Lots of love for this tomato soup The Denver Post

By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times

I recently asked what you’re cooking, and in return I got a lot of emails that took me across the country and into your kitchens. It was a blast of warmth in this weird, chilly time. Thank you for that!

One of my favorite notes was from a reader named Tammy, who told me she was making a stew that she was mixing up in a Dutch oven and baking for 3 to 4 hours.

“It was loaded with mushrooms, beef, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, seasoning and turned out really delicious,” she said. She took it over to a new mother along with freshly baked carrot muffins, raspberry sorbet and cookies. Do I have to have another baby to get someone to bring this meal to my house? Please let me know.

Someone wrote me just to say how much they love Melissa Clark. (As do I.)

I also got a note from a reader named Barry, who said he was making Kay Chun’s bulgogi Bolognese and then added, “I get to have dinner with my amazing wife of 26 years! And we’re both healthy! How lucky are we?” I love that, Barry!

Send me what you’re cooking at [email protected] What I’m cooking this week is below, along with a few recommendations from you.

1. Tomato and White Bean Soup With Lots of Garlic

This recipe makes the most out of just a handful of pantry ingredients, like canned white beans, a can of tomatoes and a full head of garlic. The soup owes its surprisingly rich and complex flavor to how the garlic is cooked: By smashing the cloves, you end up with different sizes and pieces of garlic. These cook irregularly, which means you’ll taste the full range of garlic’s flavors, from sweet and nutty to almost a little spicy. Simmer the lightly browned garlic with white beans and tomatoes, then blend, and you have a creamy, cozy soup that’s endlessly adaptable: Add aromatics to the simmering pot or make it spicy with harissa, smoked paprika or chipotle. Top with pesto, croutons, cheese, cooked grains, greens or a fried egg.

By Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans white beans, such as cannellini or great Northern, including their liquid
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup stock or water, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Heavy cream, for serving


1. Peel the garlic, then smash the cloves using a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy skillet until wispy and flat.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil, then add the crushed garlic, and cook, smashing with the back of a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until golden brown and beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add the white beans and their liquid, crushed tomatoes, stock or water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then partly cover, reduce heat, and let simmer until thickened and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Using an immersion or regular blender, purée the soup until smooth. Add cream, stock or water to thin as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with heavy cream before serving.

2. Korean Bulgogi Bolognese

In this recipe, Korean grilled barbecue meets Bolognese, the classic Italian meat sauce. Ground beef is simmered in a sauce that starts with a traditional base of sautéed onion, carrots and celery, to which scallions, garlic, ginger and soy sauce are added. As the sauce cooks, the flavors of the tomato paste and soy sauce meld, creating a deeply salty-sweet mixture, while the addition of chopped mushrooms provides depth and complexity. Be sure to use egg pasta here, as the richness contrasts nicely with the sauce.

By Kay Chun

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons safflower or canola oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons peeled, minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 ounces white button mushrooms, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 12 ounces dried egg pasta (tagliatelle or pappardelle)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 minutes. Add carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger and tomato paste and cook until caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes, lowering the heat as necessary to avoid burning. Return heat to medium.

2. Add beef, mushrooms and 1/2 cup of the scallions and cook, stirring to break up the beef, until beef is browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add soy sauce, sugar and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, 30 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup scallions and season with pepper.

3. As sauce cooks, make the pasta: Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

4. Divide pasta in bowls and top with Bolognese. Serve with Parmesan.

3. Ginger-Dill Salmon

Salmon, gently roasted to a buttery medium-rare, stars in this make-ahead-friendly dish. Fruity citrus and dill join spicy radishes and ginger, and the result is a refreshing, jostling mix of juicy, crunchy, creamy, spicy and sweet. Both the salad and the salmon can be made two days ahead, and everything is good at room temperature or cold. To embellish further, consider baby greens, thinly sliced cucumbers or fennel, roasted beets, soba, tostadas, furikake or chile oil.

By Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 25 minutes


  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) salmon fillet, skin-on or skinless
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, scrubbed and finely grated (no need to peel)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2 oranges
  • 6 small radishes, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 avocado
  • Flaky sea salt, for finishing (optional)


1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Pat the salmon dry, then place on the tray skin-side down (if there is skin) and season with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the dill, ginger and olive oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spread half of the dill-ginger mixture over the top of the salmon. (Reserve the remaining dill-ginger mixture.) Bake until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. (You’ll know the salmon is done when the fish flakes or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part is 120 degrees.)

3. As the salmon cooks, cut off the top and bottom of the grapefruit and set the grapefruit down on one of the cut sides. Follow the curve of the fruit to cut away the peel and pith. Squeeze the peels into the remaining dill-ginger mixture to get out any juice. Cut the fruit in half from top to bottom, then slice into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons and remove the seeds. If your pieces are especially large, halve them again. Transfer the fruit and any juice on the cutting board to the bowl. Repeat with the oranges. Add the radishes, season generously with salt, and stir gently to combine.

4. Break the salmon into large pieces and divide across plates with the citrus salad. Peel and pit the avocado, then quarter lengthwise and add to plates. Season with salt. Spoon the juices from the bowl over top, and season with black pepper, another drizzle of olive oil and flaky sea salt, if using.

4. Lemony Shrimp and Bean Stew

With minimal prep and a quick cook time, this shrimp stew feels elegant for such an easy weeknight meal. You can also take the dish in a number of directions: Substitute the shrimp with an equal amount of flaky white fish or even seared scallops, or stretch the dish into a meal for six by stirring in some butter and serving over cooked spaghetti or rigatoni. A good glug of your best olive oil would also be a welcome.

By Sue Li

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest and 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound peeled, deveined large shrimp (tails removed)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed, then halved lengthwise, white and light green parts sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick (or 1 large onion, minced)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Toasted bread, for serving (optional)


1. Combine lemon zest, paprika, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat.

2. In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. When butter is foaming, add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink and starting to curl, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a plate; set aside.

3. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium until leeks are soft and starting to brown on the edges, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil over high. Lower heat and simmer, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp and any juices from the plate, parsley and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with toasted bread.

5. Skillet Chicken With Couscous, Lemon and Halloumi

Salty bits of halloumi, toasted walnuts and shallots bathed in lemon will enliven this simple yet elegant roast chicken and couscous recipe. A dash of red pepper flakes and a few sprigs of oregano make the dish as fragrant as it is flavorful. This recipe works as a lunch or dinner, and although it calls for chicken, the balance of acid and salt could work well with other proteins, such as fish, tofu, or sliced mushrooms, with adjustments to the cooking time, depending on your protein.

By Yewande Komolafe

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 40 minutes


  • 2 lemons
  • 4 ounces halloumi, torn
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (about 1 ounce), toasted and chopped
  • 6 shallots, peeled, 1 thinly sliced into rings, the remaining 5 quartered lengthwise
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken legs or thighs (about 4 legs or 6 thighs)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl couscous (7 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 oregano sprigs
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems


1. Zest 1 lemon into a small bowl. Slice off the top and bottom of the zested lemon so that they’re flat. Place the lemon upright on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, thinly slice off the white pith moving down the length of the lemon in sections. Discard the pith and roughly chop the flesh, removing any seeds you come across. Move the chopped lemon (about 2 tablespoons) and any juice to the bowl. Stir in the halloumi, chopped walnuts, sliced shallot, red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons oil. Let marinate as you cook the chicken.

2. Pat the chicken pieces dry and season generously with salt. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Place the chicken pieces skin-side down and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and sear chicken to cook further for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

3. Add quartered shallots to the pan and stir to coat in the pan drippings. Lower the heat to medium and cook until golden brown and just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the couscous and stir to coat in the shallot-flavored chicken fat. Add the broth, season with salt and bring up to a simmer.

4. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin-side up, along with any liquid from the plate. Add the oregano sprigs, cover with the lid or seal with foil, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, the couscous is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff the couscous and top with halloumi-walnut mixture.

5. Cut the remaining lemon in half, remove any seeds and squeeze over the entire pan. Garnish with a handful of fresh parsley and serve.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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