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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 TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Soups

RECIPE: Pasta e Fagioli Soup

If you’ve watched enough “Abbott & Costello” reruns, you’ll hear Lou Costello wanting a dish of “pasta fazool.” That’s Neapolitan Italian dialect for pasta e fagioli, correctly pronounced pasta ay fah-JOE-lee.

Pasta e fagioli, pasta with beans (typically cannellini beans), is a popular Italian peasant dish.

Some Americans call it bean and macaroni soup, but “pasta fazool” seems to have captured the public’s imagination:

  • “Pastafazoola,” a 1927 hit song, beckons “Don’t be a fool, eat pasta fazool.” The catchphrase became that era’s version of “Where’s the beef?” Here are the song’s writers, Van and Schenk, performing it.
  • Dean Martin’s 1952 hit song “That’s Amore,” advises: “When the stars make you drool, just-a like pasta fazool, that’s amore” (watch this video of his performance).
  •  

    This version of pasta e fagioli is made with conchigliette—baby shells—instead of the conventional tubetti (see photo below).

     

    How about some pasta fazool for National Soup Month (January)? Here’s an easy recipe for Pasta e Fagioli from Patsy’s restaurant in New York City.

     

    Tubetti pasta: “little tubes” used in soup.
    Photo courtesy Sabato.co.nz.

     

    RECIPE: PASTA E FAGIOLA

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1/2 pound (2 cups) tubetti pasta, elbow macaroni or other soup pasta, cooked to package directions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) marinara sauce
  • Garnish: fresh basil chiffonade
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT olive oil in a deep skillet and sauté the onions until lightly browned.

    2. ADD stock, beans and marinara sauce; bring to a boil. Add the cooked pasta.

     
    3. REDUCE heat and simmer for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    TYPES OF SOUP PASTA

    Italians have long made very small cuts of pasta called soup pasta, or pastini (“little pasta”). Pasta in brodo—soup in broth—is a popular dish. Types of soup pasta include, among others:

  • Acini di pepe (peperini), shaped like peppercorns
  • Alphabets (alfabeto)
  • Anelletti, small rings
  • Conchigliette, baby shells
  • Ditali/ditalini, small tubes and even tinier tubes
  • Farfalline, small bow ties (tripolini are a small bows with a rounder shape)
  • Grattoni, tiny diamonds
  • Orzo (rosamarina), pasta shaped like grains of barley
  • Risi (risoni, pasta a riso), rice shaped pasta
  • Seme di melone, melon seed shaped pasta
  • Stelle (stellette, stellini), star shaped pasta
  • Stortini, tiny elbow macaroni
  • Tubetti, small tubes
  •  
    Each region of Italy made its own shapes before the days of mass communication. Thus, there are very similar shapes with different names (for example, orzo, risi and seme di melone).
     
    CHECK OUT THE MANY TYPES OF PASTA IN OUR PASTA GLOSSARY.
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Low Calorie Seafood Chowder

    Lower calorie “chowder.” Photo courtesy
    Swanson.

     

    We just discussed transforming favorite, calorie-packed recipes with lighter cooking techniques. This recipe for a lower calorie seafood “chowder,” from Swanson’s, substitutes vegetable broth and tomato soup for the cream used in many chowders.

    FOOD 101: Call it what you want, but even with cream, this is not a chowder. Chowders are enriched with salt pork fatback and thickened with flour or crushed soup crackers—two ingredients that define a chowder, but are missing from this recipe. In addition, potatoes as well as other vegetables are typically added to a chowder; this recipe omits the potatoes.

    You can call it “chowder” for marketing purposes (i.e., making the dish sound more exciting to your family). But know in your heart that it’s simply “seafood soup.”

     
    LOWER CALORIE SEAFOOD CHOWDER/SOUP

    Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups Swanson Vegetable Broth
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup
  • 1 package (about 10 ounces) frozen whole baby carrots, thawed (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 pound fresh or thawed frozen firm white fish fillets (cod, haddock or halibut), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound fresh large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 3/4 pound mussels (about 12), well scrubbed and beards removed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion and thyme and cook until they’re tender. Stir the water, broth, soup and carrots in the saucepan and heat to a boil.

    2. ADD the fish. Cover and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Discard any open or cracked mussels. Add the shrimp and mussels.

