Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage #sevendaysofsoup

You can make lentil soup similarly to the way you would make a pea soup, flavored with a ham hock and it’s simple and delicious. This soup is a fun & delicious spin. Lentils are legumes, but have a heartiness that is filling almost like meat.

Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 15-16oz bag of lentils
  • 1 package spicy Italian sausage (bulk, not links)
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 large white onion, diced small
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2-3 celery stalks, peeled and diced small
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 C chicken/veggie broth
  • 2 C water

Instructions: 

  1. Brown and crumble sausage over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot until cooked through Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pot and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil, carrots, onion and celery to pot and sauté 4-5 mins until onions become translucent. Add garlic & cook for another 2 mins.
  3. Add broth, water, lentils & sausage to pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Turn off heat and let soup rest, covered, for 20 minutes before serving.
  4. Delicious served with crusty bread for dunking.

Creamy Black Garlic Potato Soup #sevendaysofsoups

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 6 pearl onions, peeled & halved
  • 4 cloves black garlic, crushed
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 1 qt vegetable or chicken stock
  • EVOO
  • up to 1C dry instant potatoes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot heat a few tsp EVOO over medium-high heat.
  2. Sweat pearl onions until translucent.
  3. Toss in the black garlic & toss until onions are coated & mixture is fragrant.
  4. Add potatoes and toss to combine.
  5. Pour in stock. If it doesn’t cover the potatoes, add enough hot water to cover.
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover & lower to medium heat.
  7. Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender, 10-15 mins.
  8. Lower heat & purée mixture with a hand blender until smooth.
  9. Whisk in the cream. *Hint: If at this point you feel that the soup isn’t reaching your desired thickness, you can sprinkle in the dry instant potatoes, a little at a time, whisking constantly until you reach the desired thickness.*
  10. Heat soup gently, over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve with crusty bread.

Need some black garlic? Order 40 day aged Black Garlic from my Etsy shop, Mise en Place Gourmet

Teen-Pleasing Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings #sevendaysofsoup

Holy crap. It’s COLD in my neck of the woods!! So cold, that my teens requested canned Chicken & Dumplings for dinner the other night. They agreed on a dinner. Just so you know, that’s a very big deal. I complied because 1) when your teens agree on a dinner you must comply and 2) chicken & dumplings are freaking delicious.

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

 

But deep down, I didn’t feel good about feeding them C&D from a can. Not because I’m any kind of anti-canned-food fanatic, obvs. But because I felt like C&D would probably be a relatively easy thing to make if I had a jumping off point.

As I guiltily stirred the canned goodness, I text my Bestie, a bonafide Southern gal, betting it was something she would know how to make. After all, she taught this Yankee how to make real Sweet Tea. Of course she did. She then text me a recipe, apologizing for it’s housewifey-ness but promised it would be delicious. I’ve made it twice in less than a month. In my crockpot. Who am I??

Bone-Warming, Teen-Pleasing, Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

For me, this recipe makes one dinner & one lunch for me & 2 teens. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 good-sized boneless, skinless frozen chicken breasts (or the equivalent amount in tenderloins)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 qt chicken broth or stock (I used my own homemade stock)
  • medium white onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (optional)
  • 2 carrots, diced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 can of 8 Grands flaky biscuits (traditional or buttermilk)
  • Kosher salt & black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken in the crock pot.
  2. Cut up the butter and put on top of the chicken.
  3. Sprinkle diced onions & veggies over top of chicken & butter.
  4. Add the soups & broth/stock. It’s going to look very moist right now. Don’t fret, the gravy will form. Stir them in a little, but don’t worry if there are still chunks of soup. As it cooks they will blend together.
  5. Sprinkle your parsley over the top and give it a stir.
  6. Cook on low/slow cook setting 4-6 hours until chicken is no longer pink.
  7. Pull out the chicken & shred it up. I was able to use 4 forks to do the job. Throw the shredded chicken back into the crockpot.
  8. Open your can of biscuits. Cut each biscuit into eighths. The first time I made this recipe & bought 2 cans of biscuits because in biscuit-form there’s no way 1 can would cut it for my kids. But once I cut up 1 can I realized that was a lot of dumplings & 1 can would suffice.
  9. Drop the dough into the crock pot and mix it in so it’s coated in the gravy. Cook 30-40 mins for doughy dumplings, an hour for firmer ones.
  10. Stir before serving. Season to taste with salt & pepper, if desired. I found that the salt level was fine & I didn’t need any more.


Frank’s Old-School Dumplings (Knedliky) #sevendaysofsoup

With colder temperatures & hearty soups comes talk of dumplings. In the same week that I first made Chicken & Dumplings, I got some texts from my childhood friend, as her dad was making some dumplings to go with a roast. He wanted to make him the way his mom did & was using several old cookbooks & reportedly some old chicken-scratch notes he had made. Why do I feel like this is going to be me when I get older? They were Czech dumplings, AKA knedlicky. I know many ethnic foods, but was unfamiliar with knedlicky. I inquired about the books being used, & received several pix starting with this one of a cookbook from the 1920s.

