meats in the great non-electric thaw you can still make dinner and 2) if you’ve still got CSA veggies coming in (like me), this is a great way to use them.  A bit of herbs (dried can certainly be substituted for fresh), a can of beans, a container of broth/stock, and your squash & kale and you’ve got a hearty soup that’s packed with flavor and nutrients.  If you’re still cooking on the grill, and you’ve got a side-burner, you’re in luck.

Ingredients

2 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup apple cider

1 quart chicken broth

4 cups chopped kale

2 cups white beans, rinsed & drained

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound peeled and seeded winter squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (I used a combination of acorn & butternut)

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in your soup pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and herbs and cook until the onions are just beginning to soften
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are translucent
  • Add the cider and broth and bring to a boil
  • Add the kale, beans, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes
  • Add the squash and cook until just tender, about 10-20 minutes more depending on which varieties of squash you used

This recipe was inspired by a post on Whole Foods market’s site.

Black Bean Chili with Chicken & Zucchini

This recipe is a great way to get some low-fat protein and fiber worked into your diet with a huge flavor profile.  It’s simple to make and only takes about half an hour from start to finish.   And did you know that the Chinese black bean, also known as Douchi, is a fermented soy bean? So if you’re trying to eat a more primal diet, these are an acceptable item.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Salt & pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered & chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups of black beans

2 cups of diced tomatoes

1 small can mild green chilies

2 Tablespoons ancho chili paste

1/2 cup cilantro

Sour cream

Directions:

  • Warm a skillet over a medium heat, add olive oil
  • Season the chicken breast with chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper & sauté for a couple of minutes per side- just to get the cooking process started.  Remove from heat & set aside
  • In a large soup pot, sauté the onion, zucchini and garlic for 5 minutes.  While these are cooking, cut you chicken into bite-sized pieces
  • Add the chicken, beans, tomatoes, chilies and chili paste to the pot, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Top with sour cream & cilantro and serve

Kidney Bean Soup with Lime Yogurt

Now that we’ve had the tiniest turn in the weather here in New England, I feel as though I can post a soup recipe again without being driven from the free land of the internets 😉

This soup is high in protein, low in fat, and has a wealth of vitamin A.  It’s also got a fantastic thick and creamy consistency.  As far as flavor goes you get the standard kidney bean with the tangy yogurt and sweet lime all at once.  Then that’s all rounded out with the cumin & chili powder for a wonderful finish.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

1 celery stalk, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

3 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth

3 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS ground cumin

2 TBS ancho chili powder

1 TBS dried Mexican oregano

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained

salt and pepper to taste

Lime yogurt

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 TBS lime juice

1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Chop onions and garlic, carrots and celery & set aside

  • Heat 1 TBS broth in medium-sized soup pot and sauté the onion in the broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic, carrots, celery, and continue to sauté for a minute
  • Add broth, tomato paste, kidney beans, and spices and bring to a boil
  • Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender ·
  • Make lime yogurt by combining yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro in small bowl
  • Puree the soup in a blender in small batches
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Reheat, and pour into serving bowls, top with lime yogurt, and serve

I opted to serve this soup with a side salad topped with edible flowers (greens & flowers from Old Friends Farm).

This recipe inspired by a post on WHF.

J

Southwest Salmon & Black Beans

This dish was the best way that I have ever had salmon prepared.  It’s zesty and flavorful, has a great variety of textures, and is super-healthy.  Grilling the fish avoids stinking heating up the house on these days of 90+ degrees and ridiculous humidity, and it allows it to get a great crisp on.

I can honestly say that I was weary of using all of the herbs called for in the dressing.  I love mint, but I love it in desserts, and sometimes it weirds me out to have it in a savory dish.  Well not this time.  The cilantro, basil and mint meld together and you taste none of them individually, but the combination is smooth and wonderful.  Now if I can only figure out how to use of the remaining 4 lbs. of mint in my back yard, I’ll be all set….

I opted to take creative liberties with the recipe that I followed (of course) and served the beans on the side with some jasmine rice that had been cooked in chicken broth.  It was probably unnecessary as both Neil and I were so stuffed by the end of this meal that is was silly, but I was initially worried that a piece of fish on top of lettuce wasn’t going to cut it with our appetites.

Ingredients:

1 ½  lb salmon

1 small onion, minced

1 small red bell pepper, diced 1/4 inch

4 medium cloves garlic pressed

1 TBS +  ½  cup chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups or 15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained

1 ½  TBS ancho chili powder

2 cups chopped lettuce (like butter or romaine)

Dressing:

4 TBS fresh chopped cilantro

2 TBS fresh chopped mint

2 TBS fresh chopped basil

5 TBS fresh lemon juice

4 TBS olive oil

1 TBS chopped pepitas

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Season salmon with salt and pepper and set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet and when it begins to steam add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté over a  medium heat for about 5 minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup broth, black beans, and ancho chili powder. Cook for another 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • While the beans are cooking, preheat your grill
  • In a bowl mix together cilantro, mint, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, pepitas, salt and pepper
  • Grill the salmon for about 10 minutes (your grill should be between 400 and 500 degrees)
  • Serve the salmon on a bed of lettuce, topped with the dressing, with beans on the side

J

Pureed Lima Beans with Rosemary Tomato Broth

So I saw this kind of strange-looking recipe that was intended as an alternative to mashed potatoes as a side.  I figured, what the heck, I’ll try anything once.  So I did.  And I am sooooo glad.  While this is absolutely no substitute for mashed potatoes, it is a fantastically flavorful pile of green mush that I liked so much, especially left-over the next day, that I bought more Lima beans and made it again the next week just to have for lunches/snacks for work.

Personally, I would call the rosemary-tomato broth optional.  It’s good, but like gravy to  mashed potatoes for me, I could care less whether I have it or not.  In fact, if you wanted to try the tomato flavor with the beans, you could even dress this in salsa and they would be great together.

Ingredients:

Tomato Broth

3 TBS + 1-1/4 cups chicken broth

½ medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBS tomato paste

½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

Beans

2 15 oz. bags (frozen) Lima beans

1 medium onion, chunked

¼ cup chicken broth

2 medium cloves garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat 3 TBS broth and sauté the ½ onion for 3 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  • Add the remaining broth and tomato paste. Cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, to reduce the broth. It should reduce to about half
  • Season with rosemary, salt, and pepper
  • While broth is reducing, sauté 1 medium onion in a Dutch oven, over medium-low heat in chicken broth
  • Add beans, broth, salt, and pepper, cover, and let cook for 5-6 minutes, to heat the beans through
  • Puree bean mixture with garlic in a food processor
  • Serve beans topped with tomato broth

J