    3. COVER and simmer for 3 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork, the shrimp are pink and the mussels open. Discard any mussels that do not open. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve.
     

    KNOW YOUR SOUP

    A brief history of soup and the different types of soup.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Gazpacho Day

    Gazpacho made with yellow bell peppers. Photo
    courtesy Chicken Fried Gourmet.

     

    Gazpacho is a soup served chilled or room temperature and usually associated with summer, when few people desire hot soup. So why is National Gazpacho Day on December 6th?

    Our guess is that whoever requested the establishment of National Gazpacho Day was from a warm Southern state. But even those of us facing freezing temperatures today can dig in.

    Gazpacho is a low-calorie, high-nutrition dish, a boon for dieters and people who don’t eat enough veggies. It is one of those recipes that affords maximum customization: Each cook can do his or her thing, and even a favorite recipe can be tweaked each time it is made. The combination of vegetables, herbs, types of vinegar and flavored olive oil, and garnishes is endless.

    Our favorite idea for “winter gazpacho” is from Chef Michael O’Boyle of ChickenFriedGourmet.com.

    He serves a yellow bell pepper gazpacho as a shooter, which can be served from trays at a cocktail party or as a first course at a seated dinner. The garnish on top of the shooter is a tortilla chip cup filled with salsa.

     

    It’s an ideal recipe for winter, when tomatoes are not in season.

    This bell pepper gazpacho recipe was adapted from TheLunaCafe, which also has an e-book for the iPad, 12 Days Of Christmas Cookies.

    RECIPE: BELL PEPPER GAZPACHO

    Ingredients

  • 6 red or yellow bell peppers, roasted, cored, seeded, de-ribbed and chopped (1½ pounds roasted yields 3 cups chopped, roasted, peeled bell peppers)
  • 5 ounces red or yellow grape tomatoes (match to color of peppers)
  • 1/4 red onion, peeled, and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 serrano* chiles, halved lengthwise, cored, seeded, and de-ribbed
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • ¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons excellent sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons smoked hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  •  
    *For milder heat, use an ancho, cascabel or poblano chile.

     

    GAZPACHO GARNISHES

    Dairy Garnishes

  • Greek yogurt, plain or herbed (mix in finely chopped fresh herbs)
  • Large crouton/crostini with fresh goat cheese
  • Crème fraîche
  • Sour cream
  •  
    Non-Dairy Garnishes

  • Baby beets or diced whole beets
  • Boiled potato, half or whole
  • Crab meat or other seafood, chilled
  • Diced avocado, cucumber or tomato
  • Croutons (small) or large garlic crouton/crostini
  • Fresh herbs
  • Steamed vegetables (broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, etc.)
  •  

    The more familiar tomato gazpacho, garnished with avocado and crabmeat. Photo courtesy McCormick. Here’s the recipe.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, chiles and garlic in a blender. Cover and liquefy. NOTE: Use disposable gloves when handling hot chiles to avoid accidental irritation from the capsaicin in the seeds and ribs.

    2. ADD the stock, orange juice, olive oil, orange zest, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover and liquefy. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If you want a thinner soup, add more stock.

    3. CHILL, covered, for at least 4 hours. Garnish and serve.
     
    GAZPACHO HISTORY

    Gazpacho is a cold raw vegetable soup that originated in Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. The name is of Arabic origin, and literally means “soaked bread,” an ingredient of early recipes that made use of the prior day’s stale bread. The term has become generic for “cold vegetable soup.”

    The original recipe came from the Arabs who occupied much of Spain from the 8th through the 13th centuries. Early on, gazpacho was a way for field workers to make lunch from the vegetables at hand. The recipe typically included stale bread, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, onion, tomato, wine vinegar and salt—which remains the Andalusian style. Since the tomato is a New World fruit that was not eaten in Europe until the 1800s*, the earliest gazpacho was made without it.

    There are many variations of gazpacho, depending on local ingredients and preferences. The familiar red tomato-based gazpacho is just one of many possibilities. American recipes tend to leave out the bread, although some garnish the soup with a garlic crouton. White gazpacho is made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, bread, garlic and salt, and substitutes green grapes and almonds for the vegetables.

    —Steven Gans

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

    Hearty corn chowder. Photo courtesy Spice
    Islands.

