Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

By Corinne

I actually bought the chorizo with the intent of making something totally different with it. But then the weather turned from crisp and sunny and fall to drizzle and wet snow and I needed soup immediately.

This soup gets a lot of the flavour from the chorizo, so make sure you find a good one that you like.

Time: about 10 minutes prep 45-55 minutes simmer total

Makes: 4 servings

20171029_194500.jpg

You will need:

  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, small dice
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (28fl oz/796ml)
  • 1 tsp smoked or hot paprika
  • 1 cup rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced into thin half moons
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add onion, celery, and sliced chorizo to a heavy bottomed pot. Add 1-2 tsp of oil or butter if necessary. Cook on medium heat until vegetables and sausage are slightly browed- about 7 minutes.  Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add the can of tomatoes. Add a can and a half of water to the pot. Add the 1 tsp paprika. and the 1 cup of chickpeas.

Let simmer for 35 minutes (or longer if you have time!  You may need to add more water if you let it simmer longer)

Add three cups of shredded cabbage. Allow to simmer for another 15-20 minutes until cabbage is translucent and softened. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Advertisements

Split Pea and Ham Soup

By:  Julie

Serves:  Makes 8 cups

Time:  1 hour 15 min

It’s fall here.  The leaves are starting to change, kids are back at school, there is that earthy smell that makes me want to rake leaves and jump in them.  Also earthy, is this very delicious soup.  Every time I cook a ham, I throw the bone, with a generous amount of meat on it, in the freezer until I need some comfort food and guess what?  Today is the day!

My grandma only ever served one thing from a can, and that is Habitant Pea Soup with Ham.  It was the only thing that my grandfather considered edible that was processed.  I loved it as a kid.  She used to serve it with fresh homemade bread and for desert, black tea in a small dish with brown sugar and more bread.  Habitant Pea Soup is a staple here, and is a favourite with everyone I asked.  Not from Canada? Sorry friends, I have learned it’s only available here.  But don’t be sad, this soup takes split peas to a new level.  If you don’t have a ham bone, you can just add some diced ham at the end.

 

You Will Need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot – diced
  • 1 celery stalk – diced
  • 1 small onion – diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/8 tsp cayanne
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of yellow split peas
  • 1 ham bone – with 1 1/2 cups of meat still on or extra on the side to equal 1 1/2 cups.
  • 6 cups of stock or water or a combination of the two.

My leftovers came from a glazed ham that favored a sweet spicy glaze.  Some of that translated to the soup.  If I was using a ham with no glaze I would add nutmeg and 1 tbsp of brown sugar.

20170913_110022

Preparation:

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Add onion, carrot, celery, and cook until soft, about 5 min, stirring frequently.  Add seasoning and cook for another minute. Add split peas and stir, toasting peas for about 3 min.  De-glaze pan with 1 cup of the broth and scrape any brown-bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add remaining broth, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  When peas is soft, remove pot from heat.  Remove the ham bone and the bay leaves. Discard the bay leaves.  Using a fork and knife, pull and shred all the remaining meat of the bone and set aside.  Moving back to the soup, use a hand blender to carefully puree the soup.  If it’s too hot it may splatter so use caution.  Add the ham and stir.  Garnish with parsley or cilantro (my favourite).  For extra creaminess add a dollop of sour cream.

20170913_110658

 

Pozole Soup

By Corinne

I first came across pozole at the Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais MN. I then returned home to spend several hours reading about this delicious soup and about hominy, which I had only vaguely heard of in reference to movies that take place in the south.

If you’re new to hominy, What The Hell is Hominy, Anyway? is a pretty basic primer.

Finding hominy in Thunder Bay turned out to be something of a challenge. It seems like it’s something that’s probably more widely available in larger (or more southern) centers. If you can find canned hominy, I’m sure that would work just as well and be a lot less trouble than using dried. If you’re in Thunder Bay, you can find dried hominy at Renco’s Foods on Court St. They have it at the Bulk Zone too, but it’s sort of ground (maybe what gets used for grits? I have no idea) but that’s not what you want for this recipe.

While traditional pozole generally  uses pork shoulder, making enough soup to use such a large cut of meat would make a lot of soup. I’ve substituted two bone in chops instead. It seems like a lot of traditional recipes also call for tomatillos- which I also had difficulty finding in Thunder Bay (I did find them at the Bulk Zone, but didn’t use them in the recipe)

I make no claims that this is anything like traditional pozole, but it is delicious and worth the time. It also has had the side effect of making me a bit obsessed with hominy.

