Peter Aitken's Recipe Collection

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cooking recipes kitchen food 12

Soup and Stock

U.S. Senate bean soup (sort of)

I don't know if this is the actual recipe but it seems close and it's quite good.

1 lb dry navy beans
2 smoked ham hocks
3 celery stalks, diced
2 baseball-size onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4c unflavored instant mashed potatoes or 1/2c real mashed potatoes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Minced chives or parsley for garnish

Soak the beans overnight and drain. Put in a soup pot with 2 quarts water and the ham hocks. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occassionally. Add the celery, onion, garlic, potatoes, and pepper and simmer for another hour, adding a little water if the soup seems too thick. Remove the ham hocks and take the meat off the bones. Dice the meat and return to the soup. Add salt if needed and serve topped with minced chives or parsley.

Thai-themed shrimp bisque

1 lb shell-on shrimp, heads on too if possible, size doesn't matter but not tiny
3 TB olive oil
1c finely diced onion
1/2c each finely diced celery and carrots
1 TB minced fresh ginger
1 TB minced garlic
2 TB tomato paste
1/4c brandy (optional)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 TB paprika
2c chicken stock
1/2c raw white rice
1c canned unsweeted coconut milk
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2c fresh cilantro, diced
1/4c scallion tops, sliced thinly on the diagonal

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the shrimp. Cook until just done, 2-3 minutes, then drain and reserve the liquid. When cool enough to handle, shell and behead the shrimp. Set the shrimp aside and return the shells and heads to the pot with the reserved liquid. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes then strain thru a fine sieve. Discard the shells and reserve the stock.

In a heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, celery, and carrots until just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a another few minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir until thoroughly mixed. If using the brandy, add to the pot, stir, and ignite with a match (keep your face back!). When the flames die down, add the reserved shrimp liquid and the next 7 ingredients, bay leaves through rice. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely dice 1/3 of the shrimp and cut the remainder into pieces about 1/2 inch in size.

When the simmering is finished, add the finely diced shrimp, the coconut milk, and the cayenne pepper to the soup. Use an immersion blender to finely puree the soup (or do it in batches in a regular blender). Return to the pan and correct for salt, if needed. Add the remaining shrimp and heat through. Serve the the cilantro and scallions sprinkled on top.


Church minnestrone

I learned this recipe when I was helping to make lunch for a large group. It turned out so well I decided to try it at home.

1 c diced onion
1 TB minced garlic
1/4 olive oil
1 c each diced carrots, zucchini, and celery
1-16 oz can tomato or V-8 juice
1-16 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 quart water or vegetable stock
1 handful chopped fresh basil (or 1 TB dried)
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb "short" pasta like shells or spirals
1 large can canneloni beans, drained, half mashed and the other half left whole

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes. Add all ingredients between the **** and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer 5 min. Add the beans and simmer another 5-8 min, stirring to mix thoroughly.


French pork and cabbage soup

This is hearty peasant food at its best. I like to put a piece of toasted French bread, rubbed with garlic, in each person's bowl and ladle the soup on top.

1-5lb (appx) pork shoulder (Boston butt)
1/2 lb bacon
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 coarsely chopped onions (about 2 cups worth).
2c dry white wine
1 qt pork or beef stock
1 qt water
Boquet garni (a big one!)
1 head of cabbage, shredded.
1c each cubed turnip, boiling potato, and carrot
1 lb Polish sausage (kielbasa)

Cut the meat off the bone and cut about 1 pound or a little more into 1 inch cubes and set aside. Save the remaining meat for another use, such as grinding for breakfast sausage.

Cut the bacon crossways into 1/2" wide strips. Simmer in 1 qt of water for a few minutes (to remove excess smoky flavor) then drain.

In a large, heavy soup pot cook the bacon until it is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve, leaving the fat in the pan. Over high heat, brown the pork well in the bacon fat, and remove it from the pan. Add the onions and garlic over medium high heat and cook until softened, 5-10 min. Add the wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Return the pork and bacon to the pot, add the stock and water, the pork bone, and the boquet garni. Cook at a very low simmer for 1-1/2 hours.

Add the cabbage and cook for an additional 30 min.

Add the turnips, carrots, potato, and sausage (whole) and cook for another 30 minutes.

Skim any excess fat and remove and discard the pork bone. Remove the sausage and slice into 1 inch pieces, and return to the pot. Add salt and pepper as desired.

Cold beet soup

I modified this from a recipe in The Joy of Cooking.

2c diced peeled raw beets
1c diced onion
1/2c diced peeled carrot
1/2c shredded cabbage
2c chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
1 TB butter
1 TB rice wine vinegar

Put the beets, onion, and carrot in a saucepan with barely enough water to cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 20 minutes. Let cool slightly then puree in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may want to over-salt slightly because the saltiness will be less pronounced when the soup is cold. Chill and serve topped with sour cream and diced chervil, accompanied by buttered rye or pumpernickel bread.

