soup - Related Content

Three Sisters Soup

Monday, October 16th 2023 6:00 am


Ingredients:  There is no set recipe, but some recommendations are indicated.  Use your experience of soup making to adjust the amounts, if you like!  
2 T olive oil  
1 medium onion, diced
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 C chicken or vegetable broth
1 14 oz can fire roasted or regular tomatoes
2 C cubed red or sweet potatoes, removing skin is optional
2-3 C any peeled cubed winter squash
1 ½ C corn, frozen or kernels cut fresh off the ears
1 15 o can black beans, drained or 1 C dry beans, soaked in water overnight 
1 chopped jalapeño, with or without seeds
1 tsp chipotle powder or 1 T sauce from canned chipotles in adobo sauce, adds a nice smokey heat
bay leaf 
1 tsp cumin or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat add oil and onions.  Saute for 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
Add broth, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, corn, beans, seasonings and jalapeno.
Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 50 minutes or until beans and squash are tender. 
Check every 15 minutes or so.  Add more broth or water as needed to maintain the consistency you like and to prevent burning. 

Use summer squash.  Bring the recipe into spring and summer by subbing out winter squash for zucchini and crook neck squash.
Explore different beans: Black-eyed peas, pinto or kidney beans work well.
Use fresh beans: If you’re not into dried or canned legumes, use fresh green or waxed beans.
Try canned hominy, instead of sweet corn.
Add chilis, canned or fresh, to enhance this soup. Go for mild or spicy.
Thicken the soup by adding some masa harina toward the end of cooking to give the soup body and more corn flavor. Or, using an immersion blender, blend just a portion of the soup to thicken it up.  You can even blend canned pumpkin into the soup stock.
Add animal protein such as shredded pork, chicken or sausage of your choice, such as chorizo.
Add cheese.  This is not traditional, but shavings of queso, Parmesan, or other aged cheese add another dimension of flavor.
Make it vegan by using water or vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock.

This recipe has been adapted from The View from Great Island by Sue Moran who moved from LA to Great Island, NH to Madison, Wisconsin.  Sue loves Midwestern food culture and being near the biggest farmer's market in the country.  Her summer version of Three Sisters' Soup is pictured above.

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There is no one authentic recipe for this soup ~ it can be made, and is made, in a variety of ways, with different combinations of ‘sisters’. Recipes for it have been passed down through generations in tribes, and have become more modernized in the process. This version uses chicken broth and fire roasted tomatoes for a flavorful broth, potatoes for their satisfaction factor, jalapeño and chipotle powder for a little kick of heat, and black beans. Tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers are all indigenous crops, native to the Americas.

Three sisters soup celebrates the fall harvest  Three sisters refers to the combination of corn, beans, and squash, as well as to a native American companion planting technique that paired the three crops together for better productivity, and sustainable land use. The three foods have been staples in the diets of many tribes (from the Iroquois in the North, the Chickasaw in the South, and the Hopi and Navajo Nations in the Southwest) over the centuries, and this soup is a celebration of that magical trio. This hearty healthy soup provides a great story and learning opportunity as well!

Meet the three sisters. These three crops not only support each other as they grow, they have been critically important foods to Native Americans, and are particularly nourishing. In three sisters soup corn, beans and squash are a complete nutritional package with carbohydrates from the corn, protein from the beans (they provide the missing amino acids in the corn) and essential vitamins and minerals from the squash.
CORN ~ the tall corn provides support for the beans vines to grow on.
BEANS ~ add nitrogen into the soil to fertilize the corn and squash. These can be fresh or dried beans.
SQUASH ~ this refers to both winter and summer squash, both of which are low to the ground crops which provide shade to keep the ground moist and prevent weeds.
Speaking of Squash:

Check out the Seasoned Franciscan next week for how to roast squash seeds (even touch pumpkin seeds) and season them 5 ways. 

