Chicken Noodle Soup

Whelp, I seemed to have come down with the cold that has been running amok around here. It means that it is time for some food therapy. I really like the chicken soup I make with dumplings (see recipe HERE), so I started there when making it chicken noodle soup. I’m still into turmeric, so I added a little of that and the bonus is it makes the soup a beautiful color.

Before you say it, I know how easy it is to make egg noodles! I’m sick so cut me a little slack for going for frozen, especially when Reames makes it so easy to just toss ’em in the pot.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
12 ounces egg noodles (I used Reames Frozen Egg Noodles)
Reserved chicken (about 3 cups of shredded chicken)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a Dutch oven, melt butter and heat oil over medium heat. Add carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté the vegetables until they are soft, a couple of minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Sprinkle in the turmeric. Continue to stir and cook for 5 minutes to remove the starchy taste from the flour. Do not let the roux burn or turn dark brown, lower the heat as necessary. Toss in the bay leaves. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition to remove any lumps. Stir in salt and pepper.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then let simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, this takes around 30 minutes. Fold the reserved shredded chicken and the egg noodles into the sauce. Bring up to a boil and then turn down the heat. Let simmer gently for 30 more minutes.

Taste for seasoning and serve.


Rosemary Bean Soup

We’ve been under a hard freeze here in New Orleans – last night we were even cut off from all sides as bridges and interstates froze. The Causeway, the Bonnet Carre Spillway, the Twinspan, the High Rise were all closed due to winter weather conditions.

As I got up in the night to check that the pipes under my elevated house didn’t freeze, I decided to spend the next day making soup. I pulled from the freezer chicken stock and chopped onions to thaw. This morning, I started a pound of beans to soak and then later warmed my house by caramelizing the onions in the oven. I did wait until mid-afternoon for things to warm up a bit in order to harvest some fresh rosemary, though.

This is a very easy soup to put together and delicious to eat.

I served the soup with cornbread.

Rosemary Bean Soup

1 pound dried white beans (cannellini or great northern beans are both good choices)
3 cups sliced yellow onions (3 onions)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 -4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 quarts chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian)
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1-inch and leave them to soak for 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, stir together the onions with the olive oil. Cover and put the pot in the oven for 2-3 hours to caramelize the onions, stirring every 15 minutes until the the onions have deepened to the desired color. It took 2.5 hours for mine to reach tawny.

Add the garlic and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the stock pot from the oven and place over medium high heat. Add the drained white beans, rosemary, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for an hour or more, until the beans are very soft.

Remove the rosemary and the bay leaf. Pass the soup through the coarsest blade of a food mill, or place in the bowl of a food processor or immersion blender and pulse until coarsely pureed. Return the soup to the pot to reheat and add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot.

Oxtail Mushroom Barley Soup

I recently picked up a copy of the Picayune’s Creole Cook Book that was originally published in 1900. It is still a popular title today with its recipes from New Orleans’ past. I thought this would be a perfect way to the end the year – homage to the past as we step into the future!

I used their recipe for Ox Tail a la Bourgeoise (pg 87) as a jumping off point for my own oxtail mushroom barley soup (I hate peas and turnips, so I left them out while adding things I do like). Needing to do some chores outside, I made it in the slow cooker. Also, I added the wine in too batches as some of the flavor (in addition to the alcohol) cooks out over long simmers. Adding a bit more wine before serving lends a brightness to the dish.


Rich, hearty and delicious!

Oxtail Mushroom Barley Soup

1 lb oxtail, disjointed
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 cups red wine, divided (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
4 cups mushroom or beef stock
1 cup pearl barley
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Cajun/Creole seasoning

Brown oxtail pieces in a skillet before transferring to the slow cooker. Sauté onion in the fat remaining in the bottom of the pan until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in the celery, carrots and stir to combine. Use a slotted spoon to place veggies into the slow cooker so as to leave some fat in the pan. Put the mushrooms into the skillet. Cook until some of their moisture has been released. Place them into the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes, 1 cup of the red wine and stock into the slow cooker and stir well. Add in seasonings.

Set the slow cooker on high until it comes to a boil. Turn to low and cook for 4 to 6 hours or until barley is soft and tender. Cut any remaining meat off the oxtail and return the meat to the soup with the remaining cup of red wine. Taste for seasonings. Remove bay leaves and serve with bread – I made a batch of fresh corn cornbread to go with (recipe HERE).

US Senate Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker

It is cold outside (and inside my 130 year old house). That means it is time for making soup. Here is my take on the famous US Senate Bean Soup recipe. I add carrots and a bit of chicken stock for more flavor. Also, if you have the celery leaves at the top of your celery stalks, toss those in and fish them out when you remove the bay leaves. It gives an extra hit of flavor without adding another stalk.


US Senate Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker

1 lb dried navy or great northern beans
1 large ham bone, preferably with bits of meat left on it
1 onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
1  1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the beans and place in a large bowl.  Add water to cover by at least an inch and let the beans soak overnight.

