Garlic Broth


Garlic-Bulb

Whole Garlic Bulb

I have finally posted this recipe separately because I have used it in so many of my dishes. Now I can just link to it and hopefully make it easier on you.

You can make as much or as little of this broth as you like… I prefer to make the largest batch I can manage so I can freeze small containers worth and have this ready to add to any soup, any time. This recipe is based off of 2.5 quarts. (More recipes to come using this tasty broth!)

2.5 qts of chicken or vegetable stock preferably from scratch but try to use organic if purchasing cans or boxes of broth (it’s roughly six 14oz cans).
4-5 tablespoons (heaping) coarsely diced garlic (roughly 2 whole bulbs)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
3 pinches dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch salt

Add all ingredients to the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat… cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or mesh sieve. Use immediately for soup or freeze in individual portions. TIP: freezing broth in ice cube trays allows you to use small portions at a time. If you freeze in containers leave a 1/4″ room at top for expansion.

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Red Potato Leek Soup


This was my first attempt at Potato Leek Soup and I must say I’m rather pleased. It is comfort food at its best and on a cold December day… this did not disappoint.

Many Potato Leek soup recipes tend to be bland and I wanted to find a way to make this soup rich and flavorful (no, I did not put curry in it this time) without radically changing the delicious and earthy flavor profile. All it took were a couple of ingredients and voila! It was exactly what I was looking for… once again, I used my garlic broth and the final touch was adding just a pinch of smoked paprika… and perfection!

First, you want to determine what stock you’re going to use as a base. I prefer my homemade garlic broth (see Did You Know? at the bottom to learn the difference between stock and broth) over chicken stock or plain vegetable stock. Chicken stock will definitely add more flavor but then your soup is no longer vegetarian-friendly. Below is my recipe for the garlic broth. Start there and have this handy before beginning the soup.

Start Here: *Vegetable Garlic Broth
you can make as much or as little as you like… I prefer to make the largest batch I can manage so I can freeze small containers worth and have this ready to add to any soup, any time. This recipe is based off of 2.5 quarts.(More recipes to come using this tasty broth!)

2.5 qts vegetable stock preferably from scratch but try to use organic if purchasing cans or boxes of broth (it’s roughly six 14oz cans).
4-5 tablespoons (heaping) coarsely diced garlic (roughly 2 bulbs)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
3 pinches dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch salt

Ingredients
2-3 medium leeks (about 1.5 lb)
2-2.5 lbs red potatoes (leave skins on)
1/2 of a medium sweet onion, diced.
2 bay leaves
20 peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Vegan margarine
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups *garlic broth
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika divided
1/2 – 3/4 cup of almond or soy milk

Soup Preparation
Cut two 6×6 inch squares of cheesecloth and layer together. In the center, place the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Trim 2 of the green portions of the leek leaves, cut in half and place in center of cheesecloth, as well. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside.

Using a knife, halve the white part of the leeks lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand and dirt. TIP: I fill a large bowl with water and soak them for a few minutes, to really get the grit out of the thin layers. Then pat dry. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside. Wash and dice potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes and set aside.

Ready To Cook?
In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the margarine and add the sweet onion. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved cheesecloth bundle, garlic broth, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful. It will be a brownish/auburn color at this point, due to the skins of the red potatoes.

Remove the cheesecloth bundle of spices and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. If using a blender, be sure to remove the center locking cap from the lid to allow steam to escape from the hole or you will blow the lid off your blender and you may get scalded with soup. Not that I’ve ever done that. 🙂  If you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot. Pour in the milk and 3/4 tsp of smoked paprika and stir until blended. Add salt or pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately, with a pinch of smoked paprika and tiny sprig of fresh thyme to garnish the top of each bowl of soup.

The Perfect Bite
Be sure to swirl the paprika garnish into your bowl for added flavor. A crusty toasted slice of baguette is perfect for scooping up the thick potatoey goodness.

The Perfect Pairing
Try Yalumba’s Viognier. Slightly sweet, citrus-y and nicely balanced. This fruity full-flavored varietal shows more complexity with food.

Did You Know?
Many people are confused by the soup terms of broth, stock and bouillon. They are all very similar but with slight differences. Stock has no salt added, Broth has salt added for preserving and for serving as soup on its own, or clarifying for a consommé.

For instance… my Garlic Broth starts as a vegetable stock, which does not taste good on its own. But when infused with garlic and the additional spices… it becomes a broth… and can be consumed as a soup or used as a base for a more complex soup. Confused? Read more here.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


Fall just calls for soup… I’ve never really liked Butternut Squash soup – until a couple of years ago when I was in Calgary, Alberta.. Canada. And believe it or not it was in catering at the arena we were working in! But it was incredible, thick, flavorful… seasoned just perfectly! I ate it by the bowl, used it as a dip for bread and veggies. I couldn’t get enough of it! Normally, my complaint about butternut squash soup is that it’s too bland. Not enough flavor to keep me interested beyond a couple of spoonfuls.

