Bergen Fish Soup (Bergensk fiskesuppe)

Ingredients: Serves 2

1 ½ cups fish stock (I used 1 ½ TBSPs of dried hon dashi for 2 cups of water)
2 skinny carrots, sliced to 1 inch and them quartered
¼ red bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly diced
1 leek, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup Blue Moon wheat beer
1 cup heavy cream
1 frozen salmon fillet 4” x 4”
6 frozen shrimp, with shells
1 frozen cod fillet, 4” x 4”
8 ounces clams, with shells
3 TBSPs olive/butter

Cut leek ends and leave 1 inch green stalk. Slice it in half long ways then cross cut. Put in a bowl of water and gently rinse with your hand. Leeks come with a lot of dirt inside. Set aside in a bowl. Cut the celery and add it to the leeks. In another bowl skin and cut the potato into squares and cover in water so as not to brown the potato. During the soup process I will actually use an immersion blender to blend all these items into a fine thick puree.

In another pot add 1 ½ Tbsps. of hon dashi to 2 cups water. The recipe calls for fish stock but there is no better fish stock in my opinion than hon dashi which is Japanese dried bonito. It has a superior ocean flavor – kind of salty, kind of mellow, used in most Japanese soups.

I add the cut carrots and cut red bell pepper to the stock as well as the frozen shrimp with its shells to add more seafood flavor and cook the shrimp on medium to low heat until it turns a solid pink. Remove with a tongs and add the frozen cod to the hon dashi. Cook 5 minutes and remove. Add the salmon and cook 5 minutes and remove. Add the mussels and cook 5 minutes then remove. Then strain the stock. Set aside the carrots and red bell pepper. Peel the shells off the shrimp, cut the fish into squares.

In a large sauce pan add 3 TBSPs of butter and melt. Add the leeks and celery. Sauté on medium low heat for ~20 minutes until the leeks are very tender. Drain the potatoes and add to the pot. Add 1 ½ cups of strained fish stock. Add 1 cup of Belgium wheat beer. Add 1 cup of heavy cream. Blend with an immersion blender. Add salt to taste. Add the seafood. Cook on very low 30 minutes.

Serve

Creamy Shrimp Artichoke Soup

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I have a recipe on this blog for Oyster Artichoke Soup. Because of a lack of oysters this year owing to many things to include the lingering effects of the BP Oil spill, I switched to shrimp. Oyster harvesting in the Gulf of Mexico has dropped 75% from 10 years ago. As oyster season opens this month, the oysters are too expensive and I don’t really trust them. Changing this recipe from oysters to shrimp also called for a revamp of the entire recipe to include making a shrimp stock, less leeks and less vinegar. Truthfully, I prefer this recipe better.

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One of the nice things about this blog is I can place my laptop on the counter and read the recipe as I cook.  A great convenience.

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Ingredients (Pictured above, click on pic to enlarge)

Vegetables
1 – 8 Oz. jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped in food processor
1 – 8 Oz. jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into half-inch pieces – reserve for later
1 white onion, finely chopped in food processor
1 leek, cleaned and finely chopped in food processor (white part only)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped in food processor
1 large potato, peeled and finely chopped in food processor
1 celery stalk peeled and finely chopped in food processor

Oil
1 TBSP olive oil
4 TBSP butter
White wine vinegar if needed

Meat, herbs, seasoning, liquids
2 cups shrimp stock
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup whipping cream
3 stalks of fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp. thyme
Sea Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
1 lb. whole shrimp – cleaned (reserve heads and tail shells)

Shrimp Stock
½ of the reserved shrimp heads and tail shells
1 small yellow onion – chopped
1 celery stalk – chopped
1 carrot – peeled
3 cups water
2 garlic cloves
1 TBSP whole peppercorns
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper

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In a large sauce pan add all the stock ingredients, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook 40 minutes. If the shrimp heads get too hot they will boil over and create a bitter taste. The idea here is instead of adding water or chicken stock to the dish; make a shrimp/seafood stock to backup the shrimp. Strain the stock and reserve 2 cups for cooking. This stock has a great aroma.

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In a food processor add the 8 oz. artichoke, onions, celery, leek, and garlic and chop into a smooth thickness.

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Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. On a medium heat, add the processed vegetables and a little of the white wine. As the vegetables begin to bubble, add wine a little at a time and keep stirring the bottom. If the heat is too hot the vegetables will stick to the bottom of the sauce pan and burn.

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In the food processor add the potato and process. Add the potato to the pot and start adding the shrimp stock a half cup at a time while stirring. I use a hand mixer to smooth the vegetable a little more.

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Turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pot and simmer 30 minutes.

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After 30 minutes add the salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, cream, reserved artichoke hearts and shrimp. Test the mixture for taste. Depending on the marinated artichokes, the marinade will have some vinegar, which is an important dimension of the soup flavor. There should be a noticeable hint, but not like a vinaigrette. If after tasting there isn’t enough vinegar back to suit your taste, add a little white wine vinegar a TBSP at a time until the desired taste occurs. Go slow. If you add too much there is no correcting the flavor.

Cover the pot and cook another 30 minutes on low.

