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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Soups

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Chicken Or Turkey Stock

Thanksgiving Turkey

Enjoy your feast, but don’t toss the carcass.
Use it to make stock! Photo courtesy Sur La


Plan ahead: Don’t throw away that turkey carcass. Or the roast chicken* carcass. Or those tops, root ends and stems from trimming vegetables. Save the vegetable trimmings from the week’s meals: carrot tops, celery ends, fennel fronds, herb stems, kale stalks, leek tops, scallion ends, etc.

Check the freezer for herbs and vegetable scraps you may have tucked away.

Use all of it to make a delicious batch of chicken or turkey stock, which you can then turn into cooked grains, sauces, soups, stews and other preparations.



  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled, cut in half
  • Chicken or turkey carcass
  • Vegetable trimmings† or 1-2 carrots, 3-4 stalks of celery
  • Parsley and thyme (leftover stems are fine)
    *Or duck, game hen, quail or any poultry carcass. You can blend them together into one stock as needed.
    †Check the freezer for herbs and anything else you might have tucked away to prevent spoiling.


    1. COMBINE all the ingredients in a stock pot (6-8 quarts for a turkey, 4-6 quarts for a chicken) and cover them with water plus one inch. If the carcass doesn’t fit in the pot, use poultry shears to cut it into pieces that do. Don’t salt the water; stock should be unsalted to accommodate any recipe. Place the top on the pot.

    2. BRING to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for minimum of 90 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Once or twice during the simmering, remove the cover and skim off the frothy scum that’s formed on the top of the broth. Add more water if it boils away; the bones should always be covered. When the broth has turned a golden brown color and is rich in flavor…

    3. REMOVE the pot from the heat. As soon as it’s comfortable enough to handle, strain the broth and discard the solids. If it isn’t clear enough for you, strain it again through cheesecloth.

    4. FREEZE the chicken broth in portion-sized containers. We like ice cube trays (once frozen, store the cubes in a freezer bag); or in half pint or pint storage containers. If you have a short-term use for it, you can refrigerate the stock for up to a week.

  • A stock pot with a pasta strainer insert is ideal for this purpose.
  • If you don’t want to “watch the pot,” you can use a slow cooker on a low setting.


    Instead Of Water

  • Grains: rice (plain or in risotto), quinoa, couscous and other dishes
  • Soups: use as much stock as you have, then fill in with water
  • Vegetables: steaming and boiling
    Instead Of Butter And/Or Cream

  • Gravy
  • French sauces, such as bercy and velouté
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Polenta
  • Purées: use stock to smooth out a bean or vegetable purée
  • Sautés: add some stock and use less butter or oil
  • Soups, from wintry butternut squash soup to summer gazpacho
  • Stuffing, dressing and other savory bread pudding recipes
    Instead Of Wine

  • Deglazing the pan for sauce
  • Marinades
  • Any recipe that requires wine

    Chicken Stock

    Take pride in your homemade stock. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.


  • Broth is a finished soup; stock is an ingredient.
  • Broth has a higher proportion of meat.
  • Because stock is made largely from the bones, it contains more gelatin, which gives it a richer mouthfeel.
  • Stock is not salted. Since it is an ingredient, it combines with whatever seasonings the recipes call for.
    What about bouillon?

    The terms bouillon and broth are used interchangeably, though not correctly.

    Bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantial with the addition of a grain (barley, rice, etc.) and vegetables.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Sweet Or Savory Popcorn Garnish

    Before it was a popular snack, popcorn was a whole grain food. In Colonial times, it was eaten in a bowl with milk or cream, like modern puffed rice and other puffed cereal grains.

    In the 18th century, after the corn harvest, farmers would toss corn kernels, some fat and a little molasses into a cast iron pot. Voilà: the first kettle corn. (Today, special popcorn strains create big, fluffy kernels.)

    By the 1840s, corn popping had become a popular recreational activity in the U.S. By the 1870s, popcorn was sold in grocery stores and at concession stands at circuses, carnivals and fairs. The first commercial popcorn machine was invented in 1885; by the early 1920s, popcorn machines turned out hot buttered corn at most movie theaters.

