Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup

img_5945Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup
very slightly modified from Spend with Pennies

Ingredients

  • 1 package Hurst’s® HamBeens® 15 Bean Soup® with flavor packet
  • 8 cups chicken stock (can substitute other stock, broth, or water)
  • 1 leftover ham bone with meat (plus enough diced ham steak to make about 1 lb. of meat total for the soup; if no hambone available, a full 1 lb of diced ham or smoked sausage can be used)
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • Optional for serving: scallions, hot sauce, rice, cornbread, corn chips

Method

Rinse beans and drain. Sort any unwanted debris and set seasoning packet aside.

Place beans, stock, ham bone, onions, garlic, chile powder, and thyme in a 6-quart slow cooker.

Cook on high 4-5 hours (or low 7-8 hours), or until beans are tender.

Once tender, remove the ham bone (if used) and chop any meat left on the bone and add it back to the pot, along with any additional diced ham steak to make 1 lb. of meat for the soup.

Stir in diced tomatoes and Ham Flavor packet.

Cook for an additional hour on low.

Serve with scallions, hot sauce, rice, cornbread, etc., as desired.

NOTES

This was so damn good! It’s hard not to have something fabulous on your hands when beans and leftover ham are involved. I am kicking myself for not having scallions to top it with – big oversight on my part – but the side of hatch chile cornbread was a pretty fantastic pairing all on its own. I will definitely make this again, with or without a leftover hambone!

Albondigas (Mexican Meatball) Soup

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Albondigas (Mexican Meatball) Soup
adapted from Use Real Butter

Ingredients

Soup

  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 canned chipotle chile, minced, plus 1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bulk Mexican chorizo (I use my homemade version)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (plus more, chopped, for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the spices, broth, tomatoes, chipotle, carrots, zucchini, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pinch off about 1.5 tablespoons of filling and roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Repeat until you have made about 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until cooked through and sizzling.

Add the cooked meatballs and rice to the soup and simmer for another 15-18 minutes, until rice is tender. Serve hot and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

NOTES

Albondigas Soup is one of those random things that has been on my back burner for about four years now. Fellow longtime cooks, you know this scenario: it was one of those dishes I heard about, envisioned a certain way, failed at on my first attempt, then subsequently filed away for far too long until I figured out how I was going to approach it differently. Well, now my cooking skills have caught up with my imagination, and this recipe is the result.

AND HOLY @*&# THIS WAS GOOD. Like… top ten recipes of all time good. Like, cook to impress guests good. Like total shock, I could never have imagined it would turn out this amazing, CRAZYFREAKINGGOOD.

If you don’t have homemade chorizo, no problem, use the store stuff. If you don’t have Ancho or New Mexican chile powder, no problem, just use a teaspoon of whatever ya got. But don’t let anything stop you from making this if it strikes your fancy. I promise you will not regret the effort.

Tom Kha Gai

IMG_1100IMG_1102Tom Kha Gai
slightly adapted from RinS Cookbook Channel

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 slices fresh galangal
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves, sliced in half
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (set aside about 1/4 cup leaves for garnish)
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin, white and light green parts separated (set aside dark green pieces for garnish)
  • 1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 8 oz mushrooms, any kind, chopped or sliced
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1-4 fresh thai birds eye chiles, smashed/cut open with a knife
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili oil

Method

Pour water into large, deep pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, cilantro, white and light green scallion pieces, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add chicken, fish sauce, and sugar, and simmer for 5-6 minutes more, until chicken is cooked through.

Add coconut milk and mushrooms and bring to boil. Let cook for another 5 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

Remove from heat. Add lime juice, birds eye chiles, chili oil, scallion tops, and remaining cilantro. Serve hot.

NOTES

I have always wanted to try my hand at tom kha; the only thing that was stopping me was lack of authentic ingredients. But with my newly discovered Asian market nearby, I suspected I could make it happen pretty easily.

Unfortunately, for my first attempt, I picked out a recipe that was all wrong: finicky and complicated, and, to add insult to injury, it came out pale, watery, and bland. All wrong. So I searched again and came across this youtube channel. And WHAT A FIND. I watcher her tom kha video, took notes, waited for the detailed ingredient list at the end, and went for it.

It was perfect! I cannot believe how easy and delicious this was. All it took was the right Thai ingredients and I had a soup made in 25 minutes from start to finish, including prep and serving, that tastes EXACTLY like the tom kha from my favorite Thai place in California (well, a bit spicier, but that can be tweaked to preference). So excited to have stumbled upon this resource. I will definitely be returning to watch the pad thai video, the green curry video, and many many more.

