Category Archives: Soups and Stews

PEI Potato Leek Soup Recipe

PEI Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

I am not sure which country can, in fact, lay claim to being the originator of Potato Leek Soup.  Some say it is of Welsh origin while others give Ireland credit for this tasty soup.  If you have ever eaten Vichyssoise, a cold version of Potato Leek Soup, you may attribute its origins to France due to its association with Vichy.  Then, of course, there is Tattie and Leekie soup from Scotland.

Potato and Leek Soup has two main ingredients – potatoes and leeks.  They are complemented by some gentle seasonings of garlic, onion, celery, bayleaf, and thyme, all cooked in chicken stock.

PEI Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

Leeks are related to the onion and shallot family but they do differ.  Leeks resemble giant overgrown green onions. Leeks are usually 12″-14″ long and about 1″-2″ in diameter.  They will have three shades that vary from white at the bulb end to light green in the middle to deep green at the top.  The deep green top is tough and bitter so is discarded, leaving the light green and white sections as the usable parts of the leek.  The root end is cut off and the outer layers of the white and light green sections discarded.

Leeks have a more subtle flavour than onions or shallots so don’t overpower other ingredients in a dish.  Sometimes, as in my recipe for Potato Leek Soup, when I want some strengthened flavour, I will add a small amount of onion .

There are a couple of ways this soup can be made – either the entire mixture puréed until smooth or, if you prefer some chunkiness to the soup, simply remove about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups of the vegetables and purée the rest. This is what I have done in the soup you see in these photos. Either way, it is a filling and satisfying soup.

Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

I make good use of my immersion blender for cream and purée soup making. However, you can certainly use either a blender or a food processor to purée the vegetables.  I generally allow the soup to cool for 30-40 minutes before using my immersion blender and, sometimes, if I am in a hurry, I put the soup pot in a sink full of cold water for a few minutes to speed up the cooling process.  I know some people do use their immersion blenders in really hot soup. I recommend you check your instruction manual for your immersion blender to see what it says about using the blender in hot liquids.

Potato Leek Soup can be served perfectly plain or it can be dressed up with a garnish of sour cream, croutons, chives or parsley.  Serve the soup with biscuits or crusty rolls or bread.

Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

PEI Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and sliced into ¼“ slices (about 3 cups, chopped)
1 stalk celery, sliced
1¼ lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp thyme
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup whole milk
½ cup white cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)
Sour Cream, Croutons, Parsley or Chives, and Truffle Oil for garnish (optional)

Method:

Melt butter in medium-sized stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add leek, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

Add potatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.

Remove about 1¾ cups vegetables from the soup and set aside. Using hand-held immersion blender, purée the remainder of soup until smooth. Add the milk and heat over medium-low heat until mixture is hot, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the cheese and stir until cheese is melted and blended into soup.

Add reserved vegetables to the soup purée. Stir gently over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes until heated.

To serve, ladle into soup bowls. Add dollop of sour cream and croutons and, if desired, a drizzle of finishing oil such as truffle oil and a sprinkle of parsley or chives.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings (1+ cups each)

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Potato Leek Soup

A classic comfort food soup that blends flavors of potatoes, leeks & chicken stock into a soup bowl, Potato Leek Soup is a favorite on cold days. Serve with biscuits or rolls.
Course Soup
Keyword Potato Leek Soup, soup,
Servings 6
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large leek (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and sliced into ¼“ slices (about 3 cups, chopped)
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup white cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)
  • Sour Cream, Croutons, Parsley or Chives, and Truffle Oil for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in medium-sized stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add leek and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
  2. Add potatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.
  3. Remove about 1¾ cups vegetables from the soup and set aside. Using hand-held immersion blender, purée the remainder of soup until smooth. Add the milk and heat over medium-low heat until mixture is hot, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the cheese and stir until cheese is melted and blended into soup.
  4. Add reserved vegetables to the soup purée. Stir gently over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes until heated.
  5. To serve, ladle into soup bowls. Add dollop of sour cream and croutons and, if desired, a drizzle of finishing oil such as truffle oil and a sprinkle of parsley or chives.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 6 servings (1+ cups each)

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white soup bowl filled with creamy potato leek soup topped with croutons and a dollop of sour cream

white bowl filled with creamy potato leek soup topped with croutons and a dollop of sour cream

 

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PEI Potato Leek Soup

 

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup Recipe

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

This Creamy Winter Root Vegetable Soup is perfect for those cold winter days when the body and mind crave comfort food.

