THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for Soups

TIP OF THE DAY: Updated Chicken Noodle Soup

chicken-noodle-soup-goodeggs-230r

Chicken Noodle Soup

Asian Chicken Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

[1] The original soup has flat noodles, but try some of the many fun shaped pastas (e.g. bow ties, corkscrews, wagon wheels; photo courtesy Good Eggs. [2] Turn soup into a meal by packing in the chicken, pasta and veg (here’s the recipe from Gotta Want Seconds). [3] How about chicken noodle soup Asian-style, with ramen noodles and sliced chicken? You can use traditional American vegetables—celery, carrots, onions—and stock; or accent the stock with ginger, soy sauce, plus bok choy and napa cabbage (here’s the recipe from Recipe Tin Eats). [4] Got glass mugs or Irish coffee glasses? Use them! (here’s the recipe from A Family Feast).

 

For February 4th, National Homemade Soup Day, calls all of us to make a pot of soup.

If you haven’t made homemade soup, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is—especially a broth-based soup. Just add the ingredients to a pot of water or stock, bring to a boil and simmer. That’s it in a nutshell (with details depending on individual recipes).

We couldn’t decide which soup to make, so we turned to the numbers: America’s #1 favorite is chicken noodle soup.

Our grandmother made this classic comfort soup from scratch with fine egg noodles (photo #4). Our mom preferred wide egg noodles.

But why not have fun with it and use one of the many fun shapes: bowties, corkscrews, shells, wagon wheels, etc.?

ADD AT LEAST ONE GARNISH

Some garnishes—like cheese and sour cream—don’t work well with broth-type soups. But here’s what does—and you can add as many of them as you wish:

  • Herbs: Chopped or minced fresh herbs taste best, but sprinkle dried herbs—including garlic or onion chips—if that’s what you like.
  • Spices: From black or colored peppercorns to red chili flakes—or maybe a dash of curry powder—check your spices for something that adds flavor and color.
  • Raw vegetables: There are vegetables in the soup already, but a topping of crunchy matchsticks—carrots, celery, daikon, jicama—or scallion slices is a welcome addition. For color, add diced bell peppers—ideal a mix of red, green, orange and/or yellow.
  • Bonus: More chicken—diced, pulled or sliced. Adding a mound of chicken to the center of the bowl turns the soup into a main meal.
  • Plus: Better bread and crackers: Raisin semolina bread? Walnut bread? Flatbread? Breadsticks? Crisps? Pick an artisan bread or gourmet crackers. Or, serve crostini: toasted baguette slice spread with anything from “bruschetta topping” to pimento cheese.
  •  
    RECIPE: CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

    We make our chicken soup from scratch (here’s a recipe), but you can do it faster with a box of chicken stock and pre-cooked chicken breasts.

    We use lots of fresh dill and parsley in our stock, but some people prefer thyme.

    Ingredients

  • Chicken stock
  • Noodles/pasta of choice
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Fresh herbs
  • Salt and pepper
  •  
    Garnishes

    Pick one or two; or set out several and let each person customize his/her own bowl of soup.

  • Chopped fresh chives and/or parsley.
  • Gremolata.
  • Sliced jalapeños or a sprinkle of red chile flakes.
  • Chinese-style fried noodles or wonton strips (here’s an easy recipe) for homemade wonton strips.
  • More chicken: pulled, sliced or diced.
  •  
    Here are garnishes for other types of soups.
     
    Preparation

    1. DICE the carrots and celery, slice the onions, mince the herbs and cook them all in the stock until the vegetables are al dente. If you’re using raw chicken breasts, add them as well. You can make the recipe up to this point in advance and refrigerate; first remove the chicken breasts and tightly wrap them separately. When ready to serve…

    2. COOK the noodles according to package instructions. While it cooks, dice, slice or shred/pull the cooked chicken. Taste and add salt and pepper to the stock as desired.

    3. PLACE the drained, cooked pasta and the chicken in serving bowls. Ladle the stock and vegetables over them. Garnish as desired.

     
    BEYOND CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

    Check out our Soup Glossary for the different types of soups to make.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pho & Ramen Breakfast…Or Perhaps Some Miso Soup?

    Asians drink soup for breakfast: Japanese miso soup and Thai pho, for example. Americans looking for something quick, hot, nutritious and comforting should consider the option.

    Both can be packed with vegetables, and carried in a travel mug or thermos.

    Your soup supply can also be part of a low-calorie, healthful lunch or snack.

