The Literate Chef

Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

Carrot-Ginger Soup, St. Peter’s Abbey, Salzburg

In Recipes, Soups, Thanksgiving on November 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Carrot-Ginger Soup Stiftskeller St. Peter

Carrot-Ginger Soup at Stiftskeller St. Peter

(Preparation and cooking time, about 2 hours; makes 2 quarts)

Last month, traveling with friends up the Danube River on a Viking River Cruise we had some great meals in the different cities and towns that were on the tour. One such meal was at St. Peter Stiftskeller, the restaurant of St. Peter’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in the heart of Salzburg, Austria.

Stiftskeller St. Pter

Stiftskeller St. Peter

The restaurant bills itself as the oldest one in Europe, having served travelers for more that 1200 years. The décor was just what you would expect, cozy and inviting. It was, in all, a serendipitous discovery, the service was impeccable and the food was outstanding. If you go to Salzburg, do not miss it.

Europe's Oldest Resturant

Europe’s Oldest Restaurant

The weather that day was rainy and chilly and the first course, a bowl of outstanding carrot-ginger soup was the perfect antidote. Our waiter was kind enough to inform us of the main ingredients, but would not share the proportions or and other directions. We served this soup as a first course on Thanksgiving this year, having re-constructed it by trial and error. I think this very closely matches St. Peter’s Stiftskeller Carrot-Ginger Soup. Gut Essen!


2 lbs. of carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch disks
1 bulb of fennel (anise) trimmed, halved and quartered
2 quarts of vegetable stock
3 Tbsps. of caramelized ginger*
•  3 Tbsps. unsalted butter
• A 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine in a mini food processor.
8 oz. of Crème Fraîche


1. Place the carrots and fennel in a 5-quart pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook on high until carrots are fork tender.
2. Transfer the carrots and fennel to a food processor in batches, pulse until finely chopped. Dump the water from the pot and return the chopped carrots and fennel to the pot.
3. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by about ¼, approximately 30 minutes.
4. With a large slotted spoon, transfer the solids, in batches, to a blender, add a few scoops of the stock and puree until smooth.
5. Add the caramelized ginger and puree again.
6. Return the pureed vegetables to the stock, whisk well and bring to a boil on low heat.
7. Whisk in the crème fraîche and heat thoroughly.
8. Serve hot, or let cool and refrigerate overnight.

For the caramelized ginger:

1. Melt 3 Tbsps. of unsalted butter in a non-stick skillet.
2. Add 3 Tbsps. of chopped ginger and cook on medium heat until well caramelized.

Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage

In Recipes, Soups, Stews on August 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM


Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage

Provencal Bean Soup with Merguez Sausage


Having ordered Andouille Sausage from D’Artagnan for my Shrimp & Grits, I found myself on their mailing list, and as luck would have it, received an e-mail about Merguez Sausage. I had sampled these spicy and delicious lamb sausages at a wine tasting some time ago, but had forgotten all about them.  So, I ordered a few pounds with which to experiment.

Thinking about what to do with them, beans first came to mind. Franks (they are sausages of course) and beans are a natural combination, and lamb and beans are a happy couple – Braised Lamb Shanks with White beans. Thinking about what else would go well with lamb, I thought of  Gosht Palak, which is a great Indian dish consisting of lamb and spinach. So, I thought, why not put them all together…in a soup!

Of course I’d need a liquid base and some color, and perhaps a few flavor enhancers in addition to the Merguez. Tomatoes sautéed in garlic and oil would enhance almost any soup, as would some white wine and fresh rosemary, the latter of which compliments lamb very nicely. And for the liquid, the all-purpose chicken stock. Finally, for added spice, if necessary, Hot Hungarian Paprika. All of the ingredients were either in the fridge or the pantry, so it was a go.

Everything moved smoothly until I got to the spinach point. I had planned to use some frozen chopped spinach, but alas, there was none to be had. However, I did find a bunch of arugula that was still fresh, so opted to go with that rather than run out to the market.

Preparation time: overnight soaking of beans; active-40 minutes; unattended- 2 hours.

Makes enough for 8 people as a complete meal, (leftovers can be frozen for additional meals) or more as a first course.


