Winter Boot Camp
Remember that second piece of pie that you just had to have? Well, now you are regretting every delicious bite. No worries. I have two; count them two, tasty soups that are low in fat and big on flavor. No need to worry about breaking resolutions with these scrumptious recipes. Both soups are quick and easy do-ahead recipes that will help you start the New Year off with a bang. Each recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen. I like to freeze portions of soup in reusable containers (this is part of that “Be Green” resolution you also made!) and then reheat each portion when I am ready.
There. Don’t you feel better? Your freezer is full, the pie is history and the year is just beginning. Eat and be well JDater®!
Tomato and Basmati Rice Soup
Makes 4 servings
1 medium Spanish onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 bulb fennel (white parts only, reserve fronds for garnish), diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Moroccan spice mix
2 cans whole plum tomatoes with their juices (break up the tomatoes with your hands)
1 3-ounce can tomato paste
3 cups homemade or low salt chicken stock or vegetable stock
½ cup Basmati rice
Salt and pepper
Suggested garnishes: chopped flat-leaf parsley, chopped cilantro
- Brown the onion, carrots and fennel in batches over medium heat in a sauté pan lightly coated with olive oil. Be sure to salt and pepper each batch of vegetables. Add the garlic to the last batch of vegetables and lightly sauté for just a few minutes until it is fragrant and softened. Do not brown the garlic as it can get bitter if it is overbrowned. Transfer the browned vegetables to a large stock pot or sauce pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the rice is cooked. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If the soup becomes too thick, add a bit more stock.
Moroccan Spice Mix
Two 2-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1 cardamom pod
- Place the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, chili flakes, anise and cardamom in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and process until completely ground. Store the spice mix in a tightly covered container away from light for up to 3 months.
Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage Soup
Makes 4 servings
The beets in this soup turn it an incredibly gorgeous scarlet color, so don’t even think of leaving them out. I like to make a big batch and freeze it to eat on a cold night.
½ pound beef chuck or stew meat, minced very fine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated on the coarse side of a box grater
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large red beet, peeled and grated on the coarse side of a box grater
One 28-ounce can plum tomatoes with their juices, crushed
1/3 cup vinegar, preferably rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 quarts homemade or low salt chicken stock
1 small head green cabbage, quartered, cored and very thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lightly coat the bottom of a sauté pan with olive oil. Brown the meat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Add the onions and continue to cook until the onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes more.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are soft (about 30 minutes). Adjust seasoning and serve.