     

    We don’t use a slow cooker, mostly because we work steps away from the kitchen. But those who want to come home to a hot dish of comfort food rely on slow cooking.

    With a chill in the air, this Slow Cooker Corn Chowder recipe from Spice Islands may be just what you’re looking for. The prep time is 20 minutes, and while you’re away, your slow cooker simmers the ingredients for 8 to 9 hours.

    Pick up a a crusty loaf on the way home, or refrigerator rolls from the fridge, or some saltines or oyster crackers.

    You can also cook this recipe on the stove top, cook time 25-35 minutes.

    For a heartier meal, substitute 6 sausages, sliced, for the bacon. We used chicken sausage flavored with garlic and spinach.

    RECIPE: SLOW COOKER CORN CHOWDER

    Ingredients For 10 One-Cup Servings

  • 6 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
  • 5 cups peeled and cubed, red potatoes
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1/4 cup minced dried onion
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) Monterey Jack or white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Optional garnish: fresh or dried chives, thyme or other herb
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE bacon, potatoes, corn, onions, broth, water, garlic salt, pepper and turmeric in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 8 to 9 hours, or until potatoes are tender.

    2. STIR in milk and cheese. Cover and heat until cheese melts, about 2 to 3 minutes.

    3. GARNISH each bowl with chives, if desired. Serve hot.

    Stove Top Method

    1. PLACE bacon, potatoes, corn, onions, broth, water, garlic salt, pepper and turmeric in stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil.

    2. REDUCE heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. (Add 1 additional cup of broth, if needed).

    3. ADD milk and cheese, and stir until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

    Find more tasty recipes at SpiceIslands.com.

     

    FOOD 101: WHAT IS CHOWDER?

    To many Americans, chowder is a soup with fish or seafood as the main ingredient. However, as with the recipe above, there are non-fish chowders such as corn chowder and chicken chowder.

    In any chowder, potatoes and other vegetables are typically added. The soup was originally enriched with salt pork fatback (the fat from the back of the pig) and thickened with flour or crushed soup crackers—two ingredients that define a chowder. In the recipe above, bacon stands in for the fatback.

    The name “chowder” derives from the French word for the pot in which such a soup was cooked, chaudière, from the Latin caldaria. The word came to New England via Newfoundland, where Breton fishermen tossed some of the day’s catch into a large pot to make soup.

    That soup was originally thickened with crushed ship’s biscuits (hardtack); today flour is used.

     


    Here’s a recipe to make your own. Photo courtesy HardtackIsBack.Blogspot.com.

     

    WHAT IS HARDTACK?

    Hardtack (or hard tack) is a simple water biscuit (cracker) made from flour, water, and sometimes, salt. Baked to remove most of the moisture for a long shelf life, it was sustenance for travelers. Merchant seamen, sailors and soldiers saw more of it than they’d have liked.

    The name derives from the British sailor slang for food, “tack.” Other names include cabin bread, pilot bread (rations for the ship’s pilot), sea biscuits, ship’s biscuits and sea bread. There are numerous pejorative names for the hard, flavorless rations. One is “dog biscuits,” because people fed them to dogs until the more nourishing and pet-specific dog biscuit was developed.

    You can still buy hardtack, known in modern times as water biscuits and saltines. Paired with moisture-rich foods—cheeses, dips, soups, spreads—they are quite enjoyable.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Quick Curried Carrot Soup & Carrot Hummus

    We all know that carrots are good for us: 1 medium carrot, just 25 calories, provides 203% of our daily value of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant.* Beyond nibbling on a carrot stick or baby carrot, though, we just don’t take enough time to think about what to do with them.

    Here are two easy recipes from Grimmway Farms, a California grower of carrots (and most of the baby carrots you come across). Find more carrot recipes at Grimmway.com.

    RECIPE: CURRIED CARROT SOUP

    This dairy-free recipe is low in calories: just 91 calories per serving.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

     

    Curried carrot soup. Photo courtesy Grimmway Farms.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound carrots (about 6 extra large), diced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Optional garnish: yogurt squiggle; fresh basil, chives or parsley
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the diced onions, diced carrots, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and cook for about 3 minutes.

