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

Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang)

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There are two Asian soups I really enjoy.  I am totally O-M-Lambs besotted about them! One is a Vietnamese soup called Pho (Phở) and the other is Korean Samgyetang.

Pho is pronounced “fuh”.  In fact, I get it from a restaurant here called What the Pho.  Pho is a complicated broth made with beef brisket, ox tail and beef bones, rice noodles called bánh Phở, star anise and other specialty herbs.  In south Mississippi it is as popular as Gumbo.  It is much cheaper to buy than to make.

The other soup is Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang).  This soup is perfect for the cold wet days to come when the germs and bugs are out and you’re feeling under the weather (or not so O-M-Lambs besotted).  It is much simpler to make than Pho, but it requires a visit to the local Asian market.  I work near a wonderful Vietnamese market that sells all the necessary ingredients.

The main ingredient for this soup obviously is dried ginseng root.  If ginseng root is not available you can use red ginseng tea sachets.  The other is a red Asian date called jujube (jujuba). This date comes from the Ziziphus jujuba plant.  Of course you need to find a small one serving chicken.  I have seen recipes recommending a Cornish Hen if you can’t find a small single serving chicken.  You will also need garlic cloves and sticky rice.  Ask for “sticky rice”.  I asked for glutinous rice and the clerk had no idea what I was talking about.  I then asked for sticky rice and he walked me to the rice section and pointed to two bags. One bag he called “sticky rice” and the other bag he called “very sticky rice”.  He laughed.

Ingredients for one: (But the Little Woman and I will split this dish.  Who drinks 6 cups of chicken soup in one sitting?)

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Broth:

  • 1 young whole chicken
  • Several dried ginseng roots
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 jujube (red dates)
  • 2 green onions (scallions)
  • Salt
  • A little chicken bouillon if you want to add more chicken flavor

Rice Stuffing:

  •  ½ cup rice uncooked
  • 1 ginseng root
  • 2 jujube dates
  • 1 garlic clove

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Sack of rice (For extra rice in a cheesecloth pouch)

  • ½ cup rice uncooked
  • 1 ginseng root
  • 2 jujube dates
  • 1 garlic clove

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Make the broth and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Stuff the chicken with the rice stuffing and close the chicken with a toothpick and then make the rice pouch.  Put everything in the pot and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Serve with chopped green onions.

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Serve by spooning rice in the bottom of the bowl, add chicken, soup and cover with scallions.

The ginseng has a wonderful musty comfort food flavor.