I make a lot of soups and freeze many of them in single servings so that they are quick and easy to pull out for lunchtime or, for those who are in the workforce, to place in the lunch bag on weekday mornings. The soups arehealthy and nutritious, not to mention tasty.  I like to have a variety of different soups on hand that includes those that are broth-based and hearty vegetable along with those that are cream-based or puréed.

The recipe I am sharing today is a new recipe creation that is a cream-based vegetable soup.  It’s the perfect soup for winter because it uses what we often refer to as winter, or root, vegetables. These are ones that are traditionally harvested late in the fall and they store and keep well over several months – think of potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, and parsnip, for example.

This is an easy soup to make and it blends a number of wonderful flavours that include both celery and leek. It’s very lightly spiced and is a silky smooth soup that I would put in the comfort food category. The great thing about this soup is that none of the nutrients from any of the vegetables is lost.  The vegetables are all cooked in the chicken broth and then the whole mixture is puréed so all of the goodness of the vegetables is maintained.

I find recipes that simply call for ingredients in quantities like a small parsnip or 2 medium-sized potatoes or 1 large carrot are not very helpful, particularly for less experienced cooks.  I have, therefore, tested out this recipe and carefully measured the weights of vegetables to be used for best success.  One of the most used (and most useful) tools in my kitchen is my digital scale and I use it all the time. I highly recommend that every cook invest in a good quality digital scale.

I miss my herb garden in winter. However, dried herbs work really well in this winter soup. Because, for presentation purposes, I don’t want any specks of herbs to appear in this soup, I make a small herb packet out of cheesecloth to contain the herbs while the soup cooks. The cheesecloth has a sufficiently open weave that the soup mixture is infused with the flavour of the herbs as it cooks. It’s very easy to remove and discard the herb packet before the soup is puréed.

Different vegetables take different cooking times so this soup starts with those that take the longest – rutabaga, carrots, parsnip, and celery.  Give them about 15 minutes headstart before adding the leek and let it cook for 10 minutes then add the potatoes which take the least amount of time to cook.

I make good use of my immersion blender for cream and purée soup making. However, you can certainly use either a blender or a food processor to purée the vegetables.  I generally allow the soup to cool for 30-40 minutes before using my immersion blender and, sometimes, if I am in a hurry, I put the soup pot in a sink full of cold water for a few minutes to speed up the cooling process.  I know some people do use their immersion blenders in really hot soup. I recommend you check your instruction manual for your immersion blender to see what it says about using the blender in hot liquids.

I recommend that whole milk be used in this recipe (or, alternatively, you could use a milk-cream blend for a richer soup). I have tested freezing this soup and find it freezes well for me; however, it is very important that at least whole (not skim, or partly skimmed) milk  be used if you intend to freeze any of the soup. Using a fat free or low fat milk will result in the soup breaking down when frozen and it just does not hold its structure when it is reheated. I know that some people frown on freezing puréed and cream soups but I have been freezing them with great success for many, many years.

When making the roux (the butter and flour) for the cream base, make sure you stir the roux while it is blending to prevent it from scorching. Add the milk slowly to the roux, whisking it constantly to prevent lumps from forming. It’s quite unappealing to have lumps in what is supposed to be a silky smooth cream soup.

Adding some shredded cheese to this soup makes a richer soup and certainly enhances the flavour. While a basic cheddar cheese could certainly be used, my preference is to use a shredded cheese blend such as mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan.

