Winter is here. The day is gorgeous with the sun shining. When you open the door, you can feel the cold, yet when you step into the wind, it feels quite bitter. On cold winter days, I like to stay snuggled in with my family and animals. Then, I make a big hearty soup with bread for dinner. We may be sipping hot chocolate and eating popcorn too. The one thing we don’t have to add to the cozy atmosphere is a fireplace. Let me correct myself, two things. The fireplace, yes, but also, snow. Somehow, the snow likes to skip us. We may get about three snowfalls a winter that will melt by the end of the day, but I suppose it’s something.
This soup is excellent on cold days, with or without snow. Serve with a crusty bread, and maybe some fresh grated Parmesan for the cheese lovers. I like mine with a glass of red wine.
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Celery Rib, sliced
1 Onion, diced
1 Pound Kale
2 Zucchini, sliced
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
2 Cans Cannellini Beans, 15 oz. cans
1 Can Diced Tomatoes, 15 oz. can
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1. Heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the thyme, carrots, celery and onions. Sweat these over very low heat for about 5 minutes. Then, add the kale. Cover tightly and cook the kale until it wilts to half its volume.
2. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups of stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover.
3. Allow the stew to come to another boil. Add the zucchini. Simmer for one more hour, then add the beans. If necessary, add more water to your desired consisitency, and cook 45 minutes longer.
Yields: 8 servings
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 tsp. garlic, chopped
1 cup peeled, cubed fresh pumpkin
1 cup peeled, chopped McIntosh apple
1 qt. vegetable stock
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. apple brandy
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1. Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic, and sauté 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, apple, stock and salt. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
2. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until pumpkin is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
3. Puree with a hand blender or food processor until smooth. Return mixture to the stockpot; add milk. Cook until thoroughly heated. Add the apple brandy and spices. Mix thoroughly.
4. Serve with croutons and a glass of Chardonnay.
Hint: Our pumpkin soup is topped with a gentle swirl made of sage oil. Here’s how to do it: Just blend ½ cup olive oil and ½ cup fresh sage. Put oil mixture in a clean squirt bottle and draw a swirl.
Chili Con Carne
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 onion, minced
4 celery stalks, finely sliced
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
12 ounces beer
2 15.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup masa corn flour
1. Saute the onions, peppers and celery in a stock pot over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook.
2. Add the beer, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and cook over low heat until it simmers.
3. Add seasonings and beans, continue to cook another hour.
4. Add masa flour to thicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
Yields: 8 servings
© 2011 Jennifer A. Wickes All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without written consent from the author.