Creamy Chicken, Corn & Vegetable Chowder

With so many veggies at their peak in the fall, it’s a great time to make a hearty bowl of chowder. This recipe makes great use of leftover roasted turkey and stock, too – often we’ll just use a meaty stock that has not been strained, rather than measure out leftover roast chicken or turkey. This soup is equally delicious with leftover chopped ham in place of the chicken.

As with most soups, ingredients can be played with and measurements are approximate – use what you like, add more carrots if you like carrots, add a handful of baby spinach (we did, when we reheated the leftovers) or chopped kale or chard. Soup is infinitely versatile, inexpensive, and can be frozen for a quick meal down the road.

Creamy Chicken, Corn & Vegetable Chowder
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Ingredients
  1. canola or olive oil, for cooking
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 stalk celery, chopped
  4. 1 carrot, chopped
  5. 1 cup leftover shredded roasted chicken or turkey
  6. 2 Tbsp. flour
  7. 1 tsp. thyme
  8. 1 L chicken stock
  9. 1-2 small thin-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and diced
  10. 1 cup sweet kernel corn
  11. 1/2 cup half & half (or to taste)
  12. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Drizzle some oil into a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until soft. Add the chicken or turkey, sprinkle with the flour and thyme and cook, stirring, for another minute. Stir in the stock, add the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Stir in the corn, and cream if you’re using it, and allow the chowder to return to a gentle simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Broccoli + Asparagus Cheddar Soup

During the summer months, I tend to overload on the greens – my fridge is always packed with asparagus, broccoli, kale, chard, spinach, and all those good things that grow so well (and are so cheap) at this time of year. Inevitably, some of those things get wilty and wind up in the freezer, and once in awhile I pull a bunch out and simmer it into soup. After all, salads aren’t the only way to get your greens! I particularly like making this with aged white cheddar – and a handful of kale or spinach would do well in it, too.

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Asparagus Soup

Spring has sprung, buds are starting to appear and green things are poking out of the ground. Which means in Alberta, it’s almost asparagus season. While asparagus from California or Mexico is generally available year-round, it doesn’t compare to that which is grown right here – it’s not exactly a common back yard crop, but our soil conditions, lack of pests and cool climate produce tender, sweet stalks. (So long as it doesn’t snow immediately before the May-June harvest.) Some of the best asparagus is grown out in the Innisfail area, so as soon as you see it hit the market, it’s best to eat as much as possible while we can get it.

Here’s a way to preserve asparagus for a time when we won’t be able to get our hands on the local stuff – asparagus soup is simple, delicious hot or cold, and perfect to make if you happen to get a wrinkly bunch.

Asparagus Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Tbsp. each butter and canola or olive oil
  2. 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  3. 2 leeks, chopped (white and pale green part only) and then washed in a bowl of cool water
  4. 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  5. 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
  6. 4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock
  7. salt and pepper
  8. 1/2 cup half & half or heavy (whipping) cream
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan or smallish pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and leeks and cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the potatoes, asparagus and stock and cook for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream.
  2. Purée the soup in the pot using a hand-held immersion blender, or do it in batches in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Add a little extra stock or water if it seems too thick. Serve hot, or chill and serve cold.
  3. Serves 6.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Aloo Gobi Stew

eddie-vedder-stew-2

Aloo gobi, a classic Indian dish of curried potatoes and cauliflower, makes for a wonderfully nourishing stew. Full of veggies, it’ll offset all the holiday baking and sweets we lived on for the past month – it’s exactly the sort of thing we crave when January arrives. As with most curry dishes, it will improve with flavour after a day or two in the fridge, so it’s perfect for making on the weekend if you anticipate a busy week.

This stew is apparently one of Eddie Vedder‘s favourites – all the more reason to give it a try!

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

broccoli-cheese-soup

Need something quick, warming, and full of veggies for dinner this busy holiday season? Broccoli-cheese soup is always well received at our house – and it’s a great way to use up a bunch of broccoli that may be starting to get droopy. For a vegetarian version, swap vegetable or onion stock. It’s simple to chop the broccoli (cauliflower would work well too – or a combination of the two) and toss everything into a pot to simmer when you get home from work and school. By dinnertime it’s ready to puree – use a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot – and serve with crusty bread or cheese biscuits. Comfort food for busy, chilly days!

Broccoli Cheese Soup
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Ingredients
  1. Vegetable oil, for cooking
  2. 2 Tbsp butter
  3. 1 small onion, chopped
  4. 1 carrot, chopped
  5. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  6. 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
  8. 4 cups chicken stock
  9. 4 cups broccoli florets
  10. 1 cup half and half cream
  11. 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil along with the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft.
  2. Add the flour, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the chicken stock and broccoli and bring to a simmer; cook for 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is very tender.
  3. Add the cream and puree with a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot. Add the cheese, let sit for a minute, and puree again until smooth. (Alternatively, puree in batches in a blender.) Season with salt and pepper, if it needs it. Serves 6.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Chicken & Barley Soup with Greens

chicken soup

As the weather turns chilly, cold season is creeping up -it seems everyone is coming down with something, or has a cough or a case of the sniffles. Chicken soup is a generations-old remedy used around the world to fight colds and flus and generally make those who are under the weather feel better – and taken care of. Making a pot of soup from scratch is not difficult – a good thing if you’re the one who’s coming down with something.

When we do roast chicken for dinner (even one from the deli), we like to leave some meat on the bones for a meaty stock that’s easily turned into a hearty soup; and around the holidays, there’s almost always chopped roasted turkey in the freezer to add to soups like this one.

This is a slightly heartier version of a classic chicken noodle soup; using barley instead of noodles boosts fibre and other nutrients, but you could swap regular egg noodles too. They’ll take less time to cook – about ten minutes. The addition of greens makes it even more nutrient-dense and rich in vitamin C – a good thing when you’re trying to beat the sniffles.

Chicken & Barley Soup with Greens

canola oil, for cooking
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3-4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped, or 1-2 cups leftover roast chicken, chopped
1 L chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup pearl or pot barley
1 sprig thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
a handful of fresh or frozen baby spinach or torn kale

In a large saucepan or small Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, carrot and celery for a few minutes, until soft; add the chicken and cook for a few minutes, until it turns opaque.

Add the stock, barley, thyme and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer; cook for 30 minutes, or until the barley is tender. Remove the sprig of thyme, season with salt and pepper as needed, and add a handful of baby spinach or torn kale to the pot and stir until it wilts. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.