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I Like Soup

For those of you that are new here, you might not realize that I am a huge fan of soup. I have posted a few recipes and counted 20+ posts that refer to soup. You get it; I like soup.

Here is a new recipe. Using the 1 pot formula, but ready in about 45 minutes, if not less. Let’s give this one a title eh?

1 Pot Weeknight soup

Above I linked up a recipe that takes hours to finish. Let’s get this one done in closer to 45 minutes!


  • Chicken thighs – 4 cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 small carrots, diced
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatos (the small can)
  • 1 tbls red wine vinegar
  • As much garlic as you want, rough chopped. I used 8 cloves
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced (optional)
  • 1 cup of your favorite pasta (optional)
  • 2 32oz (2lb) containers chicken stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the potato and pasta, dealer’s choice here. I used red lentil rontini for the pasta. If you can find it and don’t mind the cost, it was a perfect fit!

Let’s Do This

The object of this pot of soup is keeping it simple. To that end, do all of your veggie prep first (keep the onions and garlic separate). That way, you can use the same board and knife for the chicken prep and reduce the amount of time you have to spend cleaning.

Assuming your have everything prepped, do this

  1. Put your soup pot on the stove and add about 1/4″ olive oil to bottom on high heat. Dutch oven works very well!
  2. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken, reduce heat to medium. Keep this moving to avoid too much sticking.
  3. Getting color on the bottom of pot? Add 1/2 your onions and all of your garlic. Keep it all moving.
  4. Once the chicken is almost done and you have dark color on the bottom of the pot, add your tomatoes and reduce the heat. Scrape the bottom of pot to get that fond into your soup!
  5. Add the veggies to the pot, boost the heat to high and cook for about 2 minutes, again, keeping everything moving.
  6. Add your stock and bring the soup to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Add your pasta and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  9. Season to taste.

No foolin’, I had this ready in 45 minutes, and that included the prep. Simple and so good. I do highly recommend using chicken thigh meat since it’s more forgiving for this method of cooking and a bit heartier.

Another Pot of Soup

Man, I love leftovers during the holday season. Especially if the weather is cold, as it has been here in Arizona. Today, we are dealing with leftover ham and making a hearty soup. Like everything else, super easy, super delicious and it makes quite bit.

Christmas Ham Soup

For this you will need the left over bits of ham, you know, the tough parts from the end that nobody likes on sandwhiches because they are too tough. They work perfect for this recipe, especially if they are both tough and have a bit of extra fat.


  • Ham, the fattiest pieces, diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow or brown onion, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/2 12oz bottle of brown beer
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Water to cover
  • 1 tbls red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste


In your dutch oven or sturdiest soup pot, heat the olive oil on medium high heat until it’s hot. Add the ham pieces and saute for 2 minutes. Drop the heat to medium and continue to cook until most of the fat is rendered and the ham is nicely browned. This will take about 5-7 minutes.

Add the carrots, onion, celery and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the beer. scrape the bottom of the pan to get the brown ham bits and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and cover with water. Add the spices and garlic and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let cook with the lid on for 45 minutes. Finish with parsley and vinegar.


  • Add 1 can of black beans
  • Add a corn starch slurry and let it cook for an additional 10 minutes to thicken
  • Use white wine instead of beer and skip the vinegar. I would use a pinot gringo or something equally light, not a chardonnay.
  • Use the entire beer!

If this turns out correctly, you should have an amazing ham flavor with a hint of cinnamon. I thought it turned out really nice, hearty enough to be a meal but not so heavy to be a stew.

Sausage Barley Soup

This recipe was originally posted on January 1st, 2007. Since I made this on Christmas Eve, I have had a few requests for it.

And, as usual, if anyone actually makes this, I would be interested in hearing how it turned out!

What you need

  • 6 Sweet Italian Sausages, casings removed
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 bunches green onion
  • lots of garlic
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 turnip
  • 3 red potatoes
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 8 cups of chicken stock (2 32oz cans)
  • 1 can whole tomatoes with juice.
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What to do

Chop/pull the sausage apart and cook in your soup pot on medium heat until they are nice and brown and released most of their fat. Add the onion, jalepeno cut in half (leave the seeds you sissy) and the tops from the green onions. Cook for about 1/2 hour.

Chop all your veggies into about 1/4″ pieces. Remove the jalepeno and add the rest of the veggies to the pot. Save the green onions and cilantro. Add the barley and lentils. Add the chicken stock. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours until the lentils are tender. Add water as need to keep it from turning into stew.

Finish with green onions and cilantro.

This will be hot! You can actually leave it, covered, on the stove for 2 hours before you serve it. A nice loaf of french bread would be good with this, or a small side salad.

Try this with Corn Bread. Good stuff!