Black bean soup

Bone from 1/2 of a smoked ham plus 2c diced leftover ham
1 thick slice of smoked ham.
1 lb dry black beans
2 bay leaves
Baking soda
2 TB olive oil
2c diced onion
1c each diced celery and carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce*

Rinse and pick over the beans for stones and other foreign matter. Place in a soup pot with the ham bone or slice, bay leaves, a big pinch of salt, a big pinch of baking soda (helps the beans keep their black color) and about twice as much water as needed to cover the beans. Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are almost done, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. During cooking check the pot and add water if needed to keep the beans just covered. If using a ham bone, remove and discard. If using a slice, remove, dice, and reserve. Discard bay leaves.

In another pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Pour in the beans and their cooking liquid and simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes. Remove about 1/4 of the soup to a food processor along with 1 to 3 of the chipotle peppers and with some of the sauce (more peppers = more zing in the final soup). Process to a puree and return to the soup. Add diced ham and simmer, stirring, for a final 5 minutes, Check seasoning and serve garnished with sour cream, fresh cilarntro, and/or salsa.

* Available in cans in most supermarkets, look in the Mexican section. You can freeze what you don't use.

Lentil soup

1 lb lentils
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 large onion
2 carrots
1 stalk celery
3 large garlic cloves
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bunch green or red chard
1 TB ground cumin
Lemon juice

Rinse the lentils and cook them in the stock until almost tender, 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile coarsely chop the onion, carrot, and celery and sauté in olive oil until limp. Add minced garlic, red pepper, and cumin and continue for 5 minutes. Wash and coarsely chop the chard. Add chard and onion mixture to the lentils and simmer slowly until chard is tender, 5-10 minutes. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste and serve.

Eggplant and garlic soup

2 large eggplant
3 heads roasted garlic
1/2c chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, etc.)
1 large onion, minced
6 TB olive oil
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1/2c heavy cream
black pepper
cayenne pepper

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and mix with the herbs. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and spread this mixture on the cut surfaces, the drizzle each half with 1 TB of oil. Bake at 400f until the flesh is soft, 35-40 minutes. Meanwhile, in a 4 quart saucepan  sauté the onions in the remaining 2TB of oil until soft, then add the stock. When the eggplant is done scoop the flesh out into the pan and add the soup. Discard eggplant skins. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. Puree using a blender or a chinois and stir in the cream. Add cayenne to taste and serve.

Sausage, chard, and bean soup

I just love throw-together soups like this - with some good bread, they are a meal in themselves. As with all recipes like this, all amounts are approximate.

6c chicken or preferably duck stock
1 large onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1c thinly sliced sausage **
1 large bunch Swiss chard
1 16oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1c diced cooked potato (boiling type)

** I prefer Spanish chorizo in this, but lots of other sausages would work as well.

Clean the chard and separate the stems from the leaves. Chop both coarsely. In a large soup pot sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened. Add the sausage and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. At this point you may want to remove excess fat from the pan. Add the chard stems and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the stock, chick peas, and chard leaves and simmer until the chard is tender. Add the potatoes, correct seasoning, and serve.

Chorizo, kale, and bean soup

1/2 lb chorizo
1c dried cannelloni or other white beans
1 large bunch young kale (2 quarts, appx)
1c diced onion
2 garlic cloves, coarsely diced
1 qt chicken stock

Cook the beans until done. Meanwhile, remove the casing from the chorizo and slice thinly. Sauté with the onion in a large soup pot over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Toward the end add the garlic. Remove to a strainer set over a bowl, and let the fat drain off. Wipe out the pot and add 1 TB olive oil. Add the kale (with tough stems removed, if needed) and 1/2c water. Cover and cook on low heat until the kale is done to your liking - the time required will depend on the age of the kale. Drain the kale, reserving the liquid, and chop coarsely. Return the kale, liquid, sausage/onion mixture, drained beans (discard the bean liquid), and stock to the pan and bring to the simmer for 5 minutes. Correct seasoning and serve.

Shrimp stock

This serves as a base for chowders, bisques, and the like.

1 quart or more of shrimp heads.

For each quart of shrimp heads:
1/2c chopped onions
1/4c chopped celery
1/4c chopped carrot
1/4c white wine or 2 TB dry vermouth
1 TB olive oil

Heat oil in saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots and stir until wilted. Add shrimp heads and stir until they turn red. Add wine and enough water to cover by about an inch. Simmer for 30 minutes and correct seasoning (this means to add salt and pepper until it tastes right). Strain through several layers of cheesecloth.  