In a medium sized skillet, sauté the onion in bacon fat or butter until softened. Toss in the chopped celery and carrots and just heat through. Place the veggies into your slow cooker.

Drain the beans and place them in the crockpot along with the ham bone. Pour in the chicken stock and water and stir well. Place your slow cooker on high. Once the contents come to a boil, add salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and the meat is falling off the bone, about 4 hours. Remove the bay leaves and the bone.  Shred the meat and add it back to the soup before serving.

I serve the soup with cornbread. It warms the kitchen and my heart as it is my mom’s recipe. She had no recipe, so when she taught me to make it, I had to continually stop her and measure out her smidges, dashes and dollops.

Oh, and something I learned. Because of holiday baking, I was short on baking powder. You can substitute 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tarter for 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Mama's Cornbread

Mama’s Cornbread

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup corn meal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten into 1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of Crisco vegetable shortening

8”cast iron skillet

Preheat oven to 425 F with the skillet in the oven, melting the Crisco. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in a portion of the melted shortening until it is a loose but not runny consistency. Pour the mixture into the skillet, over the remaining shortening.

Cook for 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

For added corn flavor, replace 1/4 cup of the all purpose flour with corn flour.

Mushroom Barley Soup in the Slow Cooker


#HillaryClinton for Louisiana Team (Miguel Segura and Kevin Lo) plus volunteers (Molly Ruben-Long and I)

Mushrooms were on sale at the grocery the other day and I have a bag of pearled barley that I’ve been waiting to open. It was a toss up between doing soup or a risotto. As today is the Presidential Preference Primary here in Louisiana and I was phone banking for Hillary Clinton‘s campaign, I needed something I could put in the crock pot and just walk away from, so I went with the soup.

This is a very simple recipe. Sure, you can add carrots (2, diced) and celery (2 stalks, diced) and even meat (3 lbs beef short ribs are great). However, my aim was for strong mushroom flavor and an easy preparation and this hits the target dead center. You could also make it entirely vegetarian by using a vegetable stock instead of chicken and olive oil in place of the butter but this is me we are talking about!

Mushroom Barley Soup in the Slow Cooker

3 tablespoons butter (or a combination of butter and olive oil)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 lb mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (mixture of portobello, cremini or button works but go with what you like)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups mushroom broth (I use Better than Bouillon but you can easily make your own)
1 cup pearl barley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter in large dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the onions. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms stems and 1/4 t. salt. Cook until they have softened and browned, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 minute.

Place the broth, mushrooms, barley, thyme and bay leaves in the slow cooker. Pour in the onion mixture and stir well. Cook over low heat for 4 to 6 hours, until barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper before serving with crusty bread.

Make ahead: the soup keeps for 3 days in the fridge or 1 month in freezer. Re heat over low, adding additional water or broth to adjust consistency.

mushroom barley soup

Simple Gazpacho

For someone who doesn’t eat a lot of vegetables, I sure love gazpacho in the summer. I like mine fairly simple, without a lot of spice so the freshness of the summer harvest shines through.


Simple Gazpacho

2 lbs tomatoes
2 medium or 1 large cucumber
1 green bell pepper
1 small onion
1 large garlic clove, chopped fine
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup V-8 or tomato juice
1 teaspoon salt

Wash the tomatoes and cut small x’s in both ends. Place in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove to an ice water bath. Peel off skin, core and quarter.

Peel cucumber, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut into chunks. Core the bell pepper and cut into large peices. Remove the pappery skin from the onion and quarter.

Combine tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse several times. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.

Slowly drizzle the sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and V-8 or tomato juice and pulse until desired consistency.

Chill for several hours or overnight. Flavor intensifies the longer it sits, so taste for seasoning before serving. Serve with fresh bread.

Michelle made the bread to go with our meal.


And, no this doesn’t count as a salad as there is no lettuce!

Bean Soup

Bean soup is one of my comfort foods when it gets cold outside. I saved the ham hock from the Thanksgiving spiral sliced ham and decided to make my family’s version of the Senate Restaurant’s Bean Soup. This version makes a smaller quantity and is both thicker and creamier.

beans and bone

Bean Soup

1 lb. dried Navy or Great Northern beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 ham hock, smoked is best
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoon flour
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Place onions in the pot and saute until translucent. Sprinkle in flour and 2 tablespoons butter and stir constantly for at least 5 minutes. Pour in 1 quart of water and scrap up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Toss in the beans, the ham hock, bay leaves and 4 more cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans are tender, 2 to 3 hours. Skim off any fat on the surface of the soup.

Once beans are tender, remove ham hock and let cool slightly.  Place 2 cups of beans in a blender and puree before pouring them back into the pot to create a thick, creamy texture. Remove meat from ham hock, discarding bone, skin, and excess fat; finely chop meat and add back to soup. Season with salt and pepper.

bowl of soup

This is not a highly spiced soup; it is simple, filling fare. If you’re looking for additional flavor, replace some of the water with broth or even with beer. And a dash of hot sauce is good, too!