culinary review

Soups and Stews

In this category we have soup and stew recipes.

Soup & Stew Tips - How To Make Soup (General Step Process)

Classic Soups, Warming Fall Soups & Vegetarian Soups

French Creamy Lentil Soup

Last Modified: 11/10/13
First Published: 04/03/07
Views: 16705
Views: 16705
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General Info
Servings: 4
Total Cost: $7.35
Cost Per Serving: $1.84
Total Calories: 1,566
Calories/Serving: 392
Bacon, Uncooked (3 strips) * 6.00 Ounces $2.06 545
Onion, Yellow Diced 1 Cup 160.00 Grams $0.35 67
Carrots (2 carrots) 1 Cup 128.00 Grams $0.14 52
Garlic (3 cloves) 3 Teaspoons 8.50 Grams $0.04 13
Thyme, Dried 2 Teaspoons 2.80 Grams $0.74 8
Tomatoes, Diced, Generic Can (1 can) * 14.00 Ounces $0.73 79
Bay Leaf (1 leaf) * 5.00 Grams $0.04 17
Salt, Table 1 Teaspoon 6.00 Grams $0.01 0
Black Pepper, Ground 1/2 Teaspoon 1.07 Grams $0.01 3
Lentils, Brown 1 Cup 200.00 Grams $0.22 604
Chicken Broth, Canned 4 1/2 Cups 1,102.50 Grams $2.25 135
Water 1 1/2 Cup 340.50 Grams $0.00 0
Wine, White Table (or Dry Vermouth) 1/4 Cup 59.00 Grams $0.62 40
Vinegar, Balsamic 1 1/2 Teaspoon 7.50 Grams $0.13 5
This lentil soup comes out so wonderfully - the flavors are nicely balanced and perfectly put together. We always try to follow this recipe exactly to the point - do not deviate from the proportions or you wont get as nice a result.

Servings: 4


  • 3 strips of bacon sliced into small pieces
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp thyme chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 14 oz
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup lentils washed (preferably lentils de puy)
  • 4 1/2 cups broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Fry bacon pieces until crispy. Put in diced onion and carrot into the pot and cook with the bacon, press garlic and let it cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and lentils, cook 8-10 min on medium low heat. Add wine, bring to a simmer, add broth and water.

Cook for 30 min on low heat, partially covered. When soup is cooked nicely, puree 3 cups of soup in a blender and add 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper if needed, add fresh parsley and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Classic Cream of Mushroom Soup

Last Modified: 11/07/11
First Published: 11/07/11
Views: 799
Views: 799

Creamy, hearty, flavorful: those are words that could describe this cream of mushroom soup. Simple in terms of ingredients and easy to make; this soup is perfect to serve next to a hot sandwich or a salad for lunch or a light dinner. Traditionally cream of mushroom soup doesn't contain much else other than mushrooms, onion, broth and cream and we have tried to stay authentic to that concept here. However, if you want to add some diced potatoes, or maybe some cooked barley then that would also be a nice addition.

We used traditional button mushrooms for this recipe, namely because they are the most affordable ones. However, for added flavor and texture you really can't beat adding a variety of mushrooms, so if you're fortunate enough to pick mushrooms yourself, or if you find a nice assortment at your local farmer's market or grocery store, then by all means don't limit yourself to one kind.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Serves 4


  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 16 oz of button mushrooms (or a combination of various kinds)
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • 3 cups of broth
  • 1 cup of heavy or whipping cream
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper


Saute the onion and the celery for about 5 minutes in the butter. Then add the mushrooms, the bay leaf, thyme and oregano. Cook until the mushrooms brown and the onions and celery soften, about 15 minutes. At this point, add the garlic and the flour. Stir well and let cook for a minute or two, then add the wine and de-glace the pan.

Add the broth, let come to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Now add the cream.

At this point we blended about 3/4 of the soup. This is of course optional. For a completely smooth soup, blend it all. For a more chunky soup, blend only a cup or two.

Bring back to the pot, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and taste with salt and pepper.

Vegetarian Chili with Lentils, Beans and Adobo Sauce

Last Modified: 11/05/11
First Published: 11/05/11
Views: 709
Views: 709

This turned out to be a great vegetarian chili with tons of flavor from adobo sauce, poblano peppers, cumin, tons of garlic etc… There really is no such thing as a traditional vegetarian chili, as authentic chili basically consists of meat, chilis and... not much else. However, why not utilize these classic irresistible flavors but in a vegetarian version?

