Category Archives: Soup/Stew


Guinness Beef Stew

To kick off St. Patrick’s Day meal planning, why not make some Guinness Beef Stew? It’s like regular beef stew, except better. It has everything it needs to be Irish: potatoes, beef, and alcohol! I’m not a big fan of just dying everything green for the day, instead I figured it would be fun to make real recipes based off of other Irish stereotypes. Since I’m a little bit Irish (maybe like 1/8th?  possibly? I have no idea) I can do whatever I want with this holiday!


Here’s what you gotta do:


Cut about 1lb of beef into cubes. Or buy pre-cut stew beef.

Dredge the beef in seasoned flour.

Put enough oil in a pot to coat the bottom, and heat it on medium-high until the oil is warm. Place the meat in, being careful not to crowd the pieces. Let cook until browned on one side, then stir it to get the other sides browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.



In the same pot add:

1 medium onion, chopped

3 carrots (about 12 baby carrots), chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 oz (1 package) sliced mushrooms

salt and pepper


Cook for a couple minutes, until onion are soft. Dust with 4 tbsp flour, and stir to coat the veggies.

Return beef to the pot,  add 1 quart (4 cups) beef broth, 1 can of Guinness, 1 packet of onion soup mix, and  3 chopped medium-size  white potatoes. Simmer until meat and potatoes are tender.





Vegetarian Winter Soup

I’m not a vegetarian again, however I am sometimes too cheap to buy meat. This soup is lovely to make when I want cheap ingredients and a sustaining meal. Plus, it makes a large volume so I can freeze some and enjoy it throughout the winter.

So much left over when you are only cooking for one person!

I got the idea for this recipe from a book I bought when I was a vegetarian, Italian Vegetarian Cooking by Paola Gavin. In the book there is a rice and lentil soup recipe, which is the basis of this one, and I just jazzed it up a bit. I realize that if a recipe already has lentils in it then there is really no need for black beans too, but I thought it would add more texture and depth to the soup. I also happened to have a bunch of carrots lying around so I figured I might as well add those too. The original recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes, but I only had crushed and so that’s what the recipe says. If you’d rather use diced, go right ahead. I’m sure it will still be delicious.

Since I was making this with the plan of freezing most of it, I opted to not add the rice to the entire mixture. Sometimes the rice will absorb all of the liquid and when you go to heat some up it won’t be soupy anymore. I plan on just adding some rice to it as I reheat it.

Just add a little rice when you reheat it and it will be perfect :)

An issue I had with the original recipe is that it says to simmer the lentils for an hour and a half. I guess that would depend on the kind of lentils you’re using. Since I use the Goya brand, they only really need to simmer about 20 minutes on their own. I would check what the instructions say on the packaging of whichever brand you buy before you follow this recipe.

Remember not to go crazy with salt while you’re cooking. Adding the cheese at the end will give it that extra salty and savory kick that it might seem like it’s lacking while it cooks.

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Pumpkin Stew

October in my house means it’s time for Pumpkin Stew! I don’t remember ever not having this stew, even if I do remember that I hated it when I was little. I think the prunes freaked me out, but I’m over it and now look forward to having this every year. According to my mom this is actually a recipe that my aunt used to make for my grandparents because they spent some time every October visiting them. When my grandparents started spending October in Connecticut, my grandma pined for the stew so much that my mom asked her sister for the recipe and we started a new tradition.

Stew served out of a pumpkin? Incredibly fun.

Every October we would have one day where my grandparents would come over at an ungodly hour so my grandma could help my mom make the stew while my grandpa watched baseball or let me help him with crossword puzzles. After hours of cooking, we would all sit down, I would complain about all of the weird vegetables, my brothers would tell me that the prunes were bugs, and I would only eat buttered bread dipped in the broth. The adults would drink wine and ignore us as they ate. Then my grandparents would leave with their own container of leftovers, and we would freeze the rest and eat it throughout the winter.

It’s a good thing I have gotten over my dislike of stews, especially as I just finished a course at school that was focused on braising and stewing. I was excited to go home and attempt all of the new techniques I learned. And also to annoy my family by telling them to do something and using the French term. What can I say, I’m a little sister, I’m suppose to be annoying to them. This post is kind of pic-heavy (I got excited when I found my tripod so I could take flash-free pictures), and the recipe seems long and involved, which is why we always triple it. This way we only have to put forth the effort once a year, and then have many meals to last the winter. This stew freezes well, so it’s definitely worth it. I’m going to put the original recipe here, so it’s up to you if you want to double or triple it.

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Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Soup

I decided I wanted to make soup today. After spending 9 days, 6 hours a day, in a Stocks, Sauces and Soups class and then suddenly not making soup for several days after that I had a craving to simmer, season, and strain. There are a lot of soups on the JWU recipe website, so I thought it would be fun to try one I didn’t get to make in class. I was caught between Puree of Celery Soup and the Roasted Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. Ultimately I decided on the chowder, planning on buying celery for it anyway and making the celery soup later on.

The thing with the JWU recipe, however, is that it doesn’t seem to be a chowder. When I think of “chowder” I think of a soup that has milk or cream in it. This one has none. And so I changed the name. I also didn’t feel like buying some of the ingredients. I already have yellow onions, so why bother buying a red onion and shallots? And since I have dried herbs I stuck with those instead of buying fresh. What can I say, I’m cheap! I also went with chicken broth instead of veggie stock plus veggie broth because I wanted to buy those delicious chicken broth packets from Trader Joe’s. I love that stuff!

It’s blurry, but you get the idea

The JWU recipe also had a lot of steps that I’m simply too lazy for. They probably make sense if making a huge batch of soup, but I only made like a quart and a half worth so it was unnecessary. I planned on blending the whole thing at the end with my immersion blender, so I skipped steps such as pureeing the corn before adding it in.

I also thought this would be a good Fall recipe, despite the crazy heat that’s going on. Sweet Potatoes are a pleasant, homey type of potato, and Fall is all about homey comfort. Not to mention they are freakin tasty. The soup itself turned out so deliciously that I bypassed the spoon, picked up the bowl and drank it. How barbaric of me!  :)

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Lentil Chili

I really really like culinary school. I’m learning lots of fascinating things about the intricacies of cooking (there are more cuts than just dice, chop, and slice!), I’m getting a chance to make things I’ve never made before (hello Hollandaise), and I get to hang out all day with other people who enjoy talking about food. Not to mention the dining time when I get to eat all the delicious treats the other kitchens have made! The only downside is that when I get home I’m too wiped out to bother cooking for myself. But I promised myself I would make something by the end of this week, and so here it is!

The only reason this is a lentil chili instead of a meat chili is because I happened to have a bag of lentils.

So many lentils!

My family visited over the weekend and dropped off more treats from our garden, such as jalapenos, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and therefore a chili seemed like the best use of these ingredients. I’m in finals right now for one of my labs, so this also seemed like a good chance to practice my brunoise cut with onions.

I think I need more practice…

I think the chili came out tasting quite fantastic, even though every time I taste it I notice something is missing. What could it be? Ah yes, meat. Alas, I am poor and lentils and beans are both considered good meat substitutions and I will just have to get use to them again. Remember that time I was a vegetarian for 6 years? Yea, I’ve learned since then.

It is good though, seriously.

If you’re looking for a healthy, tasty, cheap, relatively quick, vegetarian chili then this is the recipe for you! If you’re looking for something that has bacon, then just cook bacon, take the pieces out and sweat the onions in the bacon fat and crumple the bacony goodness on top later as a texture friend. Trust me.

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