Soup

Hot & Spicy Bean Soup


Hot & Spicy Bean Soup

I started my blog almost one month ago, and have made 14 recipes from the cookbook so far. This week, I made three recipes from the book, had girlfriends over for dinner, resuscitated my sourdough starter, and started to make my first loaf of bread – on top of my regular commitments! Now, I am sick. So very sick.

I thought this would be the perfect time to collect my thoughts about this past month. When I think about why I started this blog, for me, it’s about the process. I don’t necessarily have a “goal”. If I had to pinpoint a goal, it would be very broad. Something like “to make meaningful memories by connecting with food and family, in a conscientious way, through writing and reflection”. That sounds nice!

I do want to improve my skills in the kitchen. I want to know what those weird ingredients are on a menu at a restaurant. I want to be adventurous, resourceful, and confident when cooking. But really, these results are secondary to the everyday enjoyment of cooking and photography. And, I also believe if you think less about specific desired outcomes, you will be more open to a surprise revelation, an a-ha moment, or a simple moment of clarity or content. Often the learning and meaning of moments happens long after the actual instance. So, I am open to seeing where this adventure takes me!

Hot & Spicy Bean Soup Recipe
Hot & Spicy Bean Soup Recipe
Hot & Spicy Bean Soup Recipe

I made Hot & Spicy Bean Soup earlier this week. The recipe called for two meaty pork hocks. What is a "hock"? I called my mom. She suggested getting smoked hocks, if they were available. I went to the local butcher shop and picked up two smoked hocks - they added so much flavour! Ps. from what I can tell a pork hock (or ham hock) is the pig's "cankle", the park between calf and ankle. 

I also used dry beans (not from a can) for the first time, which I am sort-of ashamed to admit! Using dry beans does requires forethought because you have to soak them overnight, but I never realized how easy they are to cook with. I like the idea of using less canned items. On that note, it is easy to throw a can of chopped tomatoes into this recipe, but it is also so, so easy to peel and chop fresh tomatoes. Double thumbs up! My friends loved the recipe, and were impressed by the flavours. This soup will warm you up on a winter evening! Enjoy :)

Hot & Spicy Bean Soup Recipe
Hot & Spicy Bean Soup
Hot & Spicy Bean Soup Recipe
Hot & Spicy Bean Soup Recipe

Hot & Spicy Bean Soup

4 cups navy beans

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 large, meaty pork hocks

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups water

3 bay leaves

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp hot pepper flakes

4-6 generous dashes hot sauce

1 ½ tsp dry mustard

¾ tsp summer savory

¼ tsp pepper

4 cups chopped tomatoes

Soak beans overnight. Drain and rinse.

Heat oil in large stockpot over high heat; brown pork hocks. Sauté onion and garlic until soft but not browned, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in beans, water, spices; simmer 2 hours. Add tomatoes and simmer another hour. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Note: I made this the day before I served it. I added about twice as much water – I like a brothy soup but overnight the soup thickened quite a bit anyways. Depending on how meaty your pork hocks are, you may only need one. Before re-heating and serving, I took the meat off the pork hock and discarded the fat. I also used fresh tomatoes – I covered them in boiling water for 2 minutes, peeled and chopped them. This soup was absolutely delicious!

Hot & Spicy Bean Soup Recipe
SoupBowl.jpg
Hot & Spicy Bean Soup Recipe

*Recipe from the Farm and City Cookbook

Corn & Potato Chowder


Corn & Potato Chowder

It's been a long, rainy January. It isn't particularly cold, but the thought alone of homemade soup provides comfort to the short winter days. My family often ate homemade soup when I was young. My mum made ham and pea, beef barley, chicken noodle, cream of asparagus/cauliflower/broccoli, and clam chowder. All very delicious. And all required vegetable prep - which I remember being my first "job" in the kitchen (my mum's saying was, "help or get out", which was of course not directed at me but rather at my brothers!).

Corn & Potato Chowder
Corn & Potato Chowder

I loved being in the kitchen as a child, probably because that's where my mum was most of the time and I was (still am) attached to her at the hip. My first kitchen utensil to master (other than a wooden spoon I guess) was a potato peeler. We had a step ladder in the kitchen, which I would pull up to the sink to help prep. So, it wasn't surprising to me when just a few days ago I looked into the sink with a colander full of potato skins and felt like I was 7 years old. And like my 7-year-old self I still need a stool in the kitchen! Even the smell of raw peeled potatoes reminds me of my childhood (we ate a lot of potatoes). I feel like we ate them with every meal, but my mum will have to chime in on that one!! 

Corn & Potato Chowder
Corn & Potato Chowder

I flipped through the Farm and City Cookbook and decided to make chowder. I have only ever made my mum's clam chowder, which you start off by making a roux with butter, flour, and slowly add milk. This chowder is different - no milk. It is gluten free and dairy free, with a vegetarian stock base. The broth is very tasty and flavourful - but I still couldn't resist adding some shaved pieces of old cheddar on top, which for me made it next level! Enjoy :) and enjoy it as leftovers too!

Corn & Potato Chowder

Corn & Potato Chowder

6 cups water

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

dash dried sage

½ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp seasoned salt

freshly grated pepper

1 tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp nutmeg

4 cups corn

1 Tbsp butter

¼ cup sweet green pepper, diced

½ cup green onions or scallions, sliced

1 Tbsp fresh dill, minced

Bring water to boil in large pot. Add potatoes, onion, celery, and garlic.

Return to boil; add bouillon cubes and seasonings. Cover and simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender (15 to 20 minutes).

Remove 2 cups of potatoes and set aside.

Reduce heat to low and add corn. Simmer, stirring to make sure chowder doesn't stick, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet. Saute green pepper and green onion for 3 minutes. Stir into chowder.

Mash reserved potatoes and return to chowder. Stir in dill. Adjust seasonings.

*I used 3 cups of corn (frozen) and I did not have any dill - still tasty :)

Corn & Potato Chowder
Corn & Potato Chowder
Corn & Potato Chowder

*Recipe from the Farm and City Cookbook