    2. ADD the chicken broth and cover the pot. Continue to cook over medium heat for another 15 minutes.

    3. PURÉE: Carefully remove the cover and purée the soup in batches in a blender. Alternatively, purée the soup in the pot using an immersion blender wand.

    TIPS:

  • To make the yogurt squiggle, put yogurt in a plastic sandwich bag and cut off one of the corners. Squeeze as you would a pastry bag.
  • If you more body in the soup, stir in some Greek yogurt.
  •  

    Nutrition Per Serving: 91 calories; 4 g total fat; 0.6 g saturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol and trans fat; 946 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 5 g protein.

     

    Carrot hummus. Photo courtesy Grimmway
    Farms.

     

    RECIPE: CARROT HUMMUS

    Here’s a spin on conventional hummus, adding even more nutrition to this very healthful dip and spread. The orange color is also just right for Halloween and the harvest season.

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup well-packed shredded carrots
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about two lemons)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  •  Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times to coarsely chop. Then let food processor run for about 2 minutes until smooth.

    2. REMOVE hummus from food processor bowl to serving bowl, using a spatula. Serve with carrot and other vegetable chips, baby carrots and other crudités, or pita chips.

    Nutrition Per Serving: 102 calories; 5g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 2 g polyunsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 306 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g protein.

    CARROT TRIVIA

    Contrary to popular belief, baby carrots are not grown bite-sized. They are bred long and slender, and then cut into two-inch pieces and lathed to a uniform width.

     
    *Yes, is key to good vision, a healthy immune system, good skin, and general cell growth. It has been studied as a treatment for many other conditions, including cancers, cataracts and HIV. However, the results to date are inconclusive.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Soup With Salad Garnish

    Here’s a new approach to “soup and salad”: a chilled soup with a salad garnish.

    We were inspired by this concept from Chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta restaurants in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Miami and New York City.

    The idea is to create a substantial garnish that contributes eye appeal and compatible flavors to the bowl of soup. The photo shows microgreens, herbs and flowers atop tomato gazpacho. The greens are not dressed.

    It‘s a summer idea: a new way to serve a bowl of refreshing chilled soup.

    You’ll be eating the salad garnish with a spoon, so anything that can’t be easily scooped up should be diced, shredded or torn into navigable pieces.

    You’ve got a lot of opportunity to mix and match. Pick three or four ingredients with different shapes and colors. A starter list of suggestions:

     


    Soup garnished with salad. Photo courtesy Scott Conant | Scarpetta.

     

    Salad garnishes for your soup. Photo
    courtesy Burpee.com.

     
  • Arugula
  • Beet greens
  • Bell peppers, diced
  • Bok choy
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Herbs
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Flower petals
  • Frisée
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • Kale
  • Mache
  • Mesclun*
  • Radicchio
  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi
  • Watercress
  •  

    MORE SOUP GARNISH IDEAS

    Whether your recipe is hot or chilled, check out all of these options for soup garnishes.

    *We‘ve heard people call this “mescaline,” pronounced MESS-kuh-leen, which is a psychedelic drug. Mesclun lettuce mix is pronounced MESS-klin. The term comes from the French verb mescler, to mix, and refers to a mix of tender young salad greens.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Gazpacho Verde

    On really hot summer days, we like to cool down with a chilled meal. A bowl of gazpacho and a large salad, accompanied by lots of iced tea, fit the bill.

    Gazpacho, a low-calorie, high-nutrition dish, is one of those recipes that afford maximum customization: Each cook can do his or her thing, and even a favorite recipe can be tweaked each time it is made.

  • The combination of vegetables and herbs is endless.
  • The soup can be made with regular or flavored olive oil and vinegar.
  • It can be served plain or topped with a broad variety of garnishes (see the list below).
  •  
    Many people think of gazpacho as tomato based. But, as this recipe for gazpacho verde (green gazpacho) shows, no tomatoes are required. That’s good news right now, since our stores and farmers markets stores are filled with pricey hothouse tomatoes. If there’s a bumper crop of tomatoes in August or early September and the price goes down, that‘s the time to make tomato-based gazpacho.

     

    Gazpacho verde garnished with diced avocado. Photo courtesy Pink Sands Resort | Bahamas.

     

    We love the ease of gazpacho: Toss chopped vegetables into the blender, and in a minute you’ve got soup.

