White Bean and Smoked Sausage Soup

April 17, 2011

From James Sapyta
Makes 3 quarts, enough for 2 batches of finished soup

Oh my gosh I am so very behind getting these recipes out – this one is from March 23! Luckily, it’s still soup weather here in Chicago, so there’s still time to dig into this hearty concoction. James borrowed the recipe from Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Family Table.


For the beans:

1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) dry cannellini or other small dried white beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked
4 quarts cold water, plus more if needed
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more if needed

For the garlicky soffritto:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 big garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

For the finished soup, 1,2, or all of the following:

1 pound smoked sausage, choppped up
1/2 pound trimmed chicory or endive
2 small zucchinis, cut into matchsticks

Drain the soaked beans and put them in the pot with the water, bay leaves, and olive oil. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat stirring occasionally. When the water is at a full boil, set the cover ajar, adjust the heat to maintain a steady gentle boil, and cook for an hour more, until the beans are tender.

Stir in the salt, uncover, and continue cooking at a bubbling boil for another hour or more, until the beans and broth have reduced to 3 quarts. Lower the heat as the liquid evapoates and the soup base thickens, stirring now and then to prevent scorching.

When the soup base is sufficiently reduced, make the soffritto.  Heat the olive oil and the sliced garlic in a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes or so, shaking the pan now and then, until the slices are sizzling.  Drop in the red pepper flakes, stir with the garlic, and cook another minute, or until the garlic is just starting to color.

From the soup pot, ladle out a cup of the simmering bean broth and pour it into the skillet.  Let it sizzle and start to boil, shake and stir up the soffritto, and cook it for a couple of minutes in the broth.  Then pour it all back into the bean pot, scraping in every bit of the soffritto, or just rinse the skillet out with more broth.  Simmer the soup base for another 5 minutes with the soffritto, then remove from the heat.

The base is ready for a finished soup now, or you can let the whole pot cool, pick out the bay leaves, and keep the soup refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or freeze, in filled and tightly sealed containers, for 4 to 6 monthes.

To complete the soup add smoked sausage and heat through. Or, add 1/2 pound trimmed chicory or endive chopped in 2-3 inch pieces. Cook covered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the leaves are tender and wilted. You can also add two small zucchinis, cut in matchsticks (about 3 cups), if you like.


Soup cooks 4/13

April 7, 2011

It’s that time of year again  — the time when we put Soup & Bread to bed and move on to warmer, greener pursuits. This past week was a doozy, with cooks from the Hearty BoysGapers Block, Billions, and Biz 3 raising $312 for the domestic-violence prevention agency Between Friends. But, before we pack up the stock pots for the summer, we’ve got one more night of goodness for you, including a soup showdown of epic proportions.

In one corner! Paul Kahan (Blackbird/Avec/Publican/Big Star capo) and Brian Huston (chef de cuisine at the Publican)

In the other! the man with the meat, Rob Levitt, owner and proprietor of the Butcher and Larder

These guys plan to Bring It. But that’s not all!

We also have:

From the Golden Horse Ranch Band and Living Room Realty, Annie Coleman!

From the ranks of former Hideout bartenders, and from One Degree Off, Marie Marasovich!

From Lindblom Math & Science Academy, artist and teacher Susannah Kite Strang!

From Dianna, Ellen, Karen, and all our friends at Swim Cafe!

And, we will also have soup from First Slice, one of TWO recipients of tonight’s soup dollars – they are sharing the donations with the Common Pantry.

And that’s not all! Tonight – per Soup & Bread tradition, sees the return of SOUP & PIE, with delicious pies and other sweets donated by a multitude of friendly bakers. We’re still hammering out the deets, but expect to get your sugar fix.

Providing your celebratory soup sounds: Mike “DJ Treetop Lover” Bulington and Sarah Gardiner

How much better could it get? Not much. But if you can stand the awesomeness, stick around for the Rempis Percussion Quartet at 9:30, sharing the night with DJ Jeff Parker, spinning “ridiculous drum and percussion records.”

