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Posts tagged ‘soup’

Caribbean Beef Stew

I admit that I am not the world’s best food writer or photographer.  Maybe I will get a little better over time, or maybe not. I won’t spend too much time or energy fretting about it. 

 I mostly started this blog odyssey just for my self and my own sanity. I have so many cookbooks and so many recipes bookmarked on the internet (hello!!  my recipe box has close to 800 recipes in it) that I would lose track of where my favorite recipes were from and what recipes I had already tried.   It also gives me a way to link friends to the recipes I’ve made and my thoughts on the books I read.

I have a Crock Pot that I got as a wedding or shower gift from my mother.  I like to break it out every few months to cook dinner on the weekend.  My commute to work and working schedule being what it is, slow cooker meals aren’t really something I can do on weekdays…since I am away from the house for too long.  So…weekends it is.

This Caribbean Beef Stew has an interesting combination of flavors and is loaded with great color and texture. 

Caribbean Beef Stew

  • 1 lb stew beef
  • 3 1/2 cups diced butternut squash (or pumpkin)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 14 oz canned pigeon peas, drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper


  1. Trim visible fat off beef, then dice the meat into 2 inch pieces.
  2. Heat a large heavy pan without adding any oil.  Add the meat and cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes until browned all over. 
  3. Stir in the pumpkin, onion, and bell pepper and cook for 1 minute, then add the paprika, cayenne, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

  1. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. 
  2. Add the pigeon peas and black-eyed peas to the stew and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  3. Re-cover and cook on high for 30 minutes.

(serves 6)

Pappa Al Pomidoro

Week 2 of me being left home alone by Mr. Mango– loneliness is setting in (poor me), but the house is close to sparkling clean (oh, the joy of not having to pick up after an extra person 😉 ) We both like to cook and usually split the cooking duties, although I usually end up doing the cleaning.

The day after Christmas, as I was sitting home alone, I decided to cook up one of the recipes on this month’s to-cook list: Barefoot Contessa’s Pappa Al Pomidoro. Pappa Al Pomidoro is a country Tuscan bread soup. I was mega-excited to try out this recipe since I’ve been on a bit of a soup kick the past few months as evidenced by the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Mexican Chicken Soup, Turkey and White Bean Chili, Ranchero Beef Stew, and Hungarian Beef & Potato Soup that I’ve made and posted about. I figured a soup would keep me warm & cozy in my husband’s absence. I won’t go so far as to say that I cuddled with the soup though. that would just be crazy.


The Pappa Al Pomidoro is comprised mostly of veggies, tomatoes, and bread. The bread dissolves as the soup cooks and the result is a broth that is thickened by the bread bits. (maybe not the most low-carb diet friendly soup!) I made the Pappa Al Pomidoro recipe without the pancetta in the topping and it was still super delicious and the perfect soup for a cold December evening. I loved the touch of the toasted bread and basil on top, it added a different texture and more intense basil flavor.

This delish recipe was selected by Natalie at Burned Bits, who has a wicked cute blog so be sure to stop by and check it out. Check out the recipe after the jump.


Yellow, Vanilla, Love

This month I joined another cooking challenge group: Recipes to Rival.  Each month the group chooses a different savory recipe and cooks it together and post our results. The recipes are ones that should “increase our repertoire of cooking skills”.

The challenge recipe for November is one from the last season of Bravo’s Top Chef. It’s the squash soup recipe created by Andrew & Spike for the Improv challenge. In this challenge the chefs had to create a recipe based on 3 words supplied to them by the audience at Second City Comedy Club. The 3 words that Spike & Andrew’s team had were: Yellow, Vanilla, and Love. They decided to make Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche.

I enjoyed making this soup and spaced out the process over a couple of days—making the veggie stock one day and then doing the remaining steps the next day. The resultant soup was very flavorful and decadent. I can see how it helped Andrew and Spike do so well in the Top Chef challenge. I am not the biggest squash soup fan in general, so I am not sure if I will make this recipe again, but I am glad I did for this challenge.

The hosts of this month’s challenge are Meg or Joy Through Cooking and Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness.  The official Recipes to Rival post for this challenge is located here.