P.S.  If you haven’t yet seen Ken Burns' PBS special on "The American Buffalo", it is another learning invitation for all white people.  It isn't just about Bison as food.  Burns thoughtfully tells the story of the history and tragedy of this important lifegiving animal in Native history and that of our country.  It is often difficult to watch, but Burns offers both challenge and hope.  VLK

Recipes for Minestrone Soup and for a different kind of fast this Lent

Monday, February 12th 2024 6:00 am

1 clove of garlic
2 small onions
olive oil
2 fresh bay leaves or 1 small dried
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 large handfuls of seasonal greens, such as savoy cabbage, curly kale, chard, spinach    
1 vegetable stock cube    
1 14.5 or 15 oz. can of plum tomatoes
2  14.5 or 15 oz. cans of beans, such as cannellini, butter, or mixed
½ C dried pasta
Parmesan cheese, Grana Padano or vegetarian alternative, to serve
extra virgin olive oil
crusty bread, to serve

1.    Peel and finely chop garlic and onion. Put a large shallow casserole pan on a medium-high heat with 1 T of olive oil.
2.    Add the garlic and the bay leaves, followed by the onions.
3.    Trim and chop carrots and celery into rough 1/2” dice, adding to the pan as you go. Remove and finely chop any tough stalks from your greens and add to the pan. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly, or until softened and caramelized.
4.    Crumble in the stock cube, pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with your spoon, then add 1 tin’s worth of water. Pour in the beans, juice and all, then add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
5.    Shred your greens and sprinkle into the pan, top up with 2 ½ C of boiling water, then add the pasta. Cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, or until pasta is just cooked and the soup has thickened to your liking.
6.    Season the soup to your taste, then serve with a grating of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- This recipe serves 8, so you’ll have plenty left over for lunches. To serve, reheat in a pan, stirring often until piping hot.
– Don’t waste any of the greens – remove tougher stalks, finely chop and add them to the base of your soup with the onion, carrot and celery.
– This soup is great for using odds and ends from your dried pasta packets. Put whatever you’ve got in a clean dish towel, then smash it all with a rolling pin, so it’s all about the same size.
– Use whatever herbs you’ve got. Rosemary or thyme leaves would be delicious, or even a sprinkling of dried herbs.
– You can add other chopped veg when you’re frying the onions like leek, zucchini or potato.
– Use whatever stock you like.
– Instead of grated Parm, you could use Cheddar. A sprinkling of fresh baby basil leaves will add or add a dollop of pesto on top.
– If you don’t have pasta, use rice or even hunks of bread, which will soak up the flavor.

Thanks to Chef Jaime Oliver for the recipe and photo above.

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Lent, among other things is about simplicity.  Minestrone and other favorite soups are simple meals that make room for us to embrace things that truly nourish us and others.  In Christine Valters Paintner’s book, “A Different Kind of Fast” she invites us to fast from things that do not satisfy and embrace those that feed our true hungers.  She offers weekly and daily suggestions for spiritual practices to help us respond to the invitations of the Season. You may have heard these or similar ideas before. 

Here are the 7 themes or invitations listed in "A Different Kind of Fast" Table on Contents
An Invitation to:
Fast from Consuming to Embrace Simplicity
Fast from Multitasking and Inattention to Embrace Full Presence to the Moment
Fast from Scarcity Anxiety to Embrace Radical Trust in Abundance
Fast from Speed and Rushing to Embrace Slowness and Pausing
Fast from Holding It All Together to Embrace Tenderness and Vulnerability
Fast from Planning and Deadlines to Embrace Unfolding and Ripening
Fast from Certainty to Embrace Mystery and Waiting

Let one or more of her suggestions flavor your season of Lent.

Monastery Lentil Soup from "Diet for a Small Planet"

Monday, February 20th 2023 6:00 am

1 C dry lentils
2 T olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram or oregano
3 C vegetable or chicken stock
Salt to taste
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1 can peeled tomatoes (about 1 pound)
1/4 C dry sherry or white wine
Grated swiss cheese for topping


  1. Sort and wash lentils; set aside
  2. In a large pot, sauté the carrots and onions in the olive oil 3 – 5 minutes
  3. Add thyme and marjoram, and sauté for 1 min. more
  4. Add stock, parsley, salt, lentils and tomatoes; bring to a boil
  5. Turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender (45 min)
  6. Add the sherry or wine, (if desired)
  7. Serve topped with grated Swiss cheese

“I have been making this recipe for over 25 years and still love it!  Originally found in the book ‘Diet for a Small Planet.’  Going to make it this week! The original recipe says it's great accompanied by cornbread!” - Jean Feeney

Diet for a Small Planet first published in 1971 was a life-changing book for many of us in the 70’s and 80’s. It wasn’t an easy read as author Francis Moore Lappe outlined the huge cost of eating high on the food chain, especially animal proteins from factory farms.  What stuck with me was that plant protein – legumes and whole grains – was not that hard to include in my pantry and weekly meals.  My eating habits shifted, but I didn’t know what to do about bigger issues.

