All Souped Up

Inspired by African, Asian and European cuisine, this fare will give your palate a taste of adventure.
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Fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce kick up the chicken flavor in this homey favorite(opposite). A runny egg on top adds a richness and excitement that’s worth the bit of extra effort to time it properly. Serves 4 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 3 teaspoons grated ginger 2 cloves garlic, grated 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 2 heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced, greens and stalks separated 1 cup cooked chicken meat, shredded Dash of rice wine vinegar 4 eggs ½ pound angel hair pasta, cooked, rinsed and tossed with sesame oil Sliced scallions and red pepper flakes for garnish 1. Heat vegetable oil in a medium soup pot. Add ginger and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add soy sauce, sugar, chicken stock, sesame oil and bok choy stalks. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add chicken and bok choy greens. Simmer until chicken is heated through and bok choy is bright green. 2. Bring a wide, shallow pan of water to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer. Add a dash of rice wine vinegar. Crack one egg at a time into a small dish, and gently slide each one into the simmering water. Gently poach until whites are firm and yolks are still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. 3. Divide noodles among 4 bowls, creating a nestlike pile in the center of each bowl. Ladle the soup into the bowls, and top each with a poached egg. Garnish with scallions and red pepper flakes.
Photo: Aya Brackett

This soup, with its chicken base, is comfort food in any language. Peanut butter and coconut milk give this heady concoction its sumptuous taste. A good dose of curry adds spice, and a sweet potato gives the dish body. Serves 6 to 8 Salt and freshly ground pepper 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound total) 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 large onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1½ teaspoons curry powder ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes 6 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or canned) 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock ..." cup natural chunky peanut butter 1 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk Chopped peanuts, scallions and cilantro for garnish 1. Season the chicken breasts, and cook in 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick pan until well browned and nearly cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan, and cook onion and garlic until soft, about 7 minutes. Add curry and cayenne, and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a large saucepan. Add sweet potato, tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. 2. Cut chicken into bite-size chunks, and add to the pot. Cook 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Add peanut butter and coconut milk, and heat through. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Sprinkle on peanuts, scallions and cilantro.
Photo: Aya Brackett

Ribollita in Crosta is an elevation of a very humble Italian soup. The standard version makes good use of leftover bread by layering it with a minestrone-like mixture. Here, the soup is topped with the bread instead and oven-baked into crusty deliciousness. Serves 6 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 large yellow onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 carrots, peeled and diced 3 ribs celery, diced 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes (or use the boxed Pomì brand) 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1 bay leaf Parmesan rind, optional teaspoon regular salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 3 cups kale (preferably dinosaur kale), stems discarded and kale roughly chopped (about half a bunch) 1 14.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained 6
Photo: Aya Brackett

Asari miso is a Zen soup for days when you’re feeling virtuous and rushed. Making it won’t drive you crazy, and eating it will make you feel good. Here, miso gets a seafoody twist with tiny Manila, aka Asari, clams or cockles (the more common littlenecks will do in a pinch). Serves 4 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 1 small onion, minced 2 carrots, 1 minced and 1 cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds 1 stalk celery, minced 4 cups vegetable stock 4 to 6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced ½ pound Manila (Asari) clams or cockles, well scrubbed 3 tablespoons red miso 7 ounces soft tofu, cut into small cubes Fresh chives, cut into ½-inch lengths Toasted nori, cut with scissors into 1-inch-long strips 1. Add the oil to a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add minced onion, minced carrot and celery, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add stock, sliced carrots and mushrooms, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add clams to pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the clams have opened, about 6 minutes. Lower heat. 2. Place miso in a small bowl. Add a small ladleful of the soup to the miso, and stir to dissolve. Stir into the pot. Add tofu. Heat 1 minute, but do not boil. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with chives and nori.
Photo: Aya Brackett

Roasted Squash and Apple Soup

Serves 4 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1 pound peeled butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed (reserve half) 1 McIntosh apple, peeled and cubed 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade) or vegetable stock 1 sprig thyme, plus more for garnish Milk or cream, optional 1. Heat oven to 425›. In a large bowl, toss together butter, oil, onion, garlic, squash, apples, rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread out on a deep-rimmed baking sheet, and cook until browned, about 30 minutes, rotating pan after 15 minutes. Scrape vegetables into a medium soup pot. Pour some stock on baking sheet; scrape up any caramelized bits, and add to pot. 2. Add remaining stock and sprig of thyme, and simmer partially covered for 10 minutes. Remove thyme sprig, and puree in a blender (make sure soup has cooled somewhat and doesn’t fill blender more than halfway) or with an immersion blender until smooth. Reheat, and thin to desired consistency with more stock, milk or cream. Season to taste. 3. For garnish: Sauté remaining apple in additional butter and oil until browned and tender. Spoon some in the center of each serving, and finish with a sprig of thyme. View Susan Spungen’s sandwich recipes
Photo: Aya Brackett

First Published Tue, 2010-08-31 11:03

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