Mexican Black Bean and Corn Soup

I first found a recipe for this simply delicious , soul nourishing , great cold day soup in  a William’s Sonoma cook book, but ,as always had to change the recipe. As I am a vegetarian and love food with texture I altered a few of the recipe suggestions , this is my perfect snuggle up with a book ,sit by the fire , day soup.

serves 6

4 tbs unflavored oil such as Canola, divided

1  Spanish onion ,coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves ,coarsely chopped

4   14 oz cans black beans ,drained and well rinsed

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 chipolte chili

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 cup frozen corn kernels

salt and freshly ground pepper


Chopped red onion

Sour cream

Chopped cilantro

Chopped serrano chilis

In a large ,heavy pot over medium heat ,warm the oil. Add onion and saute till softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. transfer to a food processor or blender and add half the rinsed and drained black beans. Puree until smooth.

Warm the remaining oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the bean puree ,the chipolte pepper ,cayenne ,oregano , salt , pepper and vegetable stock . Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and stir in the black beans and corn. Simmer stirring occasionally until corn and beans are tender, add more stock or water to thin as desired. Ladle into warm bowls and top as desired.


Straw Mushroom soup with lemon grass and chili

Strawmushrooms grow abundantly in Thailand. However substituting with canned or thinly sliced white mushrooms works very well. I use a home made Asian vegetable stock and substitute Fish sauce for soy sauce, however if you wish you could use chicken stock and fish sauce ,both ways work equally well.

Source Wendy Hutton

1 to 2 tbs Roasted Thai Chili paste (available in Asian groceries)

1 stem lemon grass ,bottom 7 inch only ,bruised and cut into 4 to 5 pieces

3 kaffir lime leaves ,torn

3 tbs fresh lime or lemon juice

4 tsp Fish sauce or Soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

3 1/2 oz fresh straw mushrooms or canned or white mushrooms, halved if large

1 medium ripe tomato , quartered

2 -3 bird’s eye chilis ,lightly bruised

sprigs of coriander leaf ,to garnish.

3 -4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Put stock in a medium saucepan .Stir in chili paste ,lemon grass and lime leaves . Bring to a boil. Lower hear and simmer uncovered for 3 minutes. Add the lime juice ,soy sauce, sugar ,mushrooms and chili, reduce heat and simmer for 3  minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowland garnish with fresh coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Sour and spicy prawn soup

Its that time of year when a bowl of soup just hits the spot. There is nothing like a sour and spicy version to clear up the sinusis. whatever the reason you will love this version by Sanjeev Kapoor ,his take on fusion Thai.

12-16 medium prawns

4 cups chicken stock,if store bought ,low sodium .

1 inch piece ginger,sliced

2 green chilis,roughly chopped

2  one inch lemon grass stalks,roughly chopped

1 teaspoon lemon rind

3 kaffir lime leaves

6-8 fresh button mushrooms,sliced

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

salt ,to taste

1 fresh red chili,cut into slivers

2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves,roughly chopped

2-3 small spring onions,coarsely chopped.

Peel and devein prawns,reserve the prawn head and shells.

Pour chicken stock into large deep pan. Add prawn shells ,ginger,green chilis, lemon grass, lemon rind and kaffir lime leaves ,bring to a boil,cover,lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and return the strained stock to the pan;bring to a boil again.

Add prawns and button mushrooms. Simmer for 2-3 minutes,and stir in the fish sauce and lemon juice. Add salt to taste ,stir and serve immediately garnished with red chilis and coriander.

Coconut chicken soup

I was just reminded of this soup by my son,Rahul,currently away in college. He was feeling under the weather and was craving a good bowl of soup. As you can guess this is  family comfort food,it is spicy and despite the addition od coconut cream ,not heavy. My contibution to this recipe is just the icing on the cake. I take an ounce or so  of rice noodles and quickly deep fry them till puffed.Place some of the nnodles in a bowl and pour piping hot soup over.Yum.

This great recipe comes from  Thai Pepper,Oregon.

6 servings

2  14 oz cans unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup drained canned straw mushrooms

8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast ,thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh lemon grass

11/2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger

1 tablespoon sugar

11/2 teaspoons minced jalapeno chili

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Combine first 8 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through,about 5 minutes. Mix in cilantro and lime juice.


Roasted Onion and Garlic soup

Onion soup is great,except for the heavyness of ythe cheese topping.Here is a creamy ,rich (no cream and hardly any fat are added) Vegetarian version from renound chef Michael Foley. Foley suggests offering both Rose and beer to complement .

serves 4

3 large onions (unpeeled)

8 large garlic cloves (unpeeled)

2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cups or more vegetable stock,home made or canned

3 fresh thyme sprigs or 11/2 teaspoons dried

3/4 cup diced peeled russet potato (about 4 oz)


Preheat oven to 325*F.Mix whole onions,garlic cloves and 2 teaspoons olive oil in baking pan.Roast until garlic and onions are tender,about 30 minutes for garlic and 11/2 hours for onions. Cool. Squeeze garlic out of skin and mash. Peel onions and slice.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute 15 minutes. Stir in garlic. Add 5 cups vegetable broth and thyme;bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add diced potato and simmer till tender,about 15 minutes. Cool mixture slightly. Discard thyme sprigs. Puree soup in batches in processor. (can be prepared 1 day ahead.Cover and refridgerate)

Return soup to saucepan. Bring to simmer,thinning with more broth,if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls,sprinkle with croutons and serve.

Crab and corn soup

The fall is a great time for soup. The days are warm and the nights so cool. I simply love a great flavored soup,either with a salad or sandwich…I know sounds boring ,but oh so comforting. This particular delight comes from the Asphodel Inn and Restaurant in Jackson Louisana. It calls for Crab boil seasoning, or use Old Bay,available at most local super markets.

Serves 6

2 cups water

1 tablespoon crab boil seasoning

1 large cooked Dungeness crab,broken into pieces

1/4 cup (1/2 stick )butter

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 cups (or more) milk

2 15 oz cans cream style corn

1 cup chopped green onions

1/2 lb lump crab meat,drained ,picked over

Bring water and crab boil seasoning to boil in large saucepan. Add dungeness crab;cook 5 minutes. Drain,reserving cooking liquid. Remove crab meat from shells. Cover and refridgerate crab meat.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium high heat. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Gradually stir in 2 cups milk. Simmer until thickened,stirring frequently,about 3 minutes. Stir in reserved crab cooking liquid,corn and green onions. Simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (maybe prepared and stored ,refridgerated 1 day. Thin with more milk if too thick)

Stir Dungeness crabmeat and lump crabmeat into soup. Simmer until heated through. Serve hot.