Tag Archives: Soup

Mesa Grill Black Bean Soup

Happy (belated – gulp) 2017!! With some extremely notable exceptions – a new nephew! a wonderful extended vacation with Matt! a good friend getting married! – I didn’t like 2016 any more than anyone else, so I decided to skip all the food blogger end-of-year countdowns and just jump into 2017 with good vibes. Mold in my apartment has hampered that a little, but take heed, it will not win!

I’d been planning to jump back into blogging yesterday, but seeing as it was MLK Day, and this particular MLK Day seems more … I don’t know, pertinent? Important? … than usual, given the current political climate and happenings, I didn’t feel that I personally could add much to that conversation. So today it is!

I want to begin this New Year with one of my favorite recipes, one that I first cooked years ago and never forgot, yet have never committed to my blog. What you have here is perfect comfort food for cold weather or grumpy days that will not interfere with any fitness/weight loss/lose those holiday pounds goals. In fact, it might even help! And this soup is SO delicious. The genius of this recipe is in the garnishes. Garnishes to soup or chili are usually in the vein of just throw whatever you like on there, if you like anything at all – and of course that’s totally fine! But it’s just not how this particular soup works. On its own, it’s a solidly built yet kind of non-special black bean soup. But when you garnish it as instructed, the entire bowl sings and makes everyone all kinds of happy.

On a different note, I do aim to be a better blogger this year. When your blog is not your primary source of income, it’s too easy to back-burner it, but that’s lame. I want this to be a fun, inspiring, and of course delicious space, so I vow to be better at time management. And feel free to hold my feet to the fire, my dear readers whom I love!

Source: slightly adapted from The Mesa Grill Cookbook by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

SOUP:
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup red wine
3 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, and seeded
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbs fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

GRILLED ONION RELISH:
1 large red onion, sliced ½-inch thick into rounds – do not separate the layers of the rounds
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

TOMATO-SERRANO RELISH:
2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 serrano chile, diced
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

CUMIN CREMA:
8 oz. crema, crème fraiche, or sour cream
1 scant tbs ground cumin
1 tbs fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

AVOCADO-TOMATILLO RELISH:
2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 large tomatillos, husked, scrubbed, and chopped
3 tbs finely chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno chile, finely chopped, seeded if desired
3 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:
First, make the SOUP: heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent but not browned. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half.
Add the beans and reduce the heat to medium. Add the jalapenos, poblano, and stock. Simmer 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. If the soup has cooled, rewarm before serving.
While the soup is simmering away, make the garnishes. I recommend starting with the GRILLED ONION RELISH: preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Cheater’s note: a griddle pan or nonstick or cast-iron skillet works fine as well. Just sayin’. Anywho, brush the onion slices with the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Grill on each side for 4-5 minutes, until lightly charred and cooked through. If the rounds start coming apart when you flip them, it’s fine. Remove the onions from the grill and chop.
For the TOMATO-SERRANO RELISH: combine the tomatoes and serrano chile in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
For the CUMIN CREMA: place the crema in a small bowl, add the cumin and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and whisk to thoroughly combine.
For the AVOCADO-TOMATILLO RELISH: gently combine the avocados, tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and oil in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls, then spoon at least one tablespoon of each garnish on the soup, laying them side-by-side as much as possible. And it’s totally okay to add more of any or all garnishes when your bowl of soup is halfway gone. That’s why you make so much of each garnish!

Emeril’s Chicken and Andouille Gumbo #SundaySupper

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Our theme this week is Big Game Day Party Recipes! Thanks to trademark infringement laws, we cannot specifically tell you which football game we speak of, but I’ll give you a hint: it will air February 7th, and it features the Carolina Panthers playing (and hopefully beating) the Denver Broncos. And we all know food is very important for this particular game, so today we’re here to give you tons of ideas for what to serve or bring to your party.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I read once that while the rest of the US serves chili on this particular once-a-year Sunday evening, the fine people of New Orleans serve gumbo instead. I purposefully did not do any further research to confirm the veracity of this claim, because eating gumbo while watching the culmination of the NFL season sounded absolutely fantastic to me. If I’m wrong, I don’t want to know.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I decided that a heartier gumbo with chicken and sausage, rather than seafood, fit the occasion a little better. I went looking for a perfect recipe and chose Emeril’s. To say it did not disappoint would be a gross understatement. This is some of the best gumbo I’ve EVER tasted.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

So, the bad news about this recipe is that it’s quite involved and takes forever to make. But, the good news is that it tastes far better the day after you make it. This one is perfect to make the day before, put it up overnight, and then when your guests are arriving, you just heat it up and steam some rice. This is actually an ideal thing to serve if you want to enjoy your own party.

