Soup’s On

Four recipes to cure your winter doldrums.

Chesapeake Bay Bouillabaisse

For the Soup:
10 cups fish stock
¼ cup good olive oil
1½ cups julienned leeks
1½ cups julienned fennel
3 cups chopped tomatoes (canned)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 generous pinches of saffron
salt and pepper to taste
assorted Chesapeake Bay fish (rockfish, sugar toads, sea trout and clams; add North Carolina shrimp, if you like)

Add saffron to stock and heat over medium high heat. Sauté leeks and fennel in the olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for several more minutes.

Add to the stock and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Add seafood: 2 or 3 pieces

of each fish, the clams and “imported” shrimp. Cover with lid and simmer until clams open, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and rouille.

For the rouille (pronounced roo -EE):
1 red pepper, roasted and peeled
1 clove garlic
1 slice of sandwich bread
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
½ cup good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor. Purée until smooth and slowly add oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add a dollop to each bowl and fill with bouillabaisse.

Serves 8

Brunswick Stew

4 slices bacon
1⁄4 cup safflower oil
2 rabbits, cut into 6 pieces each
4 turkey legs
2 large onions, halved and sliced
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
5–6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bags frozen and shelled edamame
2 bags frozen white corn
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350. In a deep, heavy-bottomed, oven-proof pan, brown the bacon in the oil, then drain on paper towels. Season the rabbit and turkey with salt and pepper. Brown well in the oil, remove and drain on paper towels. Sauté the onion for 8–10 minutes, scraping browned bits from the pan. Return the bacon to the pan, and add the chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme.

When the liquid has heated through, return all the meat to the pan, cover it and bake for 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove from oven, and remove the rabbit to cool. Add the edamame, corn and tomatoes. Return the pan to the oven. When the rabbit is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the stew. Cook for another 15 minutes. Check seasoning, and serve with cornbread.

Curried Winter Vegetable Stew

For the stock:
1 large butternut squash
16 cups water
2 carrots
2 parsnips
2 ribs celery, diced
one small onion
1⁄2 ounce fresh ginger, cut into nickel-size slices
1 ounce fresh cilantro, with stems, chopped
2 tablespoons salt
2 whole cardamom pods, crushed
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small bay leaf

Peel the squash, carrots and parsnips, and remove the seeds and fibrous membrane from the squash. Place all the peelings and seeds in a large oven-proof pot with the water. Add the onion, cilantro, salt, cardamom, peppercorns, fenugreek, cumin and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, skim any foam that rises, and simmer over low heat for one hour, until reduced by half. Strain—you should have about 8 cups.

For the stew: 
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cups butternut squash, cut into
1-inch dice
2 cups parsnips, cut into 1-inch dice
2 cups rutabagas, cut into 1-inch dice
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch dice
1 head cauliflower, in florets
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 teaspoons salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

In a large roasting pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions for 4–5 minutes. Add the other vegetables—except for the cauliflower—and sauté over medium heat for 8–10 minutes. Add all the spices and continue to cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and the cauliflower florets. Add 6 cups of strained stock.

Bring to a boil and bake, covered, in a 350-degree oven for one hour. Correct seasoning as necessary, and serve with brown rice.

Caramelized Onion Soup with Jarlsberg Crouton

4 tablespoons butter
6 medium onions, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 can (14 ½ ounces) beef broth
1 ¾ cups brown beef stock or beef broth
¼ teaspoons dried thyme
4 slices (½-inch thick) diagonally cut french bread
4 ounces gruyere or fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)

In nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very tender and begin to caramelize, about 45 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.

Transfer onions to stock pot. Add ½ cup water to same skillet and heat to boiling, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of skillet. Add to onions in stock pot. Add remaining 3 ½ cups water, broth and thyme to onions, and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange bread slices on cookie sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Spoon soup evenly into four ovenproof bowls on cookie sheet and top with toasted bread, slightly pressing bread into soup.  Generously distribute Fontina evenly on top of each. Bake until cheese has melted and begins to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Serves 4

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