Over 50 years later, climate change and the growth of corporate farms and giant meat processing corporations make our choices important for our small, warming planet.  With care as consumers and an openness to learn about food and farm policy, we can help be the conversion needed for Mother Earth and our human family.

Anyone want to start a book group? Here is my next read:
Let's Ask Marion: What You Need to Know about the Politics of Food, Nutrition and Health
by Marion Nestle in conversation with Kerri Trueman

In an easy Question and Response format, Nestle relies on her work as a nutrition scientist.  She “encourages us to vote with our forks, but urges us also to vote with our votes to make it easier for everyone to make healthier dietary choices.”  She educates us to ask questions and “engage in politics to advocate for food systems that make better food available and affordable to everyone, that adequately compensate everyone who works to produce, prepare, or serve food, and that deal with food in ways that conserve and sustain the environment.”

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Wild Rice Soup

Monday, November 21st 2022 6:00 am

Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients: (makes 8 servings - 2 cups each)
3 C water
1 C wild rice (manoomin)
6 C butternut squash: peeled, seeded, cubed OR 2 1/2 lbs
3/4 C diced onion
3 T olive oil
4 C vegetable broth
1 C milk
2 C home-cooked or canned Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in wild rice and simmer, covered, for 40-45 minutes or just until kernels puff open.
  3. While rice cooks, put squash on a baking sheet. Stir in 1 T oil and 1 tsp salt. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. In a medium saute pan, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add onions. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent, but not brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. When squash is tender, set aside one-half of it. Cook the remaining squash for another 15 minutes or until mashable. Add to a large soup pot and mash.
  6. To the soup pot, add broth and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Uncover rice, fluff with a fork, and simmer an additional 5 minutes, if still wet.
  8. Add rice and the squash you set aside to the soup pot. Add beans, onions, pepper and ½ tsp salt. Mix and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. Stir all ingredients together. Taste and adjust for seasoning before serving.

Variations:  add sausage, chicken, turkey or mushrooms. Substitute nut milk, carrots for squash.

Black pepper was brought in by European settlers. It has been added to this recipe to accommodate common tastes. One pound of uncooked wild rice measures about 2 2/3 cups and will yield about 8 to 10 cups cooked. When cooking wild rice, plan on using 3 to 4 cups of liquid for every cup of uncooked rice. Rinse the rice first to remove any debris. 1 cup uncooked wild rice = 3 to 4 cups cooked wild rice. Wild rice can be served hot, warm or cold; for breakfast, in salads, stuffing, breads and more.

Wild rice is a wonderfully balanced food, providing protein and fiber. A serving of wild rice contains fewer calories and double the protein content of brown rice. It contains the micronutrient Manganese, an antioxidant,and plays a role in keeping your cells healthy. Quinoa (another indigenous grain native to South American Incans) is similar to wild rice in terms of nutritional benefits.

Wild Rice (Manoomin) has been used within American Indian communities, such as the Ojibwe (or Chippewa) and Menominee, for thousands of years. Menomonee  in Algonquin means “people of the rice.” It was and continues to be a staple in traditional diets and its harvest is full of gratitude, reverence and ceremony. American Indians continue to nurture the crop, a sacred food. Today’s Ojibwe descend from the Algonquins of what is now the eastern US and SE Canada who faced troubles with European settlers. Legend says they were told go west to find the “food that grows on water.” The discovery of the “good berry” or wild rice was the answer to prayer and sustained their people in a new land.

