POTATO SOUP WITH SPICY SHRIMP

I suppose this could be some type of a personal record. I’ve had this recipe on my list of “must make” for 9 years. I know that for a fact because I used to subscribe to Food and Wine magazine and when I got that issue I could not wait go to the kitchen and make it.  Apparently I was wrong. I can wait like a pro. But better late than never, I share with you a recipe that is quite simple to put together, and results in a creamy, satisfying soup that surprisingly does not have a single drop of heavy cream. I hope you’ll give it a try.

POTATO SOUP WITH SPICY SHRIMP
(adapted from Food and Wine magazine, December 2010)

1/8 cup + 3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
Kosher salt
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
One 8-ounce baking potato, peeled and cut in chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and halved horizontally
2 teaspoons rose harissa (or regular harissa)
parsley leaves to serve (optional)

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shallots and celery and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Strain the broth into a bowl and transfer the veggies to a blender. Add 1/8 cup of the olive oil and 1 cup of the broth and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. Stir in the remaining broth and season with salt. Bring the soup back to a simmer over moderate heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the harissa and the remaining  tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt. Add the shrimp to the soup and cook just until they are pink and curled. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the parsley and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I have not stopped kicking myself for taking so long to try a recipe that I knew was going to be a winner. The blending of potatoes with the olive oil gives the soup such a luscious texture that you will swear there is a cup of heavy cream in there. But… there isn’t.

We had this soup on my beloved’s Birthday, it felt truly festive and special. We also had lobster tails on the grill, and there were leftovers of both soup and lobster. Guess what? Next day this turned into a Spicy Lobster Potato Soup. And it was outstanding too.  I see some crab in a future experiment.

Final comment: the soup calls for two types of potato. Yukon Golds are not very starchy, but have great taste. The baking potato brings the starchy component that helps thicken the soup, so don’t omit it.

After getting a comment from the one and only Dangerspouse, I should mention that you should consider making a quick shrimp stock to use in this soup, if you’d like to pump up the seafood flavor.  I shared a quick recipe for it not too long ago.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Rose-Harissa Chicken Thighs

TWO YEARS AGO: Caramel-Chocolate Tartlets

THREE YEARS AGO: Chicken Korma-ish

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sunday Gravy with Braciola

FIVE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, February 2015

SIX YEARS AGO: Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Green Olive, Walnuts and Pomegranate Salad

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Romanian Flatbreads

NINE YEARS AGO: Ziti with Artichokes and Meyer Lemon Sauce

TEN YEARS AGO: Blasted Broccoli, Stove-top version

 

 

AVGOLEMONO SOUP, MY WAY

At the risk of being blocked from entering Greece, I share my version of this legendary classic. I took a few liberties with it, so be prepared. I hope they won’t confiscate my passport because Greece is one spot of this planet I want to go back to. My only visit was too long ago, back in 1994, with my very dear friend Gabi. That was one week that I can live to be 100 and will never forget. How fitting that this post is published on her day…  Happy Birthday, Gabi!

AVGOLEMONO SOUP
(inspired by Jeff Mauro’s The Kitchen)

2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup red quinoa
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon lemon zest plus 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
fried shoestring carrots for topping (optional)

In a large stockpot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and then lower to a simmer. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes; remove to a bowl. Once cooled, shred the chicken and reserve.

Add the rice and quinoa to the pot with the chicken stock and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and most of the lemon juice, reserving some to add later. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Once combined, ladle in some hot stock to temper the egg mixture, whisking constantly and adding the hot liquid slowly. Very slowly, add the warm whipped egg/lemon mixture into the pot, whisking constantly to prevent any curds or clumps from forming. Continue to cook over medium-low to medium heat, whisking, until the soup thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes more.

Add the shredded chicken and any reserved juices to the soup. Add the lemon zest and season with salt and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper. Taste and add additional lemon juice if needed. Add parsley and serve with fried carrots on top, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Comments: This recipe was featured in a recent The Kitchen show, and I was intrigued by the fact that it is supposed to taste super creamy while being quite low in fat. The full amount of soup contains only two egg yolks. No butter, no cream, no sour cream, nothing. It is also very lemony, therefore the name avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup. The chicken and rice would almost be bystanders. Think of an egg drop soup, but one in which the eggs form a nice emulsion with the broth. Jeff Mauro started “messing” with the classic by adding orzo instead of rice. I say, if he can do it, so can I! Into mine went some red quinoa. But the real shocker came when I topped it with air-fried carrots.

