Posts Tagged ‘Soup Recipes’

Callaloo Soup – Caribbean Polynesian Fusion

June 27, 2009

callaloo1Callaloo is synonymous with Caribbean cuisine as lu supo (loo soo-poe) is fundamental to Polynesian cuisine. Both soups are made with taro leaves and while Caribbean cookery uses other varieties of leaves, all of which are referred to as callaloo, Polynesians from the Hawaiians to the Tongans use only taro leaves. In the South Pacific, each island nation has their own taro varieties cultivated for their particular soil, popularity, exportability, and weather patterns.

In Tonga, lu (taro leaves) is cooked in soups, side dishes, and main dishes with meat or fish. Coconut milk is added to nearly all traditional island cooking, especially lu. The stems and veins of the lu leaf have needle-point raphides (calcium oxalate) which, if not well cooked, will cause your throat to constrict and your tongue to itch. This malady is cause to claim “the cook is lazy” since removing the stems and large central vein, as well as thoroughly cooking the leaf, requires a bit of time and effort.

Since taro is difficult to find in areas outside of the tropics, the best substitute is a mix of large leaf spinach and Swiss chard. Kale or collard greens can also be used successfully. Collard greens are a gift from our African ancestors just like callaloo was a gift from African slaves brought to the Caribbean in the 1700’s.

The fungi dumplings, another Caribbean dish, frequently served in the callaloo soup, was originally made of cassava (manioke) meal but has been replaced with yellow cornmeal in the last 50 years or so. Cassava meal is still used in some Polynesian cooking as corn is relatively expensive and not indigenous to Polynesia. Cassava is a subject for another post.

This soup is teaming with flavors from the chili spiked kale, okra, meat, crab and fungi dumplings. It can be made vegan simply by eliminating the meat and adding pumpkin, yam or sweet potato. If you like greens, you’ll enjoy this nutritious and filling soup.


  • 4 oz salt pork, 1/2-inch cubes (or 6 strips of bacon)
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch Kale, about 1-1/2 lbs, washed, stems removed, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock (fish stock or vegetable stock may be used)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig (or 1/4 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet chili, deveined, seeded and minced (habanero chili)
  • 4 oz corned beef brisket (or1 small can corned beef)
  • 1/2 lb crab meat – fresh, frozen or canned, pick clean of shell debrise
  • 1/2 lb okra, sliced rounds
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe fungi dumplings (recipe below)
  • 4 scallions sliced for garnish


  1. In a Dutch oven over medium high heat, fry salt pork to render fat. Reserve browned pork cubes for garnish. Reserve 2 Tbsp of fat.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in the reserved fat until translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add kale, chicken stock, cloves, thyme, chili and okra. Bring to a boil.
  4. Rinse corned beef brisket in fresh water, cut into 1-inch cubes. Add to Dutch oven,
  5. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until corned beef is fork tender.
  6. Process soup in batches in food processor just enough to retain some chunky texture. Return soup to pot.
  7. Add crab and coconut milk. Heat through. Taste for salt and add salt and black pepper to taste.
  8. To serve, place 1 scoop of fungi in a serving bowl, ladle soup on top, garnish with sliced scallions and reserved pork cubes.

Fungi Dumplings – Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 okra, sliced or chopped fine
  • 3 cups cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp butter


  1. In a 2-quart sauce pan over medium high heat, bring chicken stock, salt and okra to a roiling boil.
  2. Slowly whisk in cornmeal in a steady stream until thick and creamy.
  3. Add butter and beat with a wooden spoon until cornmeal leaves the side of the pan. Remove from heat immediately.
  4. Keep warm in a bain marie or double boiler.
  5. To serve, use an ice-cream scoop to form balls, place ball of fungi on serving dish and ladle sauce or soup on top. Garnish as desired.

Note: Fungi is also a great served with coconut chicken, coconut fish, chicken fried gravy or turkey gravy. Use in place of toast for creamed tuna, or creamed eggs. Cooled fungi maybe sliced and fried in olive oil and butter like polenta, or toasted and topped with tapenade or chili jam and cream cheese for appetizers.

Real Tomato Soup

March 16, 2009

tomato-soupNothing says “comfort food” like a bowl of creamy tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.  It is so basic, no wonder kids love it.  Campbell’s may be convenient but the healthier version is homemade with fresh ingredients and no preservatives.  When tomatoes are in season, buy a box of them and make your own puree.  Pureed tomatoes freeze beautifully and make the best sauces, V-8 juice, and soup.  With a simple food mill, there’s no need to skin tomatoes before cooking.  If you don’t have a food mill, a China Cap or sieve will work.  The trick is not to overcook these beauties.  Wash and quarter tomatoes, place in a sauce pan over medium heat with a pinch of salt, do not add any water.  The tomatoes will make their own juice so stir ocassionally and cook only until juices are rendered and tomatoes are tender but not mushy.  Transfer the solids to a food mill and puree.  The skins and seeds will be left in the food mill.  Stir the juices and puree together and pour into freezer safe containers or zip-lock bags.   You may can the puree also.   Seal in sterilized jars and water-bath in enough boiling water to cover for 20-25 minutes.  Jars will keep in a cool, dry pantry for several months.

Okay, now for the soup.

