Archive for the ‘real people/real soup’ Category

The Soup Lady loves to get email. A lovely surprise came into the mailbag from Denmark and a reader named Birthe.

Dear Soup Lady,

I’m a foodie from Denmark and I have my own
foodblog on
: www.newyorkerbyheart.blogspot.com
  You are welcome to stop by if you feel like it.
It’s in Danish, but has a LOT of pictures of the food I make – and the latest
recipes are translated to English.

My best, Birthe

And so stop by I did and I picked up a little something for you all while I was there.  Birthe is a lovely person and has agreed to share one of her recipes here.


Ingredients for broth:

  • 4 onions, cut in half and sliced very thin
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 50 g butter
  • ½ big potato (baking potato)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1,2 litre chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage, chives or flatleaved parsley

Ingredients for spicy meatballs:

  • 200 g minced beef
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 100 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 shredded onion
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1½ tsp. chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • salt, pepper

Soup – Melt the butter in a big pot. Add the onions and the garlic at let them simmer at medium temperature for 4-5 minutes, until they’re soft and clear. Stir often.
Shred the potato and add it with paprika, soy sauce, chili powder/cayenne pepper and chicken stock. Put a lid on and let it simmer for about 18-20 minutes. Add salt, pepper and cayenne/chili to taste.

Meatballs –
Stir the minced meat with all the ingredients. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Make 20 small meatballs and fry them on a pan in olive oil, until they’re crisp on the outside.

Serving – Chop the herbs right before serving and add with the meatballs. Serve with some bread.

The Soup Lady loves this soup and has spiced it up just a bit more by making a mixture of the milk and egg and adding about 7 drops of hot sauce to the meatballs and putting just a pinchof red pepper flakes into the broth. I was also a bit reluctant to shred the potatoes for fear they’d dissolve in the broth. I wanted to make a small dice, but I put my faith in Birthe and she was right – the shreds held up nicely and were still visible in the serving dish. Next time I make this, I’ll be using 2 potatoes because that’s what I like.  I’d advise you all to  go visit New Yorker By Heart to see what else Brithe has on the menu.

Need help with measurement conversion?
Click here: Conversion Table for Cooks

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The Soup Lady likes nothing better than when someone else does the work. To that end, I enthusiastically recommend trawling the internet until you come across non-food blogs that have called for recipe submissions.  The Carnival of the Recipes is one of the more interesting ones. Conceived and originated by Beth of  She Who Will Be Obeyed! , it’s the ultimate Real People/Real Recipes collection.  The submissions are dishes that people actually like so much that they wish to share with others.

It wasn’t easy but I managed to maintain my lurker status until this gem showed up thanks to Cathy of Blue Heron at Druid Labs. I like this soup because it’s simple yet rich and it’s very easy to whip up.

Celery and Stilton Soup

1 bunch celery, 1  medium onion (chopped), 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 3/4 cups light vegetable or chicken stock, 2 egg yolks, 2/3 cup of half and half, 1 cup of crumbled blue cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Bluecheesesoup1Reserve the inner leaves from the celery and chop the remaining celery. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Gently cook celery and onion, covered, until soft.  Add stock and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool slightly. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade or a blender, process mixture to a puree. Return puree to pan and reheat gently without bringing to a boil.

To finish the soup, beat egg yolks and half-and-half in a small bowl. Stir a small ladleful of hot soup into the egg mixutre and pour back into the pan. Stir in crumbled blue cheese, stirring constantly until soup thickens. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with inner celery leaves. Serve immediately.

Cathy writes these additional tips: "The recipe calls for Stilton, but gorgonzola works fine as will any strong blue. It’s far easier to use a wand blender [to puree], and you don’t have to wait for the soup to cool. If the soup is to be held, be sure to reheat gently."

The Soup Lady is a big fan of handheld blenders. Not only is it faster, easier and neater than using a food processor, but the big advantage as I see it is that there is far less washing up to do. For the ultimate in low kitchen clean-up, see if you can fox someone else into making the soup and taking a picture of it so you can see what it looks like. Thanks, Cathy!

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Announcement: It turns out that “Sophie” is the most popular Grandma name for reader submissions at The Soup. If your Grandma was named Sophie, then please raid her recipe box and send in her soup recipes so you can be part of the trend. Reader Don K. writes in to share his Grandma Sophie’s recipe:

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Dear Soup Lady,

I’m enjoying your soup site. Here’s a soup recipe that’s been in our family since the 1960’s and always keeps popping up. It’s a couple generations down the line now and everyone still seems to really love it and it couldn’t be simpler to make. It goes really well at brunches, etc. or just anytime. It’s also a “pretty” soup to serve. My kids think of it as an old family recipe, yet I can remember Grandma Sophie (I have one too!) being excited over this recipe when she found it, probably in some newspaper or magazine. Anyway, enjoy! NOTE: There is no milk in this dish. Don K.