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp. dried fennel
1/8 tsp dried marjoram
½ tsp dried parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
5 oz rutabaga, diced
5 oz carrots, sliced
2 oz parsnip, thinly sliced
2 oz celery, sliced
7½ oz leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into ¼“ slices
7 oz potato, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1½ cups whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup shredded cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)

Method:
Bring chicken stock to a boil in medium-sized soup pot.

Cut small 4”-5” square of finely woven cheese cloth. Make the herb packet by placing the bay leaf, basil, fennel, marjoram, and parsley in the center of the cheese cloth. Gather up ends of cheesecloth, tie tightly with kitchen string, and add the herb packet to the chicken stock along with the garlic, rutabaga, carrots, parsnip, and celery. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables for 15 minutes.

Add leek and cook 10 minutes then add potatoes and cook vegetables 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Remove from heat and discard the herb packet. Purée mixture until smooth using an immersion blender or food processor.

Melt the butter in separate medium-sized soup pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, stirring constantly to blend the two ingredients and to prevent scorching. Gradually whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth. Increase heat to medium and continue to whisk milk mixture until it is thickened to desired consistency then add the puréed vegetable mixture. Stir mixture until heated then add the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and blended into soup. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with croutons, a sprinkle of parsley, and a drizzle of a good quality finishing olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!

Yield: Apx. 5-6 servings

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Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

Yield: apx. 5-6

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp. dried fennel
  • 1/8 tsp dried marjoram
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 oz rutabaga, diced
  • 5 oz carrots, sliced
  • 2 oz parsnip, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz celery, sliced
  • 7½ oz leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into ¼“ slices
  • 7 oz potato, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)

Instructions

  1. Bring chicken stock to a boil in medium-sized soup pot.
  2. Cut small 4”-5” square of finely woven cheese cloth. Make the herb packet by placing the bay leaf, basil, fennel, marjoram, and parsley in the center of the cheese cloth. Gather up ends of cheesecloth, tie tightly with kitchen string, and add to the chicken stock along with the garlic, rutabaga, carrots, parsnip, and celery. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables for 15 minutes.
  3. Add leek and cook 10 minutes then add potatoes and cook vegetables 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.Remove from heat and discard the herb packet.
  4. Purée mixture until smooth using an immersion blender or food processor.
  5. Melt the butter in separate medium-sized soup pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, stirring constantly to blend the two ingredients and to prevent scorching. Gradually whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth. Increase heat to medium and continue to whisk milk mixture until it is thickened to desired consistency then add the puréed vegetable mixture. Stir mixture until heated then add the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and blended into soup.
  6. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with croutons, a sprinkle of parsley, and a drizzle of a good quality finishing olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!
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Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

 

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

> Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

 

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

 

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Cock-A-Leekie soup was on the menu during my first cruise in 1991 and I have loved this simple fare ever since.

While its origins are unclear, this savoury broth soup is most often associated with Scotland.  In particular, it is often standard fare as a starter on menus for “Burns Night” dinners which, of course, celebrate the birth of Scotland’s famed poet and lyricist, Robert Burns (aka Rabbie Burns) on January 25th. Burns, as you may know, wrote many famous poems and lyrics during his short life and one you may most recognize would be “Auld Lang Syne” which is often sung on New Year’s Eve.

And, as a wee bit of soup trivia, “Cockie Leekie” was also one of two soup options on the Titantic’s  First Class Passengers’ lunch menu on the  day the ship sank in April, 1912.

Earliest tracings of this soup date back to the 1500s. Of course, with Scottish ancestry, I am wondering if my ancestors from the Isle of Skye may have dined on Cock-A-Leekie soup. As I write this posting, it is the eve of “Burns Night” so it seems apropos that I would do a posting with a Scottish flavour.    I am, therefore, sharing my recipe for Cock-A-Leekie soup.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

So, what’s in Cock-A-Leekie soup? Well, the answer is, not much, actually.  As its name suggests, the two main ingredients are chicken and leeks – in fact, you may hear the soup called “Chicken Cock-A-Leekie” or “Chicken and Leek Soup”.  Original recipes also called for the addition of prunes in this soup and it’s unclear as to why unless they were added for extra nutrition.  Barley is often added to the soup to act as a filler and to provide some natural thickening to the broth.  Rice is sometimes used instead of barley.  Very little seasoning is added to a traditional Cock-A-Leekie soup, often nothing more than a bit of thyme and parsley.

