Sopa de Ajo (Bread Soup with Garlic)

Lately I told you that I was making a lot of homemade bread lately.  It was a process that kept me occupied while I fought my time with cancer. I was probably making it so much that my kids were getting slightly bored with the fact that there would be a fresh loaf of bread waiting for them when they got home. Sure, everyone would tear off, or cut off a piece of the bread, swipe it in some softened butter and move along their way, but there were a few times where I was left with too much bread. That’s when the lightbulb went off in my head to use the leftover bread and make a Spanish style soup called sopa de ajo. This is not only a great and tasty soup loaded with flavor, but it is a great use of day old bread!

Sopa de Ajo Recipe
Sopa de Ajo Recipe

I’ll admit that it is not the prettiest of soups but the flavor and simplicity make up for it.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 head of garlic, skin removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 loaf of day old French or country bread, torn into 1 inch pieces, lightly toasted
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of pinot grigio or some version of dry white wine
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
What is not to love about this, right?
Start by heating up your soup pot on medium heat. Add in the oil, then add in the garlic, cooking for a couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes, add in the Spanish paprika and give it a good stir. Add in the bread and give another good stir. Keep stirring the bread until it begins to get a little bit of crust on the bread. The day old bread should already be a bit hard but trying to get a little color on it works.
After a few minutes, of cooking that bread, add in the wine, and give that a good stir. Cook for a few minutes to get rid of some of that alcohol, then add in the stock.
Sopa de Ajo Ingredients
Sopa de Ajo Ingredients

Bring the stock to a boil, then drizzle in the beaten eggs, stirring along the way. Cook for a few more minutes, then season with about 1 teaspoon of salt, and a few cracks of black pepper. Taste and season with more salt and pepper should you desire.

Ladle into a soup bowl, and dig in. This sopa de ajo is so comforting. Yes, it’s way too simple, but it is super hearty and a great use of that leftover bread. If you are looking for a great and easy soup, and one that is perfect during these rainy and cold fall days then give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Lately I have been rocking out soups. There is something to be said about a great bowl of soup, and this recipe is one of those. I don’t know about you, but I typically never order soup, or seek out to get soup from any restaurant. I will often times hear my wife say that she had a bowl of soup from work, and I typically never get excited by the sound of that. Not sure why, but it’s true. There is some greatness when it comes to making your own stock, and building aroma and excitement when it comes to homemade. Maybe it’s the smell, or just simply the satisfaction of knowing that you made that pot of soup that you know everyone will be ladling from throughout the day.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This is my take on chicken soup and one that I probably make about twice a month.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into parts
  • water, to cover the chicken
  • 6 carrots, divided
  • 6 ribs of celery, divided
  • 2 onions, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 head of garlic, lightly smashed, skins removed
  • egg noodles, cooked, optional
  • salt to taste
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, optional

Start by getting a large soup pot on the stove. Add in the chicken, and completely cover with water. This will not only form the base of your stock, but the chicken will be removed later to be added back to finish the soup.

Add in 3 carrots, 3 ribs of celery, 1 onion, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat, and cook for about 3 hours to build your stock. I often times let it go longer as well, depending on the day. Remove any scum that comes to the top during the cooking process.

After 3 hours, remove the chicken pieces to a plate, and let them cool.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients

Strain the stock, or remove any of the remaining vegetables with a large slotted spoon.

Once the chicken is cooled, remove any skin and shred the chicken. Place the chicken back to the soup pot with the stock.

Dice up the remaining carrots, onion, and celery and add to the soup pot. If you are using thyme, add it now. Bring this back to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 45 minutes or until your desire. Season with salt, taste and adjust any seasoning.

When you are ready to serve, add some cooked noodles to a bowl, and ladle in a generous amount of chicken soup. You want to talk about comfort, and something that I could eat every day, well… this is it. Hope you enjoy!

 

Filipino Tinola Halang Halang

Soup season is here. I love it. I might talk about soup two times a week, throwing out ideas, in hopes of making more soup. There is something about it. A bowl of pretty much the basic stuff, but there are always extras laying around to throw into the pot. Me? I’m hot sauce, herbs, chilies, fried garlic or shallots. Heck, sometimes an egg, a little more something, something. Who knows? That’s the great question about soup, and something that I always love.