Emeril's Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I can’t recommend it highly enough, for this particular occasion of which we vaguely speak, or for a wonderful weekend project. It’s so awesome. Go Panthers!!! And be sure to check out the wonderful game day treats from the rest of the Sunday Supper crew!

Source: Essential Emeril by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:

Stock and Chicken:
1 (4-5 lb.) chicken, cut into parts if desired
2 quarts store-bought chicken stock
2 quarts water
2 medium onions, quartered
2 carrots, rough chopped
2 ribs celery, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
5-6 fresh parsley stems
2 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Gumbo:
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 medium onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 tbs minced garlic
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ tsp cayenne pepper, plus more to taste if desired
1 ½ lbs. andouille sausage, cut into 1/3-inch thick rounds
1 ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
¾ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cooked white rice, for serving
Louisiana hot sauce, for serving

Directions:
First you will need to make the stock and cook the chicken (which happens simultaneously). Place the chicken (or chicken parts) in a large stockpot and cover it with the stock and water. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour. At this point, the chicken should easily pull away from the bones.
Using tongs, remove the chicken from the stock and set aside until cool enough to handle. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Discard the vegetables. Pull the chicken meat off the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Shred and reserve the meat. Refrigerate until needed.
Once the stock has cooled, start the rest of the gumbo. First you need to make the roux. Place a Dutch oven on the stovetop but don’t turn on the heat yet. Add the canola oil and flour to the pot and whisk vigorously until there are no lumps. Turn the heat on medium-high, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the roux bubbles and starts to turn color, lower the heat to medium or medium-low. You’ll keep the heat between medium and medium-low the rest of the time you’re making the roux. Keep stirring continuously, adjusting the heat as necessary. If the roux is doing absolutely nothing color-wise, turn it up to medium, and if it’s bubbling or threatening to scorch, turn it down to medium-low. Do not burn the roux – that’s why you never move the heat higher than medium, ever. Keep stirring until the roux is the color of dark peanut butter, or light milk chocolate. This will take about an hour.
Once the roux is ready, turn or keep the heat to medium and immediately add the onions, celery, garlic, bell pepper, cayenne, and sausage. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved cooled broth to the mixture (if you have a touch of grit you can leave off the last cup of broth with no problems). Also add the salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer, skimming off any excess foam or fat that comes to the top, until the sauce is flavorful and thickened to your desired consistency, about 2 hours.
Now add the chicken, most of the sliced scallions (save enough for garnish), and parsley. Stir it in and continue simmering for 30 minutes. Don’t stir much here or the chicken may fall apart on you. Adjust the thickness if necessary, by adding water or more broth. Taste and adjust the cayenne and salt if necessary.
Serve the gumbo in bowls topped with a good scoop of white rice and garnish with the reserved scallions. Pass the Louisiana hot sauce at the table.

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts and Drinks

 

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Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon-Toast Croutons

Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon-Toast Croutons

When it comes to soups, I highly prefer chunky soups over the pureed variety. I need something to chew with each spoonful. Pureed soups often don’t do it for me, with one major exception: butternut squash soup. It’s one of my fall season favorites, and I try out a different recipe every year.

I have one hard-and-fast, persnickety rule: it can’t be too sweet. Butternut squash is inherently sweet, so I firmly believe it doesn’t need any help in that department, and in fact could use a little bit of “hindrance” from decidedly savory ingredients. My favorite things to put into butternut squash soup are ingredients like bacon, parmesan, bitter greens, smoked cheese and the like. Cubes of bread roasted with a liberal amount of cinnamon sugar has never topped the list. Until now, that is.

Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon-Toast Croutons

I know I’ll fail at adequately explaining to you how delicious this soup combination is, but suffice it to say, outstanding is a mild understatement. The soup itself was incredibly tasty and well-rounded and really let the squash’s flavor shine. The cinnamon-sugar croutons were something I’d happily make just to snack on by themselves. Using earthy multi-grain bread ensures the sweetness is somewhat tempered; and yet it fondly reminded me of the cinnamon toast my mom would make us for breakfast when I was little.

But I think the best part of this meal comes when you top your soup with an embarrassing amount of croutons: some of the cinnamon sugar migrates from the croutons to float around in and richly flavor your soup, and it just tastes so amazing! So perfect. Enjoy!

Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon-Toast Croutons

Source: Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant

Ingredients:

CROUTONS:
2 cups multigrain bread cubes, preferably a bit stale
1-2 tbs olive oil
4 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

SOUP:
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Kosher salt, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs amaretto
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
Black pepper, to taste
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Chopped toasted pecans, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
First make the CROUTONS: preheat your oven to 400 F. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sugar, and cinnamon. Spread the cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden and crunchy, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the croutons cool on the sheet. Try not to eat too many while you’re making the soup.
Now make the SOUP: heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. Now add the onions with a pinch of salt and stir. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute, then pour in the amaretto. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the squash cubes and stock to the pot. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes. Once the squash is soft, remove the pot from the heat and either carefully pour the soup into your blender and puree until smooth, or hit it with an immersion blender. Either way, make sure you turn the heat off the pot. Once the soup is pureed and creamy, transfer it back to the soup pot (if necessary) and heat over low heat. Pour in the cream and stir to combine. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with so many croutons and garnish with a sprinkling of scallions, and pecans, if desired.

Strawberry Gazpacho

Strawberry Gazpacho

Please meet the first meal I cooked and photographed in our new place for the blog! Except that technically I didn’t cook anything… because gazpacho… but still! Summer fruits and vegetables are popping up everywhere in my neck of the urban woods, and in fact as I write this I’m planning my first venture to scope out my new city’s farmers markets!

For me, the default in using summer fruits has always been desserts or other baked goods that are really just desserts with slightly less sugar masquerading as breakfast items. It’s easy, it works, everyone loves it. Pardon the pun, it’s low hanging fruit. These sweet berries, melons, and stone fruits are made for sweets.

strawberries for gazpacho

But, I’m feeling more savory (that’s code for cranky – moving is a real pain!) than sweet these days, so I plan to use this wonderful summer bounty in more salty, umami, main-course-type recipes this year. Not exclusive of sweets of course – that wouldn’t be any fun!

Starting with some of the first berries we see in late spring/early summer up here – strawberries! The ones I’m finding lately are perfect – juicy, sweet, plump, and bright red. While gazpacho is traditionally made with tomatoes, I very pleasantly discovered that strawberries make a wonderful stand-in. This strawberry gazpacho is sweeter and less acidic than its more typical tomato sibling, but with the same basic flavor components and textures. As all gazpacho should be, it’s light and refreshing, and packs a ton of flavor into a healthy, guilt-free meal or side dish. Enjoy!

Strawberry Gazpacho

Source: adapted from Soup of the Day by Ellen Brown

Ingredients:
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and rough chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
3 tbs dry red wine
3 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
3 cups vegetable stock
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground coriander
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries, plus a little more for garnish
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:
Add the bell pepper, celery, scallion whites, red wine, lime juice, vegetable stock, ginger, coriander, and strawberries to your blender. Puree until very smooth. Do this in batches if need be. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. If you prefer your gazpacho chilled, then place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you prefer it room temperature, then pour it into serving bowls and garnish with the scallion greens and some extra sliced or chopped fresh strawberries. Serve immediately.

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

Happy weekend!! And happy three-day weekend for many of us! Yea! This particular recipe is from a new cookbook I received for Christmas, Soup of the Day by Ellen Brown. I adore soups (plus stews, chowders, bisques, chilis), so having a book where soup is the major theme of the book just excites me to no end! When I learned of this soup, a soup where I can use up FOUR of my hatch chiles sitting in my freezer, I knew it was getting made immediately.

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

This soup is quite delicious, and extremely health-conscious while not compromising on flavor or heartiness. Perfect for this cold weather.