1 lb. dried Cannellini Beans, soaked overnight
2 & 1/4 lbs. Merguez Sausage
1 lb. Grape Tomatoes halved.
12 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup + 1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lb. spinach, or substitute with 1 small bunch of arugula
1 qt. Low–sodium chicken stock.
6 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
Fresh rosemary, chopped fine, about 1 Tbsp.


1. In a five quart pot, heat the 6 Tbsp. of olive oil and lightly sauté the garlic.
2. Add the tomatoes and cook on medium high heat until, they give up their juices, about 6 minutes.
3. Add the 1 cup wine, bring to boil and reduce by half.
4. Stir in the beans and mix well.
5. Add chicken stock and bring to boil.
6. Add the spinach or arugula, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
7. In the meantime in a heavy skillet, lightly brown the sausage in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then slice each sausage into 1/2 inch pieces.
8. Add sausage slices to the bean soup.
9. Deglaze the skillet with the 1/4 cup wine and add to soup.
10. Add chopped rosemary.
11. After 2 hours remove two cups of beans, place in food processor, process and return to pot.


  • Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a light sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • If the soup is not spicy enough for your liking, consider adding some Hot Hungarian Paprika at the table.




Thick as Fog Pea Soup

In Recipes, Soups on December 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

One has often heard the cliché “The Fog was as Thick as Pea Soup.” Last week, having cooked up a big batch of Pea Soup to warm our innards during this dreary, cold and damp (but not foggy) New England winter, which started just after Thanksgiving, and, according to the calendar, about 3 weeks before the first day of winter, I decided to research the genesis of this old bromide. Growing up with Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens as my entertaining companions, as well as Frank Sinatra, I was drawn to Google references about Foggy London Town and discovered this gem:

Further on, I came across this old nursery rhyme that I hadn’t thought about in ages:

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

This pea porridge will not sit in the pot for nine days in our home, but it will help to warm our viscera for a few weeks, and if half of it is frozen, it might last another month, but it’s so good that I highly doubt it.

Thick as Fog Pea Soup

(30 minutes active preparation time, 20 minutes active cooking and 50 minutes unattended cooking)


2 lbs. green split peas, rinsed well
1 large onion diced, about 2 cups
10 cloves garlic chopped, about 1/4 cup
4 celery stalks diced, about 1 cup
3 carrots diced, about 1 cup
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 packets of Goya Sabor a Jamón (ham flavored concentrate) *
4 Quarts of water


  1. In an 8 qt. pot, add garlic and onions and sweat over medium- low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add celery and carrots, and sweat for 5 minutes more, stirring periodically.
  3. Mix in the Goya Sabor a Jamón and stir well for 1 minute more.
  4. Remove the pot from heat, add the peas and water, cover and bring to a rapid boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 50 minutes.
  6. Stir periodically, to prevent peas from sticking to the bottom.
  7. Transfer to a food processor in batches, pulse process until fairly smooth, then add to a clean pot. Continue until all of the soup has been processed.

Just before serving, add some cut-up hot dogs, about 2 per person (cut 3/4 inch thick) and heat thoroughly. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil to each bowl.

*This is a quick and easy recipe and the Goya Sabor a Jamón adds a nice smoked pork flavor to the soup. However, the ingredients listed in order of highest concentration are salt & MSG. So if you have an aversion to them, then take the time and expense to substitute them with Smoked Ham Hocks (2), a Ham Bone, or a Prosciutto End. That is how we usually make our pea soup, but in this case the Goya Sabor a Jamón worked just as well, and we didn’t have to go out to the market on a cold and dreary  day.

Pea Soup as thick as fog, enjoyed by the fire place, that says winter on Cape Cod!


Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

In Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian Meals on December 5, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

Tuscan Ceci Bean Soup

Preparation Time 40 Minutes, Serve 4

A few weeks ago, while taking stock of the items in our larder, I discovered, hidden away on a back shelf, 3 cans of Goya Garbanzos, which were due to reach their expiration date in a few months. Whether or not an expiration date imprinted on a can should be believed is irrelevant; as in this case, the serendipitous discovery of this legume pretty much determined that they would be consumed long before then.

As I wrote several years ago, Grandma Loved Ceci Beans, or Chick Peas, or Garbanzos, as they are also known, depending upon your ethnicity. I never appreciated them until on a visit to Tuscany some years back I devoured a sublime Ceci Bean Soup in a little restaurant in the hill town of Vagliagli, where we had rented a villa with two other couples. This soup has been on my mind ever since. Now was the time to act.


