Soup


Have you every heard of ‘grief bacon”? No? Me either. But I now know what it is. Because it is this month’s theme for LETS LUNCH What do you want when you feel down? Blue? Is there a special food?

I head for for the jar of Peanut Butter. Or the bag of M&Ms. I seldom make something for me when I am feeling blue. But if I just need something to ‘warm’ my soul I head for soup Not just any soup. Chicken Noodle Soup. Not decadent. Not soothing necessarily. But comforting. I remember sharing a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup with Mom. Cold days. Rainy days. Chicken Noodle Soup.

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The recipe I used this time was based on a DASH recipe. Trying to eat a little better for our health brought me to this one. Comforting. Healthy. Delicious. And I served a nice hunk of Country Bread on the side. Bread = comfort food!

    STOCK:
    1 chicken (about 3 pounds) skinned and seperated, or 4 chicken quarters, skinned
    8 cups water
    2 onions, halved, the inner layer of skin left on
    3 carrots, chopped
    3 celery stalks, chopped
    1 bouquet garni
    4 black peppercorns
    1 teaspoon salt
    SOUP
    4 ounces spaghetti or linguine, broken into 2-inch pieces
    1 carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
    1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
    1 cup frozen corn, thawed
    1/2 cup barley
    1/3 cup yellow lentils
    2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
    2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

First make the stock. Put the chicken parts in a large, heavy-based stockpot or saucepan. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, then pour in about 8 cups cold water to cover the ingredients. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface constantly until all gray scum is removed. {You could use store bought as long as it’s low sodium – even veggie stock}

Reduce the heat to low immediately after the liquid boils. Add the bouquet garni, peppercorns, and I teaspoon salt. Partially cover the pan and simmer for I hour, skimming as necessary. Test the chicken joints after 30-40 minutes; remove them as soon as the juices run clear when the joints are pierced with the point of a knife. Set aside. Salt and pepper to taste.

Line a large colander or sieve with dampened cheesecloth and place it over a large heatproof bowl, then strain the stock through this. Discard the vegetables and flavoring ingredients. Return stock to the cleaned pan. Skim off any excess fat on the surface of the stock. Cool and freeze the leftover stock to use as a chicken .stock in other recipes.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard all the bones. Cut 112 pound meat into bite-size pieces for use in the soup. Reserve the remaining chicken for sandwiches or other recipes.

Bring the stock to the boil, then reduce the heat so the stock is simmering. Add the spaghetti or linguine and the carrot, and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the celery and corn, lentils, and continue cooking until the pasta and all the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. I cooked the barley separately because it takes about an hour to cook.

Stir in the chicken with seasoning to taste and heat through. Sprinkle in the parsley and thyme, and serve the soup at once.


I added the barley and lentils to the recipe. You could even add quinoa. And any nice other veggie would be nice, too. Broccoli, squash, navy beans.

I also find making my own pasta very comforting so I made whole wheat noodles for the soup.

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I’ll post that recipe later.

What did the other members bring to lunch? You can find a round up on Rebecca’s blog. She was our host this month.

Eastern European foods rely heavily on pork, potatoes and vegetables. Noodles came into the cuisine after contact with Italy and today there is a lot of fusion of old traditional recipes and new food ideas. Basically there are two types of food in Poland. The cuisine of the aristocracy and the dishes of the farmers and workers. The aristocracy preferred more lavish foods from other countries, such as pasta introduced in the 1500s, and spices.
The food of the farmers and workers was more filling and tended to be hearty and warming. Since I am not at all aristocratic, I went with the hearty, filling, warming food. Such as this

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    Kielbasa and Potatoes

Polish sausage and potatoes are in many dishes of the area as are lots of grains and some dairy products.

    5 large potatoes, cut in bite sized chunks
    1 lb kielbasa, sliced
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup chopped green pepper {I used red}
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon oregano
    1 teaspoon basil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese {I didn’t have any cheddar so I used Muenster}

In dutch oven, brown potatoes, kielbasa, onion and peppers in oil.
Add seasonings and water. Bring to a boil.
Cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and sprinkle cheese on top. Return lid an allow cheese to melt.

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This was definitely hearty, filling, delicious, and took less than 30 minutes to put together. I also ran across similar recipes that added in other vegetables such as carrots, peas, etc. Recipe from Food.com


The people also depend a lot on mushrooms in their recipes. So While I was in the kitchen cutting up veggies I went ahead and made some soup.


