Replacing tomato in soup?

November 12, 2020

Short answer:

  • deglaze your pan with lemon juice, after sauteeing aromatics
  • use a bit of chopped spinach in the soup to balance the lemon
  • stir in white miso toward the end of cooking

Long answer:

I made lentil soup today, and it tastes like it has tomatoes in it. I am nightshade-intolerant, so I don’t add tomatoes to anything, but I remembered that a while ago, I got a question about how to replace tomatoes and/or tomato paste in soup, which I didn’t answer because I didn’t know what to do.

[Full disclosure: I’ve been out of the nightshade-eating game for well over 10 years now, so my determination of tomato-like flavor could be off. My nightshade-eating husband said the soup did not taste particularly tomato-y to him, but had a nice umami flavor, and he recommended half of whatever was the “zing,” which I’m assuming was the lemon – see recipe below.]

Today, I made soup to use up a bunch of random stuff, and the soup came out amazing, so I thought I’d share.

Cook in heavy-bottom, oven-safe pan
makes 6 servings

  • 3 TBS pork fat or ghee (I used pan drippings from last night’s pork chops)
  • 1/2 cup tasso ham, trimmed and diced
  • 3 large leeks, trimmed and diced
  • 1 small lemon (juice only) – [husband suggested 1/2 lemon’s juice would be better]
  • 1 cup raw butternut squash, trimmed, peeled, de-seeded, diced (if you have leftover already-cooked squash, I’m sure it would be fine)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb fresh spinach, well-washed, well-drained, chopped (if you have some that is already cooked with excess liquid squeezed out, that’s fine, but the amount would be around 1 packed cup)
  • 2 cans Bioitalia Organic Lentils (14 oz / 400 g each), well-rinsed (These are the only canned lentils I will use – if I didn’t have these, I’d just cook the lentils myself – I don’t know why these are so good, but they just are.)
  • 1 Bonafide Frontier Blend Bone Broth, 24 fl oz (or your own bone broth – just note the ingredients in this bone broth so get the flavor right – also, for you no-nightshaders, this is a safe broth)
  • 2 TBS white miso (I used Miso Master Organic Mellow White Miso)

Sauté diced leeks over medium heat, and ham in pork fat until leeks are translucent and fragrant, and there just starts to be some browning on the bottom of the pan.

Deglaze pan with fresh lemon juice, stirring to get all browned bits incorporated.

Add butternut squash, carrots, spinach, and continue stirring, until everything is coated nicely. If you need moisture in the pan, add a little more fat, or a little bit of stock, so nothing burns.

Then, making sure the lentils are drained and rinsed, add them to the pot. Add the stock as well. Pre-heat oven to 300ºF. Stir everything in pan well, and (still over medium heat) bring to a boil.

Once soup gets to a boil, shut off heat on stove. Stir in miso, incorporating it well throughout the soup (you might need to break up the miso a bit). Then, (optional) put the pan, uncovered, in the oven for approximately 30 minutes.

You can just eat the soup after it’s cooked for a while on the stove, but the low, slow cooking in the oven really tenderizes the ham chunks, thickens the soup, and brings the flavors together really nicely. When I took it out, it was more flavorful than it was on the stove, and it was very thick, like a stew. I’ll probably add more broth or some water when I reheat it again.

NOTE: I used a 5.5-Qt All Clad D5 dutch oven to cook this in. <— the link goes to an amazon page where the dutch oven is $384.95 at the time of this writing. I just want you to see what it looks like. I just bought mine through HomeandCookSales for $182.80 in Sept 2020, and I love it! HomeandCookSales runs “VIP Facotry Seconds” sales for All-Clad and other brands, and while it’s hit or miss what they’ll have, they’re totally legit. I mention this pan specifically, because the D5 line is made in America (some All-Clad is, and some isn’t), AND because the D5 indicates there are 5 layers of metal (alternating aluminum and steel), so it’s a heavy-weight pan (things don’t burn as easily), it’s oven-safe, and the lid fits nice and tight (great for braising). If you can get one of these things on sale, DO IT!!!!


How do you make bone broth?

February 20, 2013

I make it slowly.  I don’t use just bones and joints (which are necessary to get the minerals and collagen you need to have a true bone broth).  I add a lot of meat and aromatics for extra flavor because I drink it like coffee and use it in a lot of dishes I make.  Also, I try to use up leftovers (like mushroom and parsley stems) and ingredients that I won’t be using before they go bad.  I never use cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts or potatoes in a stock because they ruin it.

In my latest chicken bone broth I used:

Top row, left to right:
Fresh chicken parts that I didn’t use in a recent recipe, frozen chicken parts and leftover bones, leftover bones from the recent recipe (after I ate it).

Bottom row, left to right:
Pure Indian Foods brand ghee, 2 diced onions, chopped leftover shiitake mushroom stems (with 2 diced carrots under them), chopped fresh ginger, chopped fresh garlic, 3 fresh bay leaves, fresh oregano, 2 stalks chopped celery, leftover parsley – mostly stems.

I also add white wine (I’ve had good luck with Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay – it’s cheap and works well in my stock)  and plenty of filtered water.

My Bone Broth Ingredients

My Bone Broth Ingredients

I melted a few tablespoons of ghee in a 12 quart stock pot over medium-high heat and start my sautéing.