Chinese hot and sour soup

 This recipe is slightly modified from the one in Mrs. Chang's Szechwan Cookbook by Ellen Schrecker. While out of print, it is worth looking for - it is the best Chinese cookbook I have ever used.

1/3c dried tree ears
1/3c dried lily buds
6 small or 4 large dried black mushrooms (shitake)
2c boiling water
6c cold water
2 pork chops, appx 3/4 lb total
2 squares fresh firm tofu
6 TB rice wine vinegar
2 scallions
2 eggs
freshly ground black pepper

Put the tree ears, lily buds, and shitake in a bowl and cover with the 2c boiling water. Let soak for at least 20 minutes. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Combine 2 TB cornstarch and 2TB water in another bowl and set aside.

Trim the meat off the chops and cut into slivers about 2 inches long and 1/8 inch wide. Put the bones and 2TB of the shredded pork in a pan with the 6c water and simmer for 20 minutes. Put the remaining meat shreds in a bowl and mix with 1TB of soy sauce and 1 tsp corn starch. Set aside.

Drain the tree ears, lily buds, and mushrooms and rinse carefully. Remove stems from mushrooms and slice caps into thin shreds. Slice tree ears into shreds, and tear each lily bud into 3-4 pieces. Set aside. Cut tofu into cubes about 1/3 inch on a side.

Remove bones from soup and discard. Add tree ears, mushrooms, lily buds, tofu, vinegar, and 2 TB soy sauce. Simmer for about 7 minutes. Chop scallions crosswise as thin as possible and add to the soup along with the remaining meat shreds, stirring to separate. Simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the beaten egg and cornstarch into the soup, stirring so the eggs form shreds and not lumps. As soon as the soup returns to the simmer and is clear and slightly thickened, remove from the heat. Stir in freshly ground black pepper to taste. It takes quite a lot because the "hot" in this soup comes only from the black pepper.

Zurrukutuna (bacalao and green pepper soup)

Bacalao is dried salted cod. This recipe is adapted from The Complete Spanish Cookbook by Jacki Passmore. It is one of most delicious soups I have ever tasted. Serves 6.

8 oz bacalao
3 green peppers, seeded and chopped
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2c olive oil
3c fish stock*
3 slices good quality white bread without crusts.
6 eggs (optional)

One to 2 days ahead of time, cover the bacalao in water and soak. Keep in the refrigerator and change the water 4-5 times. Drain, rinse, and cut into 1/2" cubes.

Put the green pepper in a soup pot with 1c water and simmer for 30 minutes.

Sauté onions and garlic in 2 TB oil until golden, 5-10 minutes. Add cayenne and bacalao and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add to peppers along with fish stock. Cut bread into 1/2 inch cubes and sauté in remaining oil until starting to brown,. Add to soup and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently break eggs into soup, cover, and simmer until whites are set - 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with a white Rioja wine, crusty bread, and a green salad.

* Make your own - it is infinitely better than any "fish" boullion cube or concentrate that you can buy. Almost any fish market will sell you fish trimmings and heads at a very reasonable price. Avoid the strong flavored fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Simmer in water to cover for half an hour or so, strain and freeze.

Easy no-fat soup

Here's a quick and easy recipe that is tasty while also being fat-free and low in salt. It can be modified and adapted in many different ways. All amounts are approximate.

1 qt fat-free low salt chicken stock (I recommend Swanson's Natural Goodness)
1c diced raw potato
1 whole peeled garlic clove
1c cooked rice
1/2c each diced carrot, celery, onion, mushrooms

Cook everything together until the vegetables are all thoroughly cooked. Puree in a blender.

Turkey meatball soup

I "invented" this one damp and chilly day while scrounging around the fridge trying to use up what was on hand. It turned out so well that I decided to write it down.

1 lb ground raw turkey (preferably not turkey breast)
1 c dry bread crumbs preferably from homemade whole grain bread
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 TB Italian seasoning (a commercially available mix of dry thyme, rosemary, etc.)
1/2c finely diced onion
1 large egg

Mix the above ingredients by hand. Cook a small bit in the microwave and taste for seasoning, adding more if needed. Form into 1 inch meatballs and set aside.

1c coarsely (3/4 inch pieces) chopped onion
1c coarsely chopped celery
1c coarsely chopped carrots
1c thickly sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic minced

In a soup pot over medium high heat saute the above in 2TB olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add

2 quarts homemade chicken stock (if you do not have homemeade, Swansons)

While this is coming to a simmer, brown the meatballs in a skillet using 1 TB olive oil (in 2 batches if necessary). As they are done browning add to the soup. Then add

1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped (stems and leaves)

Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Check for seasoning and serve.