 

This was so so good, I am glad I tried it. To be completely honest, credit should go to my beloved partner. I had planned to serve the carrots on the side just as added fun to our dinner. He grabbed a bunch and topped his soup with it. It looked interesting, and then his reaction made me do the same. Big wow moment!  If you have an air-fryer, consider preparing a bunch of these carrots to add to soups. Or salsas, or whatever. They are tasty, and addictive. Perhaps not as Greek as Pythagoras, but I bet he would have enjoyed them on top of his avgolemono…

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Chocolate Twist Bread

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SIX YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

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EIGHT YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

NINE YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis

 

LENTILS AND RADICCHIO? YES, PLEASE!

I bet many of my readers will consider clicking away from the blog right now, because… lentils? Not the most popular item in the pantry. Radicchio? Not the veggie that jumps into the grocery cart of most shoppers. Both together? Thanks, but no thanks. Can I ask you to trust me on this? Actually it’s not even me you should trust, but someone with a lot more gastronomic fame: Melissa Clark. And credit should actually go to my beloved husband who not only found the recipe but made it for our dinner. So basically I am  giving to charity from other people’s wallets. But hey, I am the resident blogger. So there!

LENTIL SOUP WITH RADICCHIO SLAW
(adapted from Melissa Clark)

for topping:
half a radicchio head, thinly sliced
drizzle of olive oil
lemon juice to taste
1 avocado, diced very small
salt and pepper to taste
for soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup green lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Make topping and reserve in fridge by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Make the soup: In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.  Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot.  

Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup and add a generous amount of radicchio slaw on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This soup was excellent served with a mixed olive sourdough (recipe published not too long ago in the blog, click here if you’ve missed it). I find it a bit hard to decide if the topping made the soup or if it would shine as brightly on its own. A perfect combination. We had leftover radicchio slaw, and found ourselves munching on small amounts once our bowls of soup were appropriately empty. Next day we improvised a full salad with the other half of the radicchio head, adding a bunch of goodies we had in the fridge.

We mixed radicchio, tomatoes, olives, and avocados together. Dressing was kept simple again, olive oil and lemon juice, right before serving we added a tiny touch of white balsamic vinegar. OMG this was good. Later on we decided that capers would have been perfect, and of course some feta cheese or other sharp cheese of your choice.


Simple dinner… Red snapper, a little rice and this tasty salad… 

The secret with radicchio is to allow it to sit with the dressing for a little while, or warm it up very very briefly to soften the leaves. But that is another method that I intend to share in the near future. The great thing about this preparation is that leftovers keep very well in the fridge for 24 hours. My lunch next day was this salad with a fried egg, sunny side up. I was a happy camper.

ONE YEAR AGO: Tres Leches Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: The Joys of Grating Squash

THREE YEARS AGO: Auberge-Pecan Walnut Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: Gluten-free and Vegan Raspberry Bars

FIVE YEARS AGO: Lasserre, a French Classic

SIX YEARS AGO: Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Dates

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Apricot Glaze

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NINE YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin and Blue Cheese

 

 

SOUP SATURDAY: SAY GOODBYE TO WINTER

Since it’s the third Saturday of the month, it’s time to enjoy the soup event organized by Wendy. This month yours truly is hosting, and I chose as my theme a farewell to the season that tortures me: Winter.  My apologies to those who like to shiver, who enjoy having to cover their feet, hands, ears and nose before heading outside, and don’t mind a heating bill in the triple digits at the end of the month.

We still have a few evenings here and there with ungodly cold temperatures, and for those evenings, a soup that warms body and soul is the best thing in the world. So I made it smokin’ hot. Literally. Remember my new toy  from last Christmas, the electric smoker? We’ve been using it a lot, I just did not have a chance to blog about it yet, but now it’s the perfect opportunity. I made a smoked tomato soup. Very simple in terms of number of ingredients, but incredibly flavorful due to the subtle applewood smoke component.

SMOKED TOMATO SOUP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

10 large Roma tomatoes, halved
olive oil spray
salt and pepper
applewood chips for smoker
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 shallot, minced
zest and juice of one blood orange
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Turn your smoker to 250 F and place a few applewood chips in the chamber, according to the instructions of your smoker.

Drizzle the tomatoes with a little spray of olive oil, and season lightly with salt. When the smoker reaches the right temperature, place the tomatoes, cut side down, on the tray. Close the chamber and allow them to smoke for 40 minutes. At the end of the smoking time, remove the skin, that should peel off easily.

