Deborah Madison has shown millions of Americans how to turn vegetables and other healthful ingredients into culinary triumphs. In her newest collection of recipes, She serves up a selection of soups ranging from stylish first courses to substantial one-bowl meals.
Madison begins with a soup-making primer and streamlined recipes for vegetable stocks and broths (such as the Hearty Mushroom Broth), which serve as the foundation for many of the recipes that follow, for those who wish to make their own. Soups like the Mexican Tomato Broth with Avocado and Lime can start a supper or stand alone as a simple, light meal. Cooks looking for heartier choices will find satisfying dishes such as Potato and Green Chile Stew with Cilantro Cream or grain-based soups like the Wild Rice Chowder. Organized by seasons, the recipes make the most of the produce–from a springtime Fennel and Almond Soup with Saffron and Ricotta Dumplings to a deeply flavorful autumnal Roasted Squash, Pear and Ginger Soup. When time just isn’t available and prepared soups take the place of home made, Madison offers a battery of suggestions for how to make them your own with simple additions from delicious oils and herbs to an invigorating Cilantro Salsa.
Featuring fifty stunning full-color photographs by Laurie Smith, serving suggestions, wine notes, and a host of ideas for creative finishing touches including caramelized pear “croutons” and souffléd cheese toasts, this friendly soup lover's guide gives the reader a hundred delicious ways to enjoy the benefits and flavors of vegetables by the bowlful throughout the seasons.
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Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen
By Deborah Madison
Random HouseDeborah Madison
All right reserved.
I Light Broths and Restorative Soups
If you're a vegetarian who secretly envies those who can enjoy a brodo with pasta or sip on chicken soup when ill, you'll be happy to know that there are brothy vegetarian soups that can effect a cure or two. It's not easy to make a vegetable-based broth that's as robust as a good chicken broth, but it's possible to create a liquid that's good enough to be sipped and savored with a few additions for interest or amusement.
Developing vegetarian broths and broth-based soups has been a challenge, but I'm delighted with the results. They have depth of flavor, interest, and inherent lightness. Broth-based soups are appealing to those with small appetites, who are recovering from illness, or who are dieting, and they provide a light beginning to a large meal.
Restoratives are soups intended to help vanquish a cold or flu. In times when food wasn't as plentiful as it is today, restoratives were rich with cream, egg yolks, and meats, on the theory that calories and protein were needed to nurse a person to health. Twice I've had jobs that involved caring for women who were born before the turn of the century (the twentieth, not the twenty-first). When they were ill, they asked for chicken broth enriched with cream (plus curry powder) and eggs. One alwaysasked for warm sherry beaten into egg yolks, with some cream thrown in at the end, a kind of zabaglione. I always made extra of that! Many soups, by virtue of being hot liquids, can work as restoratives, but the five I've chosen to present here are especially known for their ability to make you feel better, no matter what ails you.
Green Coriander and Ginger Broth
Makes about 7 cups
Tofu soups don't always have to be miso based. Here tofu floats in a green broth infused with cilantro, scallions, and shiitake mushrooms. For extra flavor I add Chinese celery (see page 26), lovage, or the Japanese herb shiso to the soup as it simmers, then sprinkle a few drops of roasted peanut or sesame oil into each bowl once it's served.
Serve within an hour, and the green sparkle of the cilantro pervades. Although it's certainly best then, I don't hesitate to make a lunch of the leftovers for myself.
