Thursday, January 14, 2010


This is another great clean out the fridge / freezer soup. I took this recipe , tweaked it based on what I had on hand, and added some spicy turkey sausage to make it more appealing to the carnivore contingent in my household. Unfortunately there were too many greens present....and they barely gave it a glance. Oh well, more for me!


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound / 500g bag frozen rapini (or any other green you'd like)
4 cups cooked white beans or a mixture of whatever kind you have on hand- I used navy beans and anasazi beans
1 lb spicy sausage (I used a turkey sausage)
1/2 pound crustless loaf of bread
1 1/2+ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
zest of one lemon
lots of well-chopped oily black olives

In your largest thick-bottomed pot over medium heat combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, and red onion. Cook for 10 -15 minutes sweating the vegetables, but avoid any browning. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, long enough for the tomatoes to thicken up a bit. Stir in the greens, 3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add sausage, if using. I throw mine in frozen, and then fish them out at the end, slice and add back into the soup.

In the meantime, mash or puree the remaining beans with a generous splash of water - until smooth. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Stir both the beans and bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, 20 - 30 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.

Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve reheated, or "ribollita" meaning reboiled, the next day ladled into bowls. Finish each serving with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped olives.

Makes a large pot of soup - enough for 10 servings. Freezes well.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spicy Chicken Stew

Perfect for a cold day, especially after an afternoon spent outside....serve with fresh baked bread or warmed tortillas.

Spicy Chicken Stew
Serves 6


1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans white kidney beans, rinsed and drained (19 oz cans)
1 liter chicken broth
1 cup black olives, pitted and quartered
3/4 cup green salsa
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes & chilies
1/3 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
1 lb cooked chicken, chopped or shredded (see note)
1/4 - 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1/2 cup light cream (5%) (optional)

Garnishes: sour cream, Montery Jack cheese, cilantro, avacado


1. In a 4 quart Dutch Oven heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add red onion, cook and stir 3 minutes. Add garlic, cook and stir 1 minute more.

2. Add beans; cook and stir 4 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, olives, tomatoes, salsa, and red pepper. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, uncovered about 15 minutes.

3. Add cooked chicken, simmer for 10-15 minutes.

4. Add cream & cilantro. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

5. Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream and cilantro...or any other toppings that strike your fancy!

Note: To cook chicken, poach skinless, bone-in chicken breast or thighs in chicken broth, until bone pulls easily away from the chicken. Remove chicken, skim broth and then use broth in recipe or reserve for another use. This makes for super flavourful broth and very moist chicken.