Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup

There were a lot of great things at our local farmer’s market this past weekend. I typically buy things that I may or may not know what I am going to use. Maybe that is a challenge, who knows, but the recent visit I bought a bunch of great potatoes, leeks, and garlic, among a few other items. When I was looking at the produce, I figured I would make a big batch of soup. The weather was getting a bit cooler, so I figured this would be a great time for a nice comforting soup. That’s when the idea of a nice creamy potato, leek, and chicken soup came to mind. Heck, I was probably thinking I wanted a loaded bake potato soup, or a leek soup, or chicken noodle soup, so I decided to bring them all together for the most part, and I’m glad I did. This soup rocked and impressed my soup eaters, that for sure.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe
Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 whole leek, thinly sliced, washed
  • 1 whole chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • pickled chili peppers, optional

Start by adding the butter to a stock pot, and melt it on medium heat. Once melted, toss in the sliced leeks. Make sure you wash the leeks after slicing as a bunch of grit typically remains in the leeks.

Cook the leeks for about 5 minutes, or until they are nice and tender. Season with salt and pepper, then add in garlic, cooking another couple of minutes. Add in the cooked potatoes, sprigs of thyme, and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the sprigs of thyme and discard.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe
Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe

Now you have a couple of options at this point. You can blend this mixture in a food processor or blender, or if you have an immersion blender, use that. Blend until you have a smooth mixture, then return back to the stock pot and cook on low.

Add the shredded chicken, and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Taste and season with any additional salt or pepper.

Now you are ready to serve.

Ladle into a soup bowl, and garnish with pickled chilies if you desire (I prefer).

The end result is nothing but pure comfort. The smoothness you get from the soup is perfectly balanced by the shredded chicken, and if you are using any type of pickled chilies, then it gets even better, not only from the heat, but it cuts through some of that awesomeness. Plus, this soup, as noted, brings out the best of all three soups. I hope you enjoy!

Homemade V8 Juice

I don’t know about you, but our vegetable garden is officially in full bloom. We are picking tomatoes, like big bowls of them, every day, along with cucumbers, beans, peppers, chilies, and broccoli, and I love every minute of it. It’s something I like doing after work, and at the end of the week I look at all of the bowls of tomatoes, peppers, and chilies, and think of things to make with them. So on a recent trip to our local farmer’s market, and while as was chatting it up with a couple of the local farmers, a lady approached them and asked to buy a huge basket of tomatoes. Of course I was going to ask this lady what she was going to do with all of those tomatoes, and her response was ‘I batch out large quantities of spicy v8 juice for bloody mary’s for football season’. As one of the farmer’s chimed in regards to the same process, I was intrigued to say the least.

So as I went back home, I decided to give my take on a v8 style juice, and man oh man was it ever good, and fresh to boot.

Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

    Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

This recipe, as it may not be the prettiest of juices, is not only easy to make, put it has just the right amount of spice (in my opinion) and you know that you put all of that fresh produce into it.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden)
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 whole red onion, quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds if you do not want it too spicy)
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of water, divided

To a medium sized saucepan, add 1 cup of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, covered.

Remove the cover, add in the remaining cup of water, give a good stir, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Homemade V8 Juice Recipe
Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

Add the mixture to a blender, and blend until you think everything is nicely pureed.

Next you will need to strain the mixture. I use a chinois but if you do not have that then try and use a fine-mesh sieve, and place in a large mason jar. Discard or compost the remaining solids.

Chill the juice in the refrigerator, and when you are ready to serve, pour over some ice or a virgin bloody mary, or add a bit of vodka if you are making a cocktail.

The result is really, really good. I typically have to add stuff to my v8 drink to make it a bit spicy, but this combination was perfect. So if you are looking to use up some of those vegetables from your garden, or better yet supporting your local farmers, then give this one a shot. It’s well worth it. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade V8 Juice
Author: 
Recipe type: Juice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden)
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ whole red onion, quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds if you do not want it too spicy)
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of water, divided
Instructions
  1. To a medium sized saucepan, add 1 cup of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, covered.
  2. Remove the cover, add in the remaining cup of water, give a good stir, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the mixture to a blender, and blend until you think everything is nicely pureed.
  4. Next you will need to strain the mixture. I use a chinois but if you do not have that then try and use a fine-mesh sieve, and place in a large mason jar. Discard or compost the remaining solids.
  5. Chill the juice in the refrigerator, and when you are ready to serve, pour over some ice or a virgin bloody mary, or add a bit of vodka if you are making a cocktail.
  6. The result is really, really good. I typically have to add stuff to my v8 drink to make it a bit spicy, but this combination was perfect.

 

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup

These past few weeks, our farmer’s market has yielded some pretty great stuff, in particular strawberries (which actually taste like awesome strawberries), rhubarb, all sorts of herbs and onions, and one of my favorites this time of year, garlic scape. I buy garlic scape every time I see it at the market, and I make a variety of things with it, but this year I decided to make a roasted garlic scape soup. If you are not familiar with garlic scapes, it is essentially the flower bud from garlic, and have the taste of a mix between a mild garlic and onion flavor. That’s right up my alley.

This roasted garlic scape soup is not only easy to make, but it’s super comforting, loaded with great flavor, and has the texture of a nice bisque. Not the prettiest of soups, but one that you will want to make again.

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • generous pinch of salt, and more to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 small to medium sized shallots
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 whole russet potato, peeled, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup of half and half
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, stem removed

I like to roast my scapes, garlic, and shallots (both skin on) over some charcoal, but you could place yours in the oven on high heat if you prefer. It’s summertime so I make every attempt not to heat up the kitchen. So start by rubbing the olive oil all over the garlic scapes, garlic, and shallots, and season with some salt, and place onto your hot grill, turning along the way. You want some nice charred marks on the scapes, as well as to soften the shallots and garlic. So once they are slightly charred, remove them from the grill and set aside.