    Here’s the history of popcorn.

    Considered a humble food accessible to all, it now used by fine chefs as a garnish for both sweet and savory food.

    Recently we featured an elegant savory corn custard, made from fresh corn and garnished with popcorn.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/popcorn garnish mac and cheese 230

    Add some whole grain popcorn to your mac and cheese,perhaps flavored garlic or jalapeño. Photo: DK.

    But a recipe doesn’t have to be made from corn—or be savory—to dazzle with a popcorn garnish. You can use popcorn as a fun food garnish.

    While a popcorn garnish is not yet ubiquitous, it has long been a standard on cheese and beer soup. Here’s a recipe from Emeril Lagasse, who makes spicy popcorn for the garnish. But if you don’t have the time, plain popcorn works just fine.

    Any thick soup—bean, lentil, vegetable—is ready to wear a popcorn garnish; as is a bowl of chili.

    A second level of fun in using a popcorn garnish: You can flavor the popcorn to complement the dish. Just a sample of popcorn flavors you can pair:

  • Savory flavors: bacon-chive, garlic, herb, jalapeño, mustard, parmesan-rosemary, sesame, truffle
  • Sweet flavors: caramel/salted caramel, chocolate, cinnamon-sugar, maple, peanut butter, peppermint, pineapple-coconut
    If there’s a flavor you want, just toss it with popcorn. Here are 50 ways to season plain popcorn.

    You can also coat the popcorn in chocolate, or use purchased popcorn: chocolate-covered, chocolate-peppermint or maple for the holidays, and so forth.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Carrot cake with Caramel and Popcorn honestcooking 230

    Use caramel corn or a popcorn/pecan praline mix to top a cheesecake or (shown above) a carrot cake. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy



    Beverages: Hot chocolate, on a cocktail pick, on milkshakes

  • Breakfast: Grits or other hot cereal with sweet or savory corn (cheese popcorn on cheese grits, anyone?), pancakes and waffles with caramel corn, yogurt and cottage cheese with sweet or savory popcorn
  • Lunch/Dinner: Chicken breasts, chili, fish fillets, mac and cheese, soups, salads, grains, stews
  • Desserts: Crème brûlée, cupcakes, ice cream (here’s actual popcorn ice cream), layer cake, pudding (especially popcorn pudding)
    If you’re not yet convinced, here’s a simple way to try out popcorn garnishes:

    The next time you roll down the supermarket snack aisle, check out the popcorn selection. Buy a savory (plain salted popcorn) and a sweet variety (caramel corn or kettle corn) and start using them as garnishes.
    *Leave off the butter and sugar, and season with spices or herbs, and you’ve got a fiber-filled, healthful snack.




    RECIPE: Chilled Blueberry Banana Soup

    Our recent article on chilled soup featured a recipe for Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup. It’s a great starter.

    But chilled fruit soups are great summer desserts, and they couldn’t be easier to make. Just toss the ingredients into a blender or food processor, whirl, and it’s ready to serve.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2-¼ cups blueberries, divided
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1½ cups ice
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup frozen vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/blueberry banana soup blueberrycouncilorg 230

    Blueberry soup: pretty in purple. Photo courtesy

    1. COMBINE 2 cups of the blueberries, the banana, ice, milk, frozen yogurt, sugar and lemon juice in blender.

    2. PROCESS until smooth. Divide equally into four bowls.

    3. GARNISH with the remaining blueberries and frozen yogurt or ice cream.
    Find more delicious blueberry recipes at


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/blueberries plastic carton goodeggs 230sq

    When blueberry prices are low in season, try as many blueberry recipes as you can. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.



    A fruit soup can be made from fresh or dried fruits and served hot or cold. It can be served as a first course or for dessert. It also can be an intermezzo or palate cleanser between fish and meat courses.

    Cold soups tend to be made with seasonal fruit and are thus served in warmer weather. Soups made of dried fruits, such as Norwegian fruktsuppe, made of raisins and prunes, can be served hot or cold in any season.