Time: about 25 minutes prep, 2 hours simmer *see note about hominy prep, if not using canned

Serves: 4 generously

You will need:

  • 2 bone in pork chops (about 500g, about 1lbs)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium/large onion diced
  • 1 beer, preferably something Mexican like Corona (omit or use a GF beer for this recipe to be GF -or you could just use broth to deglaze)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely minced (measure after mincing) plus more for garnish if desired
  • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeños minced
  • 2 cups hominy* canned if you can find it
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin (I always toast and grind mine so it’s more flavourful, you may want to add more if you’re using regular ground cumin)
  • 10 cups water or combination of water and chicken broth (3 tbsp veggie bouillon if using plain water)
  • juice of one lemon
  • lime wedges
  • avocado for garnish if desired
  • Salt and pepper

*If you can find canned hominy, by all means, use that. If using dried hominy, start this recipe the day before by cooking the hominy. I skipped the soaking overnight step and cooked it in the slow cooker on low overnight. It still took until early afternoon before kernels were tender and had popped. I cooked the whole bag of dried hominy and froze what I didn’t use in two cup portions so that I won’t have to do this step again for a while.

In a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot, add 1 tbsp canola oil and heat over medium high. Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper, and cook, turning once, until they have some good colour – it doesn’t matter if they are cooked through as they will cook in the soup. When both sides are browned, remove from pot and add chopped onion.

Cook onion for about 5 minutes until translucent. It will probably pick up a lot of colour from the browned bits from the pork chops. Add minced garlic cloves and stir for one more minute. Add the beer a bit at a time, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot until you’ve added the whole beer. Return the pork chops to the pot, and add the water/chicken broth.

Add the 1/4 cup minced cilantro, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp minced pickled jalapeño peppers and two cups of hominy to the pot. Simmer soup uncovered over medium for 1 hour.

While soup is simmering, char poblano peppers. This can be done on the BBQ, in the oven under broil, or in the flame of a gas stove. You want the outside skin to be charred and blackened all over. This took me 20 minutes in my toaster oven on the broil setting. When peppers are charred all over, either toss into a paper bag and close, or put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam. When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off skin, chop roughly and add to soup.

After soup has simmered for an hour, remove pork chops and shred the meat from the bone. Discard bone and return meat to the pot. Add the juice of one lemon. Simmer uncovered for another hour.

All of this uncovered simmering is going to cause your soup reduce somewhat and that’s just fine, though you can taste and add more liquid if desired.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional cilantro, slices of avocado, a squeeze of lime slice, and cheesy tortillas if desired.

wp-image-585395229jpg.jpg

Guinness Braised Chicken with Cheddar Biscuits

img_5216

By Corinne

My inspiration for this dish was – my dish. I have a beautiful Pampered Chef stoneware deep pie pan that I’ve been itching to use for a few months but hadn’t quite gotten around to it. I am hardly a pastry chef and admittedly, part of the reason I hadn’t gotten around to it is that I didn’t really want to make pie crust- whether for a sweet or savory application.

At Christmas I had a delightful tourtiere and it made me think that I that I should perhaps make that in my new pretty dish. But alas, a tourtiere requires both a bottom AND a top crust, so I just didn’t get around to it.

Time has marched on, and my dish has sat on top of my toaster oven, much admired, but still unused.

img_5221

The weather recently has been dreadfully cold, and I’ve been craving soup and biscuits when it occurred to me that there is no rule saying that I HAVE to make a pie crust to use the pie plate. I’m a grown-up, I can eat ice cream for breakfast if I want to, so certainly I can just forgo the crust and make a topping of biscuits! This is something that I’ve occasionally seen on Pinterest, but never eaten or attempted myself. Enter many a Pinterest search, but I couldn’t quite find what I wanted. This Half Baked Harvest post came close, but I’ve been really into the black velvets lately and wanted to use Guinness. As well, since the whole point of this venture was to use this pie dish, I needed a much smaller amount.

If you don’t have a fancy deep pie plate, certainly a dutch oven will work-  and you could do it start to finish in one dish. Any oven safe casserole dish should work as well.

Time: prep about 20 minutes, cook 2.5 hours

Serves: probably 4 if you do a little side salad. Or maybe 4 anyway, we ate a ridiculous amount as we kept going back for more, so it’s a little hard to say.

