This is the first themed challenge of the DDC - The Soup and One-Pot Meal Challenge. Coincidentally this weekend was when Michael and I chose to throw our annual Mid-Winter Party and had already decided to do soups! Behind Russ and Mike P. are the 4 soups we served: Tuscan White Bean and Kale, Cassoulet, Curried Butternut Squash, and Chicken Noodle. During the course of the party we were so busy photographing our guests that we forgot to get shots of the food! It's in there but incidental.
|Russ and Mike P. in front of the soups and behind Lori's foccacia.|
Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1/4 cup diced fresh sage leaves or 1/8 cup crumbled dried sage
4 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock (I used ham stock here or you could go with veg stock or water)
6 cloves garlic, cut in 1/2
1/2 cup half and half or cream or milk (whatever you have)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 bunch kale, leaves torn from stems and into bite sized pieces
In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the butter and olive oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the sage and beans. Add the stock and garlic and simmer until the garlic is softened. Carefully blend the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until it is pureed to your desired level of smoothness. I go for nearly smooth with some chunks of beans left while others prefer it not blended at all. If you don't have an immersion or stick blender, remove the soup from the pot into a large bowl and carefully puree it in small portions in a blender or food processor. Hold on to the top of the blender because hot foods expand when blended and could blow the lid off! As you finish each batch, pour the blended soup back into the soup pot. Once all the soup is blended and back in the soup pan, add the kale and simmer until wilted. Add the cream right before serving and taste for salt and pepper. Lightly drizzle the soup with a flavorful olive oil in the individual bowls to finish or pass around the olive oil at the table.
The cannellini beans I used were not local this year but they will be next year. This is our white bean of choice and we're going to devote a part of the garden to these beans. Garbanzo beans too!
|Brett doing his best James Dean "Rebel with Cassoulet" thing. Asia and Brynna dancing the night away.|
"Brett would you feed my dog and water the plants while I'm away?"
"Is there cassoulet involved?"
"There is now."
This isn't your classic, cook for days cassoulet but made a day or two in advance and reheated it's pretty darn close. When I went to get some at the party there were a couple of forlorn beans and a lone chicken thigh bone in the bottom of the pot. I think they liked it! You can use any meats you have on hand or the ones called for here. Cassoulet is more like a guideline. It's a great way to use up some leftovers
4 slices thick-cut bacon
6 chicken thighs
8 (about 1 1/4 pounds) sausage links
1 lb venison cubes
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
4 cups diced tomatoes in juice, undrained
6 cups small white beans, rinsed, drained
2 large yellow bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (I used the already diced and frozen peppers from our freezer so it was a mix of colors)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Except for the venison cubes that I browned in advance, I put the chicken, bacon, and sausages together on a baking sheet and allowed them to brown in a 400F oven, removing the individual meats as they were done. After the meats cooled enough to handle, I removed the skin from the chicken, thickly sliced the sausage, and roughly crumbled the bacon.
I added a couple tablespoons of the drippings from the baking sheet to the Dutch oven on the stovetop and cooked the onion and garlic on low until they were softened and just beginning to color. Then add the wine, stir in tomatoes, beans, and remaining stew ingredients, and bring mixture to a simmer. (I used more of the fines herbs paste here instead of the fresh herbs and flakes from our dried Serrano peppers.) Stir in the venison, sausage, and tuck the whole chicken thighs into the beans until covered with liquid. Sprinkle bacon bits over top. Cover pot and bake 45 minutes. If making in advance, allow the casserole to cool and refrigerate.
Combine the topping ingredients and spread out on a baking sheet. Place in a 400F degree oven and bake, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are just golden. Sprinkle the topping over the casserole 15 minutes before the end of the cook time. If holding the cassoulet until later, sprinkle on the topping just before putting it in the oven to reheat. Reheat in a 350F oven, uncovered, until hot through.
Everything in the cassoulet was local except for the Parmesan in the topping.
|Bill, Chris, Karla, and Megan. Little Jolie heading for what's left on the relish plates so she can get her pickle on!|
Spiced Butternut-Pumpkin Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, chopped (I used red peppers I had roasted and frozen last summer)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 roughly three pound butternut squash, halved, deseeded, and roasted at 400F until tender
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed
1 quart chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste OR 1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast the butternut squash and allow to cool enough to handle. Scrape the pulp into a bowl.
Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, add onion and bell pepper, and sauté 8 minutes or until onion is golden. Stir in garlic and ginger, and cook 1 minute. Add squash, next 7 ingredients, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Process soup, in batches, in a blender until smooth and return to the pot, or puree directly in the pot using a stick blender. Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in lime juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
The lime, curry paste, and ginger were not local. I bought a beautifully plump fresh piece of ginger with the intention of burying the rest in a pot to see what happens. I've heard it's possible to grow your own ginger root, treating it like a tropical house plant. We'll see. And at some point I suppose we'll try dwarf citrus in pots. I'm already growing a little bay tree which is in it's third year with us. I know I can make my own curry paste, I've done it before, I just need to establish tropical exotics in pots to make it local. "Honeeee! Can we build a little greenhouse?"
|April and Amber|
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 quart really good chicken stock
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped, cubed, or torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup noodles of your choice: broken spaghetti or fettucini, tortellini, flat egg, soba, etc. home made or store bought
salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add the onion and allow to soften, then add the carrots and celery and saute for 10 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to keep from browning too much. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer until the carrots and celery are tender. Stir in the chicken and bring the soup to a slow boil, then add the noodles. Keep the soup just at a boil until the noodles are just done then turn back to a slow simmer. If the soup is thickening too much add water or stock. If it seems low on noodles, cook a little in a separate pot, drain and add to chicken soup. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
This is a soup I usually just wing. You can add more veggies to it, like peas or baby limas, or stir in spinach or sliced bok choy. Spice it up with a little chili powder, cumin, and red pepper, and swap out the noodles for white beans (cannellini) for white bean chicken chili! Whatever you choose, taste as you go and adjust your seasonings accordingly.
Everything in this soup was local except for the noodles. I know, I know, I'm a staunch proponent of home made noodles. Michael bought a bunch of angel hair nests from one of the local high school band mothers to help finance the band's trip to a competition. Gotta use it somewhere!
|Teresa and Jack saving the world.|
Janice baked and brought her unbelievable moist and carroty carrot cake for dessert. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of that but it appeared everyone accessed their inner piranha when the cake was put out!
At the end of the evening, amidst the happy groans of full bellies and food buzzes, the Mid-Winter Soup Fest was declared a success and a great antidote to the January blues.
|Isaac and Chris gaming the night away|
|Asia and Brynna dance on.|