Pete’s Recipes: Pete’s Kitchen Sink Soups

On Sunday I made one of my favorite repurposed meals: mac & cheese using the rinds from a cheese plate earlier in the day.  It was supposed to be my post for this week, since the prosciutto & pea mac and the mushroom mac both came out awesome.  But, cooking while the Pats – Ravens game came down to the wire had me distracted and I forgot to take pictures after the initial shots of the roux.  Oops.  Who wants to learn about Pete’s Soups?!?!?!

I have three go-to soups; Mushroom Barley (sometimes with chicken), Hambone Soup, and Roast Vegetable.  The mushroom barley one is almost always the exact same set of ingredients, and that’s a little boring, so lets save that one for another time if need be.  Instead, let’s focus on the other two “clear all the sh*t out of your fridge in one pot” soups: hambone and roast vegetable.  Let’s start with the…

Hambone Soup

Here’s what you’ll need:

Generally a group of ingredients that are leftover from a family gathering. Plus, that extra mini ham at the bottom left was heavily discounted post holidays. "ADB" may have to be phased out in favor of "Pete's Heavily Discounted Meat Blog"

In words:
1 hambone (+additional cubed ham depending on amount left on hambone)
1lb package of dried beans (chef’s choice, I like the mixed bean bag)
3 ribs celery chopped
4-5 peeled carrots chopped
1 medium onion chopped
4-5 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 4oz can tomato paste
Bay leaf
Olive oil, salt & pepper

Soak the beans overnight the night before you plan to cook the soup.  Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly, removing any stones or loose bean skins shortly before cooking.

Preheat oven to 300F.  In a large dutch oven (or similar heavy pot), heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion, carrot, garlic, and celery seasoned with salt and pepper.  Cook until onion is translucent, about 8-10 minutes, before stirring in tomato paste.

This is the start of just about every soup I make and pretty much anything braised. Tomato paste is underrated

After cooking together for a few minutes, add in the hambone (+additional ham if necessary), the drained and rinsed beans, and a bay leaf.

That hambone was plenty meaty but I like this soup extra meaty. Plus, you expected me to pass on a discounted product that is prominently linked to obesity?!?!

Add in 8-10 cups of water, or enough to amply cover all ingredients and bring up to a simmer on the stove top.

I usually throw a bouillon cube or two in here, just because it seems like a lot of water to add. Use of bouillon cubes seems like the type of thing that would get me ripped on if I ever tried to hang out with foodies

Put cover on the dutch oven and place in the 300F preheated oven to cook for 4 hours.  After which, you should have something that looks like this.

A little thin looking, but we're not done yet

Fish the hambone out of the pot with a pair of tongs and place any meat remaining on the bone back in the pot.  Pour in 2-4 ounces of dry sherry (to taste) and simmer, uncovered, for another 30-45 minutes stirring regularly until the liquid has reduced by 1/4 to 1/3.

That's more like it, rich and creamy looking. I know that doesn't sound appealing with a ham-based soup but the starch from the beans is what provides both qualities

Ladle into bowls, and you have a hearty, filling stew that easily stands up as a full meal.

So filling and delicious. I am unapologetically greedy when the Perines offer their hambones to everyone after large family meals

Up next,

Roast Vegetable Soup

This one is truly a kitchen sink soup.  Think of it as a way to utilize all the vegetables in your fridge that you never got around to cooking during the week.  If anyone else has that problem.

The requirements are that you need some combination of celery, onion, carrot, and garlic as a base, a starchy vegetable, and a carton or two of chicken broth.  I usually make it with butternut squash as the starch, but I’ve also used potato, and recently included apples and ginger.  In those cases you mix all vegetables, season, roast, then dump into a pot with the broth to simmer, then blend.  That simple.  Here’s what you’ll need for an alternate version with black beans (plus a little more detail on each of those steps):

3 cans black beans
1 large onion quartered
5 ribs celery cut in large pieces
6 peeled carrots cut in large pieces
4-5 peeled garlic cloves
32-48 ounces of chicken broth
1/2 4oz can of tomato paste
1 lime
1 bunch cilantro
Cayenne pepper
Olive oil, salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 450F.  Place all vegetables, except the beans, in a large bowl and stir in tomato paste, cayenne and cumin powder to taste, salt & pepper, and a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Mix until all vegetables are well coated with seasonings.

If you don't have tomato paste, ketchup can work in a pinch. Just don't tell anyone, no one wants to know ketchup is prominently involved in their soup

Pour contents onto a nonstick baking sheet and place on top rack of a preheated 450F oven.

Yes, I forgot to take my pizza stone out of the oven. If Kristi asks, tell her it helps regulate the temperature in the oven, since that's the BS I spew when she asks

After 10-12 minutes, switch to a low broil for an additional 3-5 minutes (with the oven door slightly ajar) to add a little char to some of the veggies.

Again, this can be the base of any number of delicious grub options

Dump the contents of the pan into a large pot along with the three cans of rinsed beans, juice from the lime, chopped cilantro to taste (I happily add a whole bunch worth of leaves), and cover with chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.

That color comes from the beans and the charred vegetables. I need to make this again soon

Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes, covered.  The vegetables should be easily soft to the touch of a knife or fork. Using a ladle, transfer the vegetables and liquid to a blender in waves, emptying into a large bowl once blended.

Something about the blender makes it nearly impossible to take an in-focus picture. Wish my profile had the same problem

Puree by pulsing and letting rest a few times with the vent cap open slightly to let steam escape.  The goal is a thick looking liquid, kind of like a bean and vegetable smoothie.

Spicy bean smoothie. Delicious but on an empty stomach it can be the equivalent of drinking a cup of burned gas station coffee

Despite not having any cream or milk, there is a deceptive silkiness to any roast vegetable soup made like this and blended well.  The only downside of the bean version is the occasional textural contrast of the bean skins.  Otherwise, it’s got all the right flavors with the cilantro, lime, and bean complimenting each other well and some nice spicy heat from the cayenne and black pepper.

And that’s that.  Anyone want to come over for roast goat head and homemade tortillas this Sunday???  I’m having a lot of trouble finding a taker for that offer.  Facebook me y’all!