When you don't use meat in a chili it's important to use a variety of legumes to get the proper texture and bite. In other words, don't just go for black beans or the dish will end up tasting terribly bland and boring. We used lentils de puy which are great since they give a bit of a bite, red lentils because they help thicken up the stew as they break down a bit and lastly black beans because they simple feel like they belong in a chili. Of course a different combination could be used. We also added some yellow corn to the dish which adds a nice pop of color as well as sweetness to balance the heat from the chili peppers and spices.

Vegetarian Chili with Lentils, Beans and Adobo Sauce

Serves: 4


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 1 chili in canned adobo sauce, fincely minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup dry red lentils
  • 3/4 cup lentils de puy (green or brown lentils would also work)
  • 1 beer (light or dark, either is good)
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of black beans (frozen or canned)
  • 1/2 cup of corn (frozen ideally)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • salt


Saute the onion, carrots and celery in the oil for a few minutes. Add some salt, the garlic and the poblano pepper, saute for a few more minutes. At this point add the adobo chili, the chili powder, cumin, paprika, tomato paste, red lentils and lentils de puy. Saute everything for a minute, then add the beer and de-glace if necessary. Add the can of diced tomatoes and about two cups of water.
Bring up to a simmer, let simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the black beans, the corn, and the sugar and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or so or until the lentils are cooked through. Taste with salt.

Serve with queso fresco (grated cheddar or monterey jack would also work) and a nice dollop of sour cream to balance out the heat. Avocado on top would also be lovely.

Summer Gazpacho Soup

Last Modified: 08/17/11
First Published: 08/17/11
Views: 641
Views: 641

I had a craving for a summer's afternoon lunch that of course featured a glass of wine, some nice tomatoes and bread. What could be a better combo. So naturally I went to the Food Network site and found several recipes for gazpacho soup, one wasn't quite spicy enough and the other too spicy and involved. I settled on an Alton Brown 2007 recipe that fit my needs perfectly.

The gazpacho was terrific and not too hot but very tasty with only a hint of herbs. Of course the kitchen was a mess as well as me with tomatoes and sauce splashing all over. It was well worth it, except for maybe add a touch of vodka at the end to really season everything! The gazapacho recipe is one to have over and over anytime of the year. A really nice addition to have on it's own or as a side dish. Of course I'm saving the leftover tomato juice for a bloody mary.

  • 1 1/2 lbs tomatoes - peeled, seeded & chopped
  • tomato juice
  • 1 cup cumcumber - seeded & chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion - chopped
  • 1 jalapeno - seeded & minced
  • 1 garlic clove - minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons basil

I filled a pot of water over high heat to a boil then made an x over the bottom of the tomatoes. Dropped them into boiling water for about 15-20 seconds (mine weren't quite soft so maybe a few more seconds). The recipe called for a hot water bath (but I didn't and it turned out just fine). Peel, core & seed over a mesh strainer inside a bowl to catch the juices. This is where it got a little messy. Then add enough of tomato juice to make about 1 cup.

Combine the tomatoes and rest of ingredients in a large bowl. I took about 2 cups of this mixture and blended it about 15 seconds, adding it back to the mixture. Cover and chill with basil and serves about 4-6.

Chili with Baked Cornmeal Topping

Last Modified: 06/09/11
First Published: 01/15/08
Views: 3585
Views: 3585
cornmeal topped chili con carneThis is such a tasty way to serve chili - the moist and crispy corn topping compliments a spicy chili perfectly. The best chili simmers for a couple of hours in order to break down fat and connective tissue, resulting in extremely soft and tender meat that literally falls apart. We prefer to make chili with chunks of meat instead of ground beef – that way you have more control over what kind of meat you use, the chili tastes better and more often then not, it actually ends up a better deal cost wise.