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

So I’ve made a decision that 2015 should see more recipe development from me. Y’all know how much I love my cookbooks here, and I’ve learned pretty much everything I know from them. But I think it’s high time I started flexing my creative muscles a little more. So I’ll update you periodically on how things are going in my little test kitchen, so to speak, and hopefully be sharing a few perfected recipes throughout the year! The first thing I’ve been working on is Bacon Cheeseburger Chili. It needs more bacon…

New Mexico Hatch Chile Chicken Soup

In the meantime, stay warm with this delicious, slightly spicy soup!

{One Year Ago: Brunswick StewFish, Fennel and Saffron Stew; Garbanzo Bean, Lentil and Vegetable Stew}
{Two Years Ago: Homemade Old Bay Seasoning}

Source: Soup of the Day by Ellen Brown

Ingredients:
3 tbs olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½” cubes
1 large onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
4 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted, undrained
2 quarts chicken stock
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
Kosher salt and black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Cotija cheese, crumbled, for garnish

Directions:
Heat the oil is a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until opaque. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and chiles and cook another minute.
Add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the potato, and simmer the soup, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the chicken back in and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Season the soup to taste with salt and black pepper.
Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with cilantro and Cotija.

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup with Turkey Carcass Stock

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup 5848

Today, I think we should discuss Thanksgiving turkey carcasses. Exciting and appetizing right? Mmmm…. No, really we should.

leftover turkey for soup 5844

Many moons ago I graduated from the wonderful Baylor University (sec ‘em Bears!), which is located in Waco, Texas, a small town that descriptively sits somewhere in between completely rural and decent-sized town. One year, I was driving down the street from my residence a couple days after Turkey Day and I had to stop my car because right smack in the middle of the street an enormous vulture was chowing down on a turkey carcass he’d dragged out of someone’s garbage bag.

Leftover Turkey noodle soup 5859

I figured he would move when he saw my car, but no. He just gave me this “yeah, what are you lookin’ at?” look and went back to feasting on that carcass. I actually had to drive around him, which also didn’t faze him one bit.

leftover turkey noodle soup 5870

So this year, I say we all encourage the vultures to stay out of the residential neighborhoods by using our turkey carcass to make one of the most delicious noodle soups I’ve ever tasted! Yeah, save your carcass after you’ve carved your turkey. It then goes into the largest pot you have (or hack it up into large pieces and divide among two pots – I had to and it works just fine); fill the pot with aromatics and water and let it simmer away. In a few hours you will have the richest, most beautiful turkey stock with which to make your soup, your house will have the warmest and most fragrant aroma, and your neighbor may even be texting you to find out what is making the whole building smell so good.

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup 5877

Then you use some shredded leftover turkey meat to make a delicious, comforting noodle soup that can feed your whole family. It is sooooo good. I hope y’all will enjoy it!

Leftover turkey noodle soup 5882

{One Year Ago: Pumpkin and Fried Sage Pizza}
{Two Years Ago: Barbecue Beef Chili}

Source: slightly adapted from Down South by Donald Link

Ingredients:

TURKEY STOCK:
1 turkey carcass from 1 roasted turkey (use a meat cleaver to hack up the carcass into pieces if necessary)
1 onion, peeled and chunked
2 celery stalks, rough chopped
1 carrot, rough chopped (no need to peel it)
4 garlic cloves, smashed (no need to peel)
4 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs black peppercorns

SOUP:
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 fresh bay leaves
2 tbs Dijon or whole-grain mustard
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs dried oregano
½ tsp poultry seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper
Up to 3 cups of store-bought chicken or turkey stock (maybe)
2 cups shredded turkey meat, light and/or dark, leftover from the roasted turkey
8 oz. wide egg noodles
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions:
To make the STOCK: in the largest pot you have, combine the turkey carcass bones with the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 6 quarts of water. If you need to, you can split this evenly between 2 stockpots (I had to).
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, and simmer, skimming the fat off the top as needed, for 3 hours. Strain the stock. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for a few days.
Now make the SOUP: heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and bay leaves and cook until the vegetables have softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mustard, vinegar, oregano, poultry seasoning, 1 tbs kosher salt and 2 tsp black pepper.
Measure 2 quarts plus 2 cups of the turkey stock you just made. If you have less than that, no big deal, just supplement with the store-bought stock. Add the stock to the soup pot, then add the turkey meat.
Simmer, skimming the fat as it rises to the surface periodically, until the meat is very tender, about 30-45 minutes.
When the soup is nearly ready, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then add the noodles. Cook until just al dente, then drain them and transfer to the soup pot. Simmer them for about 15 minutes to allow them to absorb some soup broth.
Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Serve the soup in either large, deep bowls or wide, shallow bowls garnished with parsley, if desired.

