Wednesday , 20 June 2018

Kyra’s Kitchen: SOUPer Soups

January is Soup Month…. But as far as I am concerned, EVERY month is Soup month!

Soup is the Cinderella of the food world. 
Add a few ingredients to basic stock and you have a dish which can be a glorious starter or a main course – and in some instances even a dessert!

Sure, you can purchase a chicken or vegetable stock base from your local supermarket.  But if you have a yen to prepare your own stock – the recipe is below.

Here are 4 recipes using chicken stock – which range from delicate to whew…. spicy.  They take no more than 30 minutes to prepare – can be frozen – and are easy on the budget.

But first ….the Chicken Stock

1 roast chicken [most supermarkets now sell them] 1 large onion – unpeeled cut into quarters
3 large carrots – peeled – cut into large chunks
3 stalks celery – cleaned – broken into large pieces
½ bunch parsley
2 chicken stock cubes
Water to cover all the ingredients

Place the chicken, vegetables and stock cubes in a dutch oven or large saucepan.
Add water to cover ingredients by 3-4”.
Bring to the boil – then when the water is boiling – turn down the heat to low –[water should just be bubbling] and simmer for at least 4 hours.
The liquid should evaporate by 1/3.
Allow to cool. Then strain the stock into containers and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
You can pick the chicken off the remaining carcass and use it in a casserole before you discard the rest of the vegetables and bones.
Note: If you chill or freeze the stock – remove the cap of fat before making soup.
Now you are ready to make soup!
Note: all the recipes below can be doubled………

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon bottled chopped garlic [or 3 crushed peeled cloves of garlic] 3 cups chicken stock
1 large white potato, peeled, diced
½ small can diced green chiles
½ cup half and half or cream
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Melt the butter and oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is limp and glazed.
Add the stock and potato and bring to the boil again. 
Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the potato is soft.
Add the green chiles and simmer another 5 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

At this point you can cool and refrigerate or freeze the soup.

Before serving, stir in the ‘half and half’ or cream, and the cheese.  Heat the soup until the cheese has melted.
Serve the soup with a sprinkling of cilantro

MINTED PEA BUTTERMILK SOUP  [This is a delicate soup which can be served hot or cold]

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, diced
16 oz. bag of frozen peas [yes – use them straight from the freezer] 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup buttermilk

Heat the oils in a medium saucepan and sauté the onions until they are glazed and soft.
Add the frozen peas, the mint and the parsley together with the stock and bring to the boil.
Set a lid ¾ over the saucepan and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat – cool and then blend in the blender.
(Note: at this point you can serve the soup as is – or if you prefer a smoother result – pass the soup through a strainer to discard the fibers.)
Add the buttermilk and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with a mint leaf and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup smooth plain peanut butter
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and white pepper to taste [depends on the saltiness of the peanut butter] 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Sauté the onion in the butter in a medium saucepan.
Add the peanut butter and stock and stir over the heat until smooth.
Blend the soup until smooth.
Return the soup to the heat and add the half and half and the seasoning.

For an extra ‘dash’ – top with…

Apricot Puree:
1 10 oz jar apricot jam
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey

Place the ingredients in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds.  Remove and stir until well blended.
If you prefer a smooth topping – blend puree in a blender.
To serve: drop a tablespoon of the puree on top of the soup before serving

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – crushed
½ small can chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
4 cups chicken stock [or 1 carton bought chicken broth] 2 cans black beans – drained and rinsed

1 avocado, diced
¼ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Juice of half lemon

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Sauté the onions in the oil until glazed. 
Add the chipotle peppers in the adobe sauce, chicken stock and black beans and simmer gently for about 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Remove a half-cup of the beans and set aside.
Puree the rest of the soup in the blender.
Return the reserved beans to the pureed soup
May be refrigerated or frozen at this point.

To serve:
Heat the soup.
Serve with a topping of avocado, sour cream or yogurt and a sprinkling of cilantro.

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

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