You will need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 andouille sausage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 small/medium carrot
  • 1 small/medium parsnip
  • 1 small red pepper, or half of a large one
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of Guinness
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp paprika (preferably smoked)
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of chicken or veggie broth or water
  • 1/2 cup 18% cream (or half and half 10%)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste

For biscuits:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup frozen butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp liquid honey
  • pinch of salt

Oven 300F

Dice onion, celery, pepper, carrot and parsnip. Add diced vegetables to a pan over medium heat until veg is starting to soften and gets some colour- about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 300F. Slice the andouille sausage in half lengthwise and then slice into thin half moons. Add this to the vegetables. If you happen to be using a different kind of sausage that requires cooking, add it to the vegetable mix when you first put it on.

When vegetables have browned slightly, use a garlic press and add your two cloves of garlic. Stir around for another minute or so, then add the can of Guinness. Add the 1/2 cup of broth and the 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 2 tsp paprika and 2 tsp thyme. Give it all a stir.

Allow to come up to a simmer, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Mine probably simmered closer to 10 since I ended up talking on the phone 🙂

Place chicken breasts whole in the bottom of whatever dish you are using.

Pour the delightful brothy mixture into your dish with the chicken. Cover with foil and place in 300F oven for 1.5 hours.

At 1.5 hours, remove from oven. Using two forks, shred the chicken in the pan. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.

img_5211

Mix 2 tsp cornstarch into the 1/2 cup of cream. Pour the cream/cornstarch mixture into the pan and give it a little stir. Cover and return to oven for another 1/2 hour. Depending on how long your oven takes to preheat, you may want to turn up the oven to 400F for this last half hour so it will be up to temp when you want to cook the biscuits.

Prep biscuits. In a medium bowl, measure 1 1/2 cup of flour, 1 tbsp baking powder and pinch of salt. Using a cheese grater, grate 1/4 cup frozen butter into flour and give a little stir. Grate about 1 cup of cheddar cheese and set aside.

In a measuring cup, measure 3/4 cup cream or milk and two tbsp honey. Whisk honey into cream. Pour liquid into flour mixture and give a few stirs with a spoon until just combined. Fold in cheese.

Remove braised chicken from oven and uncover. If you haven’t already turned up oven to 400F, do so now.

Grab a piece of dough, if you need to you can shape it a bit, but avoid overworking the dough as much as possible. Work relatively quickly here placing dough evenly around dish. Return to oven for 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden on top. ** if your dish is as perilously full as mine was, throw a cookie sheet underneath so any drips won’t end up on the bottom of your oven.

You could probably garnish this with a bit of fresh parsley and it would taste great and make an even prettier picture. But it smelled so good I just couldn’t wait and forgot 🙂

Italian Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Spinach

img_5036

By Corinne

Doesn’t this sound like some sort of hipster healthy living type soup? Well. Sure it does. But just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean it can’t also be filling and delicious! If you don’t love quinoa, then feel free to use a small pasta instead.

This recipe calls for a parmesan rind. If you haven’t started using fresh parm (or asiago) I highly recommend it. While it’s more expensive than the stuff that comes in a can, it also has a great deal more flavour, since you know, it’s not mixed with sawdust. One of the best things about using fresh cheese is saving the rind for soups. When you get down to the rind, just throw it in a bag and put it in the freezer until you need it. It adds an incredible amount of flavour to soups and stews. It generally doesn’t dissolve fully in the soup, but does get softer. If your soup is at a full roiling boil it may somewhat dissolve, and I’ve accidentally forgotten to take it out before pureeing soups. Oops.

Serves: 3-4

Time: about 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on how long you let the soup simmer

You will need:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 pound (250 grams) boneless, skinless chicken thighs – about 3
  • 1 tsp each dried oregano, thyme, basil
  • several generous grinds of fresh pepper
  • 1 cup white navy beans -I used dried, which I rehydrate and freeze. 1 cup is more than half of a standard can – you can probably just use a whole can if you’re using canned beans, unless of course you have a use for your leftover beans!
  • 1 can (28oz, 794g) tomatoes -I used whole and smushed them up, but diced would work great as well
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie stock – I used my favourite Homemade Veggie Bouillon
  • 1/2 cup dry wine – red or white, if you happen to have some open, it’s awesome to deglaze the pot with after cooking the onion/celery/chicken, but it’s ok to omit
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • grated parm or asiago for garnish if desired
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup dry) – to be added to individual bowls
  • handful of chopped fresh spinach- to be added to each bowl

Dice onion and celery, add to a heavy bottomed pot with a few tbsp of butter or oil. Chop chicken into small pieces and add to pot with onion and celery. Allow to cook until the vegetables have some colour and the chicken is cooked. Add the minced garlic and stir around until fragrant, but don’t let the garlic burn.

