Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recipes: Leftover Corned Beef Soup & Creamy Asian Turnip Bok-Choy Spinach Soup!

I *did* mention that Friend-P mentioned that it's National Soup Month, right? Suuuuuure I did!

I am, like, TOTALLY celebrating it! And - what with this frickin' Arctic Cold Weather we're having - it seems most appropo, if you ask me!

Did you know that you can basically clean-out your fridge by dumping the contents into a sauce-pan filled with broth and call it dinner???

I understand that some people already knew that. I - OTOH - did not (What can I say? I was raised by wolves!)! (Srsly! I thought the ONLY soup in the world came from a can labeled "Campbells!")

So please join me in Celebrating this Exciting New Discovery, k???

So the other night, I whipped out my trusty old Crock Pot and we celebrated St Patty's (Paddy's lesser-known cousin, Patricia) Day, early. We had Corned Beef and Cabbage and it was "Pretty Okay."

The thing about corned beef is: it's basically a crap-shoot in terms of the quality of the meat you're gonna get. I *think* it's basically the same "cut" of meat, and it's basically "cured" the same way, and I always "cook" it the same way (low and slow, in liquid)... But sometimes it comes out super-tender; sometimes it's kinda tough; and other times (like Tuesday) it's "somewhere in between." (Let's just call it "chewy!") Might have something to do with the fact that I gravitate toward the "less-expensive" package - but whatEVAH. It tasted good - it just had to be sliced thinly!

Well, Hubs is generally good for "leftovers" for one day - and that's IT. He's not real imaginative with making sandwiches, or assembling multiple ingredients (in fact - come to think of it - I think he skipped leftover CB&C altogether, this time - Hmph!). And - since I honestly don't know *how* to cook in quantities suitable for TWO - well, leftovers tend to overwhelm us most-of-the-time..!

There have been occasions where I've managed to recycle, say, a chicken into Chicken Salad and Chicken & Dumplings. Then - when the dumplings are gone - I've made Chicken Pot Pie from the remainder... Chicken's easy that way! There are LOTS of things you can make with a leftover chicken.

Corned beef? Well, not so much! You can make sandwiches, obviously (and I did!). You can reheat last night's CB&C and have the same dinner, again. Or - you can run it through a meat-grinder with potatoes and make fresh Corned Beef Hash (my dad used to make that - Mmmm!).

Well, I was totally embracing the whole "National Soup Month" thing and figured that add'l cooking-in-liquid couldn't possibly hurt, right? So I figured I'd try to make soup.

QT's Leftover Corned Beef & Cabbage Soup
Yield: Appx 4-5 generous servings (depending upon how much you had leftover, obv!)

  • Leftover Corned Beef, cut into spoon-sized chunks
  • Leftover cooked cabbage, chopped to spoon-size
  • Leftover baby carrots, cut into thirds
  • Leftover turnips (yes, I cooked the CB&C with a large cut-up turnip - instead of potatoes - and it was good!)
  • 1/2 "newly" chopped, fresh onion (b/c the leftover onion was just gnarly)
  • 1/4 of a head of fresh cabbage, chopped into 1/2-3/4" chunks
  • 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 of a bag of frozen peas + carrots (or whatever frozen veggies you happen to have on-hand)
  • 1 quart Beef broth
  • 1-2 Tbs butter
  • Smidge of Olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 C Dry red wine
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Heat the butter - with enough Olive Oil to prevent burning - in a large, heavy-bottomed pan (I used my 3-1/2 qt dutch oven). Saute your "fresh" stuff (onion and cabbage) over medium-high heat 'til it starts to limpify and get translucent. Add half of the red-wine (to de-grease the pan).
  2. Chop your leftover corned beef, cabbage, carrots, turnips into spoon-sized chunks. Once the onions/cabbage in the pot are limp and translucent, add the leftover corned beef, veggies, and canned/diced tomatoes to the pot. Continue sauteing, stirring constantly, 'til they're hot.
  3. Dump-in the Beef Broth. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally). Taste-test it. Add salt/pepper/whatever suits you.
  5. Toward the end of cooking: Add frozen peas + carrots (or whatever) (better to add the frozen stuff @ the end of cooking, so it retains it's color/flavor). Add the rest of the red wine...
  6. Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Serve hot.

