Category Archives: Soups

Hearty Pea Soup with Ham & Why My Shoes are Squelching

Way more delicious than the colour suggests!

Technically it’s spring, but Mother Nature doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. I went to work on Friday with a spring jacket on, and leather loafers on my feet; I walked home in a snow storm, shoes squelching soggily all the way. Luckily, I had some delicious pea soup in the fridge that I had made a few days ago, and that warmed me right up!

Pea soup is one of the few foods that actually gets better with age. There’s an old children’s song that goes “bean porridge hot, bean porridge cold, bean porridge in the pot, nine days old! I like it hot, I like it cold, I like it in the pot, nine days old!” This soup will likely not last for nine days in your fridge, but if it did, it would probably taste even better than the day you made it!

Why does it taste better the next day? I think it gives the peas have a chance to absorb more flavours and liquid, and the flavours themselves have a chance to spread and meld better. The soup definitely thickens up a bit after day one. In fact, I recommend making it the day before you want to eat it. It really is better the next day!

This soup is perfect to make and keep in the freezer for days when all you want is a steaming bowl of soup to warm you up. Plus, it’s super-nutritious and high in protein. And did I mention that it’s super-easy to make? The hardest part is stirring the soup, no joke.

I got this recipe from my mom, and adapted to what I had in the house.  Now, let’s make some soup!

Hearty Pea Soup with Ham

  • 1 3/4 c. dried peas (I used green peas, but my mom recommends a mixture of green, yellow, & orange)
  • 1/2  c. chopped celery (I didn’t have any fresh celery, so I used some dehydrated celery that I had in my pantry)
  • 1/2 c. carrots, sliced (I didn’t have those, so…I left them out. But I recommend adding them!)
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley (fresh is best, but you could probably get away with dried)
  • 1 potato, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 c. leftover ham, bacon, or sausage, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste

Boil 8 cups of water in a large soup pot. Add all ingredients except for meat. Simmer on low heat for about 3 hours, stirring regularly. Be sure to stir regularly, as the soup thickens quickly and will burn easily. So stir, baby, stir! Once soup is done, stir in meat, and add pepper to taste.  

Bean porridge hot, bean porridge cold!

I left the ham out of my portion of the soup, being a vegetarian and all, but from my meat-eating days, I remember how deliciously flavoured the soup became once some ham was added.  If you have some sausage lying around, you could add that in too. In other words, feel free to substitute!

My  mom recommends ‘rookworst’, which is a type of smoked sausage, but when I made the soup this time, I added in some bacon I had picked up from a local butcher. This made the DH (a confirmed meat-a-tarian) very happy! Ah, the things I do for love!

If you make this soup, let me know in the comments what type of meat you used (or if you even used meat). Let’s inspire each other!

Next Post: Easter approaches, and I’ve been craving some hot cross buns. So maybe those! Or maybe a recipe for homemade healthy meal replacement bars. Any preferences?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and Happiness is Homemade!

Waste Not, Want Not: Hearty Meat & Potato Soup

Slurp it on up!

Slurp it on up!

Usually enriching refers to adding butter (often to a sauce or a stew) but I prefer to add nutrients. I also dislike waste. So whenever I have leftover veggie scraps, I pop them into a container in the freezer. And if I’m steaming or boiling veggies, I save the nutrient-rich water by pouring it over the frozen veggie scraps, and then popping the container back in the freezer. Once the container is full, I toss it in with a leeeetle bit of water, and boil the heck out of it. Then I get rid of the veggie solids, and use the remaining super-enriched-with-nutrients broth as the starting point for a soup or stew.

And that’s how we get to today’s recipe, Hearty Meat and Potato Soup! It’s like eating a meat-and-two-veg plate, but in soup form. Think BBQ’d hamburger with a side of potatoes and green beans. With a saucy sort of gravy. And then inject it with nutrients and call it a soup. Want some?

Hearty Meat and Potato Soup

  • 6 cups super-nutrient-dense homemade veggie stock
  • 2 hamburgers (I used the gardein veggie burgers), cut into eighths
  • a handful of frozen green beans
  • 10 baby potatoes, halved
  • handful of noodles
  • 1/4 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 of a single veggie bouillon cube

Dump it in a pot. Boil it up, until the potatoes are cooked through, and the noodles are soft. That’s it! Serve and enjoy the raves about the flavour!

Honestly, this is a super-tasty soup. I made it tonight, as I’m prepping meals for the week ahead, but wish it was time for dinner. I usually eat Greek yoghurt for supper (I have IBS issues and Greek Yoghurt for dinner works for me), but I’m looking forward to eating this tomorrow night instead! I think the reason the soup tastes so good is due in great part to the type of hamburger I used — the gardein beefless burger seems to have a whiff of smokey flavour, and that really makes the dish.

Like tree rings, only for dinner.

Like tree rings, only for dinner.

And the veggie stock I talked about? This is the base for my Kitchen Sink Soup. Which is basically, dump all frozen leftover veggies and veggie water in a pot, add in whatever leftovers are in the fridge, some noodles and rice and beans or what have you, and serve it up with some fresh bread and butter. Easy, economical, and healthy. Also, it’s never the same soup twice, which I love and the DH hates. But ha!ha! I cook, so I decide. Mwahaha! She who holds the ladle rules the world.