1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 cans Garbanzos, rinsed and drained
1/2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 quart of low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika (note)
2 cups of chopped Kale (add 4 cups of Kale, leaves only, to food processor in batches and chop)
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz.)


1. In a three-quart pot, heat olive oil, add garlic and onion and lightly sauté until translucent.
2. Add Garbanzos and mix well.
3. Add salt.
4. Add chicken broth and bring to boil.
5. Boil on medium high for 15 minutes.
6. Remove 3 cups of the beans, purée in food processor and add back to pot.
7. Add paprika and tomato paste
8. Add Kale and cook on med-low for 15 minutes

Note: If you are unable to locate Hot Hungarian Paprika, you can get close to it by using Regular Paprika and Cayenne Pepper in a 3:1 ratio.

Serve with grated Parmigiano – Reggiano and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


French Onion Soup

In Recipes, Soups on October 10, 2013 at 9:03 AM

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

(Serves 2 or 3 – Active preparation time about 1 hour)

We found these great oven-proof soup bowls with handles at  Williams-Sonoma a while back, and they have been sitting fallow in our cabinet ever since. But yesterday, with the weather turning to full Autumn here on Cape Cod, the bowls cried out to be used. Since they resemble those soup bowls one would see in un petit bistrot somewhere on La Rive Gauche, what better soup to christen them with than a hearty Soupe à l’Oignon.

Betty whipped this up last night for a light supper, and with the lights turned down low, a candle on the dinner table, and Edith Piaf warbling in the background on the stereo, we enjoyed a 30 minute flight of fantasy to The City of Light.


1/4 lb. unsalted butter
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 slices French bread, about 1″ thick
4 large onions, sliced thin
4 sprigs of thyme
4 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup of sherry (Amontillado)
6 cups of College Inn, Fat-Free, Low-Sodium Beef Broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 lb. Gruyere, sliced thin – sufficient to cover the top of each soup bowl


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large heavy pot, on medium heat, sauté the garlic in 4 tbsp of the butter.
3. Brush bread slices on both sides with the garlic butter mixture.
4. On a cookie sheet, bake the garlic bread in the oven for 6 minutes on each side, remove and set aside. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
5. While the garlic bread is baking, add the remaining butter to the pot and melt, add onions and thyme sprigs, cook over medium heat until onions are well caramelized.
6. Remove the thyme sprigs, sift flour over the onions, mix well and cook over low heat for 8 minutes. Add sherry and continue cooking over low heat for 5 minutes more.
7. Add beef broth, salt and paper, bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until thickened as desired.
8. Place toasted garlic bread in soup bowls, add onion soup to the brim.
9. Cover bowls with layered Gruyere slices and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.


Yellow Gazpacho

In Appetizers, Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian Meals on June 22, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Yellow Gazpacho

Makes 1 quart – Active preparation time 20 minutes – Chill in refrigerator before serving


6 Small Yellow Tomatoes, about 1 lb.
1 Yellow Pepper, about 8 oz.
1 Mango
1 Jalapeño Pepper
1 Cucumber
2 Tbsps. Champagne Vinegar


1. Finely chop the tomatoes, add to blender.
2. Cut yellow pepper in half, remove and discard seeds, finely chop and add to blender.
3. Peel and finely chop mango and add to blender.
4. Pulse chop blender for 15 seconds, stir well and repeat until ingredients blend into a thick consistency.
5. Cut Jalapeño in half, carefully remove and discard seeds, finely chop and add to blender.
6. Pulse chop for 15 seconds.
7. Peel and finely chop cucumber, add to blender and pulse chop for 15 seconds.
8. Add Champagne Vinegar to blender and blend for 15 seconds.
9. Refrigerate Gazpacho and serve cold.

Please see At The Farmers Market.