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (page 000), plus extra roasted peanut or sesame oil to finish
2 slices fresh ginger, about 1 1/2 inches wide, smashed
2 teaspoons finely diced jalape-o chile
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup cilantro stems, finely chopped
2 bunches of scallions, including 2 to 3 inches of the greens, finely sliced
1 cup finely diced celery or thinly sliced Chinese celery
1/2 carton (8 to 10 ounces) soft tofu packed in water, drained and cut into small dice, or 1 aseptic box tofu, diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste, plus extra for serving
1. Cover the mushrooms with 5 cups boiling water and set aside while you dice and chop the vegetables.
2. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat (I use a flat-bottomed wok-shaped pan here) and add the oil. When hot, add the ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt, give a stir, then add the chile and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes, adding the cilantro stems during the last 20 seconds or so. Reduce the heat to medium, add the scallions, and cook until bright green, about 3 minutes. Next add the celery, another 1/4 teaspoon salt, then the soaking water from the mushrooms poured through a fine strainer, squeezing the mushrooms when you remove them from their water to get every little drop.
3. While the soup is simmering, thinly slice the mushroom caps and add them to the soup. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tofu, give it 2 minutes to heat through, then add the chopped cilantro and soy sauce.
4. Serve the soup with a few drops of roasted peanut or sesame oil in each bowl and extra soy sauce for those who wish.
Loriva has made this oil for the past twenty years or so. I've been recommending it to readers since 1986. It has a big, full-blown scent of roasting peanuts that will truly astonish you. It takes any dish where it's used from blah to amazing. Loriva also makes fine roasted sesame oil and a passel of other oils, including walnut from California walnuts. Loriva oils can be found at supermarkets and specialty stores or online.
Chinese Celery and Shiitake Mushroom Broth
with thin somen noodles
Makes about 2 quarts
Robust and lively Chinese celery is a boon in the kitchen. Not unlike lovage in flavor, it resembles celery, only the stalks are thin and wobbly rather than broad and crisp. You can find it at Asian markets and sometimes farmers' markets where there are Hmong and Vietnamese growers.
The broth simmers for thirty minutes, but after that the soup is done in the very few minutes it takes to cook the somen.
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
10 to 12 ounces (about 8 cups) Chinese celery, some of the more tender leaves set aside for garnish, the rest chopped
1 large bunch of cilantro, a small handful of leaves set aside for garnish, the rest chopped
2 bunches of scallions, chopped
2 slices fresh ginger, about 1 1/2 inches wide, smashed
1 jalape-o chile, quartered and seeded
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Juice and zest of 1 lemon, to taste
2 to 4 ounces thin somen noodles
Roasted sesame oil to taste
1. Cover the mushrooms with 1 cup boiling water and set them aside.
2. Put the Chinese celery, cilantro, scallions, ginger, chile, and garlic in a stockpot with 1U2 teaspoon salt. Add 2 quarts water, bring to a boil, then cover. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Strain and return the stock to the stove. Pour the mushroom soaking liquid through a fine strainer into the stock. Thinly slice the mushrooms and add them to the broth as well. Add lemon juice to taste and season with salt.
3. Cook the somen in a quart of boiling water until tender, then drain and divide it among 4 bowls. Pour the broth over the noodles and add the lemon zest, juice to taste, and a few drops of sesame oil to each bowl, along with the reserved celery and cilantro leaves, minced.
Loveage and Chinese Celery
Both plants have an untamed, assertive, and lively presence that I find exciting. You can count on them to wake up anything that is a little on the quiet side, such as bean- and grain-based dishes. Add a handful of leaves, chopped, to a pot of white bean soup and you have something that's familiar yet unusual.
In both lovage and Chinese celery it's the leaves that are used and primarily for flavor. The stalks of the latter are thin and fibrous, nothing you'd serve for an appetizer, but they certainly can be used to add robustness to a vegetable stock. It's the leaves that pack the final punch, though. They can be introduced to a soup during the cooking and at the end as a garnish.