It really was surprisingly delicious (and I've frozen a couple of servings for later)!

* * * * *

Okay, let's go back to the Farm-Share "Game" now, shall we?

I have, yet, ANOTHER New Love in the Vegetable Realm (Yes, I think this will be a recurring theme: "QT's Most Favorite Vegetable of the Week!"): Baby Turnips!

Again, turnips are "one of those things" that I never *ever* would have purchased of my own volition. And, in fact, Baby Turnips are something you will almost-never find in your local grocery store! But they really are delightfully tasty!

A couple of weeks ago, the Farm-Share sent-along a small bunch of Baby Turnips and - Surprise (NOTTT!!!), more Baby Bok-Choy (which will - most likely - never be named as my "New Favorite Vegetable" - but whatEVAH!).

I've already determined that I actually *do* like Baby Turnips. Although - it looks like I never posted about 'em before (:::gasp!:::). Normally, I'd quarter the baby turnips *and* chop-up the turnip-greens, and saute them in olive oil with a bit of fresh garlic and sea salt - yummmm!!!

Well, this time around, I let the turnips sit in the Crisper (aka "Rotter") too long and the greens were no longer usable.

And - what with this being "National Soup Month" and all - I figured I'd consult Google and see what (if anything) could find in terms of "Turnip Soup."

As luck would have it, I found this: A recipe for Cream of Roasted Turnip Soup with Baby Bok Choy and Five-Spices!


Well (if you hadn't figured it out by now), I *suck* at following other people's recipes. But I used this as a "starting point" and here is what I ended up with:

QT's Creamy Asian Turnip Bok-Choy Spinach Soup

Yield: 3 generous servings

  • 5 baby turnips, diced
  • 2 small heads baby bok choy, stems chopped, leaves reserved
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh spinach, de-stemmed (combine with bok choy leaves)
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh white mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 can (14 oz) chicken or vegetable broth
  • Chinese 5-spice (to taste)
  • Soy sauce (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2+ Tbs Hoisin Sauce (from the Asian Food aisle of the grocery-store)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs Sour Cream
  1. Dice the turnips into small (1/2") chunks. Chop the bok choy (white) stems into 1/4" strips. Reserve the green leaves and combine with the spinach leaves.
  2. Over medium-high heat: Saute turnips and bok choy stems in olive oil (although I think peanut oil might be a better choice), til things begin to soften.
  3. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Continue to saute 'til translucent/limp.
  4. Add the mushrooms, saute 'til lightly brown.
  5. Add the spinach/bok choy leaves and stir 'til reduced.
  6. Add the broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 'til everything is soft. Season with Chinese 5-spice, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce and black pepper (to taste).
  7. Simmer on low for 20-30 minutes 'til everything is very soft.
  8. Remove from heat. Hit it with an immersion blender 'til mostly smooth. At this point, it is going to be a *very* unappetizing shade of dark greenish-brown. Add 2 Tbs of sour cream and 1/2 cup of heavy cream to make it appear more palatable.
  9. Reheat and serve hot.
Goes nicely with a "Dark & Stormy!" Spiced rum and Ginger beer! (Ginger BEER - *not* Ginger Ale!)

To be honest, the final product looks a lot like my Creamy Leeky Spinach Mushroom Soup (I forgot to take a picture of today's recipe - but it really does look the same!). But it definitely has a more "Asian" flair to it. And - truly - it is *quite* tasty! One of my better recipes, IMHO :-D

You *do* have to "Let Go of Preconceptions" though.

See? For me, anyway, if I'm eating a "green" soup - my brain is expecting "Split Pea!" but my taste-buds are defying that! (Hubs experienced a bit of that phenomenon with the Leeky/Spinach soup!). But if you set that aside, you'll find that these are both VERY tasty soups!!!

Yep. Me = Happy! Hope you try it and like it, too!


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