    Chef Ed Boncich of Pink Sands Resort in the Bahamas has shared his gazpacho verde recipe with us:

    GAZPACHO VERDE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 English cucumber (a nearly seedless variety)
  • ½ red onion
  • 4 green bell peppers
  • 4 tomatillos (paper-like skin peeled off)*
  • 1 avocado
  • 2-3 ounces rice wine vinegar
  • 10 ounces olive oil
  • Dash hot pepper sauce or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  

    *Canned tomatillos can be substituted for fresh ones, but the flavor of fresh tomatillos is far superior. Tomatillos are not “little tomatoes”; they are cousins of tomatoes. While both are members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae, they have a different genus: Physalis for tomatillos (P. philadelphica) and Solanum for tomatoes (S. lycopersicum).

     

    Tomatillos. Photo courtesy Burpee.com, which sells the seeds to grow your own.

     

    Preparation

    1. ROUGHLY chop the cucumber, onion, peppers, tomatillos and avocado and place them in a blender (you may have to add blend it in two batches).

    2. ADD the rice wine vinegar and oil and blend until smooth. Add the hot pepper sauce. If you’ve added too hot, dilute it by adding additional rice wine vinegar or some honey.

    3. CHILL. Garnish and serve.
     
    GAZPACHO GARNISHES

    Dairy Garnishes

  • Fresh herbs
  • Greek yogurt, plain or herbed (mix in finely
    chopped fresh herbs)
  • Large crouton/crostini with fresh goat cheese)
  • Fresh herbs
  • Crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Non-Dairy Garnishes

  • Baby beets or diced whole beets
  • Boiled potato, half or whole
  • Crab meat or other seafood, chilled
  • Diced avocado or cucumber
  • Croutons (small) or large garlic crouton/crostini
  • Steamed vegetables (broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, etc.)
  •  
    GAZPACHO HISTORY

    Gazpacho is a cold raw vegetable soup that originated in Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. The name is of Arabic origin, and literally means “soaked bread,” an ingredient of early recipes that made use of the prior day’s stale bread. The term has become generic for “cold vegetable soup.”

    The original recipe came from the Arabs who occupied much of Spain from the 8th through the 13th centuries. Early on, gazpacho was a way for field workers to make lunch from the vegetables at hand. The recipe typically included stale bread, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, onion, tomato, wine vinegar and salt—which remains the Andalusian style. Since the tomato is a New World fruit that was not eaten in Europe until the 1800s*, the earliest gazpacho was made without it.

    There are many variations of gazpacho, depending on local ingredients and preferences. American recipes tend to leave out the bread, although some garnish the soup with a garlic crouton. White gazpacho is made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, bread, garlic and salt, and substitutes green grapes and almonds for the vegetables.
     
    *A member of the Nightshade family of plants, the tomato was deemed poisonous until it was eaten out of desperation during a famine in the early 1800s in Italy. The original tomato, which grew wild, was the size of a cherry tomato, which made an attractive house plant.

     
    HOW MANY TYPES OF SOUP HAVE YOU HAD?

    Check out the history of soup and the most popular soups in our Soup Glossary.

      

    Comments

    CINCO DE MAYO: Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup Recipe

    Soup for Cinco de Mayo. Photo courtesy
    Dole.

     

    You could whip up some tortilla soup for Cinco de Mayo. Or, try this Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup.

    There are dozens of “Mexican-style” Chicken Soup recipes out there. This one is tasty and easy to make. Don’t omit the lime or the cilantro; both provide authentic (and delicious) Mexican flavors.

    MEXICAN CHICKEN & RICE SOUP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs (6 ounces)
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice for garnish
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE chicken thighs, carrots, onion, bay leaf and salt in a large stockpot and cover with 8 cups of cold water. Cook over medium-high heat just until the mixture begins to boil. (NOTE: We remove the skin from the thighs to reduce the fat and cholesterol in the soup.)

    2. REDUCE heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender. Remove all the ingredients from the stock. Discard the onion and bay leaf. When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken from the bone and chop the chicken and carrots into bite-sized pieces.

    3. PLACE 1/4 cup rice in the bottom of each of 4 bowls. Distribute the chicken, carrots, chopped red onion and cilantro evenly among them and top with 1 cup of stock. Squeeze some lime juice on top and serve, garnished with a lime wedge.