  • Fruit soups can be cream soups or purées, with or without the addition of fruit juice.
  • They can include alcohol, such as brandy, champagne, Port or wine.
  • Sweet fruit soups can include meat; and in at least one instance, a fruit soup can be completely savory, like the Chinese winter melon soup. Technically, cucumber, which makes a delicious chilled soup, is also a fruit (it’s related to watermelon); but it’s treated as a vegetable in Western cuisine.
  • Fruit soup can be garnished with fresh cheese, such as fromage blanc or mascarpone; with cultured creams such as crème fraîche, sour cream and yogurt; and with ice cream or sorbet.
  • Examples of dessert soups from other cultures include etrog, a citron soup eaten during the Jewish feast of Succoth; ginataan (guinataan), a Filipino soup made from coconut milk, fruits and tapioca; and oshiruko, a Japanese soup made from the adzuki bean (the same bean used to make red bean ice cream).
    Check out the history of soup and the different types of soup in our Soup Glossary.



    RECIPE: Pineapple Gazpacho


    Pineapple gazpacho, spicy and refreshing. Photo courtesy Urban Accents.


    Yesterday we featured a spicy Grilled Pineapple Cocktail, but only the garnish was grilled.

    Today, The pineapple is marinated in spices and lilme juice, then grilled to provide this chilled soup with a more complex flavor.

    The recipe is by Jim Dygas, president of Urban Accents, using Urban Accents’ Mozambique Peri Peri spice blend. The garnish was added by THE NIBBLE.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes. The gazpacho needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours or overnight. The flavor will be better the next day.


    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 whole pineapple, skin removed & cut into 1-inch slices,
    cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons Urban Accents Mozambique Peri Peri
    or substitute*
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 seedless (English) cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 med garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 small jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: minced chives or thin-sliced scallions, or the
    garnish recipe below
    For The Garnish

  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup seedless cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped
    *Urban Accents’ Mozambique Peri Peri has a base of crushed chile peppers and paprika combined with six herbs and spices plus citrus. You can make a less complex seasoning blend by combining crushed chile flakes and paprika with dried herbs of choice.

    1. PREHEAT the grill to med-high heat.

    2. COMBINE the lime juice, zest with Mozambique Peri Peri in a large bowl. Add the pineapple, stir and marinate for 15 minutes.

    3. GRILL the pineapple on all sides to get light grill marks. Remove from the grill, let cool slightly and cut into small chunks.

    4. PURÉE 1 cup of the pineapple chunks in a blender or food processor, along with the pineapple juice and olive oil until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. While the soup chills…

    5. MAKE the garnish. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Dinner In A Broth Bowl


    An elegant broth bowl, with duck breast and
    foie gras. Photo courtesy Duet Brasserie.


    Are bowl bowls trending? Last month we wrote about layered salad bowls. Today it’s broth bowls—a dish that dates back to prehistory*, as soon as vessels were made to hold soup.

    Homo sapiens (us modern humans) emerged about 200,000 years ago, and for the majority of our existence, we have had no soup. The earliest humans had nothing to boil liquids in. Boiling was not easy to do until the invention of waterproof containers, probably pouches made of clay or animal skin, about 9,000 years ago. Here’s the history of soup.

    But back to broth bowls: For a hot yet lighter summer dinner, serve your protein and veggies in a bowl of broth (photo at left).

    Inspired by this dish from Duet Brasserie in New York City’s Greenwich Village, we’ve been making our own. It’s easy, and you can get away with more vegetables and less meat, which is both healthier and less expensive.

    Duet’s chef created a gourmet broth bowl: duck consommé, smoked duck breast, duck foie gras, scallions, Chinese broccoli and a hard-boiled quail egg.

    Panera Bread has an earthier approach to the concept with soy-miso broth bowls. One version has soba noodles and chicken or edamame, with spinach, napa cabbage, mushrooms, onions, sesame seeds and cilantro. Lentil and quinoa bowls have brown rice and chicken or hard-boiled egg, kale, spinach and tomato sofrito.