Over the years that I have been making this soup which, by the way, freezes well, I have “jazzed” it up a tad to add some additional flavour. By adding some parsnip, carrots, celery, and rutabaga, nutritional value is increased and the soup is more filling and can, in fact, be used as a main meal for lunch, as opposed to a starter.  My recipe also has some flavour boost from minced garlic, allspice, and Herbes de Provence.  I don’t add a lot of any of these but just enough to increase the flavour a bit.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

I use chicken breasts with bone in for this recipe.  In my view, any meat or poultry with the bone in has more flavour than boneless versions. Because chicken is one of the main ingredients in this soup, about 2 cups of meat will be required.  Generally, about 1 1/4 lbs of chicken breast, bone in, will yield around 2 cups of cooked chicken, diced. I also add a bay leaf, some liquid chicken bouillon, and a handful of celery leaves to the chicken as it cooks – the leaves from 2-3 stalks of celery will suffice.  I find chicken can be very bland unless it is given a flavour boost.

The chicken for this recipe can either be diced or shredded. My preference is to dice the chicken (as shown in the photo below) as it makes a tidier soup and I find the shredded chicken to be too stringy for my liking.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

The different vegetables in this soup require different cooking times so, parsnips and rutabaga and celery get added first to give them a head start on the cooking process.

Because this soup does not need to cook for hours on the stove, I recommend the use of pearl barley over pot barley because it cooks quicker.  In addition, I have added some split red lentils to the recipe as they, along with the barley, help to naturally thicken the broth without adding any other thickening agent (such as flour or cornstarch). Lentils belong to the legume family and are edible pulses which are crops harvested solely for the dry seed.

Split Red Lentils
Split Red Lentils

Because the split red lentils cook quickly and the idea is that they not turn to mush in this recipe and detract from the soup’s broth texture, add them near the end of the soup cooking process. Lentils are, of course, rich in fibre, have a high protein content, and are a good source of vitamins and minerals all of which naturally lead to numerous health benefits. So, they are a good contributor to healthy soups.

This soup can be served with crusty rolls, baguette, biscuits, crackers, or with traditional Scottish oatcakes as I have done here.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

I hope you will try Cock-A-Leekie soup and that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Ingredients:

5 cups water
2½ tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
1¼ lb. skinless chicken breasts, bone in (should yield apx. 2 cups diced chicken, cooked)
1 bay leaf
Handful of celery leaves

1 small parsnip, sliced thinly
1 celery rib, sliced
2/3 cup rutabaga, diced
2 tbsp pearl barley
¾ tsp salt
1 medium carrot, sliced
2 cups sliced leek (white and light green parts) – apx. 1 large leek
1½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp split red lentils
1/8 tsp allspice
¾ tsp Herbes de Provence
¾ tsp dried parsley

Sour cream, parsley, and truffle oil for garnish (optional)

Method:

In medium-sized soup pot, bring the water and chicken bouillon to a boil. Add chicken breasts, bay leaf, and celery leaves. Cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until chicken pieces are cooked, using a meat thermometer to check doneness.

Remove chicken pieces from broth and transfer to heat-resistant plate to cool slightly before removing meat from the bones. Remove and discard celery leaves.

While chicken is cooling, add the parsnip, celery, rutabaga, barley, and salt to the broth.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables for about 10 minutes then add the carrot, leek, garlic and brown sugar.

Sliced leek for Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Sliced leek for Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Return mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the lentils, allspice, Herbes de Provence, and parsley. Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, just until lentils are tender but not mushy.