Non-holiday turkey stock

Most people associate turkey stock (and soup) with holidays when you have a turkey carcass to use. Here's how to do it at other times of the year using the wings or drumsticks that are available separately in most markets. Either makes great stock, but the drumsticks give you more meat.

2-1/2 to 3 lbs turkey wings or drumsticks
1/2 c chopped carrot
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 onion stuck with 2 cloves
1 whole unpeeled garlic clove
5 whole peppercorns

Rinse the turkey and place it in a baking pan large enough to hold it in one layer with some space between the pieces. Bake at 400f for 30-40 minutes until nicely browned. Put in a soup pot with all other ingredients and add cold water to cover. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the turkey and when cook enough to handle remove the meat from the bones. Reserve the meat and return the bones and scraps to the pot. Simmer for an additional hour or so, then strain and discard the solids.

Butternut squash soup with sage

Good hot or cold with a dab of sour cream.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1-2 inch pieces
2 TB butter
5 large fresh sage leaves or 2 tsp dried
3c chicken stock
1c half and half
salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter in a soup pot until soft. Add the squash and sage leaves, pepper to taste, and stir. Cover and cook over low heat until the squash is cooked, about 30 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for another 15 minutes. Cool slightly and puree in a blender. Return to pan and stir in half and half. Add salt as needed.

Turkey matzoh ball soup

Matzoh ball soup does not have to be chicken-based! And, if you are used to matzoh balls being heavy little lumps, this will be a pleasant surprise.

Matzoh balls:

1/2c matzoh meal
2 eggs, separated
2 TB chopped parsley (optional)
Big pinch of salt
1 TB chicken fat or vegetable oil.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Beat the yolks with the oil and salt, then add to the whites along with the matzoh meal and optional parsley. Mix gently until blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Form into 3/4 inch balls and drop into simmering salted water or stock to cook for 20 minutes. Lift out of the cooking liquid and add to your simmering soup.

Note: Matzoh balls are usually cooked separately, as specified here, rather than in the soup because they absorb so much liquid. If you want to cook them in the soup be sure to make allowances.


Heat 1-1/2 quarts of turkey stock (recipe) and add 1/2c each of diced carrots and celery. Simmer until they are almost tender. Add the cooked matzoh balls, 1/2c frozen baby peas, and (if you have it) a cup of cooked turkey meat. Heat thru and serve.

Really good chicken stock

If you want really delicious chicken stock, the kind you can just drink from a cup, forget about using table scraps and bones. The flavor is in the meat, and you need lots of meat to make good stock. I wait for sales when I can get whole legs for 19 or 29 cents a pound, then make a bunch of stock and freeze it.

12 whole chicken legs
2 TB canola or other oil
1 medium onion

1-2 stalks celery
1-2 carrots
2-3 whole unpeeled garlic cloves
5-6 whole peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves

Rinse the chicken and use a cleaver to cut it into 1-2" pieces. There's no need to remove skin, although you can pull off large fat deposits if desired. Heat oil in a large heavy stock pot, like le Creuset. Add the chicken in 2 batches and brown. The more you brown the chicken the "heartier" the resulting stock will be - for most purposes a light browning is sufficient. Add chopped onion to pan with all the browned chicken, cover, reduce heat to low, and let "sweat" for 20 minutes or so. Add cold water to just cover the chicken, and any of the optional ingredients you are using. Bring slowly to a simmer and skim off any foam/crud that rises to the surface. Cook partially covered slowly for 1-1.5 hours. For clear stock it is essential that the liquid never boil, just use the most gentle simmer.

Near the end of cooking check for salt and add as desired. My preference is to add little or no salt because it can always be added in the final recipe for soup or sauce or whatever. Remove the large chunks with a slotted spoon, then strain the stock first through a strainer then through 2-3 layers of cheesecloth. The meat from the bones can be removed and saved - it will be rather flavorless at this point but your dog or cat will probably love it.

Curried butternut squash soup

A perfect soup for a chilly fall or winter day. Using half stock and half water gives the soup a nice flavor without it tasting like chicken soup. You could use all water for a vegetarian version.

1 medium (about 2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into appx. 1 inch pieces.
1/4c Madeira or sherry
2 cloves garlic,  minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TB butter
1 TB curry powder
1 tsp  ground cumin
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups chicken stock
2c water
1/2c heavy cream

In a large saucepan sauté onions and garlic in butter until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add squash, curry powder, cumin, cayenne and cook another 3-5 minutes. Add Madiera and stir for about a minute. Add stock and water and simmer until squash is quite soft, about 10-15 minutes. Puree in a blender and return to pan. Add cream, S&P to taste. reheat as needed and serve.





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