Tadashi Ramen: Pork, Beef and Chicken Dashi, Pork Belly Sous Vide, Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms

April 5, 2011

From Hugh Amano

Serves roughly 10

The dashi found in last year’s Pork Dumpling Gang has been developed and enriched here with the addition of roasted beef and pork neck bones, chicken feet and pig trotters. The broth gets a huge bolt of smokiness from bacon ends from Benton’s in Tennessee, but a standard bacon can be used–the smokier the better. The pork belly is cooked sous-vide, meaning it is sealed in an airtight bag, which is placed in water and cooked low and slow, essentially braising in its own juices. There’s more at Hugh’s blog, Food on the Dole.

For the dashi:


2 pounds beef neck bones
2 pounds pork neck bones
2 large pieces of Kombu
1 pound chicken backs or bones
1 pound chicken feet
2 pig trotters
1 pound smoky bacon, the smokiest you can get
2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 star anise
1/2 cup cane vinegar, or to taste
1/2 cup soy sauce, or to taste

Heat oven to 400°. Put beef and pork neck bones on sheet pan and roast in oven for 30 minutes. Flip bones and roast for an additional 15-30 minutes, until bones are deeply roasted.

While bones are roasting, put kombu in large stock pot and cover with 20 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Let steep for 10 minutes. Remove kombu and discard or save for another use.

Put raw chicken backs or bones, chicken feet, pig trotters and bacon into the kombu water and return to the stove over medium heat.

When the beef and pork bones are done roasting, pour off any melted fat and save for another use. Add roasted bones to the water. Put roasting pan over a high flame and pour a cup or so of water into the pan to deglaze it. Scrape the pan with a spoon or spatula to remove any flavorful bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour all of this goodness into the stockpot with the bones. Be sure bones are submerged. If more water is required to submerge bones, add whatever it takes.

Bring stock just to a simmer, and allow to simmer slowly (a bubble or two every couple of seconds) overnight, occasionally skimming any scum that forms on top. Naturally, water will evaporate from the pot, so take note of the liquid’s starting level and replenish every hour or so as necessary.

Add mushrooms, onions, carrots, scallions and star anise. Simmer for one more hour.

Remove from heat and let fully cool under refrigeration or, if it is winter in Chicago, on a porch/stoop/fire escape. When cooled, the stock will be separated into solid fat at the top and gelatin beneath the fat. Scrape solidified fat from the top of the stock and discard, or save for another use, then reheat the stock until it is liquid again. Strain the stock through the finest strainer available. Reserve mushrooms for the pickled shiitake mushrooms and discard everything else.

Taste stock and add cane vinegar and soy sauce. Stir stock completely and taste again. Adjust flavor using additional amounts of these two seasoning agents. This broth should last about seven days.

For the pork belly:

2 pounds boneless pork belly, skin off
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 star anise
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in plastic bag designed to be vacuum sealed, evenly spacing ingredients. Vacuum seal bag, then place in an immersion circulator set around 142 degrees and cook for 12 hours. Let pork belly cool, then place in a pan, still in the bag. Cover with another pan, then weigh this pan down with heavy cans and refrigerate overnight. The idea is to compress the pork belly into a compact “block”. After pressing, remove belly from its bag. When ready to serve, sear pork belly on a hot cast iron pan over medium high heat, 3 minutes per side. Let cool slightly, then cut into thin slices.

For the pickled shiitake mushrooms:

Reserved shiitake mushrooms from dashi, sliced thin
1/4 cup dashi
1/2 cup cane vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sambal (chile paste)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Bring all ingredients but the mushrooms to a boil. Pour over mushrooms and let cool. Cover and keep refrigerated. This’ll keep for about a week.

To assemble dish:
Good quality packaged or homemade ramen noodles (available in most Asian markets)
pork, beef and chicken dashi
pork belly sous vide
pickled shiitake mushrooms
scallions, sliced
radish Sprouts

Simmer noodles until cooked, then rinse in a bowl of very hot water. Drain, then place in a bowl. Add a few slices of pork belly and a few pickled shiitake mushrooms, arranging in an attractive manner. Sprinkle scallions and radish sprouts in bowl. Place a piece of nori in the bowl. Present to your guests. At the table, ladle hot dashi into each bowl. Serve with chopsticks.

Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons

April 2, 2011

From Sarah Steedman

Sarah picked this soup because she wanted to make something seasonal, and while not a lot is in season in March, you may well have some onions lurking in your root cellar — if you’re into that kind of thing. It’s adapted from a recipe in the March 2010 issue of Bon Appetit.


