“Sopa Cremosa de Tomate e queijos”
When I was growing up, soups were always served regularly before dinner (as a first course), but later, big dinners were abolished. Instead, people started eating lighter meals for dinner, just soups, or something small. Lunch was the main meal, that was when everyone came home from school and work. With everyone’s busy schedules, it didn’t work to have two big meals and besides there was always an afternoon coffee snack.
This is one of my favorite soups to make and a great way to use up all the ripe and sweet tomatoes.
- 3 pounds very ripe Roma tomatoes cut into quarters.
- 2 garlic cloves– minced
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 carrot cut into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue cheese.
- 1 bunch of fresh Basil–chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Place tomatoes in a cookie sheet and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes.
- While tomatoes are in the oven, heat butter and olive oil in a pot. Add shallots, garlic, carrots, salt, and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Then add vegetable stock, tomato paste, and cover. Let it cook over medium heat until carrots are very soft. Turn heat to low and keep it at low heat until tomatoes are done.
- When tomatoes are done, add them to pot; cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then, smooth the soup with an immersion blender, and add ricotta and cream. Gently stir over medium heat until bubbly. Turn heat to low add and the bunch of fresh basil saving some for garnish.
- Garnish soup bowls with fresh basil and crumbled Gorgonzola.
Enjoy with slices of sourdough bread!
Sopa de Beterraba Russa
This soup is so delicious; it has a hearty root flavor and stunning color. Although originally a Russian dish, it has been warmly incorporated by cuisines all over the world. This recipe is very easy to make. It is a wonderful vegetarian soup and also delicious in its vegan approach. Like many soups, it is excellent the next day.
I first had this soup many years ago at the Intercontinental Hotel in Rio. I wonder if the Hotel is still there. Anyway, I fell in love with beets and started trying to replicate this wonderful soup.
Here is a Brazilian version.
- 2 chopped shallots
- 2 chopped garlic gloves
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 2 chopped celery stalks
- 1 chopped red bell pepper
- 1 large apple skinned and chopped
- 2 raw beets
- 2 tablespoons butter*
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Sour cream**
- Cook beets with skin on in boiling water until soft. Drain and set aside to cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and cut into pieces.
- Heat oil and butter in a large sauce pan and add shallots, garlic, bell pepper, celery, apples and tomatoes. Let it cook until veggies begin to soften. Add beets and vegetable stock… bring to a boil.
- Turn heat to low and smooth soup using an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste, agave nectar, and fresh thyme. Cover and let it simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.
- When ready to serve, scoop soup into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with parsley.
*For a vegan approach substitute butter for vegan butter
** Substitute sour cream for coconut cream. It is super delicious this way too!
Serving tip: I like to serve with sourdough bread or garlic toast
For our Halloween special edition, we made eye balls with pickled red pepper, sour cream and olives. Totally optional!
“Brazilian Black Bean Stew” known in Portuguese as “feijoada” is a hearty combination of several different pieces of beef and pork meat cooked with black beans. It’s usually served with white rice, finely shredded and sauteed collard greens , orange slices and garnished with tomato vinaigrette.
There are different views about the origin of this dish. The popular view is that this was a creation of slaves that were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese during colonial times. The popular view believes that, once the good parts of the meat were served to the slave owners, the pieces thrown away like the ribs and pigs feet would be used by the slaves and cooked in with the beans in a big iron pot.
However, some historians and food connoisseurs believe that feijoada is a variation of other European dishes that combine beans and meat like the cassoulet, which is a combination of white beans and meat substituting the white beans for black beans originated of South America. Others believe it was created in the XIX Century.
There has been a lot of changes to the classic recipe for feijoada and lighter versions are very popular without the pigs feet and other unwanted parts. In my recipe, I only use short ribs, chicken sausage and lean ready cooked bacon.
- 1 pound of dry black beans
- 2 quarts of water
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of table salt
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 6 pieces of short ribs
- 1 package of 4 smoked chicken sausages cut into thick slices
- 6 slices smoked ready bacon cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- Marinate short ribs with balsamic vinegar and sea salt, cover and place in refrigerator.
- Place beans, water salt bay leaves, onion powder, garlic in a pressure cooker over high heat until pressure builds, approximately 15 min. *
- Turn the heat to medium and let it cook for 1 hour. Then turn off the heat and let the pressure built cook for for 30 min. Don’t open the pressure cooker until all steam is completely out.
- Drizzle some olive oil in a crock pot and transfer the beans. Cover, turn heat to medium and let it slowly incorporate flavor.
- Meanwhile, drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. Brown the balsamic-marinated short ribs and chicken slices. Cover and let them cook until balsamic becomes a glaze.
- Add meat and bacon to the crock pot. Turn heat to high and let it cook until beans are bubbly. If beans are too thick, add a cup of hot water.
- If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can use a crock pot. Start the cooking process the night before. Place beans, water, olive oil, salt, garlic, onion powder and bay leaves in crock pot at medium heat and let it cook overnight. In the morning, add hot water if necessary and turn heat to high; let it slow cook until beans are tender. Then proceed to cook meat and follow same steps.
For the vinaigrette you will need:
- 6 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped in small pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- dash salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Mix all ingredients in a nice ceramic bowl and garnish individually.