Wild Mushroom Soup

    1/4 lb dried wild mushrooms {I used a combo of dried shitake, porcini, and button}
    9 cups vegetable or meat stock
    1 cup butter
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    salt
    white pepper
    sour cream
    chopped fresh parsley

Cover mushrooms with cold water and soak overnight. Drain the mushrooms reserving the soaking liquid, strain the liquid through a fine cloth. Rinse the mushrooms in cold water to remove any remaining sand then slice into strips.
Add the mushrooms, 8 cups of of the beef stock and the soaking liquid to a 3 quart saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat 4 hours.
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet, add the onion, saute until golden brown then add to the soup.
Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining cup of beef stock, add to the soup, stir and simmer until slightly thickened.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into individual bowls, top each with 1 tbls sour cream and sprinkle with parsley. Recipe from Polish Recipes

No pics with this one. I KNOW I took them, but they are GONE!!But it wasn’t a pretty soup so maybe just as well. :)

The roundup of Poland will be the first week of February so check out My Kitchen My World.

The thing I like about Donna Hay is how she takes simple ingredients. Combines them in different ways and broadens my horizons with new flavors. I love sweet potatoes but I would NEVER have thought to make soup with them in a mix with onion and chicken stock. But Donna did. And while I am still not sure if I liked her sweet potato soup I do know it was different.

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Sautee some chopped onions and chopped up sweet potato. Add some broth. Cook. Blend smooth. Top with goat’s cheese and basil. Eat.

Except I made one small change. I baked the sweet potato which I think deepened the flavor some. After it cooled I cut it up and added it to the sauteed onions and broth. I used some garlic herb goat cheese, which mixed in after pictures really brought out some great flavor. Okay, I liked it! Did the other ladies of Wednesdays with Donna Hay? Visit and see.

Chaya, who chose the recipe,
Gaye,
Kayte,
Sarah.

The recipe is online on Donna’s site if you want to try it.

It was raining and 38 degrees out when I made this soup. Perfect weather for soup. Of course, according to Kayte, any weather is soup weather. When the weather took a chilly turn I was glad I picked soup to make this week for Wednesdays with Donna Hay. And while I only made 1/2 of the recipe I know I will make it again. It was good….. and easy.

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Beef broth, potatoes, leeks, and bacon. And throw in some chopped fresh sage. That’s it. That is the whole ingredient list – unless you add the optional cream.

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I did for part of it and I don’t think it really added to the flavor. The recipe is on page 24 of Donna’s modern classics: BOOK 1. Buy the book, check it out.


Check with

for their soups.

Every once in a while a blog name really catches your attention. Usually because you just know it tells you something important about the blogger. So when I was assigned It’s Yummy to my Tummy I knew right away my blogger had children. Isn’t it obvious? How many times have I heard my granddaughter say…

yogabba

    “There’s a party in my tummy. So yummy….”

and I imagine Heather’s two cuties say it a lot too. Especially if they get to eat her treats.

Like the ones I chose to make for Secret Recipe Club. and as usual it wasn’t easy making a choice.

The day I started reading through Heather’s blog is was chilly outside so soup sounded perfect.

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    Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

What a delicious way to warm up. Creamy, full of flavor with all the garlic, parsley, and thyme. And so colorful.

    1 cup cooked chicken, diced
    4 tbsp butter
    4 tbsp flour
    1 quart half and half
    14 ounces chicken broth
    1/2 cup celery, finely diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup carrots, finely shredded
    1 cup onion, finely diced
    1 cup spinach, chopped
    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp thyme
    1/2 tsp parsley
    1 lb gnocchi
    salt and pepper, to taste

Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in the butter and olive oil, until onion becomes translucent. Add in your flour and make like a paste or a roux. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture for about a minute and then add in your half and half, seasonings, carrots, and chicken. Let mixture begin to simmer and thicken up.
In another pot, cook your gnocchi according to package directions or prepare your homemade gnocchi. Note, if preparing homemade gnocchi for this dish, I would do that before so you don’t have to worry about it at the same time as preparing your soup. As the soup mixture gets thicker, maybe a few minutes of simmering, add in your chicken broth, and let it reduce a few minutes again. Once the gnocchi is ready, add it to the simmering soup, along with your spinach.
Cook for a few additional minutes or until the spinach starts to wilt. Serve with a little parmesan cheese on top if you wish.

Afterward we needed a litle something sweet.

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And this Peanut Butter Fudge was just perfect.
I have been making PB fudge for years. And I have used the same recipe for years. You know the one -with that Puffy White Stuff. Well I am here to tell you this is sooo much better and tons easier to make.

    5 ounces of unsalted butter
    2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

In a microwaveable bowl, place butter and peanut butter and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Next stir mixture and microwave another 2 minutes, mixture will be hot and bubbly!
Add in vanilla and salt
Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Note the mixture starts to get really thick here! So stir it with some muscle to incorporate the powdered sugar well.
Put the fudge into a 9 x 9 pan lined with parchment paper for easier removal. Allow to cool and store in the refrigerator until to cut into pieces and enjoy.

Microwave fudge!! This is way too dangerous a recipe to know about. Maybe I shouldn’t share it?

I don’t make biscuits very often (carbs!)(no self control!) but I decided to try Heather’s with the stew the other night. I needed something to soak up all the extra juices.

