Category Archives: soup/ stew

My Ordinary Chili and Its Extra-Ordinary Variation

Usually the chili I cook is based on beef ground meat and contains green pepper, red kidney beans, tomatoes and corn. Recently I tried a variation with chicken thighs and white kidney beans and added some cumin. I loved this change. It inspired me to explore even more. So watch out for more chili variations to come or add your favourite one in a comment.

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 lb medium ground meat                         (1-2 lbs chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil                                        (olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 garlic glove, minced                                 (3 garlic gloves)
  • 1 large green pepper, cubed
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (or more)
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. oregano                                                 (2 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. cumin)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 can red kidney beans (with liquids)    (1 can of white kidney beans)
  • 1 big can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 can corn (with liquids).


Heat the oil and brown the meat. Add onion, garlic and pepper, saute for 5-10 minutes. (For the chicken variant: saute onion, garlic and pepper first, then add the chicken and saute until it is no longer pink on the outside.) Stir in tomato paste, salt and pepper and the wine. Cook until the liquid is evaporated. Add the remaining ingredients except for the corn and simmer for about 40 min. When the rice is done add the corn and heat it up.


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Filed under easy, for a crowd, inexpensive, soup/ stew

Beef Barley Soup

The recipe for this winter stew is from my dear friend Tina Bornman. We had it for dinner on Monday. It can easily be transformed into a vegetarian variant with lentils.

Once we served it for a crowd of 90 for lunch at church preparing three batches. Surprisingly each batch turned out very different from the other depending on the taste buds of the chef. Amounts for 30 servings are included in brackets.


  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)                                      (6 lb, 3kg)
  • 1 cup chopped onions                                                                            (7-8 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic                                                                  (7-8 tbsps)
  • 6 cups of beef or chicken broth                                                         (11.5 litres)
  • ½ cup pearl barley                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced turnip                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced carrot                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced, peeled potato                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste                                                                       (1/3 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon thyme (and/or bay leaf,  marjoram, oregano)     (4 teaspoons)
  • black pepper


In a large pot, sauté ground beef, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked and onions are soft. Drain any fat. Then add beef brooth and pearl barley. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add vegetables and potatoes, tomato paste and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tina comments:

This is the basic recipe. Some things I’ve tried are:

  • Use different vegetables
  • Omit meat and add ½ cup green lentils with the barley.
  • Use 3 cups tomato juice and 3 cups broth, and omit the tomato paste.
  • If you rinse the barley in cold water several times before adding, the soup stays more clear-looking, and is not as thick.
    My family likes the thicker soup so I always just throw it in.

Thanks for sharing, Tina.

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Filed under easy, for a crowd, soup/ stew, winter

Lemony Lentil Soup

This is a recipe that my dear friend Claire Funk shared with me. It has been waiting on my fridge for quite a while before I finally tried it last night. I love the amazing flavour!

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped.
Rinse lentils. Heat oil in large pot, add onions and saute until translucent. Add carrots, garlic, salt and pepper, chili flakes, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves. Saute until carrots are tender. Add stock and lentils and simmer until lentils are soft. Remove the bay leaves and puree the soup if you like. Add lemon juice and lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with feta and dill.
I served this delicious soup with fresh bread and a fruit salad for dessert.

This interesting variation of the recipe adds greens like spinach or kale at the end.

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Filed under soup/ stew, vegetarian

Sweet and Sour Lentil Stew

This is one of my favourite vegetarian soup Monday recipes for the winter. To reduce the total cooking time I soak the lentils in water for half a day and use my pressure cooker. It only takes 14 minutes on high to finish the cooking part.


  • Oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of leek, washed and cut in rings
  • 2-4 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or 2tbsp. vinegar)
  • 250g brown lentils
  • 4 medium-size potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 small apples, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp. sultana raisins
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • salt, pepper, thyme, 1 glove.
  • 4 tbsp. sour cream.


Heat the oil in a large pot. Add chopped onion, garlic, leek and parsley and sauté until onions are tender. Add wine and cook until evaporated. Add lentils, apple and potato cubes, raisins, broth and spices to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45-60 minutes until lentils are tender. Add sour cream and more water if needed. Serve with fresh bread.

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Filed under soup/ stew, vegetarian, winter

Leek Potato Soup

This is a recipe that my mom-in-law makes. She picked it up in her favourite cooking show with French chef Paul Baucuse. It is easy to cook, quick to prepare and inexpensive. I have tried a couple of variations by replacing part of the leeks with other vegetables like carrots or squash or a mix of both. All turned out well. Some Wieners cut into cubes make a good meat addition.


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3-4 leak stalks, washed and cut in thin stripes (discard the upper green parts)
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1.5 l water
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, minced.


Sauté the leeks and the carrots in butter for 10 min. Add potatoes and water. Boil on high without the lid for 15 min. Season with salt and pepper. Add sour cream and blend everything with a hand blender. Sprinkle with parsley.

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Filed under easy, fall, inexpensive, season, soup/ stew, vegetarian, winter