If you are using wine to deglaze – pour a little in the pot and scrape up all the delicious browned bits.

Add the tomatoes, stock, carrots, beans, thyme, basil, oregano, pepper and parmesan rind. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, but longer if you have time.

While soup is simmering, rinse quinoa well in a small mesh sieve to remove bitter saponins. Cook quinoa in a 1:2 ratio of water – if you are using half a cup of quinoa, use 1 cup of water. If you are using 1 cup of quinoa, use 2 cups of water etc. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low for about 20 minutes. When liquid is absorbed and quinoa has ‘popped’ it is ready.

Chop a handful of fresh spinach for each bowl, ladle in hot soup, and then add a few tbsp of cooked quinoa to each bowl. Garnish with grated parmesan or asiago cheese if desired.

Creamy Leek and Asparagus Soup

By:  Julie

Time:  40 min

Serves:  4-6

It’s not really the season for asparagus here in Ontario, it’s the season of snow and preserved goodies.  It’s about the time of year when my eyes are really starving for something green and beautiful.  That’s exactly what this is, a green and beautiful bowl of spring that you can enjoy, briefly forgetting that it is only December and there are still 4 solid months of winter to endure.

I was planning a leek and potato soup, needing some warm comfort food and having to use up some leeks that I had in the fridge, but then I walked by some lovely green asparagus that happened to be on sale.  On sale asparagus is rare in the middle of winter.  It’s imported from California, or Peru.  It’s not the tenderest shoots I’ve eaten, but since the soup will be pureed, this is not a problem.

You Will Need:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 large leek, sliced thin
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 tsp mustard seed
  • a large bunch of asparagus, chopped in to 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 2 cups of water
  • grated lemon zest
  • flat leaf parsley (if desired for garnish)
  • salt and pepper

I used a dutch oven to melt the butter on medium low.  Then I added the leek, garlic, and a few pinches of salt.  I put the lid on and left the leak to sweat for 10 min, stirring occasionally.  I then added about a tsp of salt and the mustard seed.

This smells heavenly.  Resist the urge to eat the leeks.

Add the asparagus, chicken broth, and wine plus 2 cups of water.  Stir and bring to a simmer and allow to cook, uncovered, until the asparagus is tender.  You don’t want to cook it too long or you will lose the lovely bright green colour.

Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 min.  You can puree this in batches in a blender but I used an immersion blender.  I don’t even own a blender so I make due with a food processor or the immersion blender.

Add salt, pepper, and the juice of the lemon to taste.  Serve with chopped parsley over top.  I also added a dollop of sour cream because it’s a really good excuse to eat it.  I served this with toasted turkey sandwiches on 12 grain bread and we really enjoyed it, but it would also make a spectacular appetizer at your next dinner party, warm or chilled.  It was a nice, light, fresh meal

.

Curried Parsnip and Cauliflower Soup

By Corinne

Lately I’ve been having a bit of an autumn love affair with parsnips. They are one of those vegetables we didn’t eat growing up, so I’ve come to this love rather late in life. At our local market there are a few vendors who sell them but for some reason I’m particularly enamored of these.

img_4414

I don’t even think they’re ugly. They’re sort of adorable. Can vegetables be adorable? Mostly though, they are delicious.

This soup is creamy and smooth, without being heavy. Most of the creaminess comes from the pureed vegetables rather than an excessive amount of cream.

Time: 30-35 min.  10-15 min prep, 20 minutes cook.

Serves: 4

You will need:

  • 1 large onion – diced
  • 2 stalks celery- diced
  • 2 cups parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups small florets of cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups diced potato (I left the skin on mine, whatever you prefer)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic- minced
  • 1 chili pepper (if desired) minced
  • 7 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth, or veggie broth.
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin *I toasted and freshly ground my cumin- if you don’t, you may need to add more than this and adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste (if needed – I didn’t)
  • freshly chopped cilantro

Add 2 tbsp of butter to pot on medium heat. Dice onion and celery and add to pot once butter has melted. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. While onion and celery are cooking, prep other vegetables.

When onion and celery are softened and beginning to get some colour, add the garlic and chili (if using) and stir for about one minute until garlic is fragrant – do not allow the garlic to burn.

Add the broth slowly, scrapping up any browned bits from the bottom of pot.

Add the diced parsnip, cauliflower, and potato and increase the heat to medium high to bring to a boil.

Keep at a gentle boil for about 20 minutes until veggies are soft. Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed – though this will depend on the saltiness of the broth you used.

Stir in cream and serve with fresh chopped cilantro.