Category Archives: soup

SICK! Chicken Potato Spinach Soup

I’m sick. So I want soup. It follows right? When you’re sick, when you’re a kid, everyone makes you soup. I have since figured out when kids are sick parents got the night off from cooking. They gleefully opened up a can-o-crapola chicken noodle, plopping it ceremoniously in a bowl where it maintained its cylindrical  shape until the microwave coaxed it into soup form. Still happy memories of being pampered with Saltines and 7up mixed with Orange juice and a bowl of soup abound when I’m sick. Chicken soup for my soul is actually making chicken soup, so here we go. Also as a bonus, it’s so easy you can do it while deathly ill.


1/2 Kilo (1 lb) chicken thighs or breasts cut into chunks
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (10 ounce) bag fresh spinach
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot, if you can manage it,  you pathetic bastard. Toss in onions and garlic and cook until fragrant but you probably can’t smell anything, you disgusting snotty excuse for a mammal, so just cook until they are translucent.
IMG_4609Add in the chicken stock and water and bring the whole thing to a messy boil. Go get yourself a tissue. Once she’s a rollin’ and boilin’ add in the potatoes and set a timer for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium low.
IMG_4613Once the timer goes off, toss in the cut chicken and set the timer again for about 15 minutes. Simmer that puppy.
IMG_4616Once the timer goes off again garbanzo beans, spinach, and roasted pepper.
Now let it all simmer for another 10 minutes. Do what you need to do, blow your nose, get in a quick sick nap whatever.
IMG_4618Remove from heat, sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese and you’re instantly well!
Eat a bowl. Then throw it up cause you know you can’t hold down solids. Put the next bowl in the blender, silly, then drink it through a straw.

Jamaican Pumpkin Lentil Soup

You know I spent a while playing with the name of this soup. Jamaican Lentil Pumpkin soup, Lentil Jamaican Pumpkin soup, Soup Jamaican Lentil Pumpkin and nothing really worked. Maybe listing ingredients sequentially by how much of each appeared in the soup? Scrapped that, as I was unable to adequately determine how much Jamaican it contained.

I found this on yummly basically by typing in the ingredients in my fridge that looked like they were about to become sentient. I’d made Dal Baht a few days prior and had a lot of left over items which, ding ding ding, these recipes share. This is a great simple seasonal soup which only takes about an hour to make. It’s great for awkward dinner parties, moon landings, and archeological digs.

1 minced onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 piece gingerroot (2 inches, grated)
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 TBSP ground coriander
1 1/2 tsps ground cumin
1 13oz can coconut milk
1 liter chicken stock
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 sweet potato cubed
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
2 TBSP curry paste
black pepper to taste so add a lot really

Garlic and ginger love each other so once you’ve crushed and chopped them sufficiently drop them into a bowl together and really make the magic happen. Squish them together like two star-crossed lovers until you have a perfect mixture of the two which are both alike in wealth and dignity.   untitled-7949

In a grandiose gesture of good faith pull out a large cauldron, toss in your vegetable oil and onions. Stir them around for a spell until they become translucent like the skin of a Verona debutant.  Add in the lovers (garlic and ginger) being careful to continue stirring as to not allow their hot fiery love to consume them.untitled-7950Ask the poor  reluctant apothecary for  his wares. “I pay thy poverty and not thy will,” you scream at him as he hands you the coriander and cumin. Mix them into your pot and cook for another minute until you start to smell the spices on the cool night air.

Add everything else except the red curry paste. You are putting a whole mess of liquid in here so don’t be alarmed. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a medium simmer for about 35-40 minutes.

untitled-7951Test that it is done by sampling the sweet potato. If it is falling apart like the rivalry of two aristocratic families you’ve hit it on the head.

Add in your final ingredient, the curry paste and stir vigorously. If you’re not careful everyone will eat the soup without you. You’ll be left holding an empty bowl saying, “drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after?”

