Tag Archives: soup

A NEW Entrée Soup Recipe You’ll Love!

Admittedly, after a day in the kitchen, there are times I just want to go out to dinner.

Unfortunately, by the time I get home, change out of my chef clothes, read the mail, and pet the pets, the thought of leaving the house seems more like a chore than anything else.

And I should know better. I play this scenario out over and over again, especially in the winter months.

What seemed like a great idea on the drive home usually dissolves into a comfortable evening in my own kitchen, and that’s not so bad when I have a yen for something I have the ingredients to make–and make fast, because that’s the other catch; I don’t really feel like cooking–at least not something complicated. And I certainly don’t feel like making an entrée, a starch, and a vegetable.

I do like soups, however.

The problem with soup as my 1st choice is that for the most part, soups themselves are not a real meal for me. They’re usually a prelude to something I end up having to cook later to satisfy my real hunger, so I’m not really solving my “I don’t really want to spend my time cooking” challenge, unless I make one of my entrée soups.

Entrée soups aren’t something new. Bouillabaisse, the Mediterranean seafood stew, is an entrée soup, and Gumbo is another.

The idea of an entrée soup is that the broth or base is almost a thin sauce that abundantly smothers the meaty ingredients. Generally, the soup is half garnish and half liquid, and ideally, there’s some protein, some vegetables, and a starch as part of the dish.

A soup I made recently that I really love is kind of a hybrid. It’s a soup alright, but it has all the flavors of a 7-Layer Dip. If you use my Enchilada Sauce version, it’s almost like a Chicken Enchilada soup.

Now, I keep individually portioned raw chicken breasts readily available in my freezer, but if you buy one of Nino’s fantastic Rotisserie Chickens on your way home, it will save you a lot of time. (And I love that part.)

Chimayo Smoky Black Bean & Chicken Soup

Black Bean Chicken Soup Recipe

Serves 4

The Base:
1 – 16 oz Can La Preferida® Refried Black Beans
3 Cups Chicken Stock/Broth
<1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke Seasoning
Dash Tabasco
To Taste Salt & Pepper

The Garnishment:
3 Cups Pulled Meat from 1 Nino’s Rotisserie Chicken, Cut in 1” Pieces
1 Cup Nino’s Sante Fe Style Black Bean & Corn Salsa
½ Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded
2 TBSP Cilantro, Chopped
2 Cups Nino’s Corn Tortilla Chips

1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, whisk together the BASE ingredients and bring to a simmer.
2. Warm the pulled chicken meat in a microwave oven (covered), and then, in 4 individual shallow soup bowls, divide the chicken in 4 equal portions and nest/mound the chicken in the center of each of the bowls.
3. Pour the Bean Soup BASE equally over the chicken in all 4 bowls.
4. Top chicken with salsa and sour cream.
5. Garnish soup around the mounded chicken with shredded cheese and a sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro.
6. Break the tortilla chips into large pieces and garnish over top of the salsa & soup cream.

This soup idea can also be used by substituting Mild Enchilada Sauce style soup using 2 cans of La Preferida® Mild Enchilada Sauce, 1 cup of Half & Half, 1 Cup of Chicken Stock/Broth, 1 tsp of Chili Powder, and 1 tsp Ground Cumin heated together.

Pete’s NEW Batch of Great Fall Soup Recipes

Is there anything as good as a hearty bowl of soup when the weather turns chilly? I’m guessing, based on my unofficial grocery cart survey taken this past week at Nino’s….nothing.

Nary a shopping buggy was to be seen without a container of Nino’s own homemade soup, a canned soup, a packaged soup or the ingredients to make a soup. Admittedly, however, I still have to find out what kind of soup uses chocolate pie and olives…still working on THAT one.

The point is the weather’s getting brisk and soup is IN right now! And while I can definitely recommend one of Nino’s beloved homemade soups, you might also be thinking of making a batch of your very own–very soon.

As for me, I love soup. And it’s about this time of the year, every year, that I make my chili and a couple of other soups to store in my freezer.


Yep, with few exceptions, soups freeze pretty darn well. As a matter of fact, many commercially prepared soups are packaged frozen, many in plastic boil-in-bag style “re-thermalization” pouches. So don’t sweat it! With very minimal loss in texture and generally zero loss in flavor, you can freeze most soups, and of course, all of these recipes below.

