Cheryl’s Cuisine: February 2020

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

February has arrived in all its glory.  Will it be cold, snow, sleet, or freezing rain?    We’re still in cold and flu season and both my husband and I were recently under the weather with these ailments.  After days of rest, water, ginger ale, and toast, we were finally headed toward recovery with the help of soup.  

No sustenance seems to measure up to the warm, comforting bowl of flavor.  When you taste that first spoonful, it’s an “Awww” moment and you feel your way to recovery.

Whether you have homemade chicken soup in the house, have some packed away in your freezer, or send someone out for take-out, it’s worth the effort. By the way, I ALWAYS have chicken and beef stock in my food pantry.  

So, here are some quick soups to help you not only in recovery, but also in true flavor.  And, by the way, these may also be enjoyed anytime of the year….they are true “recipe keepers”.  Also, notice none of these contain meat or poultry…just stock. Enjoy!

Madeira Mushroom Soup:

6 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup Madeira wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
Parsley, for garnish

Melt butter in large saucepan.  Add onion and saute’ for 10 minutes or until evenly browned.  Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and cook until bubbly. Gradually stir in stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Stir in Madeira and heavy cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley. Makes 6 servings.

***

Tomato Dill Soup: 

3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups chopped scallions, including green tops
1 -14 oz. can peeled tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh dill
2 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream

Saute’ scallions in butter until tender.  Add tomatoes, dill, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, until liquid is absorbed and mixture thickens.  Transfer mixture to blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and puree’ mixture. Return to saucepan. 

Add remaining stock. Simmer 15 minutes. Add cream and heat through. Garnish with dill. Makes 4 servings.

***

Potato Garlic Soup with Rosemary Butter:

3 cups chicken broth
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
20 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Boil chicken broth, potatoes and garlic in 8-quart pot.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and puree’ in blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.  Return to pot.

Add milk and heavy cream and heat thoroughly. Do not boil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix butter and chopped rosemary together in a mixing bowl.  Serve soup topped with a teaspoon of rosemary butter. Makes 4 servings.

***

Creamy Carrot Soup:

1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
6 carrots, thinly sliced
2 parsnips, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 dashes hot sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute’ onion and garlic in olive oil 5 minutes.  Add broth, carrots, parsnips and thyme. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.  Puree’ carrot mixture in blender or food processor until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan and reheat. 

Stir in lemon juice, paste, hot sauce and sour cream. Season to taste. Makes 4 servings.

***

Cauliflower Soup with Croutons:

1 large cauliflower
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream, optional

Blanch cauliflower in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes, rinse under cold water and drain.  Break cauliflower into small florets and set aside. In Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter, and saute’ onion until tender.  Add cauliflower and briefly saute’. Add stock, white pepper and nutmeg; simmer 15 minutes. Allow to cool.

Process mixture in food processor or blender in batches so no solids remain in soup.  Return soup to Dutch oven and heat thoroughly. Adjust seasonings and stir in cream, if desired. May top with croutons.   

Croutons:
1 bagel
Olive oil

Cut bagel into small cubes.  In small skillet over medium heat, saute’ bagel in oil, turning frequently, until golden.  Drain and serve atop soup.    

***

Acorn Squash Soup:

4 acorn squash
3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2-1 tsp. black pepper
2-14 1/2 oz. cans chicken broth
1/2 cup sherry
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. paprika 
Dash cayenne pepper
1 cup half and half

Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds.  Bake in 350 degree oven to 30 minutes or microwave until done.  When cool, spoon out pulp into bowl and discard skins. Place carrots and onion in saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Drain; combine vegetables  with acorn pulp and 1/3 cup water in blender or food processor. Process 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and set aside.   In large Dutch oven over low heat, melt butter. Add flour, salt, pepper and stir until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Gradually add pureed vegetable mixture, chicken broth, sherry, nutmeg, paprika and cayenne. Bring to boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in half and half and an extra 1 1/2 Tablespoons sherry, if desired.  Cook until heated through. Sprinkle with paprika. Makes 8 servings.

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