I mentioned in the past about how much I love Filipino chicken tinola. It is a Pinoy recipe from what I know from my father-in-law, and one of pure comfort. The soup is a take on classic chicken soup in its basic form, but jazzed up a bit. This type of soup is what makes us happy and warms our body.  Coconut milk, Thai chilies, chicken? Ready?

This is (my take) Filipino Tinola Halang Halang.

Filipino Tinola Halang Halang
Filipino Tinola Halang Halang

Let’s get to it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup ginger, cleaned and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 1 russet potato, cleaned and cut into bite sized cubes (optional)
  • 1 whole chicken, breasts, legs, wings, and thighs, cut into pieces
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 15 oz can of coconut milk
  • 8 Thai chilies (preference 2 per bowl)
  • 1 whole lemongrass stalk, top part removed, trim tender bottom part
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 bunch of spinach, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • jasmine rice, cooked

Start by heating the oil in your large dutch oven, or medium sized soup pot, on medium heat.

Next, add in your onion and ginger and give that a stir, cooking until it slightly begins to softens, about 4 minutes. Next toss in the garlic, and give that a good stir, cooking for about a minute.

Now add in your chicken pieces, moving the onion mixture around so that you are able to brown up some of the chicken skin. Cook the chicken for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. After 20 minutes, add in the lemongrass, chicken stock, water, coconut milk, salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Add in the potatoes if you will be using them. Give this a good stir.

Filipino Tinola Halang Halang Ingredients
Filipino Tinola Halang Halang Ingredients

Cover, and cook this mixture on medium-low heat for about 30-45 minutes. Lastly add in the bunch of spinach, and Thai chilies, and give another stir. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until the spinach is wilted and cooked through.

Now it is time to serve. Ladle in the soup into your bowl, making sure you get pieces of chicken, potatoes, onion, etc. Garnish with more chilies should you desire or some fried shallots and get ready to dig in.

I like to serve mine with a side bowl of rice. This allows me to spoon some of that wonderful coconut broth and then chase it with some rice. This is everything you will love about Filipino tinola, but one with a twist. I mean you can’t go wrong with coconut milk, chilies, and chicken soup on a cool, Fall day. Hope you enjoy!

Caldo Verde

Caldo verde essentially translates to green broth, or in my case one delicious Portuguese soup. I have kind of made it a mission to make soup once a week, however I should probably make it a few times a week, but there are really only three of us soup eaters in the family at this point in time. Typically when I make soup, it tends to feed an army and hence why I probably only make it once a week. Caldo verde is loaded with awesomeness. It is essentially a soup made with greens, chicken stock, and typically some smoked sausage. I actually jazz mine up a bit adding a bit of bacon, and a handful of beans, but that kind of breaks some of that traditional soup, so those are optional if you are wanting to make it.

Caldo Verde Soup Recipe
Caldo Verde Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2 russet potatoes, peel and cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 7 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of collard greens, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 ring of smoked sausage (I used kielbasa) sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • handful of red beans, optional
  • salt to taste
  • a good loaf of crusty bread

Start by getting a large pot, or dutch oven heating on medium heat.

Add in the olive oil, garlic, shallots, and onion. Cook for about 7 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary, just to sweat the onions. Next add in the russet potatoes and chicken stock, and cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Ingredients for making Caldo Verde
Ingredients for making Caldo Verde

Once the potatoes are tender, ladle this mixture into your blender. Please note that whenever you are adding hot stuff into a blender, do not fill it all of the way up, and always use a towel to cover the top lid. Pressure builds up doing this and I would not want you having hot soup all over your kitchen!

Blend the mixture into a smooth consistency. Do this in batches if you have to. Once you have a smooth mixture, return it back to the pot on the stove. Add the beans if you are using them. Bring the soup to a medium-low heat, and during this time cooke your bacon. I like to add in the sliced kielbasa as well when cooking the bacon to get it a bit crisp.

Add the kielbasa, cooked and crumbled bacon, Yukon potatoes, and ribbons of collard greens to the soup, and cook until the potatoes are for tender. Season with any salt, to taste, if you desire.

Ladle into your soup bowls, keep your head down, and dig in! This soup is super comforting and perfect on any winter day. Serve with some nice rustic bread for dipping and repeat! Enjoy.