I have to be honest with you. In real life, this white bean and leek soup looks like dishwater. Looks like it, but does not taste like it. (And because it's hard to photograph dishwater and make it look appetizing, I've added some bacon garnish, though it's absolutely not necessary to this otherwise vegan soup.) What makes this simple bean soup great is the technique of reserving a third of the main ingredients to add after the initial cooking and blending of the rest of the soup. Puréed beans and leeks form the "creamy" base, and every now and then, your spoon will find a whole bean or two to awaken your mouth. If you are vegan, omit the optional garnishes (bacon or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano... Read more →

At long last, in the middle of January, snow arrived in Boston. Not a huge amount yet, but more is on the way, and I'm going to make plenty of leftover mashed potato cheese soup to reward the hardy shovelers. Use your favorite mashed potatoes as the base. You could even use mashed garlic sweet potatoes. Loosen them up in a Dutch oven with a bit of vegetable stock or water; add spices; whisk in the yogurt and cheese; let everything melt together. This creamy good potato soup doesn't have any cream in it; Greek yogurt helps enrich the soup. If you don't have any leftover mashed potatoes, boil some diced potatoes until tender (dicing will make the potatoes cook faster), drain, and smash right... Read more →

Born of a post-holiday cold combined with a desperate craving for anything I could make that didn't require a trip to the market, this cheese tortellini and kale soup sprang to life in minutes, cured the sniffles, and used ingredients I always have in the pantry and refrigerator. And I pulled it together while in my pajamas, with a box of tissues under my arm. For kale, you can substitute spinach or chard. For homemade post-Thanksgiving turkey broth, you can swap storebought low-sodium chicken broth, or a rich vegetable stock. Instead of cheese tortellini, try broken pieces of lasagna noodles or dried ravioli. The soup will accommodate your changes, and whatever the result, it will banish your winter cold. Cheese tortellini and kale soup From... Read more →

When readers of my old soup blog asked me for bouktouf, I winced just a little bit. The recipe for this Algerian vegan soup calls for two bunches of cilantro, and I am one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. It turns out that the bright orange color isn't the only surprising thing about this soup; the addition of a large amount of lemon juice tames the flavor of the cilantro, in a good way, and gives the soup a lovely freshness. Here's the original recipe from The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups, word for word (because nobody could improve on it). I halved the recipe and ended up with five cups of soup, which I cooked in a Dutch oven.... Read more →

Along with new family memories, stories, and a few extra pounds, I always seem to pick up a holiday cold on Thanksgiving weekend. It's a good thing that I'm in the habit of making stock from the turkey carcass (or any rotisserie chicken carcasses I've stashed in the freezer, or all of those carcasses together). With a rich stock, some vegetables (fresh or leftover), and the noodles I always keep in the pantry, I can make a pot of this feed-a-cold turkey noodle soup and get myself on the road to recovery. Of course, the soup is pretty darned good even if you're healthy, so don't let that stop you from making it. And if you're lucky enough to have any leftover stuffing muffins, toss... Read more →

After ten years of soup recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, do you still need proof that combining any fresh ingredient -- fruit, vegetables, sausage or leftover turkey -- with a well-stocked pantry will produce a very fine soup? You can do it, and do it without a recipe; the secret is to be fearless and plunge right in. That's the way this sausage and black bean soup started out, but it ended up being so good that I'm glad I took notes as I was making it, so you can replicate it in your own kitchen. The soup began with the gift from my cousin of a couple of packages of Al Fresco Chipotle Chicken Chorizo Sausage with mango and adobo that were languishing... Read more →

Until I learned to cook, I was always a little bit afraid of chowder. I can't imagine why. Chowder began as a throw-together dish made by fishermen on the dock, using the odds and ends of what they had caught. So, really, how complicated could it be? Not difficult at all, as it turns out. Sauté aromatic vegetables in fat (butter or bacon fat), add flour to make a roux, pour in some stock, and when it thickens, add the fish. You can use any fish, or a combination of fish, or fish plus shellfish. I buy packages of frozen cod chunks at Trader Joe's. If you have clam stock or fish stock, substitute it for the chicken stock. You can make chowder with any... Read more →