    You can do just as well at home with chicken, beef, seafood or vegetable broth.

    While there’s nothing better than homemade broth, we took the quick and easy route and purchased ours from the Pacific Soup Starters line. Our favorite is their Organic Soup Starters Phö, in beef, chicken and vegetarian varieties.

    Food 101 Quickie: Phö, pronounced FUH (like duh but with a drawn-out “uh” and often spelled without the umlaut in the U.S.), is the beloved beef and rice-noodle soup of Vietnam. It may be the world’s greatest broth bowl, worth seeking out at the nearest Vietnamese restaurant. Phö means noodles, and the broth can be made with up to 30 ingredients—beef, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fish sauce, ginger, onions and star anise, for starters—exclusive of what you choose to add on top of the broth. Here’s more about phö.
    *The writing of language was invented independently in at least two places: Sumer (Mesopotamia) around 3200 BCE and Mesoamerica around 600 BCE. The writing numbers for the purpose of record keeping began long before the writing of language.

    The combination are unlimited! Just a sampling:

  • Asian accents: bean sprouts, water chestnuts, lime (squeezed into the soup after serving)
  • Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, spearmint
  • Grains: barley, corn, couscous, rice, quinoa, etc.
  • Heat: black pepper, chiles, nuoc mam (sriracha sauce)
  • Noodles: ideally flat rice noodles, but you can use any flat or round pasta
  • Proteins: any—fish/seafood, meat, poultry or tofu, cut or diced into stir fry-size pieces so no cutting in-bowl is needed
  • Vegetables: any! We like to use carrots (cut into flower shapes with a vegetable cutter) mushrooms, onion (green onion, leek, yellow onion), red bell pepper or tomato for color, zucchini
  • Seasonings: chipotle, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Wild card: anything else—you’re the chef!
    Cook each ingredient as appropriate. Add the hot broth into bowls, then the other ingredients in an artistic arrangement, and top with fresh herbs.


    Aspic. Aspic is jellied broth made from meat or fish stock. It is refrigerated, where it becomes solid, like gelatin; then is cubed and used as a relish for meat, fish or vegetable dishes. Or, it is used as a filler in a molded dish that includes meat, fish or vegetables.


    Bone broth. Like stock (see below), bone broth is typically is made with bones and the small amount of meat adhering to them. As with stock, the bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the broth. The key difference is that bone broth is simmered for a much longer time, 24 hours or more. This long cooking time helps to extract the maximum amount of minerals and other nutrients from the bones.

    Bouillon. Bouillon is a clear, thin broth made typically by simmering chicken or beef in water with seasonings (bouillon is the French word for broth). It is stock (see below) that is strained, and then served as a clear soup or used as a base for other dishes and sauces. Bouillon can be made from mixed sources, e.g. chicken and vegetables. It can be enhanced with other flavors—for example, sherry, herbs and spices. The key difference between bouillon and plain broth is that bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantive with the addition of a grain (corn, barley, rice) and vegetables.



    Broth bowl of chicken in soy miso broth with ramen and vegetables. Photo courtesy Panera Bread.


    Bouillon cube. No serious cook would use a bouillon cube to make bouillon, but it became an important kitchen ingredient for time-strapped home cooks to increase the flavor in dishes. The small, dense cube is dehydrated bouillon or stock with seasonings and a substantial amount of salt. Vegetarian and vegan cubes are also made, and bouillon is also available in granular form. Dehydrated meat stock tablets date back at least to 1735, but bouillon cubes were first commercialized by Maggi in 1908. By 1913, there were at least 10 brands available.

    Broth. Broth is typically made with meat and sometimes a small amount of bones. It is typically simmered for a far shorter period of time than bouillon—45 minutes to 2 hours. The result is very light in flavor and thin in texture, although rich in protein. Plain broth can be thickened with starch or the addition of rice, barley, vegetables or eggs. Examples with eggs include Chinese chicken egg drop soup, Greek avgolemono soup and Italian stracciatella soup. The terms bouillon and broth are often used interchangeably, but as you can see, there are differences.