My Thai cooking is on fire lately. I LOVE IT!

Ham and Potato Soup

Ham and Potato Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 sweet onion, diced
2 large carrots, sliced into coins
2 large stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16-24 oz smoked ham, cubed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 leftover ham bone (optional)
1-1/2 quarts (6 cups) stock or water
1-1/2 lb Russet or red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup half and half
Salt, to taste

For topping: scallions, crumbled bacon, crackers, tabasco sauce

Method

Heat olive oil and butter in large deep pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until just soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for another minute. Add ham, thyme, oregano, and pepper, and stir to combine. Nestle ham bone on top, if using, then pour in stock or water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a hard simmer for 20 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat. Discard ham bone (if necessary). Pour in half and half and stir to combine. Taste and add salt, if needed (mine didn’t need any due to the salt level of the ham). Serve hot, with desired toppings.

NOTES

Holy moly so good. We couldn’t stop ranting and raving about it at the table. I was lucky to have my wild pig ham and bone to use for this (and BONUS, Thanksgiving turkey stock stored away in the freezer), but I’m sure it would be wonderful with deli ham any time of the year. What an awesome soup. Credit to my friend Amy at Very Culinary, who put the idea in my head in the first place.

Southwestern Chicken Stew

Southwestern Chicken Stew
adapted from Lemons for Lulu

Ingredients

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded, diced
3 large cloves garlic, grated
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon oregano (I use Mexican)
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon chile powder (I use New Mexican)
1-1/3 cup frozen corn
1 15-oz can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained, rinsed
7 oz can diced green chiles, undrained
1 quart chicken broth (or water)
1/2 cup half and half
Optional for garnish: cilantro, scallions, hot sauce

Method

Heat a large soup pot over medium high. Add chicken and saute for 6 or 7 minutes, until cooked through. Add onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Cook for 4 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Season with cumin, oregano, salt, and chile powder. Add corn, black beans, tomatoes and green chiles. Stir in broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Pour half and half into the pot and stir to heat through. Garnish as desired.

NOTES

Flavor profile similar to many a southwestern soup (similar to my chicken tortilla soup, in fact), but with an added creamy twist. This turned out so fabulous I’ve made it three times in the last few weeks. Thick, spicy, hearty, DELICIOUS.

Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey Noodle Soup

Ingredients

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1-1/2 pounds cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 quarts stock (preferably homemade turkey or chicken stock)
1 12-ounce bag wide egg noodles
1-1/3 cups frozen green peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Method

Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and celery and saute about 5 minutes, until soft. Add turkey, thyme, salt and black pepper and stir to mix well. Add stock and bring mixture to a boil. Add egg noodles. Cook 10 minutes, until egg noodles are just tender. Stir in peas and cook until peas are just heated through, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve.

NOTES

Best noodle soup ever. Simple, delicious, nourishing, and the perfect thing to do with the first couple of quarts of homemade turkey stock from Thanksgiving.

(Note: obviously, if not holiday time, this could easily be made with chicken instead.)

Chipotle Chicken Chili

Chipotle Chicken Chili
(heavily altered, but inspired by this post from Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (see NOTES)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 12-ounce bottle beer (I used regular Modelo)
1 cup water
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
2 14.5-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced (about half a “bunch”)

For serving: sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, scallions, limes, corn chips, etc.

Method

Heat large pot over medium high heat, then add the chicken, cumin, oregano and salt. Saute for about 7 or 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the onion and garlic and stir. Cook for a few minutes more, until onion is soft. Add the beer and cook for 2 minutes to slightly reduce. Add the water, tomatoes, chipotles, beans and ancho chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a hard simmer. Let cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the lime juice and cilantro. Stir to combine, then remove from heat. Serve with desired accompaniments.

NOTES

Salty, sweet, smoky, spicy; this was instant love. Intense flavor with so few ingredients and chock full of protein to boot? Our perfect kind of meal.

As always, if you start with chicken breast, you will need a teaspoon or two of oil to get things going. Also, mine is soupier than a traditional chili, I realize, so if you want to make it thicker, you can blend some masa harina with water or more beer (1:1 ratio) or add a third can of beans. Ree did both in the post that inspired this dish. Up to you, but Steve and I loved it so tremendously as is, I think I will leave it for now.