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Archive for Soups

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

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.



  • 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.



    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.


    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 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



    RECIPE: Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

    Hearty corn chowder. Photo courtesy Spice


    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.


    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


    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



    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



    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.



    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


    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


    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.


  • 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



    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.


  • 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.


    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.



    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

  • 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


    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.



    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:



  • 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, which sells the seeds to grow your own.



    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.

    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 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.


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



    CINCO DE MAYO: Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup Recipe

    Soup for Cinco de Mayo. Photo courtesy


    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.



  • 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


    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.



    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.



  • 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

    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


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


    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.


    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


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




    TIP OF THE DAY: A Soup Bar For Parties Or The Weeknight Dinner Table

    How can you make soup the most fun dish of the week?

    Set up a “soup bar.” It’s similar to a baked potato bar, where bowls of garnishes are laid out so that everyone can customize his or her own soup.

    The garnishes are what you already have in the kitchen, and a soup bar is a great way to use up leftovers. Scout the cabinets, fridge and freezer to see what you’ve got. Then, set out a selection of at least five options:

  • Beans, lentils, rice and other grains and legumes
  • Broccoli florets
  • Croutons, tortilla chips or crackers: Goldfish, oyster crackers, crumbled saltines
  • Crumbled bacon, hot dog/sausage slices, shredded ham
  • Corn kernels

    A bowl of potatao soup, loaded up with choices from the “soup bar.” Photo courtesy

  • Dairy toppings: crème fraîche, plain Greek yogurt, mascarpone, sour cream
  • Grated or shredded cheese
  • Herbs: arugula, basil, chives, cilantro, jalapeño, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme
  • Other leftover meats and seafood, diced or shredded
  • Onions: chopped green onions or red onions
  • Mushrooms, zucchini, cooked or raw
  • Pasta and noodles, including wonton strips
  • Peas, snow peas and other cooked vegetables
  • Tomatoes: halved cherry tomatoes/grape tomatoes, diced fresh tomatoes, diced canned tomatoes
  • Wild cards: almonds, avocado, baby corn, diced cucumber, shredded coconut, shredded carrots, olives, raisins, roasted garlic cloves, tofu, water chestnuts, whatever you have

    Offer two or three different soups that provide a good canvas for the toppings: mushroom soup, potato soup and tomato soup, for example. Soups that already have multiple visible ingredients, like chowder and minestrone, don’t need more embellishment.

    You’ll also want to fan the excitement by doubling the number of garnish options.

    Soup’s on! Get it while it’s hot!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Gumbo (Chicken Andouille Gumbo Recipe From Emeril Lagasse)

    A seafood gumbo with crayfish, oysters,
    shrimp and okra. Photo courtesy


    With most people we know discussing Super Bowl recipes, we’d like to throw an idea onto the table: gumbo.

    Even if you’ve never had gumbo, you’ve heard about it: a famous Creole* dish from Louisiana. As with just about any dish, ingredients vary and can include just about anything:

  • In the meat group: poultry (chicken, duck), rabbit or other game, sausage (Andouille, chaurice) tasso (smoked pork shoulder)
  • In the seafood group: crawfish, crab, oysters, shrimp
  • In the seasonings group: bay leaf, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, dry mustard, fresh parsley, garlic, paprika, parsley, sage, thyme or a commercial Cajun seasoning blend
  • In the “whatever” group: chayote squash, tomatoes and anything that appeals to you. Many cooks enjoy creating their signature twist to a recipe.
    Whatever the details, the recipe will include what gumbo fans consider the basics: celery, green bell peppers, onions (called the (called the “holy trinity” in Cajun and Creole cuisines) and a chicken stock base thickened with a roux (fat and flour). And no gumbo would be complete without a base of white rice, over which the gumbo is ladled.
    *Creole cuisine developed in Louisiana as a blend influenced by the local populations: African, French, Italian, Native American, Portuguese and Spanish, on top of the existing Southern cuisine. Creole is often confused with Cajun cuisine. Both are based on local ingredients. The key distinction is that Cajun cuisine is a rustic/peasant version of French cooking whereas Creole cuisine produces more elegant fare using classic haute cuisine techniques.


    Gumbo is an African word for okra. The vegetable came to America with the slave trade and was introduced into Southern cuisine by African cooks. Gumbo was originally thickened with okra pods; the French added the roux for more thickening.

    More than a few people avoid gumbo because they don’t like the texture of okra, which is used as a thickener as well as for its flavor. Guess what: No okra is needed.

  • You can substitute filé powder. Prounced fee-LAY, it’s a thickener made from ground sassafras leaves. Filé adds a special flavor without what some people call the “gumminess” (or worse, “sliminess”) of the okra.
  • Filé powder is added at the very end of cooking: Boiling it turns the whole pot of gumbo gummy. Some people stir 1/4 teaspoon of filé into each individual bowl of gumbo: an especially good way to keep the gumbo at the right texture if you have leftovers that need to be reheated.
  • You can buy filé powder online.
  • Okra note: Okra doesn’t have to be gummy. Just cook it long enough, about 45 minutes, and the gumminess disappears.
    Here’s the recipe served at Emeril’s New Orleans restaurant, NOLA, which uses filé instead of okra. It’s adapted from his Louisiana Real and Rustic cookbook (William Morrow Publisher, 1996, copyright MSLO, Inc., all rights reserved).




  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1½ cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cut crosswise into ½ inch slices
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril’s Original Essence (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon filé powder

    Emerill Lagasse’s chicken and andouille sausage gumbo. Photo courtesy NOLA | New Orleans.

    Gumbo Preparation

    1. COMBINE the oil and flour in a large cast-iron or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.

    2. ADD the onions, celery and bell peppers and continue to stir for 4-5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water.

    3. STIR until the roux mixture and water are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

    4. SEASON the chicken with the Essence and add to the pot. Simmer for 2 hours, adding additional water if necessary. Gumbo should be the consistency of a somewhat thick soup.

    5. SKIM off any fat that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, green onions and filé powder. Remove the
    bay leaves and serve in deep bowls.

    Makes 4 servings.
    You can purchase Emeril’s Original Essence seasoning online. Or, you can create your own from this recipe:



    Combine thoroughly:

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • Plan your play book. Take time to plan out the menu ahead of time. Spend a few minutes to write a grocery list and a prep list. Plan out your dishes based on cooking time and see if there are any items that you can prepare ahead and just reheat. That way when it comes time to set up for the party you can enjoy the festivities, too.
  • Consider clock management. Super Bowl parties are an all-evening outing, and people stay hungry! So prepare dishes that your guests can continue snacking on, such as big pots of gumbo, chili or soups, served with a big piece of crusty French bread.
  • Celebrate the victory. Whether you’re having a small family gathering at the house, or one of those big parking lot tailgate parties before the game – it’s all about having fun! What really makes a successful Super Bowl party is great food, fun people and some refreshing drinks!


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