As we enter April the weather is slowly warming up which means that our soup days are numbered. This summer I vow to try chilled soups but until then, here is a few warm soups I made in March.
1. Steak and Potato Soup – January 26 – this soup is a thick, luscious stew. The vegetables are roasted and sweet, coated in caramelization. It takes your typical beef stew to another level with sophsticated and different vegetables: sweet potatoes and parsnips. The steak is moist and falls apart in the stew. This will definitely make a regular appearance in our house next winter.
2. Cream of Asparagus Soup – March 2 – this soup tastes like pure spring. Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and I wait all year for it. It is so fresh, tender and moist. The soup is creamy, light and fresh. It needs to be puréed a lot to remove all the natural stringiness that asparagus has. Add a dollop of sour cream and fresh chives to add even more freshness and you are kicking off spring!
3. Moroccan Lamb Meatball and Couscous Soup – March 22 – I was so excited for this soup. The picture in the cookbook was so appealing: spicy meatballs, a red broth, pearls of couscous dotting the soup and pieces of mint floating on the surface. However, mine did not turn out like this. It turned into a congealed blob of couscous with meatballs stuck in it. I used Moroccan couscous because I couldn’t find Israeli and this made a huge difference. Moroccan couscous is smaller and is sucked up so much broth. i couldn’t find ground lamb so I used ground chicken. This recipe was a mismatch of substitution. GC didn’t mind it though and I guess if at least one person enjoyed and ate all the soup then it couldn’t have been that bad.
Recipes are below the cut – happy munching!
STEAK AND POTATO SOUP
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
5 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 lb flank steak
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cups beef broth
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss the sweet potato and parsnip with 2 Tbsp of the oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in an even layer on the prepared pan and roast, stirring once, until caramelized, about 25 minutes.
Warm a grill pan or frying pan over high heat. Brush both sides of the steak with 1 Tbsp of the oil and season wtih salt and pepper. Cook to medium-rare, 5-6 minutes per side. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, then cut into ½-inch cubes.
In a large, heavy pot, warm the remaining 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and broth, stir to combine, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, parsnips, and steak and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts finely chopped
1 lb thick asparagus, trimmeed, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces, tips reserved
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and white ground pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
3 Tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
1 Tbsp finely chopped chives
In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter with oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus stalks and potato and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lemon juice and reserved asparagus tips and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.
Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender. Return to the pot and reheat over low heat. Serve, garnished with the crème fraîche, asparagus tips, and chives.
MOROCCAN LAMB MEATBALL & COUSCOUS SOUP
For the Meatballs
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp chili powder
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb ground lamb
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup Israeli couscous
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp chopped mint
To make thee meatballs, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, curry powder, oregano, thyme mustard, chili powder, and cinnamon. Stir in ½ tsp salt. Add the lamb and tomato paste and mix to combine with your hands. For each meatball,, scoop up 1 tsp of the lamb mixture, form into a meatball, and place on the prepared pan. Bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Add the couscous, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the meatballs and couscous and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in mint, season with salt and pepper, and serve.