Food to Keep You Warm

Now that the weather is changing (at least it is in Pennsylvania), I enjoy making food that is warm and comforting. The first things that come to mind for me are soups and stews.

Soups and stews are convenient and wonderful for a number of reasons. First of all, they are one pot dinners. I don't have to make anything to go with them (usually) and there is minimal cleanup. Second of all, I can easily double a recipe and freeze the leftovers for another week. Soups with a cream base don't freeze well, but almost all other soups do. Third of all, they are often very well balanced and healthy meals. There's usually at least one veggie involved and, many times, the other ingredients aren't very high in fat. Finally, they make a great lunch the next day as they reheat beautifully.

I have plenty of soup and stew recipes that I've made over the past few years. Here are some new ones I've tried in the last couple of weeks.

Shrimp and Chorizo Stew
~This is absolutely filling and delicious~

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 oz. Spanish chorizo, casings removed, sliced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup canned whole plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, plus 1/2 cup juice from the can
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the chorizo, paprika, and 1 tsp salt and cook until the oil turns deep red, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes (reserve the juice), the bay leaves, thyme and oregano and cook 1 more minute.
  4. Add the potatoes, 2 cups water, the tomato juice, and 2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the kale and cook until the potatoes and kale are tender, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the shrimp and simmer just until they curl and turn pink, about 3 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and ladle the stew into bowls.
Recipe from the October 2010 edition of Food Network Magazine

This next recipe seemed like one I wouldn't like at first glance. I don't mind coconut, but I don't love it. Once I read through the recipe, I realized that it was made with coconut milk which is a bit more subtle than coconut flakes. I also have an on again/off again kind of relationship with carrots. Sometimes they work for me and sometimes I find them disgusting. I decided to throw caution to the wind and just try this recipe. I liked it a lot, but I don't think I would have liked it as much without bread to balance out the strong flavors. I heated up some Naan bread that I bought frozen at Trader Joe's. Yum!!

Coconut Shrimp Soup
~This Thai recipe is packed with flavor~

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb carrots (6 to 9 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 oz angel hair pasta
  • 1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Coarse salt (Kosher)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. Heat the oil in a large (3 quart) saucepan over medium-low heat (I used a Dutch oven). Add the ginger, garlic, and the pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  2. Add the carrots, coconut milk, and 3 cups water. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and 2 tbsp water until smooth; add to the pot. Bring to a boil.
  3. Break the pasta in half; add to the pot. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the pasta is al dente and the carrots are just tender (about 3 or 4 minutes).
  4. Add the shrimp; stir until opaque, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lime juice; season with salt. Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Great Food Fast by Everday Food (A Martha Stewart Living publication)

We all know how much I love Pam Anderson (no, not that Pamela Anderson). My parents gave me one of her cookbooks for my birthday. It's called The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great. I'm really enjoying it because she gives great tips for eating healthy without sacrificing flavor. I needed a quick recipe that used most pantry ingredients last week and I knew Pam would have one for me. This soup was fast, easy, and delicious served with tortilla chips for dipping.

Creamy Chili-Corn Soup with Chicken and Black Beans
~Using a rotisserie chicken makes this even faster~

  • 2 tsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) creamed corn
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, drained
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (I hate cilantro, so I used Italian parsley)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, heat oil and garlic over medium-high heat until garlic starts to sizzle. Add chili powder and cumin and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add corn, tomatoes, broth, beans, chiles, and chicken. Bring to ta boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in cilantro, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Yes, it's really that simple. It's also only 377 calories per 2-cup serving.

I will certainly continue to try new recipes for soups and stews throughout these cold months. When I come across some good ones, I'll do my best to share them!