Monday, October 26, 2009

Cream of Mushroom Soup

My favorite soups as a kid, Mushroom, Cream of Celery, Bean and Bacon and Vegetarian Vegetable, all Campbell's. I still eat those soups today but now they are homemade. This mushroom soup is tasty and quick, you can have it made in about 30 minutes. If you want to take this soup to the next level top the soup off with a slice or two of Brie.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Recipe downsized from Diane Phillips

2 tbls. butter
2 shallots, chopped
2 level tbls. flour
1 lb. mixed mushrooms Cremini, Shitake, Button
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
1 tbls. cream sherry
salt and pepper

Melt butter in heavy bottom pot and add shallots. Cook shallots for 2-3 minutes then add mushrooms. Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes until the juice starts to evaporate, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Once the rawness is cooked from the flour add the chicken stock, stir until everything is smooth. Add the cream and sherry and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for just a few minutes making sure everything is incorporated. Serve with a sprinkling of chives and some brie.

This soup is easy to increase, just add another shallot, cup of broth, 1/2 lb of mushrooms and 1 more tbls. sherry.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon

It's been unseasonably cold here this past week, today the sun actually came out but it was still chilly. Nothing better than a long cooking stew on such a day, by late afternoon the house was smelling really good.

This recipe comes from a French woman I took a cooking class from. I really enjoyed the class, the food was great. The dish she cooked was much chunkier but my stew meat was pre-cut in smallish chunks so I cut everything else to match so it would cook more evenly. This has a great taste, caramelizing the onions and mushrooms separately adds a lot of flavor.

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Boeuf Bourguignon
6 oz. bacon
3 lbs. beef shoulder
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, sliced
2 tbls. olive oil
2 tbls. flour
2 1/2 cups French Bourgogne red wine (Pinot Noir)
2/3 cups beef stock
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbls. herbes de Provence (blend of thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary)
Several cups of water
20 pearl onions
1 tbls. olive oil
2 tbls. sugar
3 tbls. water
1/2 lb. white mushrooms, sliced

1. Cut the bacon slices into 1/2" lardons (wide strands) . Cook the bacon in a large heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat until the bacon is cooked through, but not crunchy. Remove the bacon from the pot, and set aside.

2. Cut the beef shoulder into 2" cubes. Brown the beef in batches in the pot, being careful not to crowd. If you should need more oil use the 2 tbls. of olive oil. You want to develop a nice fond on the bottom of the pot but be careful not to burn.

3. After the beef has browned add the onion, carrot and garlic to the pot and saute until lightly browned.

4. Add the beef and bacon back to the pot along with the flour and stir, cooking the flour for just a minute, stirring constantly.

5. Add the wine, stock, salt, pepper and herbes de Provence to the pot and mix well.

6. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 2 1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary.

7. Meanwhile, peel the pearl onions and place them in a saute pan with 1 tbls. olive oil, sugar and water. Cook the onions over medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until they caramelize and the sugar becomes syrupy. Remove the onions from the pan, and set aside.

8. Add the sliced mushrooms to the same saute pan and cook over medium heat for a few minutes.

9. About 10 minutes before the beef mixture is done simmering add the sauteed onions and mushrooms to the pot.

10. Serve immediately over noodles or potatoes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chicken Pomodoro

This is a quick and easy chicken dish. Even though it has a little cream in it, the lemon makes it light and fresh.

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Chicken Pomodoro
4 chicken cutlets, flattened to about 1/4"
2 tbls. Canola oil
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbls. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 tbls. heavy cream
1/3 cup scallions, minced

Heat skillet on med-high heat and add canola oil. Season cutlets with salt and pepper then dust with flour. Saute cutlets until just done, a few minutes on each side. Remove from skillet. Pour off any excess fat from pan and deglaze off heat with vodka. Return pan to flame and cook until vodka is almost gone. Add broth and lemon juice and return cutlets to the pan and cook each side 1 minute. Transfer cutlets to a warm plate. Finish the sauce with tomatoes and cream. Heat through, then pour over the cutlets. Garnish with the minced scallions.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall Root Vegetable Stew

Fall has finally arrived. The temperature was down in the thirties last night and it was a cold and rainy day. Just the right kind of weather for a good stew and this is a good stew. It has a different taste to it with all the sweet root vegetables. The first time I made this stew I tasted the broth at the beginning when the beef was just starting to cook, I thought I'd made a big mistake and it tasted, kinda harsh. But I continued on, figuring The Little Buddy would eat it, he'll eat almost anything. I'd just have peanut butter toast. After the vegetables were added and everything cooked, it was a whole different stew. All those wonderful sweet root vegetables had cooked together and added a subtle sweetness to cut the harshness of the red wine and all that basil and garlic. The two flavors really work well together balancing each other nicely. This is really a unique taste and a good change of pace from the tomato based stew.
This is great with whole grain bread or rolls.

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Fall Root Vegetable Stew
1/2 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
2 lbs. Stew Meat, cut into 1" cubes
3 tbls. Canola Oil
1 Cup Red Wine
2 Cups Beef Broth
3 tbls. Tomato Paste
2 tbls. Worcestershire Sauce
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Dried Basil
2 Bay Leaves
1 1/2 lb. Sweet Potatoes, cut into 1" pieces,
1 1/2 lb. Turnips, cut into 1" pieces
1 lb. Carrots, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 Cups Frozen Small Pearl Onions
2 cups water (add this as needed)

Combine flour, salt and pepper. Heat dutch oven to med-high heat. While dutch oven is heating cut beef into 1" cubes and dredge in flour mixture. Reserve any leftover flour mixture. When dutch oven is hot add oil. Shake off excess flour from beef and brown in dutch oven until browned on all sides, you may have to do this in a few batches. When beef is browned add wine, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, basil and bay leaves to the pot with the beef. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hr. This will depend on the type of beef you use. When the beef is almost tender add the carrots and onions, cook for about 15 minutes. You may have to add some of the water at this point. Next add the turnips and cook until carrots and turnips are almost tender, about 30 minutes, then toss the sweet potatoes with the remaining flour mixture and add . Cook until sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Make sure to stir every 15 minutes or so because this will stick to the bottom.