Andouille and Pumpkin Gumbo

Andouille and Pumpkin Gumbo 5522

I’ve slowly but surely discovered over the years that it’s best to not ignore cravings. Like parking tickets, you can try and pretend it didn’t happen, but they don’t ever really go away until you do something about them. At least for me, it’s better to just eat the one cookie instead of obsessively thinking about cookies for several days and then eating twelve of them.

Andouille and pumpkin gumbo 5538

So a couple weeks ago, when I noticed a mad craving for gumbo, I thought it best to just find a recipe and make some gumbo. And when I came across a recipe for a gumbo with pumpkin (!!!) I was ecstatic, because how completely perfect is this for fall!

andouille and pumpkin gumbo 5549

This is going to be a departure from the dishes I’ve posted this week, all of which would be more than welcome at your Thanksgiving table in a few weeks. This is probably a bit heavy for a first course and quite a bit unconventional for the main dish part. But, it’s a great pumpkin recipe for our season of all things pumpkin. Matt and I found it quite lovely, perfectly Cajun-flavored and hearty, but you know, with pumpkin! And plenty of Andouille sausage, one of the best sausages on planet Earth. In my humble opinion.

Andouille and Pumpkin gumbo 5556

I hope you will enjoy it!

{Two Years Ago: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Onion and Candied Pecans}

Source: slightly adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
1 small pumpkin, about 1 ½ lbs.
Olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
1 lb. Andouille sausage, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ lb. fresh or frozen okra, trimmed and sliced (thawed if frozen)
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large fresh bay leaf
1 (12 oz.) bottle of pumpkin ale
2 cups chicken stock
2 (14 oz.) cans diced or stewed tomatoes
Hot sauce, to taste and for serving
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the top off the pumpkin and discard the stem. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds out and discard or save for another use. Cut the pumpkin in half, then cut the halves into quarters and the quarters in half. Place them skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Drizzle them with a touch of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until they are cooked and tender but not mushy.
Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the skins and chop into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat, add a small drizzle of olive oil and the Andouille. Cook until browned and a nice amount of fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate.
Lower the heat to medium and add the canola oil, then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes, until the roux is brown and very fragrant. Adjust the heat as necessary as you do not want it to burn.
Once your roux is ready, add the paprika, bell pepper, onion, and celery. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened about 8 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Now add the okra, plus the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and stir a few minutes more. Add the beer, stock and tomatoes. Season with hot sauce to taste and simmer to thicken 20-30 minutes.
Add the Andouille and pumpkin and stir to combine and warm through. Serve in bowls, garnished with scallions, and with a scoop of rice on top.

Chicken Pozole Verde

Chicken Pozole Verde 5176

Today finds me rather upset with myself, seeing as it’s another Sunday Supper, but one I’m unable to officially participate in. Last weekend I made and photographed this lovely recipe, specifically for today’s Sunday Supper, and then thanks to a high-octane work trip for my other job, completely forgot to sign up in time. Go me…

dried hominy 5187

But, since I have the purty pictures and all, I thought I would still share today’s Slow Cooker menu. (That’s the #SS theme today – Slow Cookers. And one of my favorite things in my kitchen, which ensures some extra bummed-out-ness for me that I’m not technically participating. Oh well, life happens, doesn’t it?)

So let’s talk about the ingredient that makes pozole a pozole: hominy. I couldn’t stand, and this cannot possibly be overstated, could not stand hominy as a child. Now, one of the running themes on this blog is my triumph over childhood picky eating, and my triumph is probably at least in part due to the fact that my parents simply didn’t tolerate the behavior. I had to eat what was on my plate, and if I dug in my heels and refused, I went to bed hungry.

dried hominy and limes 5208

Picky eater that I was, the first time I was served hominy, of course I was highly skeptical. It was a peculiar looking veggie with (to me at least) a highly repulsive smell. Of course I voiced my objections and of course they were met with a nonchalant, “eat it anyway.” So I took a bite, and literally chucked my up, right at the dinner table. It tasted that gross to me. From that point on, hominy was placed in a special category all its own – my parents never again told me to “eat it anyway.”