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I served this meal with freshly baked artisan bread.

Lentil Soup

 

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Actually, this is a refrigerator dump soup. The good thing about lentils is you can add just about any vegetable to it. Most lentil soup recipes are a vegetarian soup.  I added some meat b/c I had bacon that was nearing expiration and a thick ¼ inch slice of black forest ham needing use. I also had a half orange bell pepper and a baby bok choy needing cooking. So, it was a good time to offload all that into a slow cooker.

Ingredients:

3 slices of bacon – cut into squares
1 onion – chopped
2 carrots – peeled and chopped into medium squares
2 celery stalks – peeled and chopped
½ orange bell pepper – chopped
1 garlic clove – cut into small coins
1 slice of black forest ham – have deli cut into a ¼ inch slice, chopped into squares
1 baby bok choy chopped – or you can use kale or some other leafy green or cabbage
1 lb. dried lentils – rinsed. I use Camellia brand
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 small cube chicken bouillon
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. Emeril’s Essence Seasoning – which is paprika with a dash of garlic powder and onion powder
1 tsp. dried thyme

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I first brown the bacon then remove.

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I then sauté the vegetables and remove.

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I then brown the black forest ham and remove.

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I now add everything to the slow cooker crock pot.  I cook on high for 3 hours then  low for 4 hours.  While cooking I add water as needed.

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I also made a loaf of Artisan Bread for dipping.

This is so EARTHY!!!

Udon Pot

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Udon is a Japanese wheat noodle.  The most important part of this dish is a dashi stock.  A dashi stock is made with a piece of kelp (which I don’t have), hon dashi (which is salty dried bonito tuna granules), sweet mirin (which is a sweet rice wine) and soy sauce.   The taste is fine without the kelp.  You won’t miss it if you don’t have it.  Who has kelp hanging around anyway?

Except for the udon noodles, each ingredient is cooked in the broth by itself for a little while depending on the ingredient, assembled in a big bowl and then the stock is ladled in.  As each ingredient is added, the stock takes on a little different flavor.

There are many versions of this soup.  I use fresh shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, daikon (Asian radish), carrots and topped with scallions.

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Dashi Stock

6 cups of water
For every cup of water add 1/2 tsp. Hon Dashi
2 TBSP Sweet Mirin
2 TBSP Sake (if you have it)
Splash in soy sauce to the right color
1 – 5” piece of daikon (Asian radish) peeled

Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 40 minutes.

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Prepare the other ingredients.

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2 carrots sliced
1 baby bok choy
1 lb. peeled shrimp
4 or 5 shiitake mushrooms (if dry mushrooms soak in warm water before cooking)
3 scallions chopped

The udon noodles are prepared in an individual pack with a neat little wrapper in the center.

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Boil the udon noodles in a separate pot b/c the noodles will absorb too much liquid if boiled in the dashi stock.  Typically, noodles take exactly 12 minutes to cook but cook these exactly 10 minutes.  They will continue to cook when added to the bowl later.

Remove the daikon and cut into pieces.

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In the dashi stock cook carrots for five minutes and remove to a bowl.  Cook shiitake mushrooms five minutes and remove to a bowl.  Cook the shrimp three minutes and remove to a bowl.  Cook the baby bok choy two minutes and remove to a bowl.

To serve, drain and strain the udon noodles from the clear water and add to the stock for a few minutes, remove from the stock and place the noodles at the bottom of the serving bowl. Arrange the vegetables the way you like and add the shrimp and the scallions and ladle in the hot stock.  Any remaining stock can be cooled and saved in the frig for another day.

Overall this looks like a big process but it goes fast and the dish is completely wonderful and healthy I might add.

You can find Hon Dashi online if your local Asian store does not have it.

Black Bean Soup

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There are many variations of this soup from a Spanish cumin flavor to a sweeter version I prefer with Sherry or Marsala added when served. I have perfected this dish over many years and I say perfected b/c when served hot on and cold day there are few things better. I have merged several variations.  I use ground coriander, which is ground cilantro seed.

1 or 2 slices of bacon (chopped into thin lardons)
1 LB. thick slice of Black Forest ham, cut into squares (the deli can slice a 1/4″ thick slice) or 1 LB. Pork shoulder (cut into small pieces)
16 oz. dried black beans
1 small onion (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (diced)
1 green bell pepper (diced)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 TBSP olive oil
4 cups chicken stock or broth
½ cup dry white wine (I use a cheap Chardonnay)
Sherry or Marsala
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground coriander

Add the bacon with a little olive oil on low, don’t fry it, just sweat it and then add the onions and bell pepper and sauté the vegies.

Add the white wine and the beans and then the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low temp and cook for roughly two hours.  Then add the meat and cook another 30 minutes.

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You don’t have to do this, but at this point I turn off the heat, let the pot cool and place it covered in a frig overnight.  The next day I cook until the beans are just right adding in the salt and pepper and the seasoning like coriander and adjust the amount of liquid.

When serving, pour one shot of Sherry or Marsala in the bowl and then ladle the soup into the bowl. The warm soup will generate the flavor into a very appetizing aroma.

As of 11/24/19