A hearty bowl of hot soup is great on a cold, winter’s day.  Here is the recipe for a glorious Thai Chicken Soup that silky and sublime and a hearty Tuscan Bean Soup.  Be sure to decrease or omit the serrano chili’s if you don’t like heat.

Thai-Style Chicken Soup
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 4

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 lemon grass stalks, bottom tender 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
3 shallots, chopped
8 sprigs of cilantro, chopped coarsely
3 tablespoons soy sauce (originally fish sauce)
4 cups vegetable broth (originally chicken broth)
2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar
½ pound button mushrooms, sliced
1 pound seitan, sliced or cubed (originally boneless, skinless chicken breast)
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

½ cup cilantro leaves
2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
2 scallion, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan and add lemon grass, shallots, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Cook over medium heat until softened, 2-5 minutes.
  • Add vegetable broth and 1 can of coconut milk; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Pour broth through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Return broth to saucepan.
  • Add remaining can of coconut milk and sugar to broth and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Add seitan, and cook for another 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Combine lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce in a small bowl; add to soup.
  • Garnish individual soup-filled bowls with cilantro, chiles, and scallions. Serve soup with lime wedges

Tuscan Bean Soup
Adapted from Emeril
serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups of yellow onions – diced
  • 1 cup of celery – diced
  • 1 cup of carrots – diced
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 can of kidney beans (15.5 ounce) – rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of cannellini beans (15.5 ounce) – rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of chick peas (15.5 ounce) – rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14-ounce)
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil
  • 8 ounces of baby spinach – washed

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Sauté the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes.

Finely chop the FRESH rosemary, thyme, and basil and add them to the pot.

Add the diced tomatoes, the kidney beans, cannellini beans, chick peas, and the chicken stock.

Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down heat to simmer. Simmer for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the spinach, and recover the pot. It will take approximately 1-2 minutes for the spinach to wilt.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

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Chicago, IL 60640
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