    Consommé. Consommé is a refined broth, a clear liquid made by clarifying stock for a more elegant presentation. Typically, egg whites are added to the stock. The cloudy particles in the stock attach themselves to the egg whites and rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off. The word consommé means consumed or finished in French, indicating a more finished soup than a stock or a broth. In classic French cuisine, a bowl of consommé was often served at the beginning of a meal.

    Stock. Stock is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat that adheres to the bones. The bones are often roasted before simmering, which improves the flavor. Stock is typically simmered for a longer time than broth, 3 to 4 hours. The result is rich in minerals and gelatin and more flavor than broth, extracted from the longer cooking time.

    Velouté. Velouté is broth thickened with eggs, butter and cream.



    FOOD FUN: BLT Gazpacho


    Bright red tomato gazpacho shows off the BLT topping. Photo courtesy


    Like BLTs? Turn the concept into a soup, as did with this tomato gazpacho.

    There are as many recipes for gazpacho as there are people who make them. Each region of Spain has its own preferred style, dating back hundreds of years. And then, there are modern approaches, from mango gazpacho to gazpacho with beer (the recipe iinks are below).

    Here’s the history of gazpacho.

    The recipe below is a thin tomato purée. No chunky vegetables are used, in order that the BLT topping can stand out.

    But you certainly can place the garnish atop a chunky soup recipe (we have more of those at the bottom of this article).

    You can also use the BLT topping on hot tomato soup.



  • 1 slice country-style bread, about 1″ thick, crusts removed
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped*
  • 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    For The BLT Garnish

  • Tomato gazpacho or tomato soup.
  • Crisp bacon, crumbled or chopped.
  • Baby arugula, representing the lettuce.
    If you want a BLTA, add some diced avocado. Munchery also added croutons, pickled onions and cubes of boiled potato.
    *If the tomatoes aren’t ripe enough or are too pricy, you can substitute 3 cups of tomato juice.



    1. SOAK the bread for a half hour in a small bowl, covered in water. Squeeze out the moisture with your hands.

    2. PURÉE the bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and 1 cup of water in a food processor until very smooth.

    3. USE a coarse sieve to strain, pushing the purée through with the back of a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt.

    4. CHILL the gazpacho in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve in individual bowls or glasses, topped with the BLT garnish.

  • Avocado Gazpacho, topped with shrimp
  • Gazpacho Verde (green gazpacho)
  • White Gazpacho with cucumber, leeks and sour cream
  • White Gazpacho with almonds, garlic and grapes
  • Mango Gazpacho with crème fraîche sorbet
  • Pineapple Gazpacho with chile heat
  • Yellow Bell Pepper Gazpacho
  • Tomato Gazpacho With Beer


    Baby arugula substitutes for the lettuce in this BLT garnish. You can also use it instead of iceberg or romaine lettuce on a BLT sandwich.




    TIP: Use Soup As Sauce

    Want to serve your grilled proteins with some kind of sauce, but don’t have the time or the direction? An honored shortcut is to use a can or carton of soup.

    A packaged soup can quickly be turned into a tasty sauce, and add color and richness to dishes. By mixing the soup concentrate with herbs or spices, you can have your sauce in minutes.

  • Cream soups have long been used by busy housewives: Has anyone not had a sauce made from Campbell’s Cream Of Mushroom Soup? Don’t overlook Cream of Asparagus and Cream of Celery.
  • Non-cream vegetable soups (less fat and calories) are a particular favorite of ours. We often use the Pacific brand, an organic line with nice soup options: Butternut Squash, Cashew Carrot Ginger, Chipotle Sweet Potato, Curried Red Lentil (the soup is actually yellow), French Onion, Poblano Pepper & Corn, Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato, Rosemary Potato and Thai Sweet Potato, for starters.
    These two categories of soup, undiluted or diluted to the consistency you like, can be quickly heated in the microwave and placed on a plate, with the protein on top.

