Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pasta & Bean Soup with Smoked Fish for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I found the recipe for this week's soup in a newsletter for Vital Choice Seafood from which I have ordered wild salmon and other seafood. I saw this recipe for Pasta & Bean Soup with Smoked Fish, a different take on a pasta e fagioli, and thought it sounded interesting. The recipe uses smoked sablefish but says that you can substitute with salmon or other smoked fish so with a trip to Whole Foods fish counter, I ended up with some smoked black cod and some local smoked swordfish. Served with a slice of pan con tomate or grilled bred rubbed with garlic and tomato it was a delicious dinner.

Pasta/Bean Soup with Smoked Fish
From Vital Choice Seafood, adapted from a recipe by J.M. Hirsch. 
(Makes 4 servings)

3 Tbsps organic extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp organic cayenne pepper
Leaves from one sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp chopped organic rosemary)
1 large yellow onion, diced
15-ounce can navy beans, drained
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups ditalini (or other small) pasta
8 ounces (2 fillet portions) smoked fish like sablefish, salmon or swordfish
Sea salt and organic black pepper, to taste

Heat a large saucepan to medium, and add the oil, garlic, cayenne, rosemary leaves, and onion. Sauté onion about 8 minutes (do not burn). Add the beans and broth, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the soup is chunky smooth, return to the saucepan and stir well. Add the pasta and return the soup to a simmer. Break the fish into bite-size chunks, discarding any bones. Add the fish to the soup and simmer until the pasta is cooked and the fish is heated through, about 5 minutes.

Notes/Results: GoodThis is a very rich, thick and slightly decadent soup with a slight kick from the cayenne pepper and a smokiness from the smoked fish. For my soup, I ended up pureeing one can of navy beans and then adding an additional can when I put in the pasta. I couldn't find the ditalini pasta anywhere so I used some mini "wagon wheels" instead. I also added the juice of one lemon to add a bit of acidity to the soup. Although it is so rich, I wouldn't eat this soup often, I would make it again. 

The pan con tomate or tomato bread was the perfect pairing with the soup. Just brush a piece of good bread with a little olive oil and grill it on both sides. Then rub the cut end of a garlic clove all over the bread and then the cut side of a tomato (or if you are like me and only have little baby roma tomatoes, you can pulverize them in your mini-chop and spread it on the bread). Finally drizzle a bit more olive oil on the bread and sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Let's see who is in the Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays Kitchen this week:

Graiziana from Erbe in Cucina went with an Indian favorite this week. She says, "Daal is one of my favourite indian dishes: it's a legume spiced soup made with every kind (and colour!) of lentils. I tried Madhuram's Zucchini Daal from the blog Madhuram's Eggless Cooking, that uses also zucchini and black mustard. Madhuram uses cooked Toor Dal, in my recipe you will also find the direction to cook it."

Looking for the perfect lettuce wraps gave Alisa of One Frugal Foodie this gorgeous Creamy Thai Tomato Soup. Alisa says, "I decided to go with a different inspiration, one with a tomato-y base. I used a recipe as my general guide, and all seemed to be going well, until I added the coconut milk. Way, way too much. The seasonings were so diluted in the sauce that I knew the remaining chunks of veggies and meat wouldn’t be flavorful enough on their own. I was about to give in, serve them in the lettuce wraps, and chalk it up as another mediocre attempt when something compelled me to just give the sauce a little taste to see if it was worth salvaging in some other way. IT WAS DELICIOUS. I seriously impressed myself. Not wanting to waste a drop, I added more light coconut milk and served it up as a chunky soup / stew. We licked our bowls clean within mere minutes."

Kait from Pots and Plots says, "When I called for inspiration last week on what I could do with leftover tomato paste, my Twitter pal Mamastephf was kind enough to send her recipe for White Bean-Turkey Chili. It sounded divine and pretty light, so of course I had to make it. I did make a few changes based on what I had on hand and adapted it to the crock pot for Thoughtless Thursday. The end result? Big yum! So this was definitely a recipe I have to share for Souper Sunday over at Kahakai Kitchen."

Welcome to Libby from Cooking with Libby, joining us for the first time with her Libby's Homemade Chicken Soup. She says, "For the past few days, everyone in my family has been sick. Either we have caught some kind of cold virus or we all decided to come down with sinus infections at the same time. In any event, this soup was on my list of things to I made it last night...sore throat and all. I don't regret making it because the moment I started eating it, I felt 10 times better! There is something about homemade chicken soup that is so comforting and healing."

Another new face this week is Sylwia from Unsifted. Sylwia made a Broccoli Red Pepper Cheddar Chowder for her daughter who got pushed down at school and ended up with a very sore mouth. Sylwia says, "Since this incident she of course can't eat all the things that she normally would, so I have to be creative with what I serve her...It seems that soup is a good solution. Olivia loves cheddar-broccoli soup so I decided to make a variation of it for her. This recipe comes from Gourmet Magazine, December 2001 issue. It was a nice variation of the classic flavors. I liked the addition of red pepper and potato. It was a truly delightful soup! You will really love it if you are a fan of cheddar-broccoli." Hope Olivia is feeling better. 