Today's Lunch

For a wine pairing that nicely compliments this gazpacho, consider a Rosé, as suggested by bottlenotes at


Portuguese Kale Soup

In Recipes, Soups on October 15, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Portuguese Kale Soup

(Yield – about 5 quarts. Active preparation time 1 hour, unattended cooking time 2 hours)


1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion coarsely chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
6 15oz. cans Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
3 lbs. Chouriço, or Linguiça sliced about ¼ inch, or less, thick
4 qts. water
1 cup Beef or Chicken Broth
1 & 1/2 lbs. Kale, (2 medium sized bunches) remove leaves from stems, rip leaves and discard stems
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced and diced in 3/4 inch pieces


1.    In an 8 quart pot, heat olive oil on medium.
2.    Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5 minutes.
3.    Add 3 cans of the beans, stir well and cook 5 minutes.
4.    Add sausage, raise heat to medium, cook 3 minutes.
5.    Add water and broth, stir well and bring to a boil.
6.    When soup is at a full boil, add kale and potatoes, stir well and return to a boil.
7.    Reduce heat to medium and boil uncovered for 1 hour.
8.    Mash 1 can (2 cups) of the beans in a food processor and stir into the soup.
9.    Add the remaining 2 cans of beans to the soup and stir.
10.    Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for an additional hour.

Serve as a meal along with warm, crusty bread. Leftovers may be frozen in 1 or 2 quart containers to serve as additional meals during the long, cold, winter.

Please see: My Cousin Vinny to the Rescue

Bermuda Fish Chowder

In Fish, Recipes, Seafood, Soups on May 20, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Bermuda Fish Chowder

                     (Total Preparation Time – 3 hours, active time 45 minutes. Serves 4 as a main meal or 8 as a starter)


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
5 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/3 cup of chopped parsley
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 28 oz. can of tomatoes, drained – tomatoes chopped, juice reserved
2 qts. Seafood Stock
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika
8 tbsp. molasses
1 ½ cups of reserved tomato juice
1.5 lbs. of firm white fish, such as snapper, or bass, cut into 1 inch cubes
Gosling’s Bermuda Black Rum
Outerbridge’s Sherry Peppers Sauce

Outerbridge’s Sherry Peppers Sauce & A Seriously Depleted Bottle of Rum


1.    To a 5qt. pot, add the olive oil and garlic.
2.    Heat on medium-low  for 3-4 minutes, do not let the garlic burn.
3.    Add the parsley and stir well.
4.    Add the onion, celery and green pepper, raise heat to medium and cook 6 minutes, stirring periodically, add the tomatoes and cook 4 minutes more.
5.    Add the seafood stock, thyme, cayenne and paprika, bring to a boil.
6.    Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour.
7.    Remove from the heat, and with a fine sieve, strain the liquid into a 3 qt. pot – discard the solids.
8.    Return the liquid to a boil; add the molasses and the reserved tomato juice.
9.    Add the fish and cook uncovered for 40 minutes on medium-low.
10.    Raise the heat to medium and cook 20 minutes more.
11.    Remove large pieces of fish and shred or chop them, then return them to the chowder.
12.    Serve chowder in soup bowls, lacing each bowl with about 1 tablespoon of Gosling’s Bermuda Black Rum and several dashes of Outerbridge’s Sherry Peppers Sauce.

Serve with toasted French bread, brushed with olive oil and a well-chilled bottle of Sancerre.

Please see On Tour With The Literate Chef – Bermuda, Part I

Saltibarsciai a la Serge

In Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian Meals on May 8, 2012 at 7:12 PM

                                Cold Lithuanian Borscht Soup from Kaunas

Saltibarsciai a la Serge

 (Preparation time 20 minutes, makes 2 quarts of soup)


2 lbs. of pickled beets, coarsely chopped with about 24 oz. of their pickling marinade.
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
4 scallions, cleaned and chopped, both white and green parts
2 tbsp. of chopped fresh dill
Fresh ground black pepper
1 quart of plain Kefir
1 & 1/4 cups of sour cream


1.    Combine the beets, cucumber,scallions, dill and black pepper in large bowl and mix well.
2.    Add the beet pickling marinade and the Kefir and stir well
3.    Add sour cream to thicken soup and keep stirring until the sour cream is fully mixed in.

Serve soup cold. In Lithuania it is served with sides dishes of boiled potatoes topped with dill and/or hard boiled eggs.


Please See: A Visit to Lithuania

Black Bean Soup

In Recipes, Soups on December 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated (please see note below).   Active involvement-1 hour, cooking time 2&1/2 hours; makes about 16 servings.

