The idea for this recipe, my "progressive" soup came to me as I was looking in the refrigerator with desperation trying to come up with a last minute dinner plan. Last minute because I'd given a cooking class that day, driven 2 hours there and back and I was really not feeling like cooking a meal; and now it was 7:00pm. Sound familiar?
Looking around in the refrigerator I pulled out the leftovers of the herb soup I had made two days before. That would be my start. Seeing no leftover vegetables, I went into the freezer. Frozen peas, broccoli florets, and pearl onions came to my rescue. Next I needed a protein. I headed back into the refrigerator and found a container of cooked chicken I had pulled from a roast chicken we had the night before. I put all these things together in my dutch oven with some chicken stock, placed it over a low flame and in half and hour dinner was ready! The next day I did the same thing. This time I took the leftover soup and added coconut milk, curry powder, and cilantro. Now I'd taken last night's dinner and created a soup with a completely different flavor profile. Served with a salad of greens, sliced apples, and dressed with oil and vinegar and we were set for another delicious soup!
Herb Soup, Chicken Soup and Herbs, Curried Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk
Double this recipe if you are planning to create additional soups from this.
2 Tbs unsalted butter
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup celery (about 1),chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups whole milk
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tbs fresh herbs, chopped (flat leafed parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme)
4 cups chopped fresh greens (baby spinach, arugula, sorrel, watercress, ramps, or dandelion leaves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat. When it foams, add onion and celery. Cover with a lid and cook gently 5-8 minutes, until soft.
- Add the diced potato, stock, and milk. Raise the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 10-15 minutes more.
- Add greens and herbs and simmer uncovered 5 minutes until greens are just cooked through and the soup is fragrant. Puree half or all of the soup in a blender or with an emersion blender, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. This soup can be refrigerated for 3-5 days.
- Raw shrimp…add with greens and herbs.
- Cooked, shredded chicken…add with greens and herbs.
- Sliced cherry tomatoes…add with greens and herbs.
- Bacon…dice, cook first to render fat. Remove the bacon (drain on paper towel) and all but 1 Tbs of the fat. Add 1 Tbs of butter to the bacon fat and prepare recipe as written. Add bacon back in with herbs and greens.
- Corn…add with greens and herbs.
Add the ingredients below (except the parsley and cheese) to the leftovers. The amounts will vary depending on how much of the Herb soup you have left. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to bring the flavors together.
Finish the soup by adding the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cheese on the side.
2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained or 1 ½ cups fresh cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 ½ cups cooked whole grain rice or 1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Stock as needed
½ cup flat leafed parsley, chopped
Shredded parmesan cheese
1 Tbs olive oil
2-3 Tbs curry powder
1-2 cans coconut milk
½ pound frozen or fresh cauliflower
½ pound frozen or fresh corn
½ cup cilantro, fresh
stock as needed
- In a separate sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. When hot but not smoking, add the curry powder. Heat, stirring constantly for 1 minute. The curry should become fragrant. Add one can of the coconut milk to the cooked curry powder and whisk. Add the curry coconut milk to the soup.
- Add remaining ingredients (but not the cilantro) and additional stock as needed.
- Heat the soup and simmer for 15-20 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.