This soup of pasta and clams is a Sardinian classic that’s all about simplicity. It relies chiefly on the flavor inherent in the soup’s two main ingredients: chewy, toasty spherical fregula, and arselle, the small, briny, succulent hard-shell clams found along the coast.
This recipe comes to us courtesy of chef Victor Albisu of Taco Bamba and Poca Madre in Washington, DC. Victor first tasted it out of a bucket in a street in Peru and has never forgotten it. It’s now a regular part of his holiday table. The soup is simple and surprisingly sophisticated. Victor showed us his technique in our 2018 holiday episode "How Chefs Holiday at Home." The dish is reminiscent of making a risotto with slow additions of liquid and lots of stirring. The silky texture and nuance of peppers make the extra attention well worth it.
This hearty Southern take on chicken soup features tender shreds of chicken and chewy strips of pastry in an ultra savory stock. Browning the chicken before simmering it in store-bought chicken broth provided a flavorful base. We opted for chicken thighs rather than lean breasts because they stayed tender throughout the long stewing process. Rolling the “pastry”—which we made from just flour, butter, milk, and baking powder—to 1/8 inch thick before adding it to boiling broth made it fluffy and soft. And cutting the dough into diamond shapes rather than squares added just a little flair to this homey dish. Keep the root ends of the onion halves intact so the petals don’t separate during cooking and the onion is easy to remove from the pot.
White chili is one of those Tex-Mex hybrids that you won’t find in Mexico, or even very often in Texas. It seems to be a Northern adaptation of traditional chili, with white beans and chicken as its base. It’s good with pheasant or any other white meat.
Cauliflower-Coconut Crown Soup | garnished with smoky baby florets
For most Westerners, ramen conjures up images of instant noodles hastily consumed in college dorm rooms after midnight. But any fan of Japanese cuisine will tell you that ramen is a complex dish worthy of respect and appreciation. To quote the ramen master from the 1985 movie Tampopo: “First, observe the whole bowl. Appreciate its gestalt, savor the aromas.” Watching Ken Watanabe learn how to properly eat ramen might give you enough of a craving to try to make your own version of tonkotsu ramen from scratch. [Ed. Note: learn more about Andrew Rea's obsession with recreating famous food from movies and television here.]
A good vegetable stock is an important ingredient to have on hand, but supermarket offerings don’t taste like vegetables, and traditional homemade versions are expensive and time-consuming to make. In our recipe, we grind a selection of fresh vegetables, salt, and savory ingredients to a paste that we can store in the freezer and reconstitute as needed. Leeks provide good allium flavor, and a small amount of freeze-dried onions support the fresh flavor of the leeks. Tomato paste and soy sauce provide an ultimate boost.