    Makes: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: French Onion Soup Fondue, A Neighborly Fusion

    Voilà: a fusion of French onion soup and
    fondue. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    We love fusion cuisine—the art of combining ingredients or techniques from different cuisines to create exciting new flavors.

    Fusion cuisine typically combines foods from different countries or global regions (Japanese-Mediterranean, for example, or barbecue chicken pizza). But is it still a fusion when we combine two iconic dishes from neighboring countries?

    Here we have a fusion of French onion soup with cheese fondue, which originated in Switzerland. It’s more of a neighborly fusion than a combination of ingredients from different parts of the world. But cheese lovers won’t quibble over semantics.

    Who would have thought to fuse two dishes famous for luscious melted cheese?

    The answer is: chef David Venable of QVC.

     
    We think of this recipe as part of a romantic dinner or a weekend family special. But it’s crazy snowing here today, so we’re about to chop the onions and grate the cheese.

    The recipe uses everyday ingredients and is easy to follow. It takes mere minutes to prep. A quick timing tip from Chef Venable: Pop your second course in the oven before you sit down for the onion soup fondue.

    FRENCH ONION SOUP FONDUE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1/2 pound Gruyére cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 1/2 tablespoons concentrated beef broth
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the oil into a medium-size sauté pan set to medium heat. Sauté the onions, tossing frequently, until brown and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside.

    2. TOSS the cheeses with the flour in a medium-size mixing bowl until evenly coated; set aside.

    3. COMBINE the beef broth, cooking sherry and concentrated beef broth in a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a slight simmer. Whisk the cheese into the mixture in four batches, waiting between each addition for the cheese to melt. Don’t let the mixture come to a boil. When the final batch has melted completely, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the caramelized onions.

    4. TRANSFER the mixture to a fondue pot and sprinkle the nutmeg on top. Serve with French bread, or blanched asparagus spears, potatoes, broccoli, or cauliflower.

    Find more of Chef Venable’s recipes at QVC.com.

    MORE FONDUE FUN

  • The History Of Fondue
  • Classic Cheese Fondue Recipe
  • 18 Flavored Cheese Fondues
  • Fondue Dippers & Garnishes: Far Beyond Bread
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sistema Microwave Plastic Containers

    The soup gets hot, the bowl stays cool.
    Above: soup mug and noodle bowl. Photo by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We don’t have a huge amount of storage space, so we resist buying things that have single-purpose uses.

    In the kitchen, that restriction covers numerous gadgets and appliances. For example, we’d love a rice cooker to prepare healthy grains more easily; rice cookers can also be used to steam other foods. But we have more than one steaming solution already. So if we’re not going to use a rice cooker several times a week (as with the toaster, microwave, coffee maker and food processor), we can’t justify squeezing it in.

    Along the same lines, we resisted special plastic microwave dishes, opting to use our everyday dishes, which can be microwaved. But conventional plates and mugs can get overly hot-to-the-touch.

    One day, we were given a Sistema microwavable plastic mug at a trade show. We heated soup in it and—epiphany—the plastic remained cool to the touch while the soup got super hot. It was a solution worth making space for.

     

    We went on to purchase a Sistema noodle bowl and a covered plate to store and heat leftovers.

    Unlike ceramic, porcelain or other plastic containers—Tupperware or take-out containers—Sistema pieces, made of virgin polypropylene, do not get hot in the microwave.

     

    Sistema products are BPA free, microwave safe, freezer safe and dishwasher safe.

    The soup mug is $8.00 on Amazon; the noodle bowl is $8.49. The microwavable plate, $11.00, can double as a steamer.

    The products are available nationally; we just picked up a second mug at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

    ABOUT SISTEMA MICROWAVABLE CONTAINERS

    Sistema Plastics makes “dedicated microwave cooking products to make life easier.” We concur!

    Designed and made in New Zealand, the line includes steamers that make it easy to steam meals, covered plates to store and reheat leftovers, the soup mug that is perfect for soup or hot drinks, and a larger noodle bowl for ramen, pasta, or in our case, matzoh ball soup.

    See the whole line at SistemaPlastics.com.

     

    Spill-proof lids make the soup easily portable. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

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