November 15, 2013

Recipes: Rib-sticking soups to ward off the chill

Try these five flavorful ideas from local chefs and others.

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3. Meanwhile, put the bacon in a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon bits with a slotted spoon to a saucer lined with paper towels to drain and cool.

4. When the potatoes are cool, cut one of them in half lengthwise. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh in one piece from each half. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside. Coarsely chop the potato skin and the entire remaining potato and add to the pot with the leeks. Purée the contents of the pot in a blender until very smooth (you’ll need to work in batches). Return the puréed soup to a clean soup pot and reheat over medium low. Whisk the milk and sour cream until smooth and then whisk this into the soup, along with 1/2 cup of the Cheddar. Stir in the diced potato. The soup should be fairly thick, but if it seems too thick, thin it with a little water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the remaining Cheddar, the bacon bits, and the scallions or chives.

Kamasouptra’s Classic Beef Chili

This beef chili is one of the most popular soups at Kamasouptra. It’s on the menu nearly every day. It gets a little heat from the jalapeno, and a little sweetness from the “secret” ingredient, Capt’n Eli’s Root Beer. Kamasouptra gets its beef from Middle Intervale Farm in Bethel.

Serves 4-8; approximately 48 ounces

Prep Time: 10 Minutes, plus time for the beans to soak

Cook Time: 2 Hours

1 pound ground beef

2 medium onions, diced

1 1/3 cup red kidney beans, dried, soaked overnight

1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, canned, in juice

32 ounces water

1 medium jalapeno, only the stem removed, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons chili powder

½ teaspoon dried oregano

8 ounces Capt’n Eli’s Root Beer

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1-2 dashes Tabasco, or to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper, ground

1. At least three hours before beginning, preferably overnight, rinse the beans thoroughly and soak them in the 32 ounces of water.

2. Heat a pan, at least 2 quarts in size, over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook about 50 percent, breaking it into bits.

3. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, and oregano, and cook until the onions are translucent.

4. Add the chili powder and cook for a minute or two until very fragrant.

5. Add root beer and bring to a boil.

6. Add diced tomatoes, beans and the water they were soaked in. Bring everything up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft and creamy. This should take about one hour and 15 minutes.

7. Skim any excess fat from the top of the pot and discard. Season with salt, pepper, vinegar and Tabasco to taste. The above amounts are simply a guide.

Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and minced onion would all make excellent garnishes for this soup.

Photo courtesy of Robert's Maine Grill

Kale Soup with Chorizo

This kale soup from Brandon Blethen, executive chef at Robert’s Maine Grill is hearty fare that can be transformed into a vegetarian meal just by leaving out the kale.

Owner Michael Landgarten says: “Originally it was my idea to offer a kale soup because I used to eat it on Cape Cod – at Orleans and Truro – growing up. Down there it is a popular offering in seafood places. Then Greenlaw Gardens ended up being a great local kale resource. We could showcase a beautiful, local vegetable in a great dish.”

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