; Supermarket Serenade: Frozen Herbs and Hot Soup

Friday, January 16, 2009

Frozen Herbs and Hot Soup

I can't believe with sub zero wind chills around here I've decided to write about something frozen...but, it is Favorite Food Finds Friday and chilled to the bone or not what I found is something frozen.

My favorite food find this week is....
Dorot frozen herbs!

I was so excited when I found these in the supermarket. As I have mentioned in the past, I do not have much of a green thumb so the idea of a darling row of fresh herb pots on my window sill while in theory seems simple, is really out of the question. I know that the horticulturally blessed among you spent the better part of August and September processing your fresh herbs and freezing them in ice cube trays in your freezer and for that I am envious. And while I frequently buy fresh herbs during the summer at the local farm stands and in the winter at the local supermarket, sometimes a particular herb (usually cilantro) isn't always available. So for me the idea of having little mini trays of herbs at the ready is...well, nothing short of fantastic.

Dorot is an Israeli based company selling not only packaged herbs but chopped garlic and chopped ginger as well. I didn't see the ginger at the supermarket where I purchased the herbs (Stew Leonard's) but they are also available at Trader Joe's stores so next time I am there I will have to keep an eye out.

The small cubes are easy to use, just pop them out what you need then return the small trays to the freezer. In this bone chilling weather we're having I can think of nothing better to make than soup. The recipe I'm sharing with you is for my absolute favorite winter soup. The recipe is from the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook from 2001 and while it's not low cal or low fat there are some minor adjustments you can make to make it a bit more healthful: for starters you can try exchanging evaporated skim milk for the heavy cream and leaving out the cheese. I'll confess though, since it is my very favorite I usually just make the recipe full tilt. The recipe calls for garlic (3 cubes equals 3 cloves) and parsley to be stirred in at the end and the Dorot cubes work perfectly.

Steak and Two Potato Soup
from Christmas with Southern Living 2001

1 1/2 pounds lean boneless round steak, cut into 1" cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I usually leave this out)
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups beef broth
2 cups water
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 3/4" cubes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes (about 8 ounces)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper; brown beef in batches in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove beef from pan; set aside.

Add celery add onion to pan; saute 5 minutes. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds.

Return beef to pan; add broth and 1 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour.

Add Yukon Gold potato to pan; cook, covered, 10 minutes. Add sweet potato; cook 20 minutes or until beef and potatoes are tender.

Combine flour and remaining 1/4 cup of water, stirring until smooth. Gradually stir into meat mixture; cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in cream; cook 5 more minutes. Stir in cheese and, if desired, herbs; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts. Sprinkle each serving with freshly ground pepper just before serving.

Yield: 10 cups

Super tips: I find that it is really not necessary to cook the meat in the oil, just use a well seasoned pan, non-stick pan or cooking spray. For an even richer tasting soup I will often use beef broth in place of any of the water called for in the recipe. For best results have the cheese at room temperature it makes it much easier to melt in.


Barbara Bakes said...

I love the square bowls! What a great soup for a cold winter's night.

Veggie Mom said...

The frozen herbs are such a good idea. Just the other day I bought a bunch of cilantro, only to use a tiny bit. Now I've got to quick find a Mexican recipe so the rest won't go bad!

The Blonde Duck said...

Love that soup!

Dawn said...

I've seen those and wondered how they tasted, but you seemed to like them. So I think I will try them. I don't have a green thumb either.

Allie said...

I've always wondered about those, but haven't bought it. Your soup sounds fantastic!

Grace said...

how convenient! i haven't tasted a fresh herb in many moons, so i'll be on the lookout for this!

Maria said...

I will have to look for those herbs. I love the soup bowl and the soup too!

That Girl said...

I love those frozen herbs. And the frozen garlic.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I hope the grocery stores here start carrying the frozen herbs, they look so handy. Your soup sounds and looks so savory!

Bridgett said...

Oh wow, those are so convenient since I do not have a green thumb either. It isn't that cold here lately, but this soup would work perfectly! Looks delicious.

Robin Sue said...

I use these herbs too and love them. The garlic is my favorite, it would be nice to have the ginger one too but my store does not have it! Another great find!

Janice said...

I use the frozen minced garlic cubes by Dorot as well. Trader Joe's sells them and they are so convenient! It is definitely soup weather here in New England so I'll give the soup a try.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that looks so yummy!