    You can also use broth—beef, chicken, mushroom, vegetable—but you need to use a bowl instead of a plate.



    Soup topped with a fish fillet and garnished with sliced green onions and lots of fresh herbs. Photo courtesy



    Pick up a quality soup to use as your sauce. Photo courtesy Pacific Foods.


    But before you open the soup, think of what you have on hand to enhance the flavor and appearance:

  • Balsamic or flavored vinegar
  • Citrus zest
  • Crumbled soft cheese (just a dab)
  • Dots of cream or flavored olive oil (use a squeeze bottle or
    clean medicine dropper)
  • Herbs
  • Seeds or chopped nuts
  • Spices
  • Raw veggies (use a fine dice of anything)
    Even though you start with packaged soup, you end up putting your own stamp on the sauce.

    And, given the different soups and enhancements you can add to them, you have endless possibilities!

    So the next time you look at plain grilled chicken, fish or tofu, just open the pantry and fridge to see what you can turn into a soup-based sauce.




    RECIPE: Cantaloupe Soup With Prosciutto

    Melon and prosciutto (Parma ham) are a classic Italian first course. Chef Ethan Stowell takes a big step beyond, combining the two ingredients into delicious summer soup.

    It’s a savory rather than a sweet soup; so if you bring home a cantaloupe that’s disappointing in its lack of sweetness, make soup!


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced fennel
  • 1 small yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 large ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, cubed
  • 4 slices prosciutto di Parma, sliced thin
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped chives


    It may look like butternut squash, but this is soup is made from cantaloupe melon. Photo courtesy



    1. HEAT 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and onion; cook without browning, about 5 to 7 minutes until transparent.

    2. ADD half of the cantaloupe; cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cantaloupe is cooked through.

    3. TRANSFER the mixture into a food processor. Add remaining cantaloupe and, with processor running, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Process until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt.

    4. POUR the soup into four shallow soup bowls (yield: 3 cups). Top each with prosciutto, chives and pepper.

    VARIATION: We tried crisping/frizzling the prosciutto in a hot pan. While prosciutto connoisseurs would call this sacrilege, we liked it.



    Have leftover prosciutto? Wrap it around bread sticks as an antipasto or snack with beer, wine and cocktails. Photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese.



    Prosciutto is the Italian word for ham. The term prosciutto is almost always used for a dry-cured ham that is usually sliced thinly and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto.

    The word derives from the Latin pro (before) and exsuctus (past participle of exsugere “to suck out”), and refers to the sucking out of the moisture in the ham by the mountain winds, which whipped through the sheds where the hams were hanging. The modern Italian verb prosciugare means “to dry thoroughly.”

    The finest prosciuttos are PDO-protected: Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham) is made only in the Parma* region of Italy. It is considered a “sweet” ham, cured only with salt but not too salty, and aged for 400 days. Most prosciutto is pressed by a machine to achieve the flat shape.
    *Prosciutto San Daniele, which is also PDO-protected, is made in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy.


    Check out the different types of ham.



    CINCO DE MAYO: Make Menudo, A Hearty Mexican Soup


    Menudo, a Mexican stew made with tripe
    (chuck roast can be substituted). Photo


    Chef Johnny Gnall’s mother grew up in Mexico City. She discovered her talent for cooking at a young age, and amassed recipes from friends and family while still a young girl.

    Her greatest teacher, however, was her nanny, Eulalia, a native Mexican. A tremendous source of knowledge on authentic Mexican cooking, many of Eulalia’s recipes dated back several hundred years. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, Johnny shares this one.

    “Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made from tripe (cow stomach). It is very hearty and lore suggests it as a hangover cure. Foreign to most Americans, tripe is actually a lot better than it sounds. If cooked right, its flavor and texture become like that of great pot roast.

    “Buttery and velvety on your palate, the meat almost melts in your mouth and gives an unmistakable richness to the whole dish. If you’re still not convinced and the thought of stomach is a bit much (or your butcher doesn’t have any on hand), you can substitute chuck roast for a more American-friendly menudo.