Having said that, here are three soup recipes I’ll be making this fall:


My first soup is one I used to make at Opus One in Detroit when I was their executive chef. We had a wonderful lunch crowd, and people always enjoyed our homemade soups, whatever I made. I particularly loved this soup, and on the occasion we made it, I would make it my own lunch, with a slice of French bread…or two.

Creamy Chicken with Tarragon, Mushrooms & Wild Rice

Serves 4

½ Stick Butter, Salted
½ Cup Onions, Small Diced
½ Cup Celery, Small Diced
2 tsp Garlic, Minced
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Mushrooms, Chopped
3 Cups Chicken Stock
½ Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Diced, Cooked Chicken Meat
¼ Cup Wild Rice
2 Cups Water (or as needed)
1 TBSP Tarragon, Fresh, Chopped
1 TBSP Sweet Sherry Wine
To Taste Salt & Black Pepper


  1. Simmer wild rice in water until just tender. Drain and reserve.
  2. Sauté onions and celery in butter until just tender, and then add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer.
  3. Add flour and stir in. Cook 3 minutes on medium heat to cook flour into a roux.
  4. Add chicken stock, heavy cream and mushrooms. Bring to a simmer while whisking and simmer 15 minutes.
  5. Add cooked chicken meat, rice, tarragon and sherry. Simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Adjust thickness with additional chicken broth if necessary.
  7. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve.

This next soup is a new one. It’s similar to a New England Clam Chowder and also similar to the Creamy Chicken recipe above but uses seafood broth instead of clam juice and crab instead of clams. You can garnish it with Oyster Crackers just like any chowder.

Spicy Maryland Crab & Corn Chowder

Serves 4

2 Strips Bacon, Raw, Finely Chopped
½ Stick Butter, Salted
½ Cup Onions, Diced
½ Cup Celery, Diced
¼ Cup Red Bell Pepper, Diced
2 tsp Garlic, Minced
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
3 Cup Seafood Broth/Stock (Kitchen Basics brand or equiv.)
½ Cup Heavy Cream
½ Cup Sweet Corn Kernels
1 Lb Tin Crab Meat, Pasteurized (Lump) (with juices)
1 tsp Parsley Flakes
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Pinch Thyme, Dry
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Cup Idaho Potatoes, Diced 3/8”


  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, sauté bacon until just crisp.
  2. Add butter, onions, celery and red bell pepper, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes longer.
  4. Add flour and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes or until flour had cooked into ingredients to make a roux.
  5. Add seafood stock and cream, and bring to a simmer. Gently simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Add crab meat (with any juices) and all remaining ingredients except potatoes. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Add potatoes and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are JUST tender.
  8. Adjust seasonings and thickness with additional seafood stock or water.
  9. Serve.

I really love this soup. The combination of chicken and Italian sausage really gives the broth a wonderful, robust heartiness. Another thing I love about this soup is all of the different garnishments that add interest to the look and taste.

Farmhouse Chicken Soup with Italian Sausage

Serves 4

2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Cup Onions, Diced
½ Cup Carrots, Diced
½ Cup Celery, Diced
¼ Cup Bell Peppers, Diced
2 tsp Garlic, Minced
1 Cup Crushed Canned Tomatoes
3 Cups Chicken Stock
½ Cup Green Beans, Cut in 2” lengths
½ Cup Black-Eyed Peas, Canned, Drained
1 Cup Cooked Chicken Meat, Diced
2 Links Nino’s Sweet Italian Sausage, Cooked, Cut into ¼” Disks, which are then cut in half again
2 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves, Fresh
¼ tsp Oregano, Dry
¼ tsp Sage, Rubbed, Dry
Pinch Thyme, Dry
To Taste Salt & Pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan, and then sweat onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers until just tender (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  2. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes longer.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  4. Adjust with additional chicken stock as desired.
  5. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes to marry flavors.
  6. Adjust seasonings as desired.
  7. Serve.

What are your favorite soups to eat in the Fall? Let us know in the comments below!

