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GOOD COOKING / ABBY MANDEL

Weekends Are Made for Soup

April 21, 1999|ABBY MANDEL

Soup is ideal if the weekend is the only time you have for cooking, because it actually tastes better the day after it's made. You can even freeze it--just be sure to refrigerate it overnight first.

It's also forgiving. Exact measurement is seldom important, and adding your own touches usually improves it. So a soup pot frequently simmers on my stove over the weekend and the soup--often made from leftover scraps in the vegetable bin--is perfect when I want to put a quick meal on the table.

At meal time, just reheat the soup until it's steaming, add water if it has become too thick, adjust the seasoning and serve it in large heated bowls along with warm garlic bread and a salad of mixed greens, cucumbers or green beans.

Mandel is author of "Celebrating the Midwestern Table" (Doubleday & Co., 1996).

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup With Applewood-Smoked Bacon

Active Work Time: 25 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Applewood-smoked bacon adds an appealing smoky-sweet flavor to this soup. If you want to make the soup even more substantial, stir in some cooked rice, pasta, diced potatoes or canned and drained Northern beans or garbanzo beans.

4 slices smoked bacon, diced

2 onions, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 head cabbage, quartered, cored and thinly sliced

4 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2/3 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Freshly ground pepper

* Cook bacon in 4-quart pot over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons fat.

* Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage, chicken broth, tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, brown sugar, lemon juice, paprika, salt, allspice and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 45 minutes. Cool and refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to a month.

* Reheat gently before serving. Add water if too thick and adjust seasonings if needed.

8 servings. Each serving: 140 calories; 594 mg sodium; 3 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 26 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 1.81 grams fiber.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Active Work Time: 25 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour

Two (10-ounce) cans small baby clams with their liquid, 1 pound bay scallops or 1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp may be substituted for the clams.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 red boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 to 3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

4 dozen small clams

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

* Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add onions and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes.

* Add potatoes, tomatoes with juice, 2 bottles clam juice, thyme, red pepper flakes and bay leaf. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just tender, about 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to a month.

* A few hours before serving, scrub clams. Place in large pot with 1-inch water and cook, covered, over medium-high heat until shells open, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer clams to platter with slotted spoon. Remove clams from shells and discard shells. Pour clam broth through paper towel-lined sieve and set aside.

* Gently reheat chowder before serving. Remove bay leaf. Add clams and cook 1 minute. If soup is too thick, add reserved clam broth or remaining clam juice until desired consistency. (Freeze leftover clam broth or juice for another use). Stir in parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.

6 servings. Each serving: 298 calories; 542 mg sodium; 91 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 36 grams protein; 1.18 grams fiber.;

*

Alec Karros bowl from Freehand, Los Angeles.

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