So I’ve been on a mission the last couple of years – trying to perfect this soup. And I wanted to keep it purely vegetarian – not adding cream or chicken stock like many recipes call for… and I think I’ve finally done it. It’s a little labor intensive – but once you taste it you will certainly agree it’s worth all the effort. So make a huge batch, freeze some for later and enjoy it throughout the Fall season!

*A tip for using veggies in any soup – try roasting them before adding to the soup. It brings out their natural sweetness, the caramelized edges add an earthy nuttiness and will give your soup that wow factor.  Plus, your kids will be asking for seconds… on vegetables!

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
2 medium sweet onions, chopped
1 large fennel bulb (cut off “fern”)
3 large butternut squash
1 large red bell pepper
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
2 cups white wine
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
32oz *garlic veggie broth

*Vegetable Garlic Broth
this broth will make ALL the difference in your soups… and you can make as much or as little as you like!  I prefer to make the largest batch I can manage so I can freeze small containers worth and have this ready to add to any soup, any time. This recipe is based off of 2.5 quarts. (More recipes to come using this tasty broth!)

2.5 qts vegetable stock preferably from scratch but try to use organic if purchasing cans or boxes of broth (it’s roughly six 14oz cans).
4-5 tablespoons (heaping) coursely diced garlic (roughly 2 bulbs)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
3 pinches dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch salt

Add all ingredients to the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat… cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or mesh strainer. Use immediately for soup or freeze in individual portions. TIP: freezing broth in ice cube trays allows you to use small portions at a time.


Place olive oil coated squash flesh side down on tray for roasting

Be sure to let the squash cool before scooping it out


This fresh garlic came from a friend’s garden – so yummy!


Adding roasted red bell pepper gives the soup extra flavor – these came straight from my garden!


Ready To Cook?

Pour generous amount of olive oil to cover bottom of a stock pot. Heat over low-medium heat. Add chopped onion. Cook until translucent. Clean fennel bulb and the fern (the fern is the top, finely-leafed portion of the fennel) under cold water and pat dry. Detach fern from stems, discarding stems (they can be pithy). Chop bulb, discarding tough outer layer. Add chopped fennel bulb to onion and continue to sauté over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Turn heat to medium, add 1 cup white wine to onion and fennel; cook until alcohol “burns off”, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Seed and quarter red bell peppers and coat in olive oil… place on cookie sheet flesh side down and roast at 425o for 20 minutes or until skins have blistered and started to brown. The trick to removing skins from peppers is remove peppers from oven and immediately place in a bowl and cover with cellophane. Let sit for at least 15 minutes and then skins should peel off easily!

*Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds, then quarter if squash is large. *Coat in olive oil and place flesh side down on cookie sheet (*see photos above). Roast on top rack of oven at 425ountil tender… roughly 45-50 minutes. Be sure to use a cookie tray with at least a 1/2 inch lip as squash will give off a lot of water. Meanwhile, add vegetable/garlic broth to pot of onions and fennel. Cover and bring to a slow boil. Mince several sage leaves. Add to pot. Reduce to simmer.

When squash is done, scoop flesh from peel and add to pot. Add roasted bell pepper and remaining cup of wine.

Add cinnamon, cayenne pepper, curry powder and ginger powder.

Remove soup from heat and puree with hand mixer or immersion blender. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to food processor for a smoother texture. Again, many recipes call for cream at this point to create that smoothness we all want in a bisque-type soup. But with a little extra work – you can eliminate the need for dairy products and get that creamy-smooth texture without the fat. For an even silkier texture… go one more step and work soup through a sieve with a spoon. I, for one, am completely okay with the texture of the soup without the extra step!

Garnish your bowl with the leftover fennel fern and enjoy!

The Perfect Bite

Soup is such a versatile dish. It can be a main course, an appetizer, a side dish, a snack… it’s’ your call. So the Perfect Bite really depends on what you’re having this with… but anytime… a big chunk of warm pumpernickel bread swirled and scooping up some of the sweet and savory goodness… is truly the perfect bite.

The Perfect Pairing

This is such a hearty soup that I hesitate to suggest any meal to compliment – other than what I suggested earlier – other than a big hunk of pumpernickel or whatever your favorite bread may be. But for something different in a beverage to enjoy try the 2008 Chateau St. Jean Gewurztraminer – this spicy flavorful grape is hard to pronounce but will be a perfect compliment to the rich earthy flavors of this butternut squash soup.