Split Red Lentils
Split Red Lentils

Dice, or shred, chicken and add to soup. Heat gently for about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a dob of sour cream, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of truffle oil, if desired.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings (1 cup each)

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

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Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1-cup

A tasty broth-based soup filled with nutritious ingredients and flavour.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 2½ tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 1¼ lb. skinless chicken breasts, bone in (should yield apx. 2 cups diced chicken, cooked)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Handful of celery leaves
  • 1 small parsnip, sliced thinly
  • 1 celery rib, sliced
  • 2/3 cup rutabaga, diced
  • 2 tbsp pearl barley
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced leek (white and light green parts) – apx. 1 large leek
  • 1½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp split red lentils
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • ¾ tsp Herbes de Provence
  • ¾ tsp dried parsley
  • Sour cream, parsley, and truffle oil for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized soup pot, bring the water and chicken bouillon to a boil. Add chicken breasts, bay leaf, and celery leaves. Cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until chicken pieces are cooked, using a meat thermometer to check doneness.
  2. Remove chicken pieces from broth and transfer to heat-resistant plate to cool slightly before removing meat from the bones. Remove and discard celery leaves.
  3. While chicken is cooling, add the parsnip, celery, rutabaga, barley, and salt to the broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables for about 10 minutes then add the carrot, leek, garlic and brown sugar. Return mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the lentils, allspice, Herbes de Provence, and parsley. Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, just until lentils are tender but not mushy.
  4. Dice, or shred, chicken and add to soup. Heat gently for about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  5. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a dob of sour cream, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of truffle oil, if desired.
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Cock-A-Leekie Soup

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Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

 

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

One of my all-time favorite comfort soups is homemade tomato soup.  I have been working for the past couple of years to develop a tomato soup recipe that uses the right blend of ingredients and spices to achieve a balanced tomato soup that is pleasing to my palate. Recipe development can be a lengthy and tedious process and the recipe I am sharing today is the result of my efforts.  Once I crafted the final version of this soup, no canned tomato soup will now do!

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

The tomatoes I recommend to use in tomato soup are the plum tomatoes, sometimes referred to as the “Romas” or “Italian tomatoes”.

Roma Tomatoes

These are an oblong, almost egg-shaped, tomato and they are a firm tomato, quite meaty, and less watery with fewer seeds than other tomato varieties.  They also have a gorgeous vibrant red color that translates into wonderful color for soups and sauces. They are ideal for roasting because of their thick wall of flesh that does not break down and collapse quickly.  For these reasons, the Romas are often used in canning, soup-making, and for making tomato sauce and paste.

I like to roast the vegetables for this soup because the roasting draws out and heightens their flavour,  making a more flavorful soup.  It’s important to coat (but not drench or soak) the vegetables with a high quality olive oil before roasting them.  This will help to keep the vegetables from drying out during the roasting process. Although a plain olive oil can certainly be used, I like to use a flavored oil such as oregano or herbes de provence, for example, as this adds additional flavor. The only vegetable I find difficult to get roasted soft is the celery so, for this vegetable, I recommend cutting it into small chunks about 1″ long.  Through the roasting and cooking processes, the celery will eventually soften but it does take more time (but it is necessary for the flavor it provides to the soup). Use care not to burn or over-char the vegetables — there is a definite line between vegetables that are well-roasted and those that are burned. The goal is to have a flavourful soup that uses roasted vegetables but has no ‘burnt’ taste to it.

Use the freshest of ingredients you can find for this soup; it matters.  Using fresh herbs is essential for the best flavor of the soup and add them near the end of the cooking process so their flavor will be more intense and true.

I use a hand-held immersion blender to purée the vegetables although a standard food processor would also work.  How smooth to purée the mixture is a matter of preference.  For a more refined soup, purée the mixture until very smooth then strain it through a fine wire-mesh sieve; for a more rustic, artisan soup, purée less and don’t strain through a sieve.

While whole milk by itself can be used in this recipe, I like to add a mixture of whole milk and blend (or, if I want to be really extravagant, whipping cream) because it gives better flavor and texture to the soup.  I make this soup in large batches and freeze it. It will not freeze well and maintain its quality texture if anything less than whole milk is used and it freezes even better if blend or whipping cream is used along with the whole milk.