Sautee the onions in ghee until they are translucent, then add mushroom stems until fragrant, then carrots.

Now it’s time to start heating up the water to add to the stock later.

Sauté 2

Add the oregano, bay, ginger and garlic. Sauté only long enough for the garlic to become pleasantly fragrant, and no longer. Browned or burned garlic will ruin the stock.

You may need to add more ghee if you weren’t liberal enough with it in the beginning.

Sauté 3

I add the celery last and mix throughly.

Add in the fresh chicken.

Browning the chicken

Add the fresh chicken, pressing it skin down into the pan to encourage browning and some fat release.

If I had thawed the frozen stuff, I would add it in after the first round of meat browned. The more brown (not burned) bits you have on the bottom, the more flavorful the broth.  When the chicken starts browning, stir everything around a bit and adjust heat (if you need to) to make sure nothing is burning.

Browning the chicken 2

Look for a good amount of browned (not burned) parts on the bottom. Time for deglazing!

Add wine to a nice hot pan and stir, scraping up the browned bits to mix into the liquid.


Add wine. Be liberal. Good life advice, I think.

This is where I would add any of the frozen parts and leftover bones from cooked food.  The cooking off of the wine will help to heat those up.  Mix them in once they’ve been warmed up.

A little extra chicken browning

The remaining bones get to heat up and the rest of the chicken gets a chance to brown.

I add the hot water, a kettle-full at a time until the the pot is about 2/3 full.  Then I stir lightly to make sure nothing is left on the bottom of the pan.

Water is added

Water is added. Bring to a light boil and immediately shift the heat to simmer. Let the waiting begin!

Many people add a tablespoon or so of vinegar into the pot at this point to help extract the minerals and collagen from the bones.  If I have it, I will add apple cider vinegar, though it doesn’t really have an effect on the taste.  If you add too much water and/or you boil too furiously, your broth will not gel up after cooling , as a good bone broth should.  I like to partially cover the pot for the long, slow simmer to keep the heat in and to make sure I don’t over evaporate.  I want a high yield!

I don’t usually touch the stock during this time (8-12 hours).  At the end of the simmering time, most of the joints and collagen should be rendered into the stock and the bones should be brittle or at least break easily.

Strain the stock and put into glass jars.  Leave ample space between the broth and the jar lid if you are freezing it, as the broth will expand.  Let the jars sit for an hour (uncovered) before putting them into the refrigerator or freezer.  (Cooks Illustrated tells us that an hour is optimal in The Science of Good Cooking, p. 101.)

High yield, great taste!

I will drink most of this broth within the week, but risotto and some delicious sauces will be made, and a jar or two may actually make it into the freezer.

Remember to heat the broth to boiling when you use it, and if you used organic, pastured chickens, eat the fat!  It’s wonderful for you!

NOTE: If you want to speed up the extraction of minerals from the bones, besides adding a tablespoon of vinegar during the simmering phase, you can also hack up the bones and joints prior to cooking.  Also, if I had them, I would add more backs, necks, giblets and feet to this stock as well, as they are great sources of flavor, collagen and minerals.

Recipe for chia pudding?

May 7, 2012

My dear friend Marcy, just texted me to get my chia pudding recipe!  Natasha had just asked me for it a few days prior!  Fate has brought this recipe for chia pudding to you!  I could not escape blogging about it for much longer!  Please note: my recipe is extremely plain.  Google around to find some more interesting recipes.

All amounts are based on the amount of total coconut (meat and water) you have.  See instructions below.

  • Chia seeds (I usually order them from Natural Zing, Live Superfoods, or buy Navitas brand at the store)
  • Fresh coconut meat
  • Fresh coconut water
  • Dates (or sweetener of your choice)
  • Cashews (optional)
  • Spices (such as vanilla – I love to put freshly grated nutmeg in, but that’s not to everyone’s liking)

Put the amount of coconut meat and coconut water you want to use in your blender (use meat and water in approximately equal proportion).  Note how many ounces of coconut you have total and add the dates to the blender [I use 1 date for every 8 or so oz of coconut (meat and water together)] and add the cashews to the blender (you don’t really need the cashews – it’s fine without them – but if you are adding them, add about 15 for every 8 oz of coconut).  Blend this until it is perfectly smooth.

Put a layer of chia seeds in a glass container with a lid (use about 2-3 TBS per 8 oz of total coconut).  You’ll be putting this container in your refrigerator for a few hours to overnight, so that the pudding will set.

Perspective on amount of chia seeds to blended liquid.

Pour the blended mixture over the chia seeds.  It should seem like there is a lot more liquid than chia seeds.  With a spoon, mix the liquid and the seeds together in the container.

Chia seeds and blended liquid mixed – side view.

Chia seeds and blended liquid mixed – top view.

You can mix your spices in now, or wait to sprinkle them on the finished pudding.  Put your covered container in the refrigerator for 3 hours to overnight and mix it up when you can.  The chia seeds will plump and absorb much of the liquid, and your chia pudding is ready for eating!

Your pudding may look a bit like this after it thickens up and you stir it.

Chia pudding is a lovely breakfast, and like revenge, it’s best served cold.  Yes, the kid likes it – although I have to blend it again for him, so he can’t feel the texture of the chia seeds.


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