Chicken pozole verde 5211

So then I grew up, and became a grown-up who still vividly recalled that fateful hominy incident, but also a grown-up who learned about pozole. A Mexican soup/stew that always looks delicious, but isn’t pozole without the addition of hominy. What to do?

chicken pozole verde 5196

Solution: dried hominy. I gave it a try and found it to have blessedly little in common with its canned cousin. It doesn’t smell bad and tastes wonderful. Of course it is more time consuming, but unsurprisingly well worth it to me personally. I’m giving directions for using dried, but if canned doesn’t bother you, then of course feel free. I hope y’all enjoy it!

Chicken Pozole verde 5219

{One Year Ago: Date and Prosciutto Doughnuts}
{Two Years Ago: Jalapeno Poppers}

Source: adapted from The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider

Ingredients:
SOUP:
12 oz. dried hominy
2 whole bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
1 medium onion, peeled and halved, with root end intact
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs ground cumin
4 cups chicken stock
5 cups water
4 sprigs cilantro
SALSA VERDE:
½ cup raw pepitas, roasted
6-8 tomatillos, husked and washed
1 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 serrano chiles, stemmed
1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, for serving
Chopped Hass avocado, for serving

Directions:
Place the hominy in a large bowl and cover with water by about 4 inches. Set aside at room temperature at least 4 hours, and up to overnight.
In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, garlic, onion, salt, cumin, chicken stock, and water. Drain the hominy well and add it to the slow cooker. Let it cook on LOW for 4 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through but not falling apart. Remove the chicken and let cool. Add the cilantro sprigs to the slow cooker. Discard the chicken bones and skin and shred the meat into pieces. Store in a food storage container in the refrigerator.
After you have removed the chicken and added the cilantro, let the soup cook for another 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the Salsa Verde. Place the tomatillos in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and place in a blender, along with the pepitas, onion, garlic clove, serranos, and cilantro. Add ½ cup broth from the slow cooker and puree, scraping down the sides as needed, until very smooth. Pour the salsa into the empty pot you used for the tomatillos and cook over medium to medium-low heat until the sauce is thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir the salsa into the soup and let it go at least another 3 hours, or until the hominy is done. You know the hominy is done when it bursts and is very tender with a soft chew to it. Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Add the shredded chicken into the slow cooker for about 30 minutes to warm back through, then ladle into bowls. Serve with lime wedges and avocado.

My Mom’s Taco Soup

My Mom's Taco Soup 4662

I sit here in something of a state of disbelief as I type this post out, because I’m a bit surprised it’s taken me this long to share one of my favorite childhood meals. Trust me, it’s been on my to-blog list for quite some time. And here we are at last, right?

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This is taco soup, a perennial favorite from my family growing up. It’s hearty, filling, tasty, easy, nutritious, and my mom knew she could throw this together whenever she felt like it and no one would express anything but sheer enthusiasm at the dinner table. A welcome respite for her, I’m sure. She had the unenviable task of cooking for four fairly different palates, so everyone agreeing on all aspects of a meal didn’t happen very often.

My Mom's Taco Soup 4691

But I think we all agreed on taco soup. I still love it, all these years later. The first winter season we were married, I introduced Matt to this delicious family favorite, and happily, he’s joined its ranks of fandom. I try to make it once a year. And I’m so happy to finally be sharing it with you!