8 tablespoons butter, divided
24 cups thinly sliced onions (about 5 3/4 pounds)
8 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups multigrain bread, cut into ½” cubes
3/4 cups coarsely grated gruyere cheese
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons (or more) white wine vinegar


Melt six tablespoons butter in an extra-large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until onions begin to soften, 15 to 18 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and sauté until onions are very tender, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed, one hour longer.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss bread cubes with cheese, one tablespoon thyme and two tablespoons melted butter, season with salt and pepper and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until cheese has melted and bread is lightly crisp, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Add eight cups broth to onions in pot and bring to boil.  Add two tablespoons thyme.  Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes to blend flavors. Cool slightly.  Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to same pot and add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup to desired consistency.  Season soup to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper.

Divide warm soup among eight bowls. Sprinkle each serving with croutons.

White Bean, Tomato and Basil Soup

April 2, 2011

From Monica and Laura Fox

Serves 12

Laura and her mother Monica teamed up for this fresh and hearty (if dark) variation on tomato-basil soup.

4 15-ounce cans of cannellini (white) beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 pound new potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pound can of Contadina diced tomatoes with the liquid (don’t drain!)
2 medium zucchinis sliced, or a bunch of green beans or spinach
3 tablespoons fresh basil

Make a bouquet garni from the bay leaf, parsley and thyme. I wrap these into a coffee filter with a rubber band or twist tie around it. Sweat the onion and half the garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the white beans, water, chicken broth, bouquet garni and diced potatoes and simmer for one hour.

Add remaining garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and thyme and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in vegetable and a dash of pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in fresh basil and you’re done.

Soup cooks 4/6

April 1, 2011

Only TWO WEEKS LEFT to get your soup on. Coming next week:

Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, aka The Hearty Boys

The soup crew from Gapers Block’s Drive-Thru

Biz 3‘s Kathryn Frazier

Billions Corp.’s Matt Yaseko

and Colleen Norton, prevention and education manager at the domestic violence agency Between Friends. Between Friends, which also runs two food pantries at its locations in Chicago and Rolling Meadows, is the beneficiary of your soup donations this week.

Musical guest: DJ Kenn Goodman!

Spring is (finally?) here and soup season is winding down. Our last Soup & Bread is slated for APRIL 13. Don’t miss out!



Leek and Potato Soup with Chicken Stock

March 28, 2011

From Todd and Julia McDonald

Todd and Julia McDonald run Peasants’ Plot, a 20-acre plot of land just 50 miles south of downtown Chicago where they grow organic vegetables for their CSA.  They will be dropping vegetables off at the Hideout every Thursday this year from June to October for CSA members. Unfortunately, I don’t think I got to taste their soup – but, hey, it sure looks good.


2 pounds leeks
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
6 cups chicken stock
salt to taste
pepper to taste
fresh parsley or chives


Trim root ends and upper green tops of leeks.  Dice, and then wash in a large basin of cold water.  Once the dirt has settled, scoop the diced leeks out with a sieve or strainer.  Drain and set aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the butter, followed by the leeks, thyme and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the potatoes to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Pour in the chicken stock, season with salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart.  Taste for salt and adjust as needed.  Let the soup cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.

Before serving, remove the bay leaf and reheat the soup over medium heat and taste again for salt. Finish with black pepper and parsley or chives.

Thai Carrot Soup

March 28, 2011

From Gillian McLennan

Serves 6


1 tablespoon canola (rapeseed) oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 inch knob ginger, grated or minced
1 pound carrots, about 6 large carrots or 10 medium, sliced thin
1 potato, diced
3-4 cups vegetable stock (maybe more)
1 cup coconut milk, plus extra for serving
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons orange juice (juice of 1/2 orange)
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
snipped mint leaves, coriander, or chives

Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the curry powder and turmeric, then stir in the onion and sauté over medium heat. After five minutes, add the ginger, potato and carrot. Stir.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, and cook about 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are soft. You may have to add more stock or water – make sure the carrots are covered and don’t dry out. (But don’t drown them in liquid, either—enough to cover is fine.)

When the carrots are soft enough to break easily with a wooden spoon, remove the pan from heat and stir in the peanut butter. Let cool for 5 minutes. Pour the carrots into a food processor or blender and whiz until smooth (at high speed for several minutes). Add the coconut milk, lime juice, and orange juice, and whiz again. If the mixture is too thick, add more stock or orange juice or a combination of the two.