This is not a highly spiced soup because my intent is that it remain very much a tomato-flavored soup. Any ingredients added are intended to compliment and enhance the soup’s flavor, not mask or overpower the tomato flavor.

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized carrot
1 medium-sized onion
1 leek
½ celery stalk
1 – 1½ oz piece of fennel bulb
2½ lbs ripe plum tomatoes (Romas)
4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
2 cups hot water
1 tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
1 tsp sugar or honey
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1¼ cups whole milk
½ – ¾ cup blend or whipping cream
Sea Salt
Pepper

Sour Cream (optional)
Seasoned Croutons (optional)
Fresh Herbs (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place oven rack in center of oven.

Peel carrot, onion, and strip outer layers from leek – use only white and light green part of the leek. Cut carrot, leek, and celery into chunks about 1” – 2”. Chop fennel bulb into 2-3 chunks. Cut tomatoes and onion into quarters. Place vegetables into a large bowl and add unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle vegetables and garlic cloves with enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat mixture with oil. Place vegetables and garlic, single layer, on greased tinfoil-lined baking pan.

Roast, uncovered for apx. 45-60 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked soft (do not burn them). Remove vegetables from oven and split garlic peeling to extract garlic.

Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the roasted vegetables and garlic along with the liquid chicken bouillon, hot water, ketchup or tomato paste, sugar or honey, and bay leaf.  Stir. Cover. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of simmering, add the fresh basil, oregano, and thyme.

Let mixture cool to lukewarm. Remove bayleaf, then purée mixture with immersion blender or in a food processor to desired consistency/smoothness. For an even creamier texture, strain the mixture through a fine wire mesh sieve and discard any remaining solid bits.

Return puréed mixture to large pot. Add milk and blend (or whipping cream). Stir well.

Heat gently, over medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent scorching. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sour cream, seasoned croutons and fresh herbs, if desired.

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: Apx. 6-8 servings

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Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: Apx. 6-8 servings

A flavorful homemade tomato soup filled with goodness.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized carrot
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 leek
  • ½ celery stalk
  • 1 – 1½ oz piece of fennel bulb
  • 2½ lbs ripe plum tomatoes (Romas)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • ½ - ¾ cup blend or whipping cream
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Seasoned Croutons (optional)
  • Fresh Herbs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place oven rack in center of oven.
  2. Peel carrot, onion, and strip outer layers from leek – use only white and light green part of the leek. Cut carrot, leek, and celery into chunks about 1” - 2”. Chop fennel bulb into 2-3 chunks. Cut tomatoes and onion into quarters. Place vegetables into a large bowl and add unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle vegetables and garlic cloves with enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat mixture with oil. Place vegetables and garlic, single layer, on greased tinfoil-lined baking pan. Roast, uncovered for apx. 45-60 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked soft (do not burn them). Remove vegetables from oven and split garlic peeling to extract garlic.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the roasted vegetables and garlic along with the liquid chicken bouillon, hot water, ketchup or tomato paste, sugar or honey, and bay leaf. Stir. Cover. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of simmering, add the fresh basil, oregano, and thyme.
  4. Let mixture cool to lukewarm. Remove bayleaf, then purée mixture with immersion blender or in a food processor to desired consistency/smoothness. For an even creamier texture, strain the mixture through a fine wire mesh sieve and discard any remaining solid bits.
  5. Return puréed mixture to large pot. Add milk and blend (or whipping cream). Stir well. Heat gently, over medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent scorching. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sour cream, seasoned croutons and fresh herbs, if desired.
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Tomato Soup

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

 

Cream of Roasted Asparagus Soup

White bowl filled with Cream of Roasted Asparagus Soup with marble rye bread on breadboard in background
Cream of Roasted Asparagus Soup

Do you have certain foods you like to have in the different seasons?  One of the springtime treats in my house is asparagus.