Recipes to Rival Challenge Requirements:

  1. Make your own stock. You can use the recipe given or play with the flavors. The given stock is a vegetable one. If you want to go with a chicken stock you are welcome to, but it must be homemade. This part can be done ahead.
  2. Incorporate a creamy vanilla element. You can use whipping cream if crème fraiche is cost-prohibitive. For those with allergies/food restrictions of course please substitute as needed but for those who do not have those restrictions, please incorporate a creamy vanilla garnish.
  3. For the soup it should be a squash soup. I used a mix of Butternut, buttercup, and acorn squash but you can use your favorites (or what is available). You can pre-cook the squash as well.
  4. Whatever you choose to do, please cook your soup with LOVE.

Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche

Please see the original inspiration recipe from Top Chef. I’ve tweaked the recipe to reduce the number of servings by half of what was on Bravo’s Top Chef site, since their recipe serves 8 and there are inly 2 of us. 🙂

Prep Time: one hour and 30 minutes
Serves: more than 8
Spike & Andrew’s recipe:

3 sliced leek bottoms (rinsed)
4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
10 shallots (peeled and sliced)
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup miso stir
Salt and pepper

5 acorn
5 butternut
Oil for rubbing
Salt and pepper

Vegetable Stock:
4 quarts water
2 white onions
4 carrots, peeled
2 leeks
6-8 button mushrooms
Bouquet garnish (parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns)

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Creme fraiche
2 vanilla beans

Additional Ingredients:
Salt to taste
Cayenne to taste


Sweat all of the vegetables with butter. Sweat down and deglaze with honey. Stir and add miso. Season with salt and pepper.


Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and reserve one butternut head for garnish. Rub squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place one piece of sage under every piece of squash. Place squash face down on a sheet tray and roast at 350 degrees until done. Scoop flesh out and pass through a ricer.
Vegetable Stock:
In a pot, boil all ingredients together with the exception of the bouquet garnishes. (NOTE: allow to simmer for at least 1 hour)

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Whip creme fraiche and scrape vanilla beans and fold in.

Combine squash and vegetable stock to desired consistency. Add mirepoix and cook. Blend with a vita prep and strain through a chinois. Season with salt and cayenne.
To Plate:
Add 6 ounces of soup in bowl and spoon in creme fraiche. Garnish with bouquet garnishes.


Mexican Chicken Soup

Another winning recipe from the Barefoot Contessa: Mexican Chicken Soup. This recipe was originally published in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home.  Its the perfect soup for a cold late November day, where here in the southern ‘burbs of Boston we had icy rain most of the day. Since there are only 2 of us, I opted to cut her recipe in half and also used a bit more of some of the spices.  We still have a ton left over. But, we loved this soup and it will make a great lunch tomorrow.


The soup is mildly spicy with juicy shreds of chicken and chunks of veggies mingled amongst bits of white corn tortilla. I topped each bowl off with chopped cilantro and some avocado. The soup was very easy to make and will be part of the MangoHouse’s dinner rotation from now on.

A big thank you to Judy from Judy’s Gross Eats for selecting this recipe for Barefoot Bloggers. Stop by her blog to read about her experiences making this fabulous soup.

Mexican Chicken Soup (adapted from the Barefoot Contessa)

yields 3-4 servings


  • 1 split (1 whole) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cups chopped onions (1 onions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
  • 3 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas


For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1/2 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.


Turkey & White Bean Chili

I like to imagine that this chili is good for me. Hey, it has turkey in it instead of beef. Work with me here! heh.

I stumbled across this chili recipe a couple of years ago when I was looking for a version of chili that contained ingredients that I had on hand. I threw it together quickly and my dinner crowd was pleased. This hearty chili has a great melding of flavors with ingredients that include oregano, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. It is perfect topped with shredded cheddar and diced red onions…and sometimes, when I am feeling frisky, I scoop it up and eat it with corn chips.  I’m living on the edge!


Turkey & White Bean Chili (adapted from Bon Apetit recipe)


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 15-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed, drained
  • Chopped Red Onion (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)

Ladle chili into bowls. Top with chopped onion and shredded cheese as desired.

Ranchero Beef Stew

Fall is definitely in the air. There are fat little squirrels scurrying about the yard, rifling through the fallen leaves. There is a chill in the air and we are needing to turn on the heat every once in awhile. This time of year our food cravings move from grilled items to more hearty comfort food. I decided to make a beef stew and search on Epicurious for a recipe that had a slight twist on the standard American beef stew. What I found was their recipe for Ranchero Beef Stew. This version of beef stew has some Spanish influences. I tweaked the Epicurious recipe a little to up some spices and to use fresh chili peppers instead of the canned variety.