This chili is very nice and flavored with homemade chili powder which gives it so much more punch and flavor. Other flavor additions include a liberal amount of garlic, dried coriander, cardamom and cocoa powder. We like to add about half the spices at first and the rest a couple of hours later in order to balance out the flavors. A little lemon juice at the end of the cooking period brightens up the dish considerably. Serve this along with fresh avocado, white onion, fresh tomatoes and sour cream for a perfect, complete meal.
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for more information, including
measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 5
Total Cost: $13.86
Cost Per Serving: $2.77
Total Calories: 5,624
Calories/Serving: 1,125
Vegetable Oil 3 Tablespoons 42.00 Grams $0.09 360
Beef Chuck Blade Roast (in chunks) * 1.50 Pounds $7.55 2,344
Onion, Yellow Diced 2 Cups 320.00 Grams $0.71 134
Garlic (8 cloves) 8 Teaspoons 22.67 Grams $0.10 34
Tomato Paste 3 Tablespoons 49.50 Grams $0.19 38
Vermouth, Sweet, Generic 750 ml Bottle 2 Tablespoons 50.00 Grams $0.44 55
Tomatoes, Diced, Generic Can (2 cans) * 28.00 Ounces $1.47 158
Water 1 Cup 227.00 Grams $0.00 0
Black Beans (cooked) 1 1/2 Cup 258.00 Grams $0.28 341
Coriander Seed, Ground 1 Teaspoon 1.67 Grams $0.42 5
Chili Power, Homemade 6 Teaspoons 12.40 Grams $0.38 59
Cardamom, Ground (1 pod) 1/4 Teaspoon 0.49 Gram $0.04 1
Salt, Table 2 Teaspoons 12.00 Grams $0.02 0
Cocoa Powder, Dutch Processed, Unsweetened 3 Teaspoons 5.40 Grams $0.10 12
Sugar, White Granulated 2 Teaspoons 8.33 Grams $0.01 32
Worcestershire Sauce 2 Teaspoons 10.00 Grams $0.07 10
Lemon, Whole (juice from 1/2 lemon) * 50.00 Grams $0.19 10
Corn Meal, Yellow 1 1/2 Cup 240.00 Grams $0.27 880
Flour, White Unbleached All Purpose 1/2 Cup 2.13 Ounces $0.07 228
Baking Powder, Clabber Girl 3 Teaspoons 14.40 Grams $0.10 0
Salt, Table 1 Teaspoon 6.00 Grams $0.01 0
Buttermilk 1 Cup 240.00 Grams $0.40 120
Eggs, Chicken (2 eggs) * 100.00 Grams $0.33 156
Vegetable Oil 4 Tablespoons 56.00 Grams $0.13 480
Mozzarella, Whole Milk Cheese (shredded) 1/2 Cup 56.00 Grams $0.50 168

When you feel like having chili, but want to make it something special, then why not make a chili baked with cornmeal topping. It is a very tasty and comforting way to serve chili – the golden cornmeal topping bakes on top of the chili in a Dutch oven and provides a perfect meal in one pot.

Chili:meat and onions

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 pounds beef chunks
2 onions, diced
8 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sweet vermouth
2 14-oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 ½ cups cooked black beans


1 teaspoon dried coriander
6 teaspoons homemade chili powder
1 cardamom pod, bruised
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons sugartomato chili
2 teaspoons Worcester sauce
Juice from ½ lemon

Cornbread topping

1.5 cup cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheddar cheese)


Start making the chili by heating up the oil in a large cast-iron pot (dutch oven). Sauté the meat in two batches in order to brownchili with meat and beans them properly. Once the meat is browned, remove from the pan and add the onions. Sautee the onions until soft in the same pan, then add the meat. Crush 6 of the garlic cloves and add them along with the tomato paste. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then de-glaze the pan with the dry vermouth, and make sure to scrape off any brown bits.

Add about half the amount of the spices (1/2 teaspoons coriander, 3 teaspoons chili powder, 1 cardamom pod, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder). Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes and the water. Let cook for a couple of hours on low heat – preferably 3-5 hours.

After a couple of hours, taste the chili, and add the cooked beans, press the remaining two garlic cloves and add the remaining spices plus the sugar, the Worcester sauce and the lemon juice. Add more spices according to taste and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour.

When the chili is done, make the cornmeal topping. In a bowl, mix together the cornmeal, the flour, the baking powder and the salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, the eggs and the oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, try not to over work the dough. Pourcornmeal bread topping the topping on top of the chili and bake in a 425 F degree oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. When it’s done, sprinkle the top with cheese and bake under the broiled for another minute or two. Serve with white onion, sour cream and fresh avocado.