Cooking with Rachael Ray – Hearty cool weather ‘Stoup’
I’ve never told you how much I love soup… yes, I’m that strange person who gets a weird look from the server in a restaurant for ordering soup when its HOT outside 🙂
The reason I love soup so much, lies in the fact that my dear mum loves soup too. She used to make the yummiest soups for me and my sisters when we were children. My favorite was this broth-y germinated pigeon pea (yes, pigeon pea!) soup, with soft, chunky veggies and oats, simply flavored with cumin, salt and pepper. Having a mug of that with a slice of buttered toast when we were ill with fevers and coughs and colds was all we needed to get back on our feet. And the getting back on the feet part meant we couldn’t miss school when we were ill, which is probably the only thing about this soup that I used to hate 😉
Now that the weather is cooler here in Minnesota (and the rest of the country too, I suppose?) I have one more excuse to make my favorite soups and eat them as a meal. So last week, after putting away all my fun cotton t-shirts and shorts and capris in the storage closet to fill my dresser drawers with last year’s woolens, I felt so sorry for myself, and so depressed about winter being just around the corner (Sorry fellow Minnesotans. I am from India after all). All there was really left to do was make a large pot of thick, yummy soup, cut up some chunky bread, and make myself feel all better. And so, I began looking for recipes.
I’ve told you before how much I admire Rachael Ray. I had bookmarked her Red & Green Winter ‘stoup’ recipe from her cookbook and realized I didn’t have all the ingredients needed. The stoup (mixture of the words ‘soup’ and ‘stew’) calls for a few veggies like kale, potatoes, canned tomatoes and roasted red peppers, all cooked together with a few simple ingredients. Depending on what I had in the refrigerator and pantry, I changed a few things around and also added a bigger punch to the soup by adding a mixture of my own spices. What I love about this recipe is that its all in one pot, you plop everything in, let it simmer and without much effort, it comes together very nicely. The starch from the potatoes thickens the soup very well too. Paired with chunks of some good baguette to dip into the liquid-y part of the soup, its a yummy, hearty meal on its own.
As I settled into the couch with a bowl of the stoup with pieces of bread soaked in, Mad Men season 3 episode 8 (The one where Don & Betty take a trip to Rome) playing on the TV via Netflix (which will be making wayyy too many changes to my account 😦 ), and a blanket on my feet, I felt like everything would be fine with the world again 🙂
Here’s Rachael Ray’s recipe for Red & Green Winter stoup, slightly tweaked by me (adapted for 2 people):
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 medium sized potato, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium sized white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh or dried parsley or 1 tbsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh or dried rosemary (whichever you have at home)
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 packet of baby spinach salad, or equivalent amount of kale
- 1 (28 oz) can of fire roasted tomatoes, or a can of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 roasted red pepper (get it pre-packaged from the grocery store), well drained and finely chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Any shredded cheese you like
- Any crusty bread to go with the soup.
Heat the Olive oil in a large pot and add in the sliced onions and potatoes. Allow to cook until they are lightly brown and soft. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and herbs.Add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to boil, then wilt in the greens. Then add the tomato and the pepper. Mix well, allow everything to simmer together on medium to low heat for about 8-9 minutes.
In the mean time, prep the bread the way you like. You could slice up the bread thick, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toast it or broil it in the oven. If you’re feeling indulgent, sprinkle some cheese on each slice, and place back in the oven to let the cheese melt.
Tear bread, dunk in stoup, eat hungrily, slurp a spoonful of the stoup, repeat.