5 thinly sliced potatoes
3 shredded carrots
1 lg minced onion
½ box frozen peas
½ lb Velveeta, chunked
salt, pepper, & garlic powder (to taste)

Place potatoes, carrots & onion into a pot, cover generously with water and boil until carrots are done. Add peas, and continue to boil until peas are cooked. Reduce heat to simmer, add cheese. (Do not boil after cheese is added.) Add salt, pepper to taste. Add just a hint of garlic powder. Serve hot.

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If you are wondering if there is milk in Velveeta cheese, then you must read this article from Chemical & Engineering News where Steve Ritter studies Title 21 Part 133 of the FDA’s U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and clarifies it for us:
“For the record, Velveeta is pasteurized process cheese spread and Velveeta Light is pasteurized process cheese product. Cheez Whiz is labeled as pasteurized process cheese sauce, although that type isn’t noted in the Code of Federal Regulations. “

Now you know.

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Dragon’s Bowl

The Soup Lady often publishes mail from readers who wish to share their soup recipes. This is the first time that a recipe has been contributed by a fictional character.

This recipe was developed by Abe Cohen, the main character in Dragon, the story of a man who turns his back on Hollywood for a more ‘normal’ life in Arizona. (Author: Trudy W Schuett ) I catagorized this recipe in the Real People/Real Soup section because I figure Abe is at least as real as food brand characters Betty Crocker, Uncle Ben, the Jolly Green Giant or Snap, Crackle and Pop.

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Dragon’s Bowl
2 lb beef stew meat, cut in cubes
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, sliced
3-4 ribs celery, sliced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
4 T butter or olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp-1 T whole peppercorns
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp-1 T salt
2 tsp instant beef bouillon
½ cup pearl barley
½ cup white rice
½ cup brown rice
½ cup wild rice
½ cup lentils

Brown beef in butter or oil, add veg and mushrooms, sauté. Add spices and seasonings. Add barley, rices, and lentils, in whatever combination you have on hand, with total volume adding up to about 2 ½ cups. Add 6 cups of water to start, adding more as the soup cooks depending on the consistency desired. We allow a minimum of 2 hours for the soup to simmer—this recipe works well in the crock-pot. Just dump everything in and walk away. It helps to sing as you add the herbs. ;>) Dancing is optional. This recipe also freezes and reheats well in the microwave. We freeze it in individual portions.

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Speaking of brand characters, I hear that Chef Boy-ar-dee is real. But has anyone actually met him? Is he, in fact, the lyricist for the Beefaroni theme song, which for my money, is the very best jingle ever penned for a canned entree. Do you know that if you Google “lyrics to Beefaroni jingle”, you will come up empty handed? I will do you the favor now of printing them here entirely from memory:

We’re having Beefaroni!
It’s beef and macroni!
Beefaroni’s full of meat.
Beefaroni’s fun to eat.
Beefaroni’s really neat.
Hooray! Whee! For Chef Boy-ar-dee!

You’re welcome.

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Grandma Sophie�s Chicken Soup

Are we sick yet? We�ve had plenty of time to rebreathe germs from those around us, and the weather certainly has been ideal in most of the country to drive everyone indoors and deprive us all of fresh (low germ concentration) air. Now is the time to pull out the chicken soup.

But first a candid confession: The Soup Lady has never been able to produce a decent pot of chicken soup to save her ladle-lovin� soul. And so we turn to an expert: Howie of the Thousand Dollar Vegetable Soup comes to the rescue with what he calls �the best Jewish penicillin available.� I believe the man, and if you tried his recipe for the vegetable soup, you know why: the man is a soup genius. Behold:

Dear Soup Lady,
Here is a recipe carried down for many generations. I know it as "Grandma Sophie’s Chicken Soup". I’m sure her mother and generations before made the same. Each person took this recipe and tailored it to the food stuffs available at the time. I know Sophie never wasted ANY part of the chicken cause as I young child, once she had enough chicken fat in the freezer, she would deep fry it with onions and us kids would eat it like popcorn! Imagine why our cholesterol is so bad!

This is a simple recipe in that there are only a few necessary ingredients. In actuality, it can be made REALLY simple by dumping all ingredients into a large soup pot and simmering for a few hours, skim it, cut the chicken off the bones (it will fall off anyway) and serve. But my recipe is somewhat more involved and I find it to be the best "Jewish Penicillin" available.