Anyway if everything doesn’t go your way don’t kill yourself over it



Cazuela de Vaca (Beef and Pumpkin Stew)

Worried what to do with that post-Halloween Pumpkin? Do you have nightmares of a molding orange gourd slowly becoming one with your porch? Well look no further. The Batter Junkie has a solution. Rana and I participate in a farmer’s coop so we get lots of fresh veggies every week. Once again, owing chiefly to the season, we have received a pumpkin! What to do? Well how about a little Chilean dish. This is something I found on the intarwebs by simply searching for the ingredients I had around the house. I will be honest though, if another pumpkin comes next week, I’m going all headless horsemen on it’s ass.
700 gram (1 1/2 lbs) beef cubed
1 liter (32 ounce) beef broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup polenta
8 red potatoes cubed
1 onion diced
700 gram (1 1/2 lbs) slice of pumpkin (calabaza sí estas en España)
2 ears corn (I could not get corn fresh so I used one can of corn from Whole foods)
1 carrot sliced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 stalk celery chopped
1 leek chopped
1 tsp minced fresh oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste (you can be liberal with these as there is a lot of stew)
1/2 cup or so of coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

So here be how ya does it. Cube the beef and toss it in a large soup pot. Pour in the water and beef broth and boil baby boil! Once it all comes to a boil lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and relax.

Oh, wait you have to cut everything, you can’t relax. Come on man do I have to tell you everything? Set the timer for 1 hour and chop the rest of your veggies.

After the beef has simmered for an hour in it’s beefy brothiness, it is ready for the veggies.

Stir in the polenta, potatoes and onion. Simmer that puppy for another 15 minutes. This will insure that the potatoes cook.

Now add in all of the other vegetables saving out the cilantro and oregano. Simmer those veggies for about 15 more minutes or until they are your desired tenderness. If the veggies start singing Otis Redding, they are ready. Make sure to add enough water to cover the veggies just barely. The hour of simmering the meat may evaporate a lot of liquid.

The last 5 minutes before you serve add in the fresh oregano. Now remove from heat, pour into a bowl and serve with fresh chopped cilantro on top! Disfruta!

Labels: dinner, pumpkin, soup, potatoes,

Pumpkin Soup, you slut.

It’s that time of year again when everyone tries their damnedest to look like something + prostitute. Yes I’m talking about that ever mutable holiday, All Hallows Eve where we as a nation have decided that regardless of its inherent ridicularity, showing as much skin as possible the day before November makes irrefutable sense. Well, once you’ve spent a night whoring it up and down the neighborhood for “candy” you might be warmed by this pleasantly festive soup.

6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
4 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup of cream (this is totally optional and I did not add it)

So really the hardest part about this is staying sober while you’re waiting for it to boil. I used fresh pumpkin so I had to actually puree (not just a noun) my pumpkin. Once that was done I literally tossed all of the ingredients into a pot,

Brought it to a boil,

turned it down to a simmer,

and went about my extraordinarily merry way for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes you can throw in a thickener if you are looking for that bisque-like quality, which I really wasn’t because I was well, all bisqued out. (add in some cream if you so desire.)

Now the original recipe said to puree this mutha at the halfway point. I didn’t really see the point because I like onions but if you have weak digestion or a penchant for baby food, go for it.

Set it to simmer again for an additional 30 minutes.

When that timer goes off you’ll be in sexy Halloween costume heaven slurping it up like sexy Catwoman and if you spill any you can wipe it up like a sexy maid, and if you throw up afterward because your sexy costume got you oodles of free shots, then you can clean it up like a sexy plumber.

Oh look out it’s sexy batman.

Happy Halloween,



French Garlic Soup and Garlic Bread

Garlic, ah the sweet aroma that from 100 meters away can entice, entrance and invigorate. This recipe will have anyone eating out of your hand in minutes. Clarification: they won’t be eating the soup out of your hands as that would be logistically foolhardy and probably cause serious burns. It’s just an expression, come on, get with the program. Jeeze. Moving along.

You don’t even really have to like garlic for this soup to be utterly awesome. It takes on a mellowed out flavor because you roast the garlic in the oven for a while. So if you have a garlic hater in your life, (I would suggest getting rid of them, but that’s me) try this out and see what they say then. I first discovered this recipe while in Turkey, though it is French, and my mom helped me perfect it.

P.S. I know the recipe seems long but once you make it once, it is quite easy to repeat.

Ingredients for Garlic Soup:
4 heads of garlic (yes, the whole head, intact)
1/4 cup or so of olive oil
1 liter of water/ chicken stock
One package for fresh thyme (or rosemary or your favorite spice.)
about 1/4 cup flour
1/2 package thin egg noodles (don’t add too many)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley on top.

Ingredients for Garlic Bread:
4-6 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 fresh baguette (or whatever bread you prefer)

Turn your oven on to 200 C (400 F)

The Soup!

The real genius here is the way you roast the garlic. The first thing you need to do it cut the heads of garlic in half, horizontally. Look at the picture to see how it is done (thanks Kim’s hands). Don’t peel them at all for the skin will act as a protective covering for the roasting procedure.