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Recipe notes: this is called soup, but it’s a bit thicker than traditional soup. However, it should not be as thick as chili. You should need a spoon to eat it. You can also add more chili powder if you want, my mom always added up to 2 tablespoons in addition to the Mexican spice mix. I found mine didn’t need it, but if yours does, of course feel free to add it. I think that’s it! Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Eggplant Parmesan Soup}
{Two Years Ago: Chipotle Collard Greens, Apple Hatch Chile Cobber}

Ingredients:
Olive oil
2 lbs. ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 recipe All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix
1 recipe Homemade Ranch Seasoning Packet
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomato, preferably fire-roasted variety
8-10 oz. frozen corn (no need to thaw)
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained
Beef stock or water, as needed
1 tbs hot sauce, such as TX Pete’s
Shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, for garnish
Tortilla chips, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat a large stockpot or Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then add the sirloin. Cook, breaking up and crumbling with a spoon or potato masher, until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and jalapeno, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the spice mixes and stir well to combine.
Now add the beer and stir for about 30 seconds, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, corn, and pinto beans. Stir to combine, then simmer the soup for about 1 hour. Check in occasionally and add some beef stock or water if the soup is thickening too much.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed. Add the hot sauce. Serve with the cheese and tortilla chips to garnish.
Leftovers reheat spectacularly, and this soup will freeze well too.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Chowder #SundaySupper

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Welcome to Sunday Supper, where our theme this week is Fabulous Fall Foods! I’ve met the theme requirements – this chowder features butternut squash (a fall produce item), and it tastes amazingly fabulous. Thank goodness the theme wasn’t Fabulous Fall Food Photography, because then I would have a major problem.

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I found this recipe in one of my many cookbooks, “Slow Cooker Revolution” by America’s Test Kitchen. In the cookbook, there is no picture of this recipe. I now understand that. When you think about any kind of butternut squash chowder, you think of it being a gorgeous orange-ish color. But as you can plainly see, this chowder is rather green, thanks to the spinach. So I’m left with the problem of the pictures not entirely matching the recipe description, which is probably precisely why ATK didn’t include a photograph in their cookbook!

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Ah well, what are you gonna do? I promise from the bottom of my heart that it’s delicious, misleading color and all. And when I make it again, I will include the spinach again! Other than it messing up the chowder’s color, I actually do love it in there. It adds significant healthful properties, and it really cuts the squash’s sweetness.

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I have to admit, I don’t love it when winter squash soups are too sweet. I never add any brown sugar, and I love ingredients like bacon bits, bacon fat, and salty cheeses to cut the richness. The spinach only adds to that. So in the end, I really love this chowder, even if I don’t love my pictures all that much. I hope you will love it too!

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Oh, and be sure you check out all my other Sunday Supper peeps – they’ve brought some drool-worthy perfect-for-fall recipes to the table today!

{One Year Ago: Funnel Cakes}
{Two Years Ago: Chocolate Crepes with Rum Whipped Cream, Shrimp and Grits}

Source: adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:
At least 4 oz. bacon, chopped, more if you want it
1 onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 bunch (roughly 8 oz.) adult spinach, stemmed
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbs minced fresh sage
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions:
Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it is nice and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve for later.
Pour out all but about 2 tbs bacon fat, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened. Add the thyme, nutmeg, plus salt and pepper. Stir and cook 1 minute. Now add the flour and stir for about 1 minute to cook out the pasty, raw flour taste. Slowly add up to 2 cups of the chicken stock, stirring out any lumps and letting the whole thing thicken up nicely. Shut off the heat and add this mixture to your slow cooker insert. Also add to the slow cooker, the remaining chicken stock, vegetable stock, half the squash, and the bay leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Toss the remaining squash with the olive oil, plus salt and pepper. Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on a flat work surface and carefully transfer the squash to the center of it. Gather it in the center and fold the foil up around it to create a foil packet and lays somewhat flat. Lay the foil packet on top of the soup in the slow cooker. Close the lid and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, until the squash in the slow cooker is tender and completely cooked.
Transfer the foil packet to a plate. Open it, being cautious of steam hitting you in the face, and then pour the squash and the juices into the slow cooker. Add the spinach leaves. Stir them in, then cover the slow cooker again and cook another 30 minutes, until the spinach is nicely wilted.
Shut off the heat. Discard the bay leaves. Then hit the soup with an immersion blender. Take your time and be sure the soup is really well-pureed. Now stir in the cream and sage, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or nutmeg as needed.
Serve in bowls garnished with the bacon bits and grated parmesan.

Appetizers and Drinks

Soups, Stews, Chili, and Casserole

Salads and Side Dishes

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Sunday SupperJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement