Colcannon Soup

Colcannon Soup by Bryan Roof is courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated Soups & Stews, Winter 2010

Boston Commons Press Limited Partnership, 17 Station St., Brookline, Ma. 02445

A  magazine put out by America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated Soups & Stews, is where I got this hale and hearty recipe .  I love their magazines, they are always chock full of information, cooking tips, and extra recipes.  I had heard of Colcannon before, but really didn’t know what kind of food it was.  The author of this recipe, Bryan Roof, spent a cold November travelling through Ireland, subsisting only on soda bread, Guinness, and Colcannon (a mash-up of potatoes, cabbage, onions and cream).  Once he returned to the states, he couldn’t find Colcannon on a menu anywhere, but he was able to find an Irish pub that made a Colcannon soup.  He liked the soup more than the Colcannon dish and set about perfecting the recipe.

Although the items in this soup are simple and humble, the taste is anything but.  The slow cooked onions and cabbage impart a sweetness, the wine keeps the chicken broth from overtaking the flavor, and the cream at the end is the icing on the cake.  Be sure to sprinkle the crumbled bacon and chopped green onions on top before serving.  I had planned on baking  Irish Soda Bread to go with this soup, but after Mark came home from work I had a Guinness with him.  Then while I was cooking dinner, I had a glass of Chardonnay.  After that I was in no mood to bake, so we had a cheese tray and crackers with the soup instead.  If you’re not into corned beef, this is an authentic Irish dish that can take its place on St. Patrick’s Day.  Enjoy!


3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used 4 slices)
1 medium onion, minced
1 pound leeks, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin and rinsed thoroughly (tutorial below)
8 ounces green cabbage (about 1/2 small head), cored and chopped medium (about 4 cups)
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
12 ounces red potatoes (about 3 medium), cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, minced


Before we start cooking, I have a short tutorial on how to clean leeks.  If you already know this process, just skip forward.

1. Leeks look like giant green onions.  They are very dirty, and must be cleaned well before you can use them.


2. Start by chopping off the bottoms and most of the dark green tops.


3. Slice the leeks lengthwise…see all that dirt (click on the photo to enlarge).


4. Chop the leeks, dirt and all.


5. Place the chopped leeks in a large bowl, or sink,  with cold water and allow them to soak for a few minutes so that the dirt is loosened.  Rinse and repeat.


6. Once you have cleaned the leeks, transfer them to a colander and rinse them really well, then allow them to drain.


1. Cook bacon in a large dutch oven over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5-7 minutes.


2. Remove bacon, drain on paper towels, and leave fat in pot.


3. Add onion, leeks, and cabbage to bacon fat in pot and stir to coat.  Cover and cook over a medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Stir in garlic, cook for about 30 seconds.


4. Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute.


5. Stir in wine, scraping any browned bits, and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.


6. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream, season with salt and pepper.  Serve in bowls with reserved crumbled bacon and chives as a garnish.

The Soup


Recipe courtesy of Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread by Crescent Dragonwagon

Published by Workman Publishing Company, New York, NY

Talk about daunting…in the book, this recipe is about 10 pages long with all its lists and variations, and is really more a formula than a recipe.  I had to read it a few times to really get the hang of it, but it forever changed my soup-making process.  After using this recipe a few times I began to see the genius of Crescent Dragonwagon (I love that name).  Her style of soup-making has you layering in the flavors.  I have since gone on to use her tricks in all my cooking and baking. 

This recipe uses lists; lists of liquids, lists of aromatics, lists of vegetables, lists of proteins, and lists of carbohydrates.  There are many variations on the basic recipe, too.  Although the soup making process is similar for all the variations, you can make hundreds of different soups by changing up the items you select from the different lists.  Because of the flexibility of this formula, I suggest that you keep a pen and paper in the kitchen to write down which items you picked, so that you can duplicate your masterpiece later.  I’ve included all the lists here and The Soup recipe is at the bottom.  Just read through and choose from the lists.  The Soup is a nice basic variation, but it is one variation out of ten.  Get your hands on this book and try some of the other variations; Quick and Wonderful Garlicky, Simple with Browned Onions, French Style, Russian Style, Italian Style, etc., you won’t be disappointed.  Enjoy!




10-12 cups liquid of choice, broken down as follows:

8-10 cups brothy liquid ( defatted chicken stock, vegetable stock, leftover cooking liquid from beans, water and bouillon cubes )

2 cups tomatoey liquid or puree ( v-8, Picante v-8, tomato juice, spicy tomato juice, fresh or canned diced tomatoes, canned whole tomatoes in juice that have been buzzed to a chunky puree in the food processor)

1-2 cups red or white wine (optional)

Seasonings and Aromatics:

2 to 10 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 3 large onions, diced (or substitute 1-2 cups diced shallots or scallions, or 1-2 leeks that have been trimmed, split open lengthwise and well washed)

1 Tablespoon savory seasoning (Worcestshire Sauce, Pickapeppa, Tamari/Shoya sauce)

1/2 to 2 teaspoons favorite hot sauce (Tabasco, Frank’s, Louisiana, Crystal, Cajun Sunshine)

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


4 to 6 cups fresh and/or frozen vegetables chosen from a combination of any of the following:


green beans, stems and tails removed, sliced crosswise into 1/4 inch slices

zucchini or yellow squash, split lengthwise into quarters, then into 1/4 inch thick slices

celery ribs, diced

green or savoy cabbage, cored and shredded

greens, well washed, tough ribs removed ( tender spinach leaves should be cut into ribbons and put in the pot during the last three minutes)

carrots, split lengthwise into quarters, sliced about 1/4 inch thick

butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4 inch dice


1 to 2 bags, 16 oz. each of frozen mixed vegetables (free of sauce, butter, and starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes)


white rice, cooked

brown rice, cooked

grains, (barley, couscous, kasha) cooked

pasta, cooked

potato, cooked and diced

corn, fresh or frozen, cooked


eggs, hard-cooked and diced

chicken, cooked and diced

fish, cooked and flaked

pork or beef, fat removed, cooked and cut into chunks

hard or semi-soft cheese, grated

beans, cooked

tofu, firm, cubed

yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese



1. In a large soup pot, bring to a boil your brothy liquid of choice plus a choice of tomatoes and/or juice.


2. Add your choices from the seasonings and aromatics list.

3. Assemble whatever fresh and/or frozen vegetables you wish.  If using fresh, sliced green beans, give them a 5 to 10 minute head start on the rest of the vegetables.  Add any frozen vegetables to the pot and bring the soup back to a boil.  Then add the fresh vegetables, unless they are very tender(such as spinach leaves), and bring the soup back to a boil again.


4. Turn down the heat and simmer, partially covered until the vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes, adding in spinach in the last 3 minutes.


5. To serve, place Carbohydrate and Protein of choice in soup bowl and ladle soup in on top of it.  The addition of carbs and protein are completely optional, but nice.


White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili-bowl of chili

Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

September has arrived and the weather will be cooling off before we know it.  When the temperatures drop, we eat lots of soup at this house.  The great thing about soup is that it’s a whole meal in one pot.  Also, many soup recipes can be cooked in the crock pot, leaving you free to do household chores, go to work, or my favorite… watch sports.

If your family likes to eat lots of soup, do yourself a favor and buy some actual soup spoons.  You will notice a difference when eating with a real soup spoon, rather than a large tablespoon.  The soup spoon is shallower and has a wider bowl.  This allows the soup to cool faster, but also places it back further on your tongue allowing more and different taste buds to be bombarded with flavor as you eat.  Enjoy!


1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-14 oz. cans chicken broth (or 1-32 oz. box)

1-4 oz. can chopped chilies

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne

chipotle seasoning (optional, it gives the chili a nice smoky flavor)

3-14 oz. cans white beans, (Navy beans, Great Northern beans, Cannellini beans)drained and divided

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I used C0-Jack)

jalapenos, chopped (optional)



  1. In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook chicken and onion in olive oil until lightly browned.  Add garlic, cook 1 minute.

White Chicken Chili-onions and chicken

2. You’ll notice that there are quite a few browned bits in the bottom of my Dutch oven, that’s good because there is a lot of flavor in that browned mix.  Slowly add about half of the broth and work the browned goodies loose from the bottom of the pan.

3. Stir in the rest of the broth, chilies, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and optional chipotle seasoning.

White Chicken Chili-broth

4. With a potato masher, mash one can of beans until smooth.

White Chicken Chili-mashed beans

5. Add all the beans to the Dutch oven (smooth and whole).  At this point you can finish cooking the chili on top of the stove, or in the oven:

If cooking on top of the stove, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer the chili for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the onions are tender.

If cooking in the oven, set the temperature to 170° F-190° F (crock-pot setting) and cook for about 4 hours.

6. Top each serving of chili with cheese and optional chopped jalapenos.

White Chicken Chili-bowl of chili



Recipe adapted from Cioppino by Star Pooley, courtesy of

Cioppino is a seafood stew cooked with tomatoes, wine and herbs.  Even if you are not a seafood fan, the broth from this dish is to die for.  If you prefer, you can substitute cubed chicken and sliced smoked sausage for the seafood, and water for the clam juice.  Serve a crisp salad and crunchy bread and you will have an excellent meal.

This fish stew is very flexible, but make sure that you use at least four kinds of seafood so that the dish has a nice variety and looks appetizing, more than four would be even better.  Enjoy!



1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped fine

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 a bunch fresh parsley, chopped (or snipped with shears) I used dried parsley, but the fresh would be better

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 teaspoons basil

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/3 cup clam juice

3/4 cup white wine

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deviened (I used fresh, but frozen would work just as well)

1 pound bay scallops

10 small clams

10 mussels, cleaned and debearded (didn’t have them at the store)

1 cup crabmeat (I didn’t add this, but I will next time because crab adds a richness to the flavor)

1 pound cod filets, cubed



1. Pour olive oil into a large stockpot, heat to medium-high.  Add onions, garlic and fresh parsley.  Lower temperature and slowly cook until onions are soft (if you are using dried parsley, add it in with the other dried herbs and not here).

2. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf, basil, thyme, oregano, (parsley), clam juice and wine.  Mix well, cover and simmer for 30 minutes-one hour.


3. Place clams in pot, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about 5-7 minutes, or until clams are open.  Add other seafood, cover and let simmer for a few minutes while the rest of the seafood cooks.  Don’t overcook the scallops and shrimp.  Ladle into a bowl and serve with a crusty bread to sop up all the wonderful broth.



This is the souvenir that I made from what Mark and I brought back from Florida; a gallon-sized ziploc bag full of sand from St. Pete’s beach and a smaller bag full of shells from Tampa Bay.  My friend Carol assured me that I needed to wash the sand and scrub the shells or else after a while they would take on a funk.  Because this is on the dining room table, I wanted to make sure it was extra clean.

I rinsed the sand about 40 times (not really, but seriously about 25 times).  I lined a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil and poured the wet sand on it.  I baked the sand at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, then I turned off the oven and left the sand inside until it had completely cooled.  Meanwhile, I put the shells in a sink of hot, soapy water and let them soak for about an hour.  I scrubbed them with an old toothbrush, then put them all in a sink of bleach water for about 10 minutes before I set them on paper towels to drain.  If any critters survived through that treatment, I would be surprised.  Hopefully, this will ward off the dreaded funky smell.

Vegetable-Beef Soup


Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Levesque

I was hoping that we would make it through this winter unscathed, but Saturday morning Mark and I both woke up with that harbinger of the common cold; the dreaded scratchy throat.  By Sunday we were sucking on cough drops and walking around with a box of tissue.  Then this morning I awoke, refreshed and feeling like my old self, almost.  I decided to make a nice dinner that could cook in the oven, while I went about ridding the house of what my Mom calls the “flu-cooties”.  I discovered that when recovering from being sick, what you think you can do, and what you can actually accomplish are two different things. I was exhausted just stripping the bed.  However, I was able to muster enough energy to make some great soup for dinner.  Enjoy!


1 1/2 pounds stew beef
3 ribs celery
4 large carrots
4 potatoes
1 large onion
box Swanson’s Beef Cooking Stock
box Swanson’s Chicken Broth
3-4 drops Worcestershire sauce
teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet
fresh ground pepper



If using a Dutch oven, set oven temperature to about 170°-180°F.