    EASY BREAKFAST MISO SOUP

    Miso soup for breakfast? Sure: That’s how millions of Japanese people start the day.

    All you need to make a bowl of miso soup is hot water and a spoonful of miso paste, available in many supermarkets as well as in Asian food stores. Seriously, it’s as easy as instant coffee.

    You can have it plain, add tofu cubes as served at Japanese restaurants, or add vegetables of choice, as shown in this video.

    The tofu can be cubed in advance; in fact, the whole soup can be made in advance and microwaved in a minute, which is especially convenient if you want your soup with cooked veggies.

    There are also instant versions in packets with freeze-dried tofu cubes, which just require water and heating.

    We were heartbroken when Pacific Organics discontinued their terrific pho soup base. It was so easy to whip up a delicious, nutritious noodle and egg soup that can be served for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner.

    Pho is one of our favorite foods in the world, especially when the broth is cooked for days to extract amazing layers of flavor (go to a Vietnamese restaurant that makes it from scratch, not from a commercial base. It may be one of your life’s memorable food moments.)

    Since then, we’ve discovered Nona Lim’s flavorful broths: pho, miso ramen and spicy Szechuan.

    All can be drunk straight or enhanced with noodles, eggs and vegetables. You can add meat for a hearty lunch or dinner dish, and top it with fresh herbs for color and more flavor.

    Savory Choice, which for years has been our go-to chicken broth base, now makes pho concentrate packets in beef, chicken and vegetable.

    You can also find powdered concentrates in Asian food stores and online.

    So what’s stopping you from making a delicious Asian breakfast?

    RECIPE: PHO & RAMEN BREAKFAST

    Ingredients For 4 To 6 Servings

  • 12 ounces Nona Lim plus one cup water or other equivalent* pho broth (substitute Szechuan broth or miso soup)
  • 5 ounces ramen (one packet)
  • 1 head bok choy or ½ head chard or kale, sliced into ½” ribbons
  • 3 green onions/scallions, green and white parts, chopped roughly
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped roughly (substitute basil, chervil, mint or parsley)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD water to the the broth concentrate per package directions, then heat. When it boils, add noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes.

    2. ADD the greens and scallions and simmer for another 3-5 minutes, until the greens are bright and tender but still have texture.

    TIP: If you have wilting veggies in your crisper, or a piece of uncooked chicken or fish that needs to be used, this is a perfect way to use them up. Just shred/slice and toss ‘em in!)

    3. BRING a small pot of water to a boil, then add the eggs and simmer for 7 minutes and 20 seconds. Remove from water and place in an ice bath; peel when cool.

    4. LADLE out bowls of noodles and broth, adding a handful of fresh herbs and a halved egg to each.
    ________________

    *The Nona Lim package plus the water equals 16 ounces of broth.

     

    Ramen - Egg Soup

    Nona Lim Pho Broth

    Savory Choice Beef Pho

    Kikkoman Instant Tofu Miso Soup

    [1] A delicious Asian breakfast, this soup triple-tasks for lunch and dinner. [2] Ready to heat: Nona Lim’s pho base (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [3] We alternate using both Nona Lim and Savory Choice concentrate packets (photo courtesy Grub Market). [4] A quick substitute: instant miso soup packets. There is also a version with tofu and spinach (photo courtesy Kikkoman).

     

      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: New England Clam Chowder

    January 21st is National New England Clam Chowder Day, with a cream base. There is no National Manhattan Clam Chowder Day, honoring the tomato-base version; but you can have your choice of recipes on February 25th.

    THE HISTORY OF CHOWDER

    Chowder is a type of soup (see below for the major categories) made with potatoes and onions. It can include clams or other seafood, chicken, corn and creative variations.

    A friend of ours has an old family recipe from Maine for a haddock chowder. Feel free to combine fish and shellfish. How about a surf-and-turf chowder with both chicken and fish or shellfish?

    The word chowder has its roots in the Latin calderia, which originally meant a hearth for warming things and later came to mean a cooking pot. The word evolved to cauldron, which in French became chaudiere, a word that easily became chowder in English.

    The first chowders in our culture were fish chowders, made in cauldrons in fishing villages along the coast of France and in the Cornwall region of Southwestern England. When the fishermen came to the New World, they found clams in huge supply along the northern Atlantic coast, and clam chowder was born.

    Celebrate today—or any day demanding a hearty soup—with this yummy clam chowder.

    RECIPE: NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER

    This one-pot recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit, can be made a day in advance, up to Step 5. Bring the chowder to a simmer before adding the clams on the second day.