For lovage you have to buy a start at a nursery, then take it home and plant it. Soon you'll have more leaves than you know what to do with. Chinese celery can be planted from seeds or, easier for most, bought at Asian markets that carry fresh produce.
with slivered peas, cucumber, and yellow pepper
Makes about 6 cups
The springboard for this soup is one of Yamuna Devi's recipes from her tome Lord Krishna's Cuisine, a book that offers many complex dishes to tempt the adventurous cook. Though this soup is surprisingly delectable even when made with water, the simple stock adds so much flavor that it's worth making. It requires forty minutes of unattended simmering for maximum flavor and can be made ahead of time, but the soup itself, which takes only fifteen minutes, should be made just before serving so that it will be vibrant and fresh. Serve over basmati rice if you wish and include a spoonful of yogurt. And do peel the pepper-it will taste so much better.
2 celery ribs, including some leaves, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 cup diced fresh or canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
Trimmings: a few sprigs of carrot tops; the top, ribs, and seeds of the bell pepper; a few pea pods; several tablespoons cilantro, dill, and parsley stems
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded
2 tablespoons butter
1 carrot, cut into julienne strips
1/2 large yellow or orange bell pepper, peeled and finely slivered
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Handful of edible-pod or snow peas, finely slivered on the diagonal
1 heaping tablespoon each finely chopped mint, parsley, and cilantro
Juice of 1/2 large lime (about 1 tablespoon), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon finely diced jalape-o chile
1/2 cup cooked basmati rice, optional
Yogurt or sour cream
1. Put the stock ingredients in a pot, add 6 cups water, and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes, then strain. You should have about 1 quart.
2. While the stock is simmering, cut the cucumber halves into thirds, put the pieces in a bowl with 1 teaspoon salt and water to cover for 20 minutes, then drain and slice thinly crosswise.
3. Melt the butter in a small soup pot. When hot, add the cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, turmeric, garam masala, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt. Give a stir, cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the stock. Bring to a lively boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the peas and cook for just 1 minute more, by which time the cucumbers should be tender and translucent.
4. Add the herbs, lime juice, sugar, and chile. Divide among 4 shallow bowls, add rice to each if you wish, and top with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
Mexican Tomato Broth
Makes 2 quarts
Traveling in Mexico for the first time in the 1960s, I experienced many new flavors and dishes: a simple bowl of chicken broth with sliced onion, avocado, oregano, and lime floating in it; the famous Caldo Tlapeno with its chickpeas, vegetables, and chile; and, of course, tortilla soups. This red vegetable broth supports soups like these with success, so it's well worth making if these are soups you enjoy.
The assembly is a snap-literally a matter of minutes. But it's a two-hour simmer that creates the depth you'll want. While the broth can be refrigerated, it loses its luster with each passing hour. So if you want to enjoy it adorned only with avocado and onion, plan to use it right away. For the tortilla soup on page 000 or the broth with dumplings and vegetables on page 000, it can be used later.
1 large onion, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 cup diced canned or fresh tomato
6 plump garlic cloves
1 large carrot or several smaller ones, sliced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 or 2 big handfuls of cilantro
Large handful of parsley
Several chard or beet leaves
Handful of lentils
Several anise hyssop leaves or a good pinch of anise seeds
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano or 8 regular oregano sprigs
1 jalape-o chile, halved
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns, lightly crushed
Tomato paste to taste, optional
Put all the ingredients except the tomato paste in a pot with 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours, then strain. Taste for salt and, if you wish to fortify the flavor a bit, stir in a teaspoon or more tomato paste to taste.
Mexican Tomato Broth
with avocado and lime
Makes 4 to 6 cups
This light soup might open a dinner or suffice for someone with a small appetite. Add heat to your liking with some finely sliced serrano chiles or a dab of pureed chipotle chile in adobo sauce.
4 to 6 cups Mexican Tomato Broth (page 29)
1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup finely sliced white onion
Several pinches of dried Mexican oregano
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced, or a scant teaspoon pureed canned chipotle chile in adobo, to taste, optional
1 lime, quartered
Heat the broth. Divide it among 4 bowls and divide the avocado among them. Add some onion and a pinch of oregano to each bowl. Add the chile if desired and serve with the lime on the side.
Excerpted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen by Deborah Madison Excerpted by permission.
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