One large chickenwhole broiler or parts, or just breasts, or just dark meat, or just wings, whatever you have, but it is best to use a whole chicken. (Put aside the gizzards for other recipes if they pack innards inside the chicken where you by it).
4-6 stalks of celery– I use the inner parts but any parts are fine including the leaves
4-8 carrots depending on size and how sweet you want the soup. I like lots.
one large onion… type is not critical. If you have smaller ones, use more.
Fresh dill or if necessary, dried dill. This will be to taste. I like a good amount, some people prefer less.

If the chicken is kosher, it will have enough salt. If it isn’t, DO NOT ADD SALT ANYWAY. You can always serve the soup with a salt shaker and let people add. Some people like to make noodles, dumplings, matzo balls, whatever. I like mine simple.

Large soup pot, enough to place the chicken in, cover it in water and still have 1/4-1/2 of the pot available.
High heat until boiling, cover, lower to simmer, and allow to simmer for an hour to 90 minutes (according to size of chicken).
After that, take out chicken, place in large bowl, and start removing skin, meat, etc. Place skin and all bones back into the stock and allow to simmer (low flame) for another hour. The meat can be cut into small pieces and placed in the fridge until later.

After an hour, turn off heat, place large soup pot in sink, use large strainer and strain from current pot into new pot. Place on stove top on low heat, allow to settle (about 10-15 minutes) and skim off fat from top using soup or whatever works for you.

Put in celery cut into half stalks, carrots, cut into thirds, whole onion(s) and raise heat to medium-low. Allow to cook covered for about 30-45 minutes. Remove onion(s) and squeeze out juices from onions into soup and discard the remainder of the onion (unless you have another use for it).

Now put in the chicken pieces that were set aside earlier and lower to low heat. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Put in the dill weed, cover, shut off heat and allow to sit for about 10-15 minutes before serving. This reheats as well as when it is fresh. It will gel in the fridge but instantly turns back to soup in the microwave or stovetop.

Enjoy! Best regards,

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From Our Mail Bag: A Reader Request
An alert reader has written to say: “Dear Soup lady, Winter’s coming! Gotta put out a recipe for bavarian liver (meatball) soup!” Well, the Soup Lady doesn’t know anything about Bavaria, but she does know Mig, the genial host of Lost In Transit. As a former Seattle resident now living in Vienna, he knows a thing or two about soup weather.

Lost In Transit is a group weblog by expatriates and emigrants around the world, writing about their experiences. Web User Magazine says: “More informative than a dozen Michael Palin travelogues, Lost In Transit is a top destination.” The Soup Lady heartily agrees with that – it’s the first place I went to get this authentic Austrain recipe for Leberknoedelsuppe. Sure, you can do internet searches to get a list of ingredients and instructions, but where else can you get an Aunt Mitzi?
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Dear Soup Lady,
My mother-in-law is an expert soup cook. She does not make liver-
dumpling soup because chopping/grinding the liver makes more mess than she likes. Her best friend Mitzi, however, does make a good liver dumpling soup, so I asked her for a recipe. She cooks by heart now, rarely using recipes, but she agreed to write one down for the Soup Lady. This soup is generally served as a first course.

200 grams pork liver (roughly, 1/2 pound)
60 grams margarine (2 oz.)
2 eggs
3 dinner rolls, softened in milk
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 onion
1 garlic clove
salt, pepper, marjoram
1. Heat half the margarine in a pan, sautee the onion and garlic
2. Beat the rest of the margarine with salt, spices and eggs until it
is foamy. Soak the rolls in milk first to soften them, press out the milk and rip into small pieces. Mix with the ground/chopped liver, parsley, bread crumbs, onion and garlic and sautee for about 15 minutes.
3. Form dumplings. Place into soup at a low boil and simmer on a low
flame for 15 minutes.
[note: Aunt Mitzi didn’t mention this in her recipe, but the dumplings
are formed by hand into small spheres about the size of golfballs; the
soup is normally a clear broth, usually a beef broth. ]
Mit freundlichen Gruessen,

liver dumplings.jpg
photo from Austria.org

Dumpling tips from the Austrian Press & Information Service:
“A few tips may be helpful, particularly for less experienced dumpling makers who are exhorted not to give up at the first miscooked, collapsed dumpling. “
– Dough made of bread, the crumbs of bread rolls, semolina, must be allowed to “rest” for a while in order to absorb moisture.
– Dumplings as garnish in soup, meat and liver dumplings, bread dumplings should be rounded with wet hands.
– It is advisable to cook one dumpling first as a trial. If the inside is “dry,” i is a success; if it is too solid, add liquid (soup, milk, water); if it tends to fall apart, perhaps bind with egg and/or flour.
– Leave the saucepan in which you boil dumplings half uncovered: only yeast dumplings should be cooked with the saucepan lid wholly on.
– Drain the dumplings carefully and serve in a warm dish. If dumplings are to be kept warm and you do not have a steamer, put them in a colander on top of a saucepan of hot water.
– Practice makes perfect.