Next Post: More jelly, less waste! And wine. Always with the wine.

Easy Portuguese-Inspired Bean Soup with Kick!

Surprisingly flavourful for something so easy.

Surprisingly flavourful for something so easy.

I came up with this recipe last fall, when I was trying to use up the leftovers from my Pistol Packin’ Texas Caviar. I was majorly surprised at how delicious this turned out to be, and I strongly recommend that you all try it yourselves. It would be perfect on a crisp fall evening like today’s was, with a slice of fresh bread, and a slice of my Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie for dessert.

You can put this soup together in half an hour, from fridge to table, including chopping. Or, if you do the chopping when you make the salsa, you can put the soup together in 15 minutes. Not bad for a quick, homemade soup, huh? This soup also freezes well, and I’ve packed some in the fridge for lunches later this week, and frozen some for future lunches.

I’d pack it for the DH for his lunches, but he cannot stand the heat. So he’s not in my kitchen. *grin*

Let’s get soup-ifying!

Protein-filled legumes...in veggie-filled broth. (Healthy is as healthy does!)

Protein-filled legumes…in veggie-filled broth. (Healthy is as healthy does!)

Portuguese-Inspired Bean Soup with Kick

  • 1/2 can black beans (or whatever you have lying around the house)
  • kernels from 1/4 cooked cob of corn
  • 2 hot finger peppers, diced, sans seeds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cube of veggie bouillion, equivalent to 2 cups bouillion
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 bunch cilantro, chopped

Saute onion and garlic in butter until caramelized. Crumble in veggie bouillion cube, and stir in 4 cups of water. Boil until bouillion is dissolved. Dump in rest of ingredients. Boil until heated through and flavours melded, about 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy the fresh flavour of the cilantro mixed with the heat of the peppers!

You could also add some celery, carrots, and sausage, for a more traditional Portuguese-style soup, but I have none of that in my fridge and I’m all about cooking with what I’ve got. If you do add anything else to the recipe, let me know in the comments! I’m always interested in variations!

Next Post: Triple Almond Sugar Cookies, so easy a 4-year-old could make them.

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday!

Autumnal Urges and Sweet Potato-Pear Soup

So pretty! And nutrient-rich!

So pretty! And nutrient-rich!

One of the doctors at the clinic where I work made a Pear and Sweet Potato Soup last fall, and liked it so much that she passed out the recipe to anyone who was interested. I took it and made it my own by cutting out the whipping cream and maple syrup and replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock. And adjusting the veggie-fruit ratio to my tastes. And then adjusting the seasoning. Ok, so basically I remade the recipe. But it’s healthier now!

I really think it tastes like Thanksgiving in a Bowl. And it’s delicious. It freezes well, too. I make it at least twice a month, because it’s nice for lunches for me (fibre, yay!) and the DH likes it for a quick dinner after a long work day. I make it ahead and then stick it in the fridge or freezer and he can quickly microwave it if I’m not home yet.

It’s also perfect because fall is approaching rapidly and nourishing and tasty soups are a great way to appreciate autumn bounty. I made this last batch with local Ontario-grown pears and knowing that I was supporting family farms made me feel extra cozy.

Enough talking, bring on the soup!

Sweet Potato and Pear Soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 average to large-sized sweet potatoes
  • 3-4 large Barlett pears, or a whole bunch of small ones
  • 2 tbsps. Butter
  • ¾ tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 4-5 c. vegetable stock (choose one that’s MSG free)

Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork and microwave on a potato setting until juices bubble out of the fork piercings. Saute onion and garlic in butter in a large soup pot until translucent. Core pears and dump into soup pot, along with the scooped out flesh of the sweet potatoes. Saute until you start to see the pears get a bit sautéed as well. Add in thyme and paprika. Add in vegetable stock and simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until pears are cooked through. Blend with a hand blender while hot, or wait until cool and puree in blender. Garnish with a swirl of cream if you’re ritzy or just eat with a nice salad or hunk of fresh bread. Feel wholesome and nourished.

Fall flavour in a pot.

Fall flavour in a pot.

Pro Tip: Peel garlic easily by cutting the ends of each clove off. The rest will peel off like magic.

Pro Tip # 2: Don’t puree the soup in a blender when hot. I learned this lesson the hard way. The DH was talking on the phone to his mom when I was making soup one time and both he and she were rather startled to hear me start shrieking in my version of swear words (“Bloody hell!” And my personal favourite: “Oh SUGAR!”) I had pureed the soup while hot and the blender had erupted. The soup not only burned me, but splattered most of the kitchen. I was finding dried orange splatters in odd places for days. Not the best way to impress your mother-in-law.

A wholesome epicurean delight.

A wholesome epicurean delight.

Anyway, make this soup! It really is good. But make sure to use a strong vegetable stock, as that’s key to making it taste like a finely nuanced soup as opposed to blandish baby food. And let me know in the comments what vegetable stock you recommend! I’m always on the look-out for a tasty, healthy version.

Next Post: When Cravings Attack. Or, Easy Midnight Munchies.