In a large saucepan, saute the shallot and yellow bell pepper in olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper. When soft and fragrant, add the zest of the blood orange add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a potato masher.  Simmer in medium heat for 5 minutes, add the chicken stock, cover the pan and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender, blend until smooth. If you like a very smooth soup, pass through a sieve to remove the tomato seeds.  If too thick, add some chicken stock or water. Pour back into the pan, add blood orange juice, heavy cream, simmer a few minutes, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with a drizzle of blood orange juice on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Talk about flavor!  What we’ve learned so far from our adventures with the smoker is that you don’t need that many added spices, in fact, it is best to mellow down the spices, so that the smokiness can shine. Even when tomatoes are far from their peak, the brief encounter with the smoke intensifies their flavor quite a bit. Very nice. If you don’t have a smoker, I suppose grilling the tomatoes could do a good job too. In that case, add some smoked paprika to the soup, while you are sauteing the veggies. If blood oranges are not available where you live (here, let me offer you a hug), you can use regular oranges, and decorate the soup with a drizzle or cream or yogurt.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be saying goodbye to winter!  If you’d like to see what my virtual friends made for our Soup Saturday event, click on the link at the end of the post. Stay warm!

ONE YEAR AGO: Manchego and Poblano Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: A Smashing Pair

THREE YEARS AGO: Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

FOUR YEARS AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti

FIVE YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung!

SIX YEARS AGO: Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Double Asparagus Delight

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte

 

 

 

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SOUP SATURDAY: REGIONAL SOUPS

Third Saturday of October, I’m joining the fun event hosted this month by Ashley from Cheese Curd in Paradise. She picked Regional Soups as theme, hoping we would all feature a soup that is typical of our state. Google is one of my best friends, but this time it let me down. No matter how hard I tried to trick it into giving me some variety for recipes from Kansas, it was set on…. Steak Soup. For someone born and raised in Brazil, the words steak and soup cannot be present in the same sentence. Unless the soup was a first light course for that juicy steak grilled medium-rare. But, in the name of joining the party, I asked Phil how he felt about it. His reaction:  No, thank you. I like my steak grilled. Medium-rare. See? We are very compatible, in case you did not notice. I had two options, decline to participate, or be a bit more flexible with definitions. Since you are reading this post, you already know my choice. Kansas has great corn. And after hitting “publish” on this post, I might need a great lawyer.

KANSAS CORN CHOWDER
(inspired by Cookin Canuck)  

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 shallot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
2 + 1/2  cups chicken broth
1 cup + 1/2 corn kernels (from about 4 corn cobs)
3/4 teaspoon of salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk
3 cooked chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, shredded
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the shallot, celery and red pepper and cook stirring very now and then until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the green chiles and cook briefly. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 

Pour in the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat add the corn and simmer for 5  minutes. Place the flour in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the soup, along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cook, until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken meat and the Cheddar cheese. Serve right away when the cheese melts, with some cilantro sprinkled on top. Adjust seasoning. 

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Since I had already pushed the envelope coming up with a chowder as a recipe for Kansas, I went even wilder and cooked the chicken sous-vide. How about that for breaking all rules? You simply cannot beat the perfect texture sous-vide does for boneless chicken breasts. Of course you can use leftover roast chicken, or regular top of the stove poached meat, it’s all fine. The shredded chicken is added just at the end, right before serving. You can also omit it for a full-veggie version, using vegetable stock or even water instead of chicken stock.  I had a lot of fun making this soup, even if the corn husk attacked me.

Felt very virtuous with my prep work!

I bought fresh corn and shucked it myself, to collect the beautiful kernels for my Kansas Soup. As I was shucking the very first corn, while pulling the husk back, it caught the fingernail of my little finger. Pulled it upwards and back almost breaking it midway into the tip of the finger. Have you ever done that? I tell you, it hurts. I saw many of the constellations of the Milky Way passing fast in front of my eyes. Or so it seemed. Stuck my finger in an ice bath, cut the fingernail as close as possible to the finger, and moved on.

Corn 1 x 0 Sally

This soup turned out quite amazing!  I think next time a little cayenne pepper will be added, I’d like slightly more heat. I swirled a little Sriracha over my bowl, just because. You can do the same.  Compared to many corn chowder recipes around, this one is a little more restrained in terms of calories, as I used a lot less flour to thicken the soup, and also opted for low-fat milk instead of a load of heavy cream. Trust me, this was luscious enough the way I made it. We were very happy with it, and the chicken makes it a full meal.

 

If you’d like to see what my virtual friends prepared for their Regional Soups, click on the link at the very bottom of the post. Ashley, thanks for hosting!

Guess what, folks? Next month yours truly will be hosting the event!  I can hardly wait!

ONE YEAR AGO: Impossibly Cute Bacon and Egg Cups

TWO YEARS AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

THREE YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

FOUR YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

FIVE YEARS AGO: On my desk

SIX YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo

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