Croatian Fish Soup

Many of you may know that over the past two weeks the Batter Junkie has been forced to compromise between his two favorite past times, Cooking and Traveling. (Well, at least his two favorite PG-rated past times) Rana and I spent the last two weeks in the intolerably wonderful care of Ivana, Ines and Amela not to mention many other extremely kind Croatians. Can I just for a moment plug the country? Ok, well I’m going to anyway. Croatia is a beautiful, amazing, yummying and loving place. The people there also have a strong connection to the sea as Croatia is not only mostly coastline, but consists of an archipelago of over 1000 islands along its coast. Yeah, 1000, and I only got to explore one!

That brings us to our recipe, which comes straight from the ancestral home of Ivana, fish soup. Early one morning Ivana went to the store without us, we may have been sleeping, and got fresh fish, caught that morning on the coast. This soup hinges on the freshness of the fish. It can be made with frozen fish but I imagine it is not as nice.

2 medium sized white fish (I assume that any fish will do but this will drastically change the taste)
5-6 cups of water
1 red onion (chopped)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic (but you know the Batter Junkie, he always puts in more garlic!)
1 grated carrott
1 head of parsley
1/2 cup white rice
1/2-1 cup of tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

If you’ve never cooked with whole fish before, do not despair, this is relatively easy. The first thing to check with fish is their eyes. If they are milky white, toss them in the garbage, preferably outside and down wind. If they have a clear eye they are most likely fresh.

In a large pot, place the water (I would start with about 5 cups) the fish and a quartered onion.

Boil for about 5-8 mintues. This will infuse the fish with the onion and cook it nicely. The fish will be slightly firm to the touch. Remove the fish and onions and SAVE THE WATER! The water is your soup base. Discard the onions and clean the cooked meat out of the fish and reserve it for later. Toss the fish heads unless you can come up with a creative way to use them.

In a fry pan, place the garlic and olive oil. Fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes.

Heat up the pot again with the fish broth in it. Add the carrots, parsley and fried garlic. Toss in the white rice and bring the whole thing to a low boil and let it sit for about 20 minutes. This will cook the rice. About 5 mintues from the end of the boil, add in the fish again and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with bread and a salad if you really want to complete the meal.

Thank you Ivana for this fantastic, traditional, fresh meal! It was such a joy seeing you, Amela, Toni and friends in Zagreb! We miss you already.

Enjoy junkies!

Written in Joe Bar, Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Labels: Croatian, fish, soup, main

Gazpacho – Andalucia style

There are as many types of gazpacho as there are fish in the sea, grains of sand in the desert, large animals with teeth of which I am afraid, you pick your favorite metaphor. This cold vegetable soup is traditional in the Andalucia region of Southern Spain and all over Central and South America. I learned how to make this many years ago from my adorable host mother, Teresa when I studied in Granada, Spain. I have added a few touches over the years but essentially, this is her recipe.
Warning, making this can cause incidents of extreme summer-y deliciousness.
2 slices French bread—dissolved in 2 cups water
1/2 English cucumber
1 bell pepper quartered
2 cloves garlic
7 small tomatoes
2 Tbsp vinegar
2+ Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cumin
A blender of some sort.
You don’t need a blender but it helps. Just like “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people but the gun helps.” I have a blending wand like I’m some sort of crazed kitchen fairy, willing to grant your taste buds three wishes. Something like that.
This is another one of those recipes that will really stretch the limits of your culinary skills. In a bowl large enough to encompass the mass of vegetables you’ve collected, pour two cups of water and toss in two large chunks of french bread. If you have a blender you can do the bread in a smaller bowl.
Leave this be for about 10 minutes so the bread can really soak up the water. 
Meanwhile (back at the ranch) skin half of the English cucumber and the garlic as well. Cut the tomatoes and bell pepper into large chunks. This is not necessary but it will make you feel like you are actually cooking. If you don’t need that kind of affirmation, simply toss all of the vegetables and the rest of the ingredients into a blender, blend, and you’re done.
The oil, vinegar and spices are all to taste. You will find that as you make this you will have to add a little more or less of things based on the juicyness of the veggies. I love the Moroccan flavor that the cumin gives this dish so I sometimes add a touch more. Garnish with a little pepper or cumin.
Enjoy this on the back porch, your terrace or really anywhere nice in the summer time. It can be eaten as a main dish or a starter soup. We ate it as a starter with Simone and Ines and then finished the left over parmigiana from last night.
Living and eating well! Until next time.
Labels: soup, Spanish, vegetarian, main, side