    Substitutes:

    Whichever clams are freshest are the ones to use. We’ve used razor clams, and actually prefer them for the surprise factor and arty appearance.

    If you have no access to fresh clams, you can substitute two 10-ounce cans of baby clams, plus 6 cups of bottled clam juice (not clam juice cocktail) for the broth.

    Ingredients For 8 One-Cup Servings

  • 8 pounds clams in shell*, scrubbed
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold† potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish: chopped fresh chives or parsley
  • Oyster crackers or saltines
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING the clams and water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Cook until the clams are just open, 8-10 minutes; discard any that do not open. Drain, reserving the broth. Transfer the clams to a baking pan, rimmed sheet or platter; let cool until comfortable to handle, remove the meat and discard the shells. This step can be done 1 day ahead. Cover the clams and broth separately and refrigerate.

       

    New England Clam Chowder

    New England Clam Chowder

    Clam Chowder Bread Bowl

    [1] The clam chowder recipe with bacon from Bon Appetít. [2] Some recipes are heavier on the cream, but that gives you more cream flavor, less clam-vegetable flavor (photo courtesy Mackenzie Ltd.). [3] Clam chowder in individual bread bowls at Arch Rock Fish of Santa Barbara (alas, now closed).

     

    2. CHOP the clams into bite-size pieces. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Add water to measure 6 cups.

    3. MELT the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the celery, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

    4. ADD the reserved broth, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes.

    5. COMBINE the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl to form a slurry, and stir it into the chowder. Return the chowder to a boil to thicken. DO day ahead. Let cool; discard the bay leaf.

    6. STIR in the clams and cream. Taste and season with salt as needed (some clams are brinier than others) and pepper; or allow diners to season their own. Divide the chowder among bowls. Garnish with chives or parsley. Serve with and oyster crackers.
    ________________

    *Discard any uncooked clams with broken or opened shells; these can collect bacteria. Conversely, discard any cooked clams with shells that have not opened.

    †Substitute Baby Dutch potatoes or other waxy potato (here are the different types of potatoes).

     

    Manhattan Clam Chowder

    Rhode Island Clam Chowder

    Razor Clams

    [4] A beautiful Manhattan Clam Chowder from an Australian cooking competition, MasterChef. [5] Rhode Island Clam Chowder has a clear base. Here’s the recipe from The New York Times. [6] Sweet-flesh razor clams can look exotic, yet beautiful, in a clam chowder (photo courtesy The Fish Society).

     

    Types Of Clam Chowder

  • New England Clam Chowder. If you like creamy soups, the New England style may be more of your cup of soup. It’s milk- or cream-based (with flour as a thickener), and splattering it is unlikely to permanently ruin that shirt or tie.
  • Manhattan Clam Chowder. If you want to save calories or cut back on cholesterol, Manhattan Clam Chowder is based on broth and tomatoes. It is actually an Italian clam soup, arriving on these shores with Italian immigrants in the late 1800s. It tends to be seasoned with oregano, from its Italian heritage. The original Italian soup achieved broader appeal with the name of New York Clam Chowder, which evolved to Manhattan Clam Chowder.
  • Rhode Island Clam Chowder. This variation, found chiefly in Rhode Island, is made with clear broth.
  •  
    THE DIFFERENCES: BROTH, CHOWDER, SOUP & MORE