    “Traditionally, you would use a casuela, a large earthenware pot; but any pot will do if you’re short on Mexican earthenware.”

    There is also an unrelated Philippine menudo, a stew made with sliced pork and calf’s liver in tomato sauce.



  • 2 pounds chuck roast or tripe
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 1 tablespoon each: marjoram, oregano and thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few pinches of salt
  • 4 cups of Peruvian corn (maiz—see note below)
    For The Chile Sauce

  • 5 fresno chiles
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste

  • Chili powder
  • Chopped white onion
  • Lime wedges
  • Oregano
  • Salsa(s)

  • Warm tortillas


    1. PLACE the bay leaf, garlic and onion in a piece of cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine, or other device for easy removal.

    2. DICE the beef into half-inch pieces and place in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, herbs and salt and fill the pot the remainder of the way with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 4 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender. Then turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf, garlic and onion.

    3. BOIL the corn in a separate pot until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

    4. COOK the corn. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

    5. MAKE the chile sauce. Soak the chiles in hot water for 20 minutes. Then combine them in a blender with the other ingredients plus enough of the beef broth to keep things spinning with ease. Once blended, strain and add to the pot of beef. Simmer for 20 more minutes, then add the corn.

    6. SERVE with the garnishes on the side so people can add what they like. Add some warm tortillas into the mix and you are good to go!



    This is maiz, also called choclo in Peru and Peruvian corn in the U.S. Photo courtesy


    In Mexico, there are regional variations, which have been brought to Mexican-American communities in the U.S.

    There’s annual Menudo Festival in Santa Maria, California, where you can feast on the different varieties. Here’s more about menudo.

    Most historians believe that maize was domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. Numerous varieties were cultivated by the Olmecs and Mayas. Corn had spread throughout Mesoamerica by 2500 B.C.E.

    In a region with so many varieties of corn, names evolved. The type of corn grown in the U.S. is called elote (ee-LO-tay). Peruvian-style corn, with giant white kernels, is called maiz (ma-EES).

    It is also called choclo in Peru (more than 30 varieties of corn are grown in every color and size imaginable). These jumbo kernels have a different texture than American corn varieties and are less sweet. They were first cultivated in Cusco, the city high in the Andes that was once the capital of the Inca empire.

    Choclo has been a staple of the Peruvian diet for thousands of years. It is used to make everything from tamales to soups and pastries.

    It can typically be found frozen or dried at Latin markets and online.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Grains As A Soup Garnish

    When we have leftover cooked grains—barley, bulgur, kasha, quinoa, rice, etc.—we start using them the next morning in breakfast omelets. By the time lunch comes, we’re ready to make grain salad.

    If we don’t have enough for a salad, we add the grains to soup. They can make quite a handsome garnish, and most grains go with any type of soup.

    In the photo, Brazilian steakhouse chain Texas de Brazil topped a mound of rice with a shrimp garnish.

    But you can use the grain plain, with a simple sprinkling of green herbs or something equally colorful (halved cherry tomato, sliced jalapeño or bell pepper).

    Or, take the occasion to use up leftover proteins to top the grain: bacon, fish, seafood, poultry, steak. It’s a great way to repurpose small bits of leftovers you can’t do much else with.

    Vegetarians can substitute a cube of grilled tofu, a cherry tomato, olive or leftover steamed vegetables.

    And, you can use leftover beans and pulses (chickpeas, lentils, peas) instead of the grains.

    Whatever you choose, a sprig of green—shredded basil (called chiffonade) or a small basil leaf, rosemary or parsley sprig, cilantro, chives, chopped green onions (scallions) or microgreens–is the final crown on what started out as a conventional bowl of soup.



    Turn rice into a base for even more garnishes. First mound the grain in the center of the bowl, then carefully pour the soup around it. Photo courtesy Texas de Brazil.

    It’s a nice change from croutons.

    Here are 20+ more ways to garnish soup.



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