Asparagus is a very versatile vegetable and one of the first available in spring in our Maritime climate.  Asparagus is lovely served with a Hollandaise sauce, in a quiche, wrapped with goat cheese in proscuitto and roasted, or in a myriad of other ways.  One of my favorite ways to serve asparagus is as a cream soup.  I like to roast the asparagus first as I find the roasting brings out the nutty, earthy flavors in the asparagus.  Today, I am sharing my recipe for this soup.  While it does take a bit of time to make, the end result is so worth the effort.

White Bowl Filled With Cream of Asparagus Soup
Roasted Cream of Asparagus Soup

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Roasted Cream of Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb asparagus
1 leek, white and light green parts only
1 stalk celery
1 garlic clove
1 potato
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 bayleaf
¼ tsp dried dillweed
¼ tsp dried basil
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
½ cup grated cheddar cheese

For garnish:
Croutons
Asparagus tips
Olive oil

Method:

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Assemble ingredients.

Trim asparagus ends. Cut leek in half. Cut celery stalk and potato into 2-4 chunks.

In large bowl, combine asparagus, leek, celery, potato, and garlic clove. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss vegetables to ensure they are well coated with the oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place oiled vegetables, single layer, on foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast in oven for about 20- 30 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender. Remove vegetables from oven and cool slightly.

Loosely chop vegetables into chunks and place in bowl of food processor.

Pulse until vegetables are puréed.

Transfer puréed vegetables to large pot.

Add chicken stock, bayleaf, dillweed, and basil.

Whisk flour into milk until smooth. Pour into soup mixture.

Season with salt and pepper.

Mix ingredients well over medium-low heat, stirring regularly to ensure mixture does not scorch.

When hot and thickened to desired consistency, add Parmesan and grated cheddar cheese. Heat just until cheeses are melted.

Serve hot garnished with croutons and 2-3 steamed asparagus tips. Lightly drizzle a good quality olive oil around the garnish.

Yield: 4-6 servings

This soup is lovely served with a good quality rye bread.

Cream of Roasted Asparagus Soup

Rich, velvety Cream of Roasted Asparagus Soup is a springtime treat when the local asparagus is in season
Course Soup
Keyword asparagus, soup

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 leek white and light green parts only
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 potato
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bayleaf
  • ¼ tsp dried dillweed
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • For garnish:
  • Croutons
  • Asparagus tips
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Trim asparagus ends. Cut leek in half. Cut celery stalk and potato into 2-4 chunks. In large bowl, combine asparagus, leek, celery, potato, and garlic clove. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss vegetables to ensure they are well coated with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place oiled vegetables, single layer, on foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender. Remove vegetables from oven and cool slightly. Loosely chop vegetables into chunks and place in bowl of food processor. Pulse until vegetables are puréed.
  4. Transfer puréed vegetables to large pot. Add chicken stock, bayleaf, dillweed, and basil. Whisk flour into milk until smooth. Pour into pot. Season with salt and pepper. Mix ingredients well over medium-low heat, stirring regularly to ensure mixture does not scorch. When hot and thickened to desired consistency, add parmesan and grated cheddar cheese. Heat just until cheeses are melted.
  5. Serve hot garnished with croutons and 2-3 steamed asparagus tips. Lightly drizzle a good quality olive oil around the garnish.

 

For other great asparagus recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Lobster and Asparagus Crepes
Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Asparagus Quiche
Asparagus Bundles

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Cream of Roasted Asparagus Soup

Chili After the Sleigh Ride

Sleight Ride at Potts Farm, Bonshaw, PEI
Sleigh Ride at Potts Farm, Bonshaw, PEI

Yes, it can be chilly after a sleigh ride and there is nothing better to warm up with than a bowl of hot, homemade Chili Con Carne afterward!  Nothing stirs up a great appetite better than lots of fresh country air!

Homemade Chili
Homemade Chili

PEI has seen its fair share (well, some might say, more than our fair share) of snow this winter.  While, for some of us, the snow means work shoveling and challenges getting around and planning for events, for others it means business.

