Soups, Stews and Chillies
Ginger Chicken Stew
As it simmers, this stew fill the kitchen with ginger’s spicy aroma. Complement it with something fresh. I prefer a bowl of steamed bok choy or Napa cabbage and a simple salad – sliced or julienned cucumbers and radishes tossed with rice wine vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar.
I think of this soup as the soup version of a tomato salad, which means I make it only when tomatoes are in season, and I make it with the very best, fruity green olive oil I have. I use yellow tomatoes, but of course red would work just fine.
Navy Bean Soup with Rosemary and Smoky Ham Hocks
My mom often requests this when she comes to visit. She claims to love it, but then adds so much hot sauce to it I doubt she can taste it. She usually makes cornbread to go with it, and that’s dinner.
Old-Fashioned Turkey Noodle Soup
After the Thanksgiving feast, try this easy, comforting soup with some of the leftover turkey. It appeals to all ages, so if you have a house full of holiday guests, this is a real winner. Of course, you don’t have to wait until you have leftovers to make this soup; you can grill or braise a turkey breast specifically for this dish or buy cooked turkey. I also like to make his soup with drumsticks, since the rich dark meat makes a very flavorful soup. To use drumsticks, simply poach them in lightly salted water 50 minutes to 1 hour, then reserve the cooking liquid to use as broth for the soup.
Provencal-Style Beef and Bean Soup
This is a hearty, chunky soup that’s perfect for using leftover cooked beef or steak. Sun dried tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and basil give this soup a South of France flavor. It freezes beautifully, too. It’s also great served with Crostini.
Quick Seafood and Chicken Sausage Gumbo
When Paul Prudhomme’s first cookbook, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen, came out, I think I made every last one of his gumbos in the span of a few weeks. To this day, his are the recipes I always refer to when I make gumbo. More often than not, however, I don’t have time to make ultratraditional, slow-cooking gumbo, so I’ve adapted my own quicker—and often lighter—versions that take a fraction of the time but still pack loads of soulful flavor. Served over rice with ice-cold beer, it’s all the excuse you need to throw a block party.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Tomatoes, Thyme, and Corn Bread Croutons
This intensely flavored soup makes a terrific first course for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It’s delicious chilled, so it can also be served as a starter for an Indian summer harvest meal. It freezes well, so make plenty.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Tomato Soup with Herbs
The sweet potatoes give this soup a rich creaminess, even though it contains no cream or milk. Chilled, it can be served as a starter on a warm Indian summer night.