DId You Know?

Butternut squash is not just low in fat and calories, but winter squash are high in Vitamins A & C and high in Potassium and dietary fiber. It’s also a great source for anti-oxidants and works toward heart and lung health. Read here for more details.

Sage Sausage & Garlic Lentil Soup


It’s Fall!!! Well, almost… the official autumnal equinox is in T-2 days! It’s one of the loveliest times of the year… soup time!

One of my favorite soups to make each season is this Sage Sausage and Garlic Lentil Soup. It’s hearty like stew and plenty enough for an entrée. Especially when I make it with sausage and served with a toasted baguette.

The secret ingredient to making any soup, I believe, is in the stock you use. Starting with a flavorful and fresh base will not only enhance the taste of all your ingredients… it will lengthen the life of your soup… whether you’re having it for leftovers the next day or freezing it for a later time.

I recommend… for just about any soup… my *vegetable garlic broth. Not only is it a healthy anti-oxidant added to your soups… but it’s delicious all by itself. I like to sip a cup of it when I’m not feeling well. You won’t have the best breath… but you’ll feel a lot better! Also, so many people make the mistake of using chicken stock in vegetable soups… including tomato, potato and butternut squash soups. This not only changes the health benefits of your soups, but keeps our vegetarian friends from enjoying a purely vegetarian dish. If you’ve ever had soup at my house and wondered what that “oh my gosh!” taste was – it’s the garlic broth. There… my secret is out!

Start Here: *Vegetable Garlic Broth
you can make as much or as little as you like… I prefer to make the largest batch I can manage so I can freeze small containers worth and have this ready to add to any soup, any time. This recipe is based off of 2.5 quarts. (More recipes to come using this tasty broth!)

2.5 qts vegetable stock preferably from scratch but try to use organic if purchasing cans or boxes of broth (it’s roughly six 14oz cans).
4-5 tablespoons (heaping) coursely diced garlic (roughly 2 bulbs)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
3 pinches dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch salt

Add all ingredients to the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat… cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth. Use immediately for soup or freeze in individual portions. TIP: freezing broth in ice cube trays allows you to use small portions at a time.

Nutritional info per serving:
110 calories
6 g total fat (1 g sat)11 g carbohydrates
5 g protein
0 g fiber
150 mg sodium

Now… onto the Lentil Soup!

Ingredients
4 cups dried lentils
1 med fennel bulbs, diced (substitute celery or leeks if not in season, 1.5 cups)
1 lb sage sausage (*feel free to eliminate this if you want a vegetarian dish)
1 med sweet onion, diced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1 quart garlic broth
1/2 quart water

Preparation
Dice onion, and fennel. Remove fern and stalks from fennel (this can be done a head of time and can be used for the vegetable stock). Wash lentils and remove any pebbles or rocks. Leave springs of Rosemary whole.

Ready to Cook?
Brown sausage in olive oil in bottom of large stock pot, 5-7 minutes. Add onion & fennel, cooking for an additional 3-5 minutes until tender. Add white wine and cook until mixture is almost dry. Add garlic broth and water, lentils and rosemary sprigs, bring to a boil; then reduce to a low simmer and cover. Should simmer for 45-60 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally as lentils will stick to bottom of pot. Remove from heat and let rest. Test to make sure lentils are tender. If soup thickens too much, add broth until you achieve desired consistency. Should be thick like stew but not solid, broth should be evident.

Serve with shaved Parmesan or Manchengo cheese on top.

The Perfect Bite
Be sure your first mouthful includes a chunky piece of sage sausage! This is also great served with toasted French baguettes or and warm flour tortilla. Scoop some up on the bread and enjoy!

The Perfect Pairing
Lentil soup is an “Old World” kind of dish… digging deep into a hearty bowl of these earthy legumes makes me feel like I should be sitting at a rustic and gnarly wooden farm table, seated outside under an old equally gnarly oak that over looks the expanse of a ripe vineyard. So this calls for a pairing like Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel. Its smooth yet peppery tones perfectly compliment the spicy sausage and garlicky lentils. Enjoy!

Did You Know?
Whole books have been written about garlic, an herb affectionately called “the stinking rose” in light of its numerous therapeutic benefits. Did you know that garlic is a member of the Lily Family? Just like Allium Lilies (which I’m growing in pots in my front yard), garlic is rich in a variety of powerful sulfur-containing compounds. While these compounds are responsible for garlic’s characteristically pungent odor, they are also the source of many of its health-promoting effects. All of which help promote a healthy heart and act as a anti-inflammatory agent. Read here for more benefits of garlic!