 And several dumpling recipes. I made this one, specifically because it was labeled knedlicky.  

  I love vintage cookbooks. Someday I’ll write a post featuring all my favorites. But vintage recipes are sometimes confusing. They are often written in a conversational tone, like this one, and sometimes the measurements can be a little sketchy. “Enough flour to make a thick dough…” would definitely not fly as instructions in a modern recipe. Here’s my analysis & translation.

Frank’s Old-School Dumplings (Knedlicky)

I’m told that these dumplings are “bread dumplings” and that Frank’s dumplings are not; but I’m keeping this title to pay homage to Frank & his manic dumpling-making. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (this is adjusted from the original recipe’s 1 tsp which didn’t seem to be nearly enough)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2-2C all-purpose flour
  • 2 slices of white bread
  • butter or margarine for frying (I used plain old Blue Bonnet to keep things Old School)

Instructions:

  1. Beat 2 large eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Add milk, butter (at room temp), & salt.
  3. Slowly add the flour 1/4 C at a time until a thick, slightly sticky dough is formed.
  4. Beat at medium speed for about 5 mins, until the dough comes together and starts to make a slapping noise on the bowl as it is kneaded.
  5. While your dough is being kneaded in the mixer, butter & fry 2 slices of bread & tear them into small pieces.
  6. Add your fried bread pieces to the dough and beat until combined. This seemed to be an odd thing to do, and scientifically I’m not really sure why you would add bread crumbs to a dumpling dough but in the spirit of making a vintage recipe, I went along with it.  
  7. The recipe calls for making your dumplings the size of a small apple. I’m thinking apples must have been much smaller in the olden days, because my dumplings came out HUGE. Not that that’s a bad thing, but you may want to go a bit smaller.
  8. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. When you drop the dumplings in they will probably sink to the bottom, and will probably need to be scraped from the bottom of the pot with a knife.
  9. Cover and cook 10 mins at medium-high.
  10. Serve with soups, roasts, and gravies.

Classic French Onion Soup #sevendaysofsoup

Based on Julia Child’s classic recipe…

Classic French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 8 C white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 8 C homemade beef stock, or good quality store bought stock
  • 1/4 C brandy or sherry
  • 1 C dry white wine

Instructions:

  1. Heat butter & EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. When the butter has melted, stir in the onions, cover, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add in salt and sprinkle over the sugar, increase the heat to medium-high, and brown the onions, stirring frequently until they are a dark brown color, at least 25 to 30 minutes. Arguably, browning the onions is the most important part of the recipe, and not to be rushed.

    IMG_1717

    Carmelized goodness!!

  4. Sprinkle the flour over the browned onions and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then whisk in 2 C hot beef stock. Bring to a simmer, adding the rest of the stock, brandy or sherry, and wine. IMG_1876
  6. Put the lid on your Dutch oven, venting slightly, and simmer slowly 1 1/2 hrs, adding a little water if the liquid reduces too much. Season to taste with Kosher salt & black pepper.
  7. If desired, serve soup the classic way: with a large crouton of French bread & broiled Gruyere over the top. Still delicious with any type of bread or cheese though.

 

So you want to make a stock… #sevendaysofsoup

I’ve been making my own soups from scratch for quite awhile. Making soups is easy and FUN! The only reason I can think of for buying instant or condensed soups is because making soups can be a little time consuming. Typically, you don’t have to *watch* the soup as it simmers; you can do other things and just pop into the kitchen periodically to give your soup a stir!

The cornerstone to making good soups is obviously making good stocks. It’s a fairly simple process, but can be time consuming. Once you’ve made a batch of stock/broth you can can it, or freeze it in smaller containers if you don’t have a canner.

Any time you are making stock you will need to have carrots, celery, and onions on hand for making a mirepoix. You will also need them for most soups. When I’m chopping mirepoix for a stock, I use an equal amount of each & chop them coarsely. I don’t peel the carrots, and I leave the leaves on the celery. I peel the onion (usually I like to use white onions) and take the ends off, then chop coarsely.

IMG_1008

This is a pretty good example of what my mirepoix looks like.

There are 4 stocks that you should learn to make before you begin your soup voyage: chicken stock, bone broth, veggie stock, and fish/seafood stock. I’ve touched on chicken & fish stock here before (see links above) but not bone broth or veggie stock. So let’s tackle those, shall we?

Bone Broth has gotten a lot of great press lately as a natural cure-all for whatever ails you. Is it legit? Maybe. In general, I usually feel better when I’ve had some homemade broth. I think the real key here is using bones with marrow in them. Many moons ago (almost a year ago) I made some beef bone broth & posted this pic to Instagram.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 5.25.21 PM

Here’s the method I like to use for my bone broth.