The recipe was easy to make and this one is definitely going on my keeper list. The resultant stew was very flavorful and got rave reviews from my husband. It was great served on its own or (as we had it the next day for lunch), served with egg noodles.

Ranchero Beef Stew


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, cubed
  • 2 cups of baby carrots
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 15-to 16-ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups canned beef broth
  • 2 green chili peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven; sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, carrots, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth chilies, olives and oregano. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 1 hour. Uncover; simmer until juices thicken, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro.

Cooking: Quick Hungarian Beef & Potato Soup

Since fall is definitely in the air, I decided to make a quick soup one weeknight for dinner. This recipe is based on one from Food & Wine magazine. I kicked up the spices a notch.  The soup was really quick and easy to make thanks to using ground beef instead of regular beef.

The caraway seeds, paprika, red pepper, and marjoram melded into a flavorful hearty soup. It was great served with a nice loaf of crusty bread to soak up the broth.

I will be making this soup again really soon, it was simle to make and the end result was flavorful and made a satisfying meal on its own (no need for a 2nd course!).


Quick Hungarian Beef and Potato Soup


1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
3 large Russet (or other boiling) potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 1/4 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups canned low sodium beef broth or homemade stock
3 cups water


  1. Set a large pot over moderate heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break it up, until the meat no longer pink, about 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir inthe flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the potatoes, paprika, ground red pepper, marjoram, caraway seeds, salt, tomato paste, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Eats: Little Q HotPot

 Little Q Hotpot
1585 Hancock St.
Quincy, MA 02169


We love us some Little Q Hotpot!  Little Q is a popular chain restaurant in China and the Quincy location is its first (and currently only) American outpost. They are located in an otherwise dead Quincy Fair shopping center in Quincy Center. The shopping center is slowly dying due to the fact that the city of Quincy plans to tear it down to build a road. Hopefully, Little Q will be able to find a new home in Quincy. I would hate to lose it.

We’ve been to Little Q a few times now. On this visit, it was the busiest we’d ever seen it. The area outside their entrance was crowded with folks waiting for tables. We were able to be seated immediately since we were willing to sit at an isolated counter area tucked off to the side of the restaurant.  We didn’t mind, we just wanted to eat!   Plus, the counter is against a window that overlooks the rest of the Asian food court area, which includes a couple of other dining options, including Taste of Taiwan. I was tempted to try Taste of Taiwan soon, based on some of the dishes that I saw people get from there.

But, back to Little Q…

The table tops and dishes at Little Q are all made out of the same plastic, easy to wipe down material. The dishes/cups and napkins are all printed with the smiling face of a cartoon goat–who I suppose is the mascot of Little Q.  The decor is definitelycasual and cafeteria-esque.

The staff at Little Q are all very friendly and helpful, so don’t be afraid that you’ll be lost if you have never had hot pot before.  They readily help you chose from their selection of broths and then chose other items that you want to cook in the broth. These include various veggies, meats, seafood, and noodles.

After ordering the server brings us some complimentary pickled radishes and peanuts. These are both very tasty and addictive snacks. I really want to try making the pickled Daikon radish at home.

Shortly there after she brings us our pots of broth, inserts them into the holes in the counter and turns on the cooktops. We ordered the seafood broth. It comes out with green onions, ginger and various spices floating in it. The broth is very fragrant and flavorful and the flavor gets enhanced with each new piece of meat or veggie that you put in. I love the way the fried tofu and bok choy pick up the flavors of the broth.


This visit we ordered several items to go in our soup: Baby Bok Choy, fried tofu, white mushrooms, chicken breast, white fish and shrimp. The chicken breast comes out thinly sliced and arranged in rolls.  All of their items are always super fresh.


Then we just put our ingredients in the broth and let them cook. Part of the trick of eating at a Mongolian hot pot place is the timing for how long the items need to cook in the broth. The different items take varying amounts of time. The thinly sliced chicken cooks up in just seconds. Little Q often has this information printed on the place mats at each table setting. Although for some reason, this past weekend, the placemats had Greek tourist spots printed on it. Hmm!

Their seafood fried rice is also very good. It contains scallops, white fish, shrimps, and squid. Little Q’s scallion pancakes are also phenomenal, but we didn’t order them this past time since we didn’t want to get too much food.

We got mango (can’t resist it) ice cream for dessert, which is a great refreshing way to end the meal.

I give Little Q Hotpot 4.5 out of 5 mangoes.

Little Q Hotpot Restaurant on Urbanspoon