Friday, January 7, 2011

Soup Stock / Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque / Easy Taco Soup

Wonderfully Rich Stock for Soups

by Lois Breneman - 2008 - Heart to Heart

Every single time I bone a turkey or chicken, I think of my dad, because he always offered his loving service to do that job at home!  I remember my mother making stock for soups in this way and I've done it a few times, but plan to do this more often.  The next time you roast a whole turkey or chicken, or even a turkey breast, use the bones and meat still hanging on to make a flavorful stock that will enhance your soups and casseroles.  Add celery, carrots, onions, and herbs if you wish, to bring out more flavor in the stock.  Or cook the stock plain and add flavors later when you make soup.  Many brands of canned chicken stock on grocery store shelves contain MSG, and most of those that don't, cost more.  So follow these directions to make your own flavorful stock:

1.  After picking turkey or chicken meat off the bones, place the whole carcass in a stock pot.
2.  Cover completely with water.
3.  Over high heat, bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.
4.  Simmer at least one hour, or if time permits, several hours.
5.  Allow to cool about 30 minutes and strain.
6.  Refrigerate or freeze the stock in smaller containers and use in soups and casseroles.

Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque - 5 servings, about 1 1/2 cup each - Total Time: 30 minutes

This satisfying vegetarian, sweet potato soup is inspired by the flavors of West African peanut soup. We like the added zip of hot green chiles, but they can sometimes be very spicy. It’s best to take a small bite first and add them to taste. Try chopped peanuts and scallions for a different garnish. Serve with a mixed green salad with vinaigrette.
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (10-12 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium tomato-vegetable juice blend or tomato juice
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, preferably hot, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 15-ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  1. Prick sweet potatoes in several places with a fork. Microwave on High until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it just begins to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in juice, green chiles, ginger and allspice. Adjust the heat so the mixture boils gently; cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-size pieces. Add half to the pot. Place the other half in a food processor or blender along with broth and peanut butter. Puree until completely smooth. Add the puree to the pot and stir well to combine. Thin the bisque with water, if desired. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Make Ahead Tip:  Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Thin with water before reheating, if desired.

Easy Taco Soup

2 chicken breasts                                 
4 cups chicken bouillon                       
1 Tbsp. olive oil                                      
1 large onion, chopped                     
1 green bell pepper, chopped             
2 carrots, peeled and sliced                 
2 tsp. garlic salt                                    
2 tsp. chili powder 
2 tsp. cumin
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can white kidney beans
1 can yellow corn, drained (optional)
1/3 cup brown rice
Cheddar cheese, grated
Tortilla chips
Start by cooking brown rice with water (1 part rice with 2 parts water).  If you cook brown rice ahead and freeze it, you can skip this step. Then in a soup kettle, bring the bouillon to a boil and in it simmer the chicken breasts for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove chicken and reserve the broth. Over medium heat, add oil to the kettle and cook onion about three minutes until tender. Add pepper and carrots and cook for another three minutes or so.  Stir in garlic salt, chili powder and cumin.  Add tomatoes and reserved broth.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add beans, rice and corn to the pot and cook for another 15 minutes. Just before serving the soup, cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and add to the kettle. Cook until heated through and serve garnished with cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.