  • Bisque: A thick, creamy soup that traditionally was made from puréed shellfish. Today bisques are also made from fruits, game fish and vegetables.
  • Broth & Stock: Liquids in which meat, fish, grains or vegetables have been simmered. The difference between a broth and a stock is that broth is made from the desirable ingredients; stock is made from “leftovers” such as bones and skin; thus broth is richer and more nourishing than stock. Both are used as a base for soups and gravies.
  • Chowder: Chunky soups thickened with flour. The main ingredient chowder can range widely, including chicken, corn, fish and seafood.
  • Consommé: A broth that has been clarification. This means that egg whites or other ingredients are boiled in the broth to coagulate the sediment, resulting in a clear, elegant-looking soup.
  • Gumbo: A dish that can fall into the soup or stew category, a strong stock of meat and/or fish/seafood, with pieces of the protein and a variety of vegetables, served over rice. Gumbo is traditionally thickened with okra or filé powder (from the sassfras tree) and vegetables. A gumbo is traditionally served over rice.
  • Gravy: Gravy is not a soup, but a sauce; although Americans have often turned canned soups into sauces. Gravies are made from the juices of cooked meat or vegetables after they have been cooked. Almost all gravies start with a roux (ROO), a mixture of flour and butter; and are thickened with starch (flour, corn starch, arrowroot, etc).
  • Purée: Some soups are puréed into smoothness. A purée can be considered a vegetable or grain/pulse counterpoint to a bisque. The technique also produces smooth apple sauce, whipped potatoes and puréed vegetables (carrot purée, broccoli purée, etc.).
  • Ragout: The French term for a main-dish stew. Note that in Italian, n Italian cuisine, ragù is a meat-based pasta sauce.
  • Soup: Any combination of ingredients cooked in a liquid base: fish/seafood, fruit, meats, starches and vegetables. Soups can be thick and hearty or thin and delicate. While cooked ingredients can remain in the soup, the objective of the ingredients is to flavor the liquid. Soup can be served warm, room temperature or chilled. Fruit soups can be served for starters or desserts.
  • Stew: A hearty dish made from proteins, vegetables, pulses, etc., simmered in a liquid (water, broth, stock, wine, beer) and then served in the resulting gravy. Stewing is a technique to cook less tender cuts of meat: The slow cooking method tenderizes the meat and the lower temperature allows the flavors to combine. There is a thin line between soups and chunky soups; generally, stews contain less liquid. Sometimes the name is adopted for a soup. Oyster Stew, for example, is a thick soup with butter and milk or cream, like a bisque.
  •  
    MORE FOR SOUP LOVERS

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOUP

    THE HISTORY OF SOUP

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Tom Kha Gai Soup

    Our neighborhood Thai restaurant closed on December 31st, victim to a(nother) heartless New York City landlord.

    It left us without our weekly supply of tom kha gai—and at the start of National Soup Month, no less.

    Tom kha gai, literally “chicken galangal soup,” is a spicy and sour hot chicken soup with coconut milk.

    In Thailand, most tom kha gai/kai recipes include coconut milk, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, Thai chili peppers, cilantro (dill weed in Laotian versions), straw mushrooms (or shiitake or other mushrooms), chicken, fish sauce and lime juice.

    Fried chiles are sometimes added, for a smoky flavor as well as texture, color, and heat—just a touch so they don’t overwhelm the other flavors.

    Other versions substitute seafood, pork or tofu for the chicken. We adapted this recipe from the Long Grain restaurant in Camden, Maine.

    The soup is very easy to make. The challenge for people who don’t live near Asian markets is to find some of the ingredients. We’ve suggested substitutes.

    Don’t want to chase after ingredients? Don’t like ginger or lemongrass? Try this recipe for Spicy Sea Bass Chowder With Coconut Milk.

    RECIPE: TOM KHA GAI, THAI CHICKEN & COCONUT MILK SOUP

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 1” piece ginger root, peeled
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves (substitute 1 tablespoon lime zest and ¼ cup lime juice)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1½ pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
  • 8 ounces shiitake, oyster, or maitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce* (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tough outer layers removed (substitutes†)
  • Garnishes: sliced chiles or chili oil, chopped cilantro, lime wedges
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LIGHTLY SMASH the lemongrass and ginger with the back of a knife. Cut the lemongrass into 4” pieces. Bring the lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves and broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer until flavors are melded, 8–10 minutes. Strain the broth into clean saucepan; discard solids.

    2. ADD the chicken and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the mushrooms, and simmer, skimming occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and mushrooms are soft, 20–25 minutes. Mix in the coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar.

     

    Tom Kha Gai Soup

    Tom Kha Gai Soup

    Lemongrass

    Tom kha gai, Thai coconut soup. [1] Photo by Evan Joshua Swigart | Wikimedia. [2] A more elegant presentation from DC Cuisine. [3] Lemongrass: top, with the outer leaves, which are removed (center).Photo courtesy Keirsten’s Kitchen.

     
    3. DIVIDE the soup among bowls. Garnish with cilantro; serve with chili oil and lime wedges.

    MORE FOR NATIONAL SOUP DAY

  • Different Types Of Soup: A Soup Glossary
  • The Different Styles Of Soup: Bisque, Broth, Chowder, Consommé, etc.
  • Soup Garnishes
  • Drizzled Soup Garnishes
  • Start A Soup Club
  • Soup In A Tea Cup
  • How To Finish Soups In A Blender
  • How To Puree Soup With An Immersion Blender
  • The History Of Soup
  •  
    ________________
    *Your supermarket probably carries the Thai Kitchen brand. It’s inexpensive and functional; but if you’ll be using fish sauce frequently, spring for one of the better brands from Thailand or Vietnam.