The Sunday Post 81: Turkey

It’s that crazy time of the year in the United States again. It starts Thursday with our traditional day of over-eating and football, continuing into a weekend filled with packed malls and bargain-hunter clogged roads. At least, a nice bowl of soup should help you to relax.

Turkey Soup

Turkey soup

One thing that I do every year is say I’m going to make turkey stock with the bones and carcass from the Thanksgiving bird. Into bags the parts go, then into the freezer to wait for me to pull them out and create stock.

Who’s with me?

In reality, the bones and parts usually end up the trash, without so much as a drop of stock being made. This year, I changed that, and early to boot since our traditional meal will include Prime Rib, not turkey. So, we had turkey this weekend, and from the pieces and parts, I created one bad ass stock. Are you ready?

The Stock

  • Turkey parts. Bones, carcass, neck, gizzards, skin, whatever. The wings work well here too.
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters. You can leave the skin on
  • 3 celery stalks, with leaves, cut into thirds
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of salt
  • As much garlic as you like
  • Water to cover

Put everything in your largest stock pot. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. How long depends on how much parts you put in. 2-3 hours would be a good place to start. If you are going to make soup with this now, continue on, otherwise get it cold ASAP. You can store it in Mason jars (even frozen) for use later.

The Soup

  • Turkey Stock
  • Vegetables
  • Noodles, beans or both
  • Salt
  • Herbs, spices and garlic

Pretty vague, right? I know. It’s time for you to get a little creative in the kitchen. This is something that is impossible to screw up, so go crazy!

Want spinach, tomatoes and beans? Go! More traditional carrots, celery and rice? Sure. All starch with potatoes, noodles and barley? You can do that too! The stock is, essentially, a blank canvass ready to accept whatever flavors you want to through at it. Go nuts, have fun and get the rest of the family involved. I can practically guarantee that you won’t screw it up!

The History of Me: Food

I was never much into cooking when I was younger. In fact, when I first moved out I lived off Mac and Cheese and Top Ramen just like the next guy. But, there was the odd occasion when I would make up some sandwiches the way Mom used to, just because they were good.

Then I got my first restaurant job. There I got paid to cook, but I didn’t have any enthusiasm about it. Or any creativity.

Then, it happened. My first real meal, prepared without a recipe, only with the thought ‘this should be pretty good. Let’s try’. Stuffed pork chops was the dish. It was extremely easy, was very good and it got a very positive reaction from those that ate it. Might have been all the garlic I used, but it was still pretty good.

Shortly after I moved to Northern California I started getting creative. Since I was running the kitchen, I had access to pretty much everything for anything I wanted. I would make breakfast for the crew. Special appetizers for the regulars. Even the odd custom special or two. It was here I first started cooking for large groups as well. Turns out I was pretty good at it. And, the reaction was always very positive.

I had the bug.

I started creating stuff in my own kitchen at home. Salad dressings, soups and sauces. All from scratch, all without recipes. Most of the time they were good, but there was the occassional ‘um, yea, we’re going out tonight’ meals ifyouknowwhatImean. But I was never afraid to experiment. It got to the point where, one year for Christmas, my gift was flavored vinegars and oil in spiffy bottles. That was fun!

During this time, by Grandparents reached their 50th wedding anniversary. Kind of a big deal, so we went all out. Invited all of their friends and the whole family was there. I think it was close to 400 people by the end of the night. All of them fed by me.

It was a killer spread. Lots of finger foods that my crew assembled (my crew being Mom, my aunt and my sister). I had total control over all of it. While they did all of that, I worked on the main piece for the party. Carpaccio for 400. One of my greatest creations ever. I had an entire filet loin, many cloves of garlic, many lemons, lots of cilantro and parsley, some capers and plenty of crusty bread, all layed out on one of the largest butcher blocks I’ve ever used. It was awesome.

I moved back to Southern California and switched jobs. From a casual restaurant to a high end steak house chain. My cooking continued, of course, being influenced by new techniques and flavors. At this time I also discovered wine. Good times, good times.

My grill skills continues to improve as well. Any piece of meat or vegetable, any grill. As long as there was an open flame, I could make something pretty rockin’.

I also continued to experiment. But now I was using recipes to base my creations on. Experiementing with new flavors and techniques even still. And plating turned into a big deal.

It got to the point where I wanted to cook for my friends. So, I had a BBQ a few years ago and invited about 10 people. And when I say BBQ, don’t think hamburgers or hot dogs were involved. That’s not how I roll.

I marinated beef, chicken and shrimp in my own custom marinade. Appetizer was garlic cream cheese stuff jalepenos. Dessert was grilled pineapple with honey lime yogurt sauce. There was wine. There was music. It was great.

It’s something I don’t get to do enough. But, I will do it again. And when I do, you’ll all be invited!