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    Fabio's Cheese Bomb Biscuits
      2 cups of sifted flour
      2 tsp of baking powder
      1/2 tsp of salt
      4 tbsp shortening
      1 1/4 cups of half & half
      1 1/2 Asiago cheese

    Mix all the dry ingredients together, including the grated cheese. Next add in the shortening. After you incorporate the shortening, add in the half & half.
    Ordinarily one would drop 1/4 cup of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, but I decided to use a muffin pan which gave me a nice thick biscuit.
    Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

    Heather used Romano or Parmesan cheese. I used the Asiago instead. And you will need more than 1 1/2 cups if you want a stronger cheesy taste. They were perfect with the stew.

    If you want to find out what else was coming out of the SRC Member's kitchens you need to check out the postings below. I know you will find some great food.

    And just in case you aren't familiar with Secret Recipe Club it is a great group of bloggers who are assigned a blog. We then make something from their blog and all of us post, or reveal, on the same day. Nobody knows who got who until the reveal. Tons of fun.


Moxie’s blog that is! And glad I did cause there are plenty of great recipes there to try. Which is the problem. Which one(s) to make for this months Secret Receipe Club. And if you don’t know what that is you need to visit SRC and get the low down! Every month we get a SECRET blog to cook from and then we all reveal it on the same day. You get to know so many great bloggers and their recipes. Like Moxie!

Moxie lives in Boston with her pug, Ginger. She grew up in Long Island with four siblings. A nice large Italian family with lots of great recipes passed down through the family. So it is no wonder it was hard to pick. I managed to narrow it down to 20 recipes which I pinned for later. I finally narrowed THAT down to three quick ones I knew we would enjoy – often!!

    Like her….

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    Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots

There is nothing better than good fresh beans with lovely onions cooked down in butter and brown sugar.

    1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 lb shallots, halved lengthwise and peeled
    1/2 tsp fresh thyme OR 1/4 tsp dried thyme
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook green beans in boiling salted water for 5 minutes or until semi-tender; drain. Dump green beans into ice water to stop cooking so they don’t get mushy. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt butter, olive oil and brown sugar over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 5 minutes, breaking them apart with a wooden spoon. Stir frequently so the sugar does not burn. Reduce heat to medium-low, add thyme and vinegar, and sauté 10 minutes or until shallots are golden brown and tender.
Increase heat to medium-high and add the green beans back to the pan. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Serves 2 as a side dish.

The only thing I did different was to sautee the beans in a little butter and olive oil, instead of boiling them, and then add the cooked onions and cooked a little longer. So good!

One of my favorite soups is Tomato Basil so I am always looking for a good recipe. Moxie had one. And it so good. I am excited, also, because I got to use some Basil from the garden. She served hers with a grilled sandwich and that sounded like a perfect lunch.

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    2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
    1/2 cup olive oil, divided
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 stalks celery, diced
    2 small carrots, diced
    1 large onion, diced
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    3 cups chicken broth
    2 bay leaves
    4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
    1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Drain cans of tomatoes, reserving juice for later. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil on foil-lined baking sheet along with diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through baking.
Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic, cooking until softened, about 15 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, reserved juices, chicken broth, bay leaves and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth. Serves 4.


Instead of her basic grilled cheese, though, I made her

    Grilled Cheese with ‘Shrooms

    1 teaspoon olive oil
    4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
    Dash of thyme
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    2 ounces shredded mozzarella, divided
    2 slices of wheat bread
    Cooking spray

In a small skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms until they start to turn golden brown, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Set mushrooms aside in a bowl and wipe out your skillet with a paper towel.
Spray your skillet with cooking spray and turn back to medium-high heat. Place one slice of bread in pan and cover with one ounce mozzarella cheese, reserved mushrooms and then remaining one ounce mozzarella cheese. Top with the other slice of bread and spray more cooking spray right over the top.
Grill sandwich about 2-3 minutes per side, just until it starts to turn golden brown and the cheese melts, flipping once. Serves 1.
And I was right. It WAS the perfect lunch. So many more dishes I want to go back for, but until then, as Moxie would say:

    Tutti Mangia!

Except mine turned out to be lentil soup. Seems I had made the wrong soup and by the time I discovered it I didn’t have time to get all the ingredients I needed to make the right soup. Lentil soup. But even without a couple of the ingredients it was still a nice warming, filling HEALTHY soup.

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I realize you cannot really see the lentils in the soup but they are there. Lovely little red lentils that turn yellow as they cook. And spinach, and onions and cumin, and coriander. All adding up to a fragrant bolw of YUM!!

I didn’t have any veggie stock so I used beef (so not vegetarian as intended) and I was all out of lemons. Donna said you could top the soup wiht coreander flavored yoghurt but I chose to just enjoy it without. Even the Hubs liked it! Surprising!!

Anyway, the recipe is on page 16 of Donna’s modern classics: Book 1 but you can also find it HERE!

And check with Gaye, who chose this week’s dish,
Kayte,
Sarah, and
Chaya for their soups.

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