1 Tbsp butter (or olive oil)

1 carrot, chopped

1 stock of celery, tops and all chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

4 cups tomato puree (homemade is best)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp sugar (or honey)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme and 1 tsp dried dill)

1 cup half and half

Saute onion, celery, and carrot in butter, transfer to food processor or blender.  Add 1 cup of tomato puree to blender and process until smooth.  Transfer to a sauce pan, add remaining tomato puree, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, add thyme and half and half.  Cook until heated through.  Adjust seasonings and serve.  Garnish with croutons, fresh basil, dill, chives, scallions, or parsley.  Serve with crakers or your favorite toasted cheese sandwich.

Potato Leek Soup

March 16, 2009

soupLeeks are giant spring onions (scallions).  They must always be washed thoroughly so slice them down the middle and rinse under running water, inspecting the layers for dirt as you rinse.  The leaves make an elegant terrine for brunch or canapés and the entire stock, leaves and root, make this soup stand out.  Puree half the veggies for a super creamy style. 

4 slices bacon, chopped

2 large leeks, washed and sliced thin

2 russet potatoes, diced ½ inch

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

½ cup dry white wine

2 cups chicken stock (homemade is best)

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup half and half

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

Chopped parsley or scallions for garnish

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until browned.  Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of fat, add leeks and potatoes, cook 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 3 minutes more.  Add Tabasco then the wine to deglaze the pan.  Add the stock and salt and pepper.  Simmer until potatoes are very soft, about 30 minutes.  At this point, you may puree a third or a half of the veggies and return to pot.  Add half and half and thyme, cook over medium heat until heated though.  Garnish each bowl with parsley or scallions.  Serve with crusty French bread and your favorite salad.


Salmon Zucchini Soup

March 15, 2009

salmon-soupWhen you live in salmon country creating new salmon dishes is a must lest we are bored with the local fare.  In Alaska, not only did we catch and eat pinks, silvers, and reds, but we also caught huge 40 + pound King Salmon.  There was salmon roasts, salmon steaks, salmon cheeks, salmon eggs for bait and caviar, salmon bones for fish stock and fertilizer in the vegetable garden.  Everyone ate salmon, even the dogs and kitties and everyone had salmon in the freezer along with razor clams, mussels, and crabs.

This recipe is simple yet elegant for a starter course or main dish supper.

6 Tbsp butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

2 cups diced potato

2 cloves garlic minced

1 cups diced carrots

4 cups fish stock (or chicken stock)

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup chopped zucchini (courgettes)

1/2 tsp each salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp dried thyme (2-3 sprigs fresh)

2 tsp dried tarragon  (5-6 sprigs fresh)

2 lbs fresh salmon chopped

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

Tabasco to taste (1-2 dashes)

Warm a good sized stock pot or dutch oven, melt the butter, add the onion, celery, pepper, garlic, potatoes, and carrots. Saute over medium high heat until fragrant and wilted.  Add the wine to deglaze the pan, then add the stock.  Bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes, lower heat and simmer 30-40 minutes.  Add the salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon, zucchini, and salmon.  Simmer 10 minutes more and add milk, cream, and Tabasco.  Cook until heated through.  Adjust seasonings if needed.  Serve with parsley garnish, big loaf of warm sourdough bread, and your favorite salad.

Crimini Mushroom Soup with Brandy

March 14, 2009

mushroomsJewels of the forest and cow patties, mushrooms are a gastronomic experience that everyone should be exposed to at an early age.  Mushrooms are loaded with vital elements we need to reduce heart disease, stroke and prostate cancer.  They are low in calories, fat and sodium yet a good source of fiber.  This recipe is easy, delicious and filling for a quick supper on a cold winter’s night.  If there is any leftover, which is doubtful, add it to a green bean or broccoli casserole.  Any mushroom will work with this recipe  though the darker the mushroom, such as a crimini or portabello, the richer the color and flavor will be.

1 lb of crimini mushrooms, slicedmushroom-soup

2 Tbsp of butter

2 strips of bacon

2 shallots, diced

1/2 Walla Walla Sweet Onion, diced

4 cups beef stock

2 hots of brandy

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp of dried thyme

2 dashes of Tabasco sauce

1/2 cup whipping cream

 Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a non-stick skillet, fry bacon to render fat.  Remove from skillet and chop.  Add butter to skillet and saute shallots and onion for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continuing cooking until the juices dissipate.  Remove to a stock pot with the bacon, add the beef stock and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer, add brandy, fresh thyme, and Tabasco.  Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes, add cream, salt and pepper.  Cook only until cream is heated through.  Serve with a salad and warm crusty bread.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

March 12, 2009

sweet-potatoThis soup is an improvised version of my pumpkin curry soup with the addition of coconut milk.   A couple of years ago I was making pumpkin soup and discovered I had no carrots, but I did have a couple of sweet potatoes.  Low and behold, with the added sweet potatoes the color was richer, the sweetness was  sweeter and the texture was smoother without having to add heavy cream.  Everyone remarked on the enhanced flavor and texture.   In fact,  it is now “lip smackin” comfort food in our house.   It’s easy to make so do give it a try.

An electric blending wand is handy for pureeing soups right in the stock pot and eliminates having to batch-puree in a blender or food processor. 

4 fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 stock of celery, diced

1 onion, diced

8 cups chicken stock

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 chipolte chiles, minced

1 tsp thyme leaves

1 tsp. curry powder

1 can coconut milk (unsweetened)

Place sweet potatoes, celery, onion, and chicken stock in a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender, remove veggies and puree.  Return veggies to stock pot and add chiles, curry powder, thyme, and coconut milk.  Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes more.  Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with a dollop of sour cream, chopped chives, or minced parsley for a vegan version.   Crisp bacon bits may be added for carnivores.

Makes 8 servings.  Serve with a pear and arugula salad and corn bread for a quick lunch or supper.