Beef Bone Broth 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package beef soup bones with marrow (they will look like the picture above)
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • half a bunch of celery (3-4 stalks), coarsely chopped, leave on any leaves
  • 3-4 carrots, coarsely chopped, unpeeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed & unpeeled
  • EVOO
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Arrange bones in a single layer in a roasting pan. Surround with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
  3. Roast bones and vegetables, turning and stirring occasionally until lightly browned (for about 45 mins).
  4. Smear bones with tomato paste & roast another 30-40 mins, until deeply browned.
  5. Transfer bones and vegetables to a large stockpot, spooning off any visible fat that you see. Make sure to pour any juices in the bottom of the pan as well as any brown sticky bits into the stockpot as well.
  6. Add enough water to cover the bones & vegetables, as well as a few inches extra. I like to use hot water from my electric kettle.
  7. Toss in your bay leaves and season with Kosher salt & black pepper, if desired.
  8. Bring stockpot to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed.
  9. Strain stock through a cheesecloth and can or freeze until ready to use. Skim any fat off the top, as needed, but remember that a bone-broth may be more gelatinous than you expect, particularly after it is cooled. Despite skimming and straining it may still have a cloudy appearance when it is finished. This is normal & does not reflect on the quality of your broth.

Veggie stock is quick easy to make, especially since you don’t have to worry about fat clouding things up. It’s great to use in vegetable-based soups, or if you’re out of another stock.

Easy-Peasy Veggie Stock

Ingredients:

  • EVOO
  • 1 onion, peeled & coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch celery, leaves left on, chopped coarsely
  • 1 lb carrots, unpeeled, chopped coarsely
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste

*Note: feel free to toss in any other veggie waste from other stocks/soups. I have even made veggie stock from trimmings (leaves, stems, etc) from other recipes.*

Instructions:

  1. Heat EVOO in a medium stockpot over medium until hot. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent. About 10 to 15 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and golden, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour in enough water to cover vegetables by 1 inch (8 to 10 cups) and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, 1 hour.
  3. Pour stock through cheesecloth into a large bowl or another pot, pressing on vegetables to extract as much flavorful liquid as possible. Discard solids. Cool and store in canning jars, or freeze until ready to use.

 

Marshmallow Mania: Part II

It’s Blood Orange season! Blood Oranges are one of my favorites, and the season is short and fleeting. While I have some in my greedy little hands, I’m making as many different things out of them as possible. Naturally, I had to combine my love for Blood Oranges with my latest obsession: marshmallows. 

 

Me when it’s Blood Orange season…

 
Blood Orange Marshmallows

For this recipe, I replaced all the water in the original recipe with freshly-squeezed Blood Orange juice & in lieu of vanilla bean, I used 1 tsp Blood Orange zest. To get the right amount of juice/zest for the recipe I used 2 Blood Oranges. 

makes 16-18 large marshmallows

Ingredients: 

  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 pkg unflavored gelatin 
  • 3/4 C Blood Orange juice (about 2 oranges worth)
  • 2 C granulated sugar 
  • 2/3 C light corn syrup 
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Blood Orange zest 
  • Blood Orange-infused confectioner’s sugar (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. Zest and juice 2 Blood Oranges. You can add a little water to get to the 3/4 C mark, if needed. 
  2. Lightly spray a 13X9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 C cold Blood Orange juice; let stand for 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 C Blood Orange juice. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla extract & orange zest; mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread gelatin mixture evenly into pan using prepared spatula or your hands. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours.
  5. Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Remove all plastic wrap and discard. Cut marshmallows into 2-inch squares using a sprayed sharp knife. Place Blood Orange-infused confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat.

Blood Orange-Infused Confectioner’s Sugar

In a small airtight container combine:

  • 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar 
  • 1 tsp Blood Orange zest

Let the flavors “marinate” for 2-3 hrs; or ideally overnight. 

To use sift onto marshmallows or other foods. Small bits of zest may be present, and that’s OK!

ICYMI: Marshmallow Reminders:

  • If you want to add extra coloring to your marshmallows, add the coloring to the gelatin/water mixture. This makes it difficult to gauge the exact color you will end up with, but if you add the color after mixing you will deflate your marshmallow. In fact, if you do/add anything after mixing your marshmallow will deflate. Sadness.
  • Marshmallows smell funky before your flavorings are added. I guess this is is the smell of the gelatin. I have found that adding vanilla or another extract in its place alleviates the funk.
  • These marshmallows are softer than store-bought ones. I don’t know why. But overall, that’s a good thing. 

Love Blood Oranges? Want to give my Blood Orange Marshmallows a try? Get some delivered right to your door with an order from my Etsy shop, Mise en Place Gourmet. For a limited time!!