I love winter soups. Especially winter soups I can serve for shabbos. While purists say that ONLY chicken soup is acceptable I prefer, occasionally, like to take a walk on the wild side and serve gumbos, bisques and chowders.
Gumbo is a Louisiana soup or stew which blends regional Indian, French, Spanish, and African culinary influences and belongs to two categories, those thickened with okra (the word gumbo comes from an African word for okra) and those with ground sassafras leaves, known as file. The gumbos of olden days were closer to soups than to the stew that are served today and typically have lots of non-kosher ingredients (I substitute the kosher certified fake crab, fake lobster or kosher smoked sausage pieces) and are served over rice.
Chowders are a thick and hearty soup or stew (very close to a gumbo but without the okra) usually made with seafood (again, I use the fake stuff as a substitute), chicken, or vegetables, with potatoes instead of rice and with a variety of seasonings and often with some sort of chili or hot seasoning to add a kick.
Bisque on the other hand is a more upscale, very thick, very rich, creamy soup which typically consists of pureed seafood (once again I substitute the fake stuff and it works really well) and vegetables.
To thicken many of these soups you will require a roux. A roux is simply a mixture of flour and fat. The fat used in roux may be butter, margarine, oil, meat drippings. The usual combination is equal parts fat and flour. A 1/2 cup of each ingredient is usually enough and any excess can be stored in the refrigerator. Some sources prefer a little more fat than flour - 2/3 cup butter to 1/2 cup flour and this combination works just as well. To make the roux melt the fat in a skillet over low heat. When the fat is warm/melted sprinkle the flour in a little at a time, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture is brown (this may take a while). Immediately add the remaining ingredients your recipe calls for. If the roux burns, even the teeniest tiniest bit, throw it away and start over again. This burnt flavor will ruin the soup.
Before you get to the recipes I want to add one
caveat about these kinds of soups. There is an interpretation of the laws
of kashrus that prohibits the mixing of meat and fish. You may wish to
substitute a vegetable or pareve chicken broth in any of the recipes in
which you plan to experiment with a combination of these two kinds of
Discard tough lower part of the broccoli stem. Peel remaining stem and finely chop it. Cut the remaining broccoli into very small (1-inch) florets.
Cook florets in a large pot of boiling lightly
salted water until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. (This is a note to save
the water that the broccoli is cooking in and that you will be draining)
Transfer the broccoli to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking, and then
drain the broccoli and making sure to save 3 cups cooking water for
chowder. Peel potato and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Melt the butter in a
stock pot and add the potato, onion, bell pepper, broccoli stems, and
garlic. Cook over a medium temperature, stirring occasionally, until onion
is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cumin, salt, pepper, and mustard and
cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for
about 2 minutes. Add the saved broccoli cooking water and simmer
(partially covered), stirring occasionally, until potatoes is tender,
about 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and cheese and cook, stirring, until
cheese is melted, then season with salt and pepper. Puree about 2 cups of
chowder at a time in a blender until smooth and return it to the pot. Add
the broccoli florets and mock lobster pieces and heat the soup over a
medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Make 4 servings. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Place the pears in a bowl with the lemon juice,
cover with water, and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil
over high heat until lightly smoking. Add the onion, celery, and carrot,
and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is transparent. Add the
garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Add
the white wine and reduce the liquid until the pan is almost dry, about 3
minutes. Drain half of the pears, reserving the other half in the lemon
water for garnish. Add the drained pears to the pan with the squash,
potato, and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and
cook for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Transfer half of the
soup in batches to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a
fine-mesh sieve back into the saucepan with the unpureed mixture. Add the
orange juice, lemon juice, cream, salt, and the reserved pears and gently
warm the chowder through (do not boil). The chowder can be made 1 day
ahead. Makes 6 servings
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add
leek and fennel seeds and sauté until leek is tender but not brown, about
5 minutes. Add potato, zucchini, corn, carrot and half of thyme. Stir 2
minutes. Add broth and wine; simmer until potato is tender, about 15
minutes. Add salmon and cream. Simmer until salmon is just opaque in
center, about 5 minutes. Season chowder to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle chowder into deep bowls. Sprinkle with remaining thyme. Serves 4 to
Melt the margarine in heavy large stock pot over
medium-high heat. Add the corn, yams, celery, zucchini, carrot, onion,
thyme and bay leaves. Sauté until the vegetables are light brown, about 10
minutes. Add the broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to
medium-low; simmer soup until vegetables are very tender, about 45
minutes. Remove the bay leaves from soup. Puree 2 1/2 cups of the
soup/vegetables in blender until smooth. Return puree to remaining soup.
Add spinach and simmer until wilted, about 10 minutes. Season to taste
with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.
Melt the margarine in heavy large saucepan over
medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno (if using) red and green bell
peppers, cumin and cayenne and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8
minutes. Add the flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually mix in broth, non
dairy creamer and saved corn liquid. Bring the mixture to boil, whisking
until smooth. Add in the corn and stir until corn is just heated through.
Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with croutons, chow mein noodles or
cilantro if desired and serve. Serves 4. You can make a double recipe and
use 1/2 cream style corn for a richer soup.
For roux, in a heavy 2-quart saucepan stir together
flour and oil till smooth. Cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring
constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir constantly about 15
minutes more or till a dark, reddish brown roux forms. Cool. Put the roux
in a large crock and add the chicken broth. Stir slightly and then add the
kosher sausage, chicken, okra, onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, salt,
pepper, and red pepper. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8-10 hours or
on high-heat setting for 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Skim off the fat. Serve over
rice. Makes 6 servings.
Heat the oil the skillet over medium heat. Add the flour; cook and stir until the flour turns reddish brown. Slowly stir in the broth, then add the chicken, okra, onions, celery, garlic, ground peppers and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cover the soup and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken pieces are tender and no longer pink. Remove and discard the bay leaves and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, serve the gumbo over rice. Makes 4 servings
© Eileen Goltz 2002