Black Bean Soup


•    2 lbs. dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
•    1 ham bone
•    6 bay leaves
•    2 & ½ qts. water
•    8 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
•    4 cups of finely chopped onions, about 4 medium onions
•    2 cups finely chopped celery, about 3 stalks
•    1 cup finely chopped carrots, about 2 carrots
•    5 tbsps. minced garlic, about 1 whole head
•    3 tbsps. ground cumin
•    2 qts.  Unsalted Chicken Stock
•    6 jalapeno peppers including seeds, chopped fine
•    1 lb. Spanish Chorizos, sliced lengthwise and then at 90 degree angle, so that each slice is a ¼ inch thick half moon
•    1 cup rum


1.    Place beans, ham bone, bay leaves and water in a 5 qt. pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on a low boil, until beans are tender about 90 minutes. If too thick, add an additional cup or two of water and continue to simmer until beans are tender. Remove ham bone and bay leaves and discard.
2.    In the meantime, heat olive oil in 8-quart stock pot over medium-high heat until shimmering; add the onions, carrots and celery, cook for 6 minutes stirring until vegetables are soft.
3.    Add the garlic and cumin and continue cooking, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
4.    Add the beans and their liquid (after removing and discarding the ham bone and bay leaves), mix well.
5.    Add the chicken broth and jalapenos, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to boil, reduce the heat to low, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6.    Remove 3 cups of beans and 3 cups of liquid to a food processor, process until smooth then return to pot. Add the chorizos and rum bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes more.

Upon serving add a splash of Amontillado Sherry to each bowl and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and sour cream.

NOTE: Please see The Gift of Christmas Ham that Kept on Giving for a discussion of how this recipe was adapted and developed

From a Cask of Amontillado

Turkey Soup

In Recipes, Soups, Thanksgiving on December 4, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Turkey Soup with Cheese Tortelloni


Reserved turkey carcass, skin, bones and meat scraps, as well as any stuffing and gravy that you don’t want to save for leftovers
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
3 stalks of celery, including leaves, cut into thirds
4 carrots, skin left on and cut into quarters


1.    Place all of the ingredients in a 16 qt. pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for 1 hour.
2.    Remove cover and continue simmering for 2 more hours or until the meat falls of the bones.
3.    Strain the soup out and discard all of the solids.
4.    When cooled, place soup in refrigerator overnight.
5.    The next morning skim off and discard all of the gelatinous fat that has formed on the top.
6.    Heat the soup; add any cut up leftover turkey and gravy.
7.    Serve with separately cooked tortelloni, tortellini, ditalini, ditali, elbow macaroni or pastina, whatever is your choice, as well as grated Pecorino – Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Please also see: The Turkey that Keeps Giving


In For Moms on the Go, Recipes, Soups on November 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Uncle Fred’s Lentil Soup

Active time, 30 minutes. Soak lentils overnight. Cooking time, 1 hour.  Makes 6 quarts.


2 1 lb. packages of lentils
1 medium onion, chopped fine, about 2 cups
5 cloves garlic chopped fine, about 2 tbsps.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small can (6 oz.) of tomato paste
1 package of Lipton Dried Onion Soup Mix
2 smoked ham hocks
2 9 oz. packages of frozen chopped spinach


1.    Add the lentils to an 8 qt. pot, cover with water to about 4 inches above the lentils and soak overnight.
2.    The next day, drain and rinse the lentils and rinse the pot.
3.    In the rinsed pot, heat the olive oil on medium, add the onions and garlic and lightly sauté until translucent, do not let brown.
4.    Reduce heat to medium-low and add the tomato paste, mix well.
5.    Add the contents of one Lipton soup envelope and stir.
6.    Add the lentils and mix well.
7.    Cover with water to about 2 inches above the lentils, about 3 quarts, and then add the ham hocks.
8.    When the water comes to a boil, add the spinach, reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
9.    When the soup reaches your desired thickness, remove the ham hocks and discard them, (see note). Add more water if too thick to your liking.
10.   Serve the soup with olive oil drizzled into it and warm crusty Italian bread on the side.
11.    Freeze the remainder in 1 or 2 quart containers to enjoy for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking.

Note: As an alternative, if the hocks are particularly meaty, you can remove the meat from the bones, chop it coarsely and add it back to the soup, discarding the skin and bones. You may also wish to use fresh ham hocks, rather than the smoked variety, in which case the meat will be much more tender and definitely worth adding to the soup when thoroughly cooked, however the soup flavor will differ. Try it both ways, each method has its merits.

Please refer to: SOUP’S ON

Also See: Uncle Fred, The Godfather

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