    †There is nothing like fresh lemongrass. Trim the outer leaves and the bottom (see photo above) and use the first six inches of the base. You can buy fresh lemongrass online and you may find frozen lemongrass locally, which is almost as good. Dried lemongrass is as pale a substitute as dried basil, parsley and other herbs. You can steep any leftover lemongrass, including the trimmed tops, into a delicious herbal tea. To substitute: Zest from 1 lemon = 2 stalks lemongrass. You can also use fresh lemon verbena, lemon balm or lemon leaves.

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Nona Lim Soups

    Nona Lim Thai Curry Soup Cup

    Nona Lim Carrot Ginger Soup

    Nona Lim Noodle Bowl

    Pho Ingredients

    Nona Lim Green Curry

    Nona Lim Green Curry

    [1] One of the grab-and-go soup cups, in five flavors. [2] Soup pouches, in 10 flavors. [3] Combine one of six varieties of noodles with a broth for a delicious noodle bowl. [4] Add pho ingredients to pho broth. [5] Enjoy Thai Green Curry plain, or [6] loaded with fresh veggies, proteins and/or grains of choice. Photos courtesy Nona Lim.

     

    January is National Soup Month, a hot repast for colder weather.

    The category of grab-and-go soups have grown and grown, first thanks to chains like Hale and Hearty following deli take-out, followed by fresh packaged brands in store refrigerator cases.

    Boulder Organic and Healthy Choice are two of the larger brands. They are typically regional or store brands. For example, Fresh Direct carries Ladle Of Love and Splendid Spoon. Whole Foods in New York City sells their own brand plus a small selection of others, including today’s tip, Nona Lim.

    NONA LIM: DEVELOPED FOR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
    DELICIOUS FARE FOR THE REST OF US

    Nona Lim soups were developed in Oakland, California, by a former professional athlete who constantly sought natural ways to gain a competitive advantage. She discovered the power of the right foods as “functional medicine.”

    She observed how inflammatory foods would hurt her performance, and found that her body and brain would only function at peak performance—or recover faster— when fueled with whole, clean foods.

    Nona went to the drawing board and created a healing, nutrient-dense, non-inflammatory meal program made with fresh, plant-rich, whole food ingredients and clean preparations made from scratch. Word spread, and the brand took off.

    The variety of prepared meals and soups, broths and noodles are infused with the Asian flavors of Singapore, where Nona spent her childhood. The products are dairy free, mostly gluten free (some noodles are wheat-based), and in Nona’s words, “100% crap-free.”

    You can customize any of the soups and broths with your favorite meats, seafood, and vegetables. Products include:

  • Soups
  • Broths
  • Soup Cups
  • Rice Noodles
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Seasonal Specials
  •  
    SOUP CUPS

    We love these soup cups: light and delicious soups and broths in convenient 10-ounce “heat-and-sip” cup. Just pop it in the microwave (the soups are also tasty chilled).

    They’re low in calories, so also work as a light snack; and certainly, a more nutritious alternative to a mocha latte.

    The cup and lid can actually be re-used for refills or anything else you want to carry and sip. We’re avid re-cyclers, and we love it!

    Flavors include:

  • Carrot Ginger Soup Cup
  • Miso Broth Soup Cup
  • Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth Soup Cup
  • Tomato Thai Basil Soup Cup
  • Vietnamese Pho Bone Broth
  •  
    SOUP POUCHES

    Multi-portion soup pouches include:

  • All Bean Chili
  • Asian Lemongrass Soup
  • Carrot Ginger Soup
  • Celery Root Soup
  • Kale & Potato Soup
  • Red Lentil Veggie Soup
  • Spicy Rice Soup
  • Thai Green Curry
  • Tomato Thai Basil Sou
  • Zucchini Soup
  •  
    For a lighter touch, we like the:

    BROTH POUCHES

  • Miso Ramen Broth
  • Spicy Szechuan Bone Broth
  • Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth
  • Vietnamese Pho Bone Broth
  •  
    You can enjoy them as is; but they’re so easy to customize with whatever vegetables, meat, seafood, tofu, or grains you like. Our secret: Toss in all the leftovers.

    Here’s a store locator.

    The products can be purchased online. Consider gifting them to your favorite athletes, dieters, and anyone down with the flu.

    Discover more at NonaLim.com.

     

     
      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.