Waiting Patiently for Passengers to Load the Sleigh

There are a number of farms on the Island that offer sleigh rides throughout the winter months.  Thanks to Mother Nature sending lots of snow to the Island, this year has been exceptionally good for the sleigh ride business.

The photos of the sleigh ride that appear in this posting were all taken at Potts Farm in Bonshaw, on the South side of PEI. Their sleigh rides take you through fabulous trails of the woodlands of their farm.

Before we headed out to Potts Farm, I made this big pot of my favorite chili to have ready when we got home.

Chili
Chili

A chili con carne meal is very easy to prepare because it, essentially, is a meal in one pot.  One of the things I like about chili is that it can be adapted according to ones likes and tastes.  For example, if you don’t like green pepper, simply leave it out.  To achieve a mild or spicy chili according to your taste preference, adjust the amount of chili powder and garlic added.  I like my chili mild-flavored and full-bodied (as opposed to “runny”), meaning I like to add lots of ingredients like onions, celery, green pepper, fresh mushrooms, canned tomatoes, and kidney beans so that it is a nice, thick, chili but still has some juice to it.  I also like lots of tomato flavor so, in addition to the canned tomatoes, I add both a can of tomato soup and one of tomato paste.  Once all the chopping of veggies is done and the cans opened, it’s pretty much just a matter of combining them all in a soup pot and letting them simmer for a good hour or more to allow the flavors to mix and mingle.

Chili freezes well and I freeze it in individual, portion-sized containers to have ready for quick packing of the lunch bag on those weekday mornings when time is always at a premium.  Add a crusty roll, bread, or biscuits, and it makes a substantial tasty and filling lunch.

My recipe for chili follows.  My featured Island product in this recipe is the ground beef which I purchased at KJL Select Meats butcher shop that is co-located with Riverview Country Market in Charlottetown, PEI.  If you are on PEI and have not yet had a chance to visit this butcher shop, I would encourage you to do so.  They have great Island meat available.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Chili Con Carne

2 tbsp oil

1 cup onion, chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1½ lb lean or extra-lean ground beef
1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
2 – 14 oz. cans kidney beans, undrained
1 – 10 oz. can tomato soup
1 – 5½ oz. can tomato paste
Pinch cloves
Pinch pepper
1 – 2 tsp chili powder, to taste
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp liquid beef bouillon
1 bayleaf
4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Ingredients for Chili
Ingredients for Chili

In large pot, heat oil.  Add onion, green pepper, celery, and minced garlic clove.

Quickly sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add ground beef and cook until browned.

Add remaining ingredients (including the canned tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato soup, and tomato paste and seasonings) except the mushrooms which will be added later.

Adding the Seasonings

Bring ingredients just to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and slowly cook the chili for about 30 minutes, then add and stir in the sliced mushrooms.

Adding Mushrooms
Adding Mushrooms

Cover and simmer for another 30-40 minutes.  Serve hot with French bread, crusty rolls, or homemade biscuits.  If desired, garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and/or sliced green onions.

Yield:  8-10 servings

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Chili

Chili Con Carne

This tummy-warming tasty chili con carne recipe is sure to become a family favorite. Serve with crusty bread, rolls or biscuits.
Servings 8
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • lb lean or extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 – 14 oz. cans kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 – 10 oz. can tomato soup
  • 1 – 5½ oz. can tomato paste
  • Pinch cloves
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1 – 2 tsp chili powder, to taste
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I use oregano flavoured from our local Liquid Gold store)
  • 1 tsp liquid beef bouillon
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

Instructions

  1. In large pot, heat oil. Add onion, green pepper, celery, and minced garlic clove. Quickly sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except mushrooms. Bring mixture just to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to simmer. Cover and slowly cook the chili for about 30 minutes, then add the sliced mushrooms. Cover and simmer for another 30-40 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with bread, rolls, or biscuits. If desired, garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and/or sliced green onions.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Chili