Chop up the garlic scapes and carefully remove the skins from the garlic and shallots.

Next, get a pot onto the stove and pour in the chicken stock. Add in the cubed potatoes, and the garlic scapes, garlic, and shallots, and cook for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe

Once they are fork tender, this is when you want to bust out your immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, I highly recommend you purchase one, then you can carefully ladle, in batches, the soup mixture into a blender, making sure you cover the top and place pressure down onto it. Hot stuff in blenders without putting a towel over the top, once covered, can lead to a mess. Trust me.

So whichever route you take (I used an immersion blender), blend until you have a nice smooth puree.

Keep the pot on medium to low heat, and continue to cook. Add the half and half, black pepper, red chili flakes, and fresh thyme. Stir, cook for a few minutes, and taste. If more salt is needed, add a bit more.

Now you are ready to serve. Ladle some into a small soup bowl, garnish with fresh parsley if desired, and dig in. This roasted garlic scape soup is super smooth, and you get the taste of everything you put in there. It’s comforting, easy, and delicious, and granted soup season has somewhat past us here in Wisconsin, it is still worth making.

So if your market has scapes, get a bunch of them and give them a try. It’s a must if you love garlic. Hope you enjoy!

 

Mexican Menudo

Whatever you heard about menudo is probably right. Mexican menudo is one of those soups that you typically only find being cooked on the weekends, whether that be in a Mexican restaurant, or in many traditional homes. My home was one of those this weekend, and I only made this because on a recent lunch break at my favorite taqueria, I noticed some guy was buying a massive amount of honeycomb tripe. This essentially sparked my interest. After talking with the guy, I pretty much looked at him and said ‘Menudo this weekend?’. Yep, he announced, and he stated the honeycomb tripe was the one you want to make your menudo with. I honestly thought the guy was buying all of it, as he did state ‘you gotta buy a lot when it’s on sale, and today is that day!’. I kid you not, the guy bought 21 pounds of tripe. That’s a lot of tripe!!

Mexican Menudo Recipe
Mexican Menudo Recipe

I actually fell in love with tripe years ago when living in Dallas, and eating Vietnamese pho. Tripe is essentially the edible lining of a cow’s stomach, and it is something that not only needs to be cleaned well, but also cooked nice and slow so it is really tender. This menudo is not only super easy to make, granted it takes a bit of time, but I love that on the weekends, but it is really, really good.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of beef oxtails
  • 2 lbs honeycomb tripe, any fat trimmed and removed
  • 1 whole cows foot, split down the middle
  • 2 heads of garlic, to of each head removed
  • 1 whole white onion, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 oz Menudo spice mix (found at local Mexican grocery store)
  • water
  • 25 oz can of hominy, drained and rinsed

Ingredients for the chili paste:

  • 3 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 6 dried guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 6 dried chili de arbol chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 3 dried morita chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 7 oz can of chipotle chili sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

For garnishing the menudo:

  • limes
  • fresh cilantro
  • diced onion
  • warm corn tortillas
  • Additional chili powder
  • chicharrones

Get a large soup pot on the stove. Add the oxtails, and cows feet. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and let this cook for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the oxtails, and cows feet, reserving them.

Clean out the soup pot, and then rinse off any scum from the oxtails and cows feet. Place back into the soup pot, covering again with plenty of water.

Bring the mixture back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

At this time, add in the 2 heads of garlic, the bay leaves, salt, Mexican oregano, Menudo spice mix, and diced onions. Give a good stir, and cook for about 2 hours, skimming off any additional scum that may surface.

How to make Mexican Menudo
How to make Mexican Menudo

Next, get a skillet on medium-low heat. Add in all of the chilies, and 3 cloves of garlic, skin left on. Your goal here is to lightly toast the chilies, without burning them, to bring out their essential oils. This takes about 5 minutes or so, turning them along the way. Once they are lightly toasted, add in about a cup of water, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

During this time, add the tripe into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Add in about a tablespoon of salt, and set this aside.

Remove the chilies, and place them into a food processor. Remove the skins from the garlic, and add the garlic to the food processor. Add in the cumin powder, the onion, and about 1 cup of fresh water. Blend until you have a smooth mixture.

Next, using a fine mesh strainer or chinois, strain this mixture over a bowl. The goal is to remove any clumps from the onion, garlic, or chilies. Pour the chili liquid from the bowl and into the soup pot. Give this a good stir, then add in the small can of chipotle sauce. Give another good stir. Season and adjust for any additional salt.

Now for the tripe. Strain the tripe, and rinse it off really well to remove any excess salt. You want the tripe, at least in my opinion, to be in about 2 inch pieces. So if you have to cut them down to size, please do so.

Add the tripe to the soup pot, mix, and cook an additional 3-4 hours. About one hour in, add the hominy.

Now you are ready to eat! Remove the cows feet, 2 heads of garlic, and the bay leaves and discard those. You may be thinking ‘cow’s feet?!’. Yes, the collagen from those feet actually create the mouthfeel for this menudo.

Remove the oxtails (if they do not already fall apart for you, and using a large slotted spoon, remove any strange fatty material from the remains of the foot, along with any additional bones. Once the bones and fatty materials are removed, it is now time to create your bowl of awesome menudo.

Ladle in generous amounts of the menudo, making sure you are getting some beef, and tripe. Garnish with lots of fresh lime, onions, and cilantro. Serve with warm corn tortillas, then repeat.

This soup is really darn good. Not only in texture, but also in flavor. It was just the right amount of spice, aroma, and is really built for a weekend feast. If you haven’t tried tripe before, well, maybe, just maybe is now that time. I hope you enjoy!