Today’s Building Hours: 5:30 AM - 8 PM

Soups from the Back of the Pantry with Chef Drew

Soups from the Back of the Pantry with Chef Drew

Posted by Karli Wood on March 26, 2020 | Share

Since many people are working from home during this time, the need to cook meals has increased. If you’re looking for inspiration as you browse the back of your pantry, we’ve got some good news for you. Here are four soup recipes from the J’s Director of Food Service, Drew Brown, to put your dry goods to good use.

Before you get started, here are a few thoughts from Drew on being practical and playful in the kitchen, “The fresh ingredients used in these recipes were chosen because they will last a while, minimizing wasted produce. These recipes are guidelines; if you are missing an ingredient here or there, it’s okay, use what you’ve got and feel free to substitute. If you’ve got kids at home, involving them can be a great way to reinforce math and reading skills while learning a life skill. Lastly, remember if you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world – have fun with the recipe, get creative, and play when you’re in the kitchen.”

If you like a recipe, we’d love to hear about it. Share what you make and tag the J: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Black Bean Chili - A hearty black bean chili that is comforting and comes together quickly.

Note: Drew likes to serve this with shredded cheddar, a dollop of cream cheese, and diced onions or scallions on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans of black beans, drained of the brining liquid and rinsed in a colander. (Or one – 1 pound bag of dried black beans soaked in water overnight.)
  • 1 quart of water or chicken broth
  • 1 (16-ounce) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

Directions:

  1. In a medium-to-large stockpot, heat the oil over a high flame and add the onions, peppers, and spices. Adding the spices at this stage will release their natural essences and give you much more flavor.
  2. Sauté the mixture for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes in juice, water, and tomato sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Add the black beans. Stir occasionally.
  6. If you started with dried beans, you will need to cook for at least an hour, but if you used canned beans, 20 minutes is sufficient.
  7. Add the tomato paste and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.

Split Pea Soup - A filling split pea soup that is packed with homemade flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 quart dried split peas, soaked in water overnight or for at least 2 hours
  • 1 gallon of water or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic or 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium-to-large stockpot, heat the oil on high flame.
  2. Add your onions, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper and cook for 4 – 5 minutes.
  3. Add your garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Drain your soaked peas in a colander and add them to the pot along with water or chicken broth.
  5. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  6. Simmer for at least an hour. You may have to add more water during this time, but only add a cup at a time if needed. The soup should start to thicken throughout the cooking process.  Once the peas are tender, and the soup is nice and thick, you are ready to eat.
  7. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

Moroccan Chickpea Soup - This soup is packed with rich spices that will liven up your weeknight dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 pound red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini cut in half lengthwise and sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup of fresh or dried parsley, minced

Directions:

  1. In a medium stock pan, heat the oil on high heat.
  2. Add the onions, zucchini, garlic, and spices (except parsley). Cook for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.
  5. Add the parsley.

White Bean Chicken Chili - This white bean chili is hearty and packs the perfect amount of spice.

Note: Drew serves this with diced onions and pickled jalapenos on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 pound diced or shredded cooked chicken. (I dice 1 – 2 large chicken breasts and then sauté them in olive oil until they are mostly cooked).
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans of navy beans, drained of the brining liquid and rinsed in a colander. (Or one 1-pound bag of dried navy beans soaked in water overnight.)
  • 1 gallon of water or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. In a medium-to-large stockpot, heat the oil over a high flame and add the onions, peppers, celery, and spices. Adding the spices at this stage will release their natural essences and give you much more flavor. Sauté the mixture for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
  3. If you started with dried beans, you will need to cook for at least an hour, but if you used canned beans, 20 minutes is sufficient.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking Tip: If you want a slightly thicker soup, add a slurry: mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and mix. Add that to the simmering soup and stir. You can add more additions of a slurry until you get the consistency you want. 


The man behind the meals: Drew Brown is the Director of Food Service at the J. He is a graduate of Cincinnati State, The University of Cincinnati, and received his Master’s degree from The College of Mount Saint Joseph. He is the Chef-Owner of Spice Spice Baby Cincinnati, and his recipes have won multiple awards in cooking competitions around the Tri-State. Drew is the Founder of Avon Miami Charities, a charity that prepares and distributes more than 10,000 meals a year to local homeless shelters.

– Cam Engel, Copywriter