Soups & Stews

Irish Potato Soup

Looking for an easy recipe to celebrate St Paddy’s Day? Try this delicious and filling soup! Top the soup off with croutons made from shamrock cookie cutters.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 leeks, sliced
3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Toppings: shredded Cheddar cheese, crumbled cooked bacon, chopped fresh chives

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat; stir in onion and leek. Cover and cook 20 minutes. Stir in potato; cover and cook 15 minutes. Stir in broth, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until potato is tender. Remove from heat, and cool slightly.

Process soup in batches in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides; return to saucepan, and cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Serve with desired toppings.

Yield:  11 cups


Hearty Beef Stew

In last week’s Fundamentals class, we made a delicious beef stew from a chuck roast that we trimmed and cut. The recipe has two very unusual additions ~ anchovies and gelatin. Curious? One adds flavor, the other adds a gelatinous texture to the stew.

Tips for Beef Stew

Purchase a roast, steaks, or chops and cut your own stew meat. Don’t use packaged stew meat.

  • The best cuts of meat for stews come from the shoulder.

•Trim away hard fat and silver skin.

•Cut meat into evenly shaped chunks.

•Heat oil in Dutch oven until just smoking.

•Blot the meat dry and season before searing.

•Brown the meat in batches to develop flavor.

•Sauté the aromatic vegetables to enhance their flavor.

•Add flour to the sautéed aromatic vegetables.

•Deglaze the pot with cooking liquid.

•Add browned meat and accumulated juices back to pot.

•Add vegetables according to their cooking times.

•Simmer stew in a 300-degree oven.


Lentil Vegetable Soup

This soup is a delicious change after the rich holiday fare of the past month. My favorite salad to serve with this savory soup is mixed greens with strawberries, apples, pecans and a poppy seed dressing.

Serves 8 to 10

1 pound French green lentils
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
4 cups chopped leeks, white part only (2 leeks)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups medium-diced celery (8 stalks)
3 cups medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
3 quarts chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
In a large stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings. Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Sometimes I will add diced bacon (turkey or pork). 



Kosher salt
10 cups chicken stock
8 garlic cloves, whacked with the side of a large knife
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ pound small rigatoni
Olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves
1 spring fresh rosemary
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
¾ pound bulk pork sausage
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 can s (28 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained
½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
Juice of ½ lemon
Coarsely ground black pepper

12 baguette slices
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the rigatoni.

Combine the broth and the smashed garlic cloves in a big saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes to give the stock a nice garlicky taste. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard.

Cook the rigatoni in the boiling salted water for 6 minutes; it should be slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, pour ¼ cup olive oil into another big saucepan. Add the sage and rosemary and warm over medium heat to infuse it with the flavor of the herbs, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the herbs. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and the chopped garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Dump that out into a bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan, then the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with the side of a big spoon, until well browned. Return the vegetables to the pan along with the drained tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Now add the beans, parsley, bay leaf, lemon juice, broth, and lots of coarsely ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the cooked rigatoni. Discard the bay leaf.

To serve, preheat the broiler. Put the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with the softened butter. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and float a couple of croutons on top of each serving.


Beef Stew with Root Veggies

Olive oil
2 onion, peeled and sliced
3- 4 pounds chuck roast – cut into 2 inch pieces
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Flour, to dust
4 parsnips, peeled and cut into thick chunks
8 carrots, peeled and cut into thick chunks
4 turnips, peeled and quartered
8 ounces mushrooms, halved
1 pound small potatoes
4 tablespoons tomato puree
½ -1 bottle of red wine
2 cups beef or vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Put a small amount of olive oil into a casserole pan. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour, then add it to the pan with all of the vegetables, the tomato puree, wine and stock. Gently stir together. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and a little salt. Bring to a boil, place the lid on top, then cook in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. Time varies depending on the cut of meat you are using and how fresh it is. (usually 3-4 hours) Once it is cooked, you can turn the oven down to 225 degrees and hold there until ready to eat.

Check periodically and add more wine, stock and tomatoes as needed or desired.

Experiment with different vegetables!!

I often leave out the potatoes and serve over rice or egg noodle.