1. Wash, peel and chop the vegetables.  Set aside.


2. Put stew beef in dutch oven and pour a small amount of the beef cooking stock into dutch oven.  Cook over a medium high heat until beef is no longer pink and has absorbed some of the cooking stock.


3. Pour remainder of the beef cooking stock and the chicken broth into the dutch oven.  Add the chopped vegetables, Worcestershire sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, and fresh ground pepper.  Stir, cover, and place in the oven to finish cooking.

*If using a crock pot, place all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for 6-8 hours.



Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Levesque

I serve this as a chili bar, with the bowls of condiments in the center of the table. Grated cheese, chopped onions, macaroni, and sour cream are normally on the bar, along with a bottle of green Tabasco sauce.  Crackers or cornbread, and a crisp romaine salad round the meal out nicely.

Chili can be cooked on top of the stove in a large pot or Dutch oven.  However, once you are done browning the meat and vegetables, the chili mixture can be cooked in the oven, or transferred to the crock pot to finish cooking.  I’ve made it every way possible because during football season it is the menu item that is requested the most.  My recipe is fast, easy and we love it.  Tweak it to fit your family’s taste buds.  Enjoy!



1 1/2 pounds hamburger (or steak, chicken, pork, etc.)

1 large spanish onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with chiles-Do not drain

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans-Do not drain

granulated garlic or garlic powder



chili powder

red pepper flakes

salt and pepper, to taste




1. Brown the hamburger with the onion and garlic, drain.

2. Place hamburger mixture in cooking vessel of choice.  Add canned beans, tomatoes and sauce. Mix it up good.


3. Now is the fun part; the seasoning.   I didn’t put any measurements here because I tend to cook by feel, in other words by what looks good.  Adjust the amounts of seasonings by adding bits of what you like, then tasting as you go along.  Husbands are a good source for this task as they will not want to leave the vicinity anyway once they smell garlic, onions and meat cooking. We love garlic and you will notice that I have it on here twice.  I like to layer in flavors, so I use the chopped cloves and then the granulated garlic.  The chopped cloves of garlic become sweet as they cook and the granulated garlic has the nice bite.  You could even drop in a spoonful or two of a roasted garlic purée and that would be just delicious.  Add in the seasonings that your family prefers.


4. At this point you want the flavors to have time to mingle.  If you are able to allow it a long, slow or low cook, that would be best. If not, then allow it at least 45 minutes to cook.

Bean Soup


Is it one of those kind of days? There’s at least a foot of snow on the ground, it’s 36 degrees, windy and gray. On days like this I crave comfort food, and there is nothing more comforting that a hot bowl of bean soup with a big chunk of buttered cornbread.  A crispy green salad will also help to perk up your mood.  Enjoy!



dried beans (I use a mixture of whatever we have in the pantry, the bags of 15 bean mix are nice)

chicken bouillon cube,

1 small onion, chopped (dry onions work, too)



garlic powder

bay leaves

Hillshire Farm Turkey smoked sausage (comes in a 14 oz. link), ham hock, or leftover ham

carrots, chopped into bite sized- pieces, not diced

salt and pepper




This recipe is more a formula for bean soup than an exact recipe;

For every cup of dried beans you will need 3 cups of water.

1. Choose amount of beans you wish to cook ( I used 4 cups of beans here).

2. The beans need to be washed and picked over to check for rocks and rotten beans.

3. Put picked-over beans in crockpot, add water.

4. Dissolve 1 cube of bouillon in a small amount of hot water and add it to the beans.

5. Time to season- we like it simple with just cumin and garlic powder.  It is also really good with chiles, tomatoes, etc.  Use your imagination as well as your favorite herbs and spices to create your own specialty soup.  Add dried onion, or chopped fresh onion.  Use whichever one you have and it will still be good.

6. Chop the smoked sausage into bite-sized pieces (Use the amount that your family likes. I used half of the link for this pot of soup).  Add them to the pot along with a bay leaf or two.

7. Stir it all up good, cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.

8. About halfway through add in the chopped carrots. If you are not able to add in the carrots halfway through, put them in at the beginning.  They will end up being a little soft, but still yummy.  The carrots impart a sweetness to the soup that is very nice.


9. Serve with a crisp green salad and a big chunk of hot , buttered cornbread.