Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

When it’s cold outside, there is nothing I love more than a good soup. There's just something about a nice warm bowl on a cold day that makes you feel all better.

My husband and I both like variety, so we love to try new recipes, and rarely repeat something unless it’s really special.

Ladies and gentlemen, these recipes are really special. I give you Spicy Beef and Barley Soup and Chicken Soup with Cheese Tortellini. We have made both of these recipes at least three times—in the last month alone.

Spicy Beef and Barley Soup
I found this recipe in Cooking Light a couple of months ago, and it is divine. My husband is the one who’s actually done the cooking on this one when we’ve had it, and he’s made a few adjustments to “ramp it up” as he likes to say.

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 (1 ½ pound) eye-of-round steak, cut into one inch pieces (you could also use cubed stew meat if you’re not interested in the “light” aspect of the recipe)
1/2 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon + ½ teaspoon salt
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 cups baby carrots
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup red wine
8 cups beef broth
¾ cup uncooked pearl barley
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 sprigs of thyme
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
1 bay leaf

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle beef evenly on all sides with salt and pepper (1/2 teaspoon of each). Add beef and onion to the pan, sauté 5 minutes until the meat is browned on all sides. Remove beef mixture from the pan; place in an electric slow cooker.

Add carrot and mushrooms to the pan, and sauté 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic, and sauté two more minutes. Add red wine to pan, and bring to a bubble. Add the carrot mixture, barley, basil, crushed red pepper, tomatoes, bay leaf, paprika, cumin and thyme to the slow cooker and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for 6 hours. Discard thyme sprigs before serving.

Chicken Soup with Cheese Tortellini
This soup is so warming and hearty. The chicken totally falls apart, and it makes your house smell divine. It tastes great on a cold night, and if you don’t like tortellini (which seems impossible to me, but you never know) it also tastes great over rice or quinoa.

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 leek finely sliced (optional—I love leeks, but they’re not everyone’s cup of tea)
1 yellow onion, finely sliced
1 and ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups sliced mushrooms (or just one of those pre-packaged deals from the grocery store)
2 cups baby carrots
6 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
12 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 package cheese tortellini

In a large sauce pot or dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the celery and leeks and sauté for five minutes. Add the onions, mushrooms and ½ teaspoon of salt and and sauté for three more minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for two minutes.

Add the white wine and bring to a bubble, let simmer for three to five minutes and then add the chicken, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat.

Simmer gently for an hour. Add the carrots and simmer for another ½ hour. Shred the chicken with two forks (it will be falling apart, so this will be really easy). Bring the soup back to a boil and add the tortellini. Cook until the tortellinis are done. Cool a bit and serve.

1 comment:

Monique said...

Thank you for the wonderful recipes!! I also am a soup lover!! These two look yummy! Can't wait to make them. :)