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Well, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and the Soup Lady is in a tizzy trying to get all the last minute details together for the holiday meal tomorrow. I hope you all have a nice pot of soup going so that you can stop and nourish yourselves. Come back and see me on Friday when you are all looking at the ugly carcass of a 16 pound bird and wondering what to do with it. There are plenty of places you can go to find a traditional turkey bone soup recipe , but look at the dilly (sorry!) that arrived in the Soup Lady’s mailbag. How could one not adore a soup that calls for pickle juice in the ingredients? Deborah Diemand writes:
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Dear Soup Lady,
I thought I would share one of my favorite soup recipes, which I got from a wonderful old lady from Savannah GA, since, sadly, deceased at a great age. Her name was Ruth Poggenpohl. Don’t know where she got it from – some ante-bellum grandmother perhaps. She was a genius at simple, delicious, but unusual foods.
Very simple, and a little piece of heaven. We generally pick the better meat scraps off the carcass when the stock is done and toss them in with the veggies. As you can tell from the vague instructions, you can do whatever you like.
signed, Deborah Diemand

Turkey carcass
Potatoes, onions, carrots, celery
1 can tomato soup
3-4 dill pickles, diced
4 tbsp pickle juice
sour cream

Make stock from turkey carcass, leaving in small bits of meat. Dice veggies and cook in a small amount of water and a bit of butter. Add veg to the trained stock along with the tomato soup. 5 minutes before serving add pickles and juice. Serve with a blob of sour cream on top.

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The Soup Lady’s Free Advice for Thanksgiving :

For the cook
: Don’t worry too much about what you are serving to your guests. They will eat it anyway. If it’s burned, scrape the black part off. If it’s undercooked, throw it back in for a while – they will have plenty of other stuff to eat while it finishes. If you forgot something that you planned to have on your menu, don’t sweat it – no one will know unless you tell them. Don’t compare your dinner with Aunt Sally who has been hostessing the family event for 35 years, or with your cousin’s new wife who had theirs catered by Jean-Luc last year – this dinner is yours and yours alone. If what you offer comes from the heart, that is all anyone can ask for. Accept all help for assistance in the kitchen. Be sure sure that you follow the rules of basic sanitation and good hygeine.

For the guests: Don’t show up empty-handed. Ask before hand what you can bring to contribute to the meal. If the hostess politely declines to tell you, bring something anyway – a sweet for dessert, a bag of gournet coffe beans or a fancy canister of tea, or a pineapple wrapped in a new dishtowel. Eat from the selection of dishes that are on the menu. If you are on a diet, work with what you have. If you have special medical needs for your food, then you know what you can and cannot have. Don’t make a big deal about how the food that is offered does not fit your food plan. Offer to help. Try to stay out of the way during the last-minute preparations -help is most appreciated after the meal during the clean-up. If you can’t bear the idea of spending the time after the holiday meal with your hands in the sink and up to your elbows in suds, take out the kitchen gabage; keep the small kids busy; ofer to take the dog for a walk.

Advice about children: have a kids’ table and seat your litittle guests together there, but do it in a positive way, not as if you are telling them they are not fit to sit at the big table. If you don’t have a lot of space for an extra table, spread out a plastic tablecloth somewhere out of the way and let them have an indoor ‘picnic’. They will try to get themselves to the big table, but pleasantly redirect them. In the long run, they will talk about the kids’ table for years to come and be happy that they sat at one. Let them provide decorations. If they made turkeys out of brown paper bags, let that be the centerpiece. Use the placecards they made and let them wear feathers and pilgrim caps during the meal. Take them to a party store and let them pick out a tissue paper turkey or a foil garland to string around. Don’t get worked up over food stains on their clothing or spilled plates of food – it’s going to happen so just relax. You can clean it later.

Advice about seniors: Listen to your uncle’s same old stories – again. So what if you heard them before? Let the old ladies help with the dishes. I know you want to give them a break after all the years that they stood on their feet feeding you, but maybe they like doing dishes. Let them. Repeat what you just said as many times as it takes in case they didn’t quite catch all the words. Let them hold the babies, but don’t expect them to babysit.

General advice: Turn off the TV. Use your good manners. Be nice to everybody. Remember what you are thankful for.

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