“Squash your Appetite” with 2 New Delicious Zucchini Recipes from Nino’s

In spite of Michigan’s heat and drought, many of us have still found the time and resources to faithfully water and attend to our backyard gardens. And the fruits of our labors are beginning to pay off with, among other vegetables, zucchini, one of the most popular homegrown garden vegetables and certainly one of the most versatile.

From sauté to soup, casseroles to desserts, zucchini’s appealing taste and nutritious attributes lend themselves to recipes of nearly every culture and preparation style.

Also known by the name “Courgette” (France, Ireland and the United Kingdom), the zucchini is typically harvested at approximately 8” to 10” in length but can grow to 3 feet or longer if allowed to. Another related hybrid, the Golden Zucchini, is deep yellow or almost orange in color and has a similar taste and texture.

Unlike many foods we eat in the U.S. but like most squash, the zucchini actually has its origins in the Americas. The actual variety of squash we now call zucchini, however, was developed in Italy (some believe near Milan) many generations after its introduction back to the “Old World” from the “New World.”

In a culinary context, the zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is a fruit, just like the tomato.

Although it can be enjoyed raw like a cucumber, zucchini is usually served cooked. It has a delicate flavor and requires little more than quick cooking with butter or olive oil, but it can also be cooked using a number of other techniques, including steaming, boiling, grilling, stuffing and baking, barbecuing, deep frying, or incorporating in other recipes, such as soufflés. It can also be baked into bread or incorporated into a cake mix. Its flowers can be eaten stuffed and are a delicacy when deep-fried as tempura.

Zucchini recipes

Before I share with you a couple of new recipes, you might want to check out a few recipes that are already on Nino’s website including:

And review Nino’s Squash Guide, which gives you more information about other varieties of squash.

Now, on to my new recipes:

First up, we have a delicious soup, incorporating zucchini and fresh basil. Garnished with a dollop of sour cream and some finely julienned zucchini, carrot and yellow squash, it tastes as great as it looks.

Zucchini Basil Soup

(Makes about 2 Quarts)

2 Lbs Zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
3/4 Cup Sweet onion, chopped
2 Each Garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 Cup Olive oil
4 Cups Chicken broth (or stock)
½-Cup Fresh basil leaves
To Taste Salt & pepper
To Garnish Sour cream
To Garnish Finely julienned raw carrot, zucchini & yellow squash (approx 1 TBSP each per serving)

  1. In a soup pot, add olive oil and bring up to a medium heat.
  2. Add onion, and sweat for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not brown.
  3. Add garlic and zucchini, and sweat until glazed and slightly softened.
  4. Add chicken broth, and bring soup to a gentle simmer.
  5. After 10 minutes, add basil and continue to cook until zucchini is tender (approximately 30 minutes). Do not cover.
  6. Allow to cool until mixture can be placed in a blender (30 to 45 minutes).
  7. Blend soup until smooth. Strain if desired, and then return soup to the original soup pot and reheat.
  8. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve in shallow soup bowls with a garnish of sour cream and a julienne of zucchini, carrot and yellow squash.

The next recipe is a classic “Quick Bread” using zucchini as a key ingredient. It’s a delicious breakfast treat or goes exceptionally well with any cream cheese frosting you buy or make from scratch.

Zucchini Carrot Bread

(Makes 1 – 9” Loaf)

3 Cups All-purpose flour
1 TBSP Baking soda
½ Tsp Ground cinnamon
1 ¼ Cups Granulated sugar
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Cup Poppy seeds
4 Each Egg, extra large, beaten
1 Cups Vegetable oil
2 Tsp Vanilla extract
1 ½ Cups Carrot grated
1 ½ Cups Zucchini grated
¾ Cups Dried currants (or raisins)


  1. Sift the first 5 dry ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir in the poppy seeds.
  2. Combine the eggs, oil and vanilla, add to the above mixture and stir in until smooth.
  3. Squeeze out the moisture from the grated carrots and zucchini, and stir, with the currants, into the mixture.
  4. Turn batter into a greased and floured 9” loaf pan, and bake approximately 45 minutes at 350 F or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven, and turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Wrap tightly in plastic film and store refrigerated until served.

I hope you’ll enjoy these recipes — let me know how you liked them.

Until then, keep the watering hose at the ready and enjoy the bounty of Michigan’s backyard harvest.