Wild rice is actually a grass native to North America, mainly in the Great Lakes region. It grows in shallow lakes and streams. When processed by traditional ways, it lasts for many seasons, providing food security. There are now 70 major rice fields around Wisconsin alone.Today, traditional rice fields are challenged by warming waters and contamination by mining and other industrial run-off. The fight to stop oil pipeline 3 near the Bad River Reservation is an attempt to save the manoomin and other species vital to tribal members.

Watch a fascinating 33-minute video on the harvest and processing of Manoomin: Dancing the Wild Rice.

A very short PBS video Manoomin: Food that Grows on Water follows Fred Ackley Jr. from the Sokaogon Chippewa Community of Mole Lake as he harvests and processes manoomin, or wild rice which he calls "medicine". He explores the importance of prayer and tradition for cultural survival.

The information above comes from the American Indian Traditional Foods Wisconsin Farm to School Toolkit produced for use in USDA School meals programs by the Wisconsin State Department of Instruction.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) has an informative Manoomin-Goodberry brochure about its nutritional value, detailed description of harvesting and how to find tribal retailers for traditional verses “paddy” grown manoomin.

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Native American Corn Hominy Soup

Tuesday, November 8th 2022 6:00 am

Hominy Corn Soup

3/4 pound pork loin chops, cubed (save the bones for the soup as well)
2 15.5 oz cans hominy, drained and rinsed
3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced
1 15.5 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper


  1. In a large deep pot of salted water, bring the meat (and bones, if using) to a boil. Cook at a gentle boil for 45 minutes. This creates a flavorful broth.
    Add the hominy to the pot gently boil for another 45 minutes. In the meantime, boil the diced potatoes in a separate pot until fork tender, drain and cool to stop the cooking process.
    Add the cooled potatoes and beans to the soup mixture. Add up to 2 C of water to the soup until it is your desired consistency.
    Variations: Pork hocks, salt pork can be used. Omit or limit salt. You can also use chicken thighs and substitute stock instead of water.

First the chemistry, then the history and culture of hominy. Hominy is processed corn loved for its puffy, slightly chewy kernels. Hominy is the result of a long cooking process in which the mature dried flint (field) corn kernels are cooked with wood ash (aka lye) causing a chemical reaction called nixtamalization. A solution of lye (potassium hydroxide - which can be produced from water and wood ash) or of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide from limestone) is the first step. Next the husked are removed from the grains, rinsed and cooked again. Soaking the corn in lye kills the seed's germs, which keeps it from sprouting while in storage. Finally, in addition to providing a source of dietary calcium, the lye or lime reacts with the corn so that the nutrient niacin (B3) can be assimilated by the digestive tract. People consume hominy in intact kernels, grind it into sand-sized particles for grits, or into flour.  

This food and the process that allows it to be stored for years has been vital to the health and food culture of middle America. It honors their commitment to 7 generations. Many tribes strive to have a 3 year supply of dried corn on hand in case of drought or other hardship. Traders brought maize/corn along all their routes and today, it is often bartered and rarely sold.

Corn is a sacred food and bringing it from seed to table is a sacred process. Ceremonies using tobacco, drumming, songs, chants and blessings are a part of all involved. It is done with gratitude for the whole community. To see for yourself, watch the following videos showing Native people working with corn.

PBS Wisconsin: Wisconsin Foodie
Travel with Wisconsin Foodie to the Oneida Reservation outside of Green Bay, WI to meet Laura Manthe and Rebecca Webster, cousins and members of the Oneida Nation. They are part of a White Corn Growers Cooperative and are revitalizing an ancient heirloom food within the Oneida Nation, White Corn. You’ll notice their values, hard work and passion. Host Luke Zahn gets a personal tutorial on how to prepare White Corn Soup. “It is more than eating a bowl of soup. It feels like you are being woven into a very large story, a very beautiful story.” Watch it here:

CBS Docs: Stories from the Land
An Oneida chef and a knowledge keeper guide you through the traditional way of making Corn Soup. As we learn about the soup and how it’s made, we also learn about how the process is deeply rooted in the culture. From the way the corn is harvested, to the way hardwood ashes are used as part of the process, to the way the soup is distributed to the elders of the community as an acknowledgment of the work they do. All from a humble bowl of corn soup. Watch it here:

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