Back with a Thai-Style Chicken Soup is Debby from A Feast for the Eyes. Debby says, "I found this particular recipe in Cook's Illustrated in 2007, and I have made this several times-- always with great results. What I like about this version is that you don't need to find an exotic market to find the ingredients. This soup comes really close to the authentic Tom Ga Ka Thai soup from my favorite restaurant. We love it! It's very simple to make, and the red curry paste gives a nice little kick to the soup."

Kim from Stirring the Pot cooks so many Tyler recipes her husband has given him a nickname,"T-Flo"  Kim says, "Tonight I made T Flo's Crispy Asian Chicken Salad. It was easy and didn't require a sink full of dirty dishes! (Bonus points for Tyler) I loved everything about this salad and found it a welcome change to all the heavy Italian dishes, desserts and home cooking. I love the crunch of the wonton crisps, the bite of the sesame seeds, and the overall appeal of all the colors in this salad. It is a unique salad that is sure to please. I love the fact that I can feel good about eating this week's T Flo recipe."

Chaya from Sweet and Savory Says It All is busy cooking for the jewish holiday but managed to cook Paula Dean's Potato Salad. Chaya says, "Tyler Florence has a top notch potato salad and I should make it again but this also looks delicious. It is more fun to try new recipes so Paula wins - this time. A whole month of holy days......cook, cook, cook.... My blog will be full soon."

The Big Buffalo Chicken Caesar Salad was on the menu for Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. Natashya says, "This salad has classic pub flavours of buffalo chicken and a lemony caesar vinaigrette. My recipe serves two dinner sized salads, but can easily be multiplied. Perfect with a cold beer! Cook up a couple of extra chicken breasts at the same time, they are handy to have in the fridge for quick sammies, salads, pizzas or pastas."

Joanne at Eats Well with Others loves her brie and homemade cranberry sauce too and she combined them into this Cranberry Chutney and Brie Sandwich. Joanne says, "If you know me, you know about my obsession with all things that involve brie cheese. My favorite way to eat it is baked and smothered in cranberry sauce. All that being said, just popping a wheel of brie into the oven with some cranberry sauce and then expecting myself to exercise any kind of self control over not eating the whole thing is a ludicrous suggestion. So I made it into a sandwich."

In addition to her chicken soup, Libby from Cooking with Libby also made Cooking Light's Monte Cristo Sandwiches this week. She says, "At first glance, it really looks like french toast. Once you take your first bite into it, you will find out quick that it is nothing like french toast. Of course, even though they were good, my husband was quick to point out that they are no substitute for the *real* Monte Cristo sandwiches that you can purchase at restaurants such as Bennigan's. I was quick to remind him that the recipe did come from a healthy cookbook, which is why it tastes a little on the *lighter* side :)"

And there you have it--this weeks wonderful dishes. Thanks to everyone who joined in. If you have a soup, salad, sandwich or combo of any, and want to share it, click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all the details.

Have a great week!


  1. Everything looks great! Delicious roundup...I could really use a warm bowl of soup right now...

  2. This is so much fun! I love seeing what everyone else has made. ALL of these look great. As soon as the temps dip down a bit, I'll be in full soup & stew mode. Would you believe we're expecting a heat wave? Salads coming up!

  3. Great roundup Deb! There were a lot of tasty dishes this week.

  4. Hi Deb - I'm new to blogging and am trying also to post a soup on Sundays. Just found out about your site! Too late for this week but feel free to keep one of my soups in mind for next! :)

    I'll definitely be back to try some of these soups as I move through the winter.

  5. Lots of great soups and sammies. I am in the mood for Thai now!
    I had no idea that so many fish were available smoked. I have only seen salmon and trout here. Totally wild.

  6. A great bunch, this week, as always. I must line up these recipes.

    I am looking forward to the cooler weather and soup time. Hopefully, I will discover some good ones to share.

    Thanks for getting mine in.

  7. I love that you pureed some of the beans in this to make the soup thicker and richer. Sounds like some good flavors. Love the round-up! All the soups are getting so much heartier now...

  8. Great recipes and round up! Thanks for including me this week :)

  9. Awesome line-up! Heading over to the other Thai soup now. I am so excited for soup season!

  10. I know I sound boring. I saw the same thing each week you post the round-up. Just once could you mess up so I could say something pithy like "needs work." Till then I'll have to stick to the same ole same ole, "Great round-up, Deb.

  11. Your soup looks really hearty and delicious! I'm so happy that fall brings with it the perfect weather to enjoy such warming meals! Gorgeous round-up!

  12. Awesome round-up! The pasta & bean soup sounds terrific especially with the smoked fish, yum!


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