If necessary, heat the mixture in the same pan briefly before serving. Pour a stream of the extra coconut milk into the top of the soup after filling bowls. Garnish with mint leaves, or coriander (cilantro) or chives, depending on your taste.

Italian Mistress Soup

March 28, 2011

From Jeanelle Hayner and Won Kim

Serves 8

Well – we are finally slogging through a soupy backlog of recipes. Hopefully it’ll stay bite-ass cold just long enough for you to try out a couple at home before we move into Gazpacho & Flatbread season. Herewith, Jeanelle and Won‘s Italian Mistress Soup. It’s like Italian Wedding Soup, but more scandalous. Eat with plenty of hand gestures and the scantily clad partner of your choice.


½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground veal
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound dry Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 quarts chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or storebought
1 bay leaf
1 large parmigiano rind/heel
2 bunches kale (we used a mixture of lacinato and green curly), stripped and chopped
½ teaspoon red chili flakes (or more, to taste)
juice of 1 lemon
splash of white wine vinegar (optional)
salt & pepper
¼ pound pancetta, cubed and cooked into crispy bits (optional, as garnish)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine the veal, pork, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper (to taste) in a large bowl and mix with your hands. Roll into small meatballs (just under one-inch diameter), and place on a sprayed or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake until just cooked through (about 30 minutes, depending on your oven). Make sure not to overcook them, as they’ll cook a little bit more in the soup.

Meanwhile, place the couscous in a dry, cool skillet, and toast gently over medium-low heat. Stir/shimmy the pan occasionally, and toast until the couscous is golden on a few sides and fragrant.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add the red onions. Saute the onions until slightly caramelized. Add the couscous and red chili flakes to the pot and stir to combine, making sure the couscous is thoroughly incorporated with the onions & oil. Add the stock, bay leaf, and parmigiano heel and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the couscous is about halfway cooked (still chewy in the center), about 5-7 minutes. At this point, add the meatballs, kale, and lemon juice, and continue simmering until the kale is wilted (that won’t take long), the couscous is fully cooked, and the immediate acidity of the lemon has mellowed to a bright kick. If you like your soup kickier, feel free to experiment with the splash of vinegar (we did!).

Garnish with pancetta and serve.

West Town Tavern Wild Mushroom Chowder

March 28, 2011

From Susan Goss

Serves 6

Here is is: the long-awaited wild mushroom chowder. Sadly, I still haven’t been able to wangle the recipe for the blue-cheese croutons out of her. But if and when Chef Susan gives up that secret, rest assured you’ll be the first to know See below for blue cheese croutons specs — because while this soup is sublimely rich and shroomy, the crunchy, funky croutons really kicked it to somewhere I’d certainly never been before.


2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled, finely chopped, about 2 cups
4 cups chopped mixed mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, oyster and the like)
1 1/2 cups carrot, diced small
2 1/3 cups potato, peeled, and diced small
1 tablespoon garlic, peeled, smashed, minced, about 3 cloves
½ cup dry sherry
5 1/3 cups water or vegetable stock
2 large  bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon bottled hot sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves


In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the onion until tender and browned, about 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover the pan and lower the heat. Steam the mushrooms for 5 minutes or until they begin to give up their juices. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium and sauté the mushrooms until they are tender, another 7-10 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes and garlic and stir well. Add the sherry and bring to a boil. Boil until sherry reduces to a glaze, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the water. Tie the bay leaves and thyme sprigs together and add to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Add the cream and return the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the cream is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes more. Season the soup with salt and pepper and stir in the Worcestershire, hot sauce and minced thyme.

If desired, transfer one cup of soup to a blender and puree. Return puree to the saucepan and stir well.

Blue Cheese Croutons
Makes about 2 cups


2 cups French bread, cubed, about 1”x1”

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled


Preheat oven to 350° F. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and cheese and melt, stirring occasionally until smooth. Pour butter mixture over bread cubes and toss gently to mix.

Spread bread cubes onto a cookie sheet and separate as much as possible. Scrape any remaining buttermixture over cubes.

Bake bread cubes in the oven 7 minutes. Turn gently with a spatula and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 5 more minutes. Let croutons cool completely before using.

Store croutons covered at room temperature up to 24 hours.