Category Archives: Soups and Stews

Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

When days are cooler, or downright cold, there is nothing better to warm the tummy than a bowl of comfort soup.  One of the soups I place in that category is homemade Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.  Full of flavour with a lovely velvety texture, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup has a rich natural golden-yellow color that can’t be beat!  This is a showstopper soup on both the taste and appetizing color fronts, the latter of which is drawn from the orange, fleshy pulp of the squash.

Squash Soup
Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This soup offers a delicate balance of sweet and savory notes and, while it can certainly be made year-round, this soup is most often served in the fall because its ingredients speak to autumn flavours like the squash, apple, and root vegetables that are fresh and local in most places in autumn.

Butternut squash is inexpensive, readily available year-round and, because of its bulk and substance, goes a long way as an ingredient in various dishes, including soup. That’s in addition to it being both healthy and delicious with its slightly sweet nutty flavour.

Squash
Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup freezes well, so long as it is made with whole milk (not fat-reduced) or, alternatively, with a blend of whole milk and cream. In fact, this soup has now joined the ranks of being one of my staples that I freeze in single-serving portions ready for weekday lunch bags. It’s lovely on its own or paired with a favorite sandwich. A real treat in the middle of a work day!

Butternut Squash Soup
Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasting vegetables brings out deep, rich flavours that, in my opinion, are sometimes lost in other cooking methods like boiling, for example, where some of the flavour and nutrients get washed down the sink when the cooked vegetables are drained.  With roasting, all nutrients and flavours are retained.  Butternut squash is very easy to roast.  Simply slice the squash in half, vertically, and clean out the seeds and fibrous membrane.

Squash
Butternut Squash

Lightly brush the cut sides and cleaned out hollow of the squash halves with a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place squash halves, cut side down, on greased tinfoil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Bake at 425°F for about 35 minutes then flip the squash halves over, brush again very lightly with olive oil and roast for another 15-20 minutes, or until the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork. Make sure the squash does not start to burn or char.  If you see this happening, loosely place a piece of tin foil over the squash. Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes then, with a large spoon, scoop the pulp away from the skin and transfer to a bowl.  This can be done the day before the soup is made. Make sure to cover the squash and refrigerate it until needed.  Don’t let the squash cool completely before removing it from its skin as, otherwise, it will be difficult to remove it away from the skin (experience speaking here).  I like to roast the squash, cut-side down, because it keeps the moisture in and caramelizes the flesh of the squash.  I do, however, flip the squash halves over part way through the roasting process because I find it gives the squash a nice roasted flavour.

Butternut Squash
Roasted Butternut Squash

I also find that roasting the squash whole versus cutting it into chunks is preferable.  First, it’s hard to cut uncooked squash but it is very easy to scoop out soft roasted pulp from the squash skin.  And, second, the roasting needs to occur at a reasonably high temperature and small chunks will burn easily and won’t have the caramelized flavour that can be achieved through the roasting process, particularly in the early stage where the squash is roasted, cut side down.  A lovely deep roasted flavour is the objective, not a burnt/charred taste.  This, to say, I think I have more control over the flavour if the squash is roasted whole.

Squash Soup
Classic Butternut Squash Soup

The base for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup starts out like many other cream soups with the aromatics being sautéed till fragrant and starting to soften.  The chicken broth and seasonings are then added to the pot and the vegetables, along with the apple, continue to cook in the broth until tender.  I don’t add the squash into the soup at this point because I think that cooking it too long in the broth causes it to lose some of its rich caramelized/roasted flavour and, since it is already cooked, it is not necessary to cook it further.  The vegetable/broth mixture is removed from the heat and cooled for about 30 minutes – I don’t like to put hot mixtures into my blender jar. To speed up the cooling process of the broth, I often place the stockpot containing the vegetables and broth into a sink filled with ice cold water. The mixture does not have to be completely cooled, just not boiling hot.  Once cooled enough to work with and ready for puréeing, remove the bay leaves, stir in the roasted squash, then purée the whole mixture until velvety smooth.

The puréed mixture goes back on to the stove with some maple syrup for a touch of sweetness and the whole milk (or a combination of whole milk and cream) along with a blend of Parmesan and cheddar cheeses. Continue to taste the soup throughout the cooking processes and add additional salt and pepper, to taste, if and as necessary. Heat only until the mixture is heated and the cheeses melted.  Never boil a cream soup.

Squash Soup
Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serve this soup plain or garnish it with seasoned croutons, a dollop of sour cream with a sprinkle of fresh herbs or toasted butternut seeds, or a toasted baguette slice topped with cheese, herbs, and bacon.

Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is a rich, velvety-smooth and comforting soup that is filled with the wonderful flavours of autumn.  This luxurious, yet economical, cream soup is sure to be one you will make again and again, anytime of the year.

Squash Soup
Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash (apx. 3 lbs)
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

3 – 4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, thinly sliced
¼ cup carrot, thinly sliced
¼ cup parsnip, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chicken or turkey stock, homemade or store-bought
1 small apple (any variety), peeled and diced
3 bay leaves
¾ tsp dried summer savory
¼ tsp dried sage
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch ginger
Pinch cayenne (optional)
Salt and freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1¼ cups whole milk (or combination of whole milk and cream)

2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese

Method:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Wash butternut squash.  With large chef’s knife, slice the squash in half, vertically.  With large spoon, scoop out the seeds and fibrous matter from the interior of each squash half (save the seeds for roasting!)

Prepare large rimmed baking sheet by lining with tin foil sprayed lightly with cooking oil.  Lightly brush the cut sides and scooped out hollow of the squash halves with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the squash halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet.  Roast the squash in preheated oven for about 35 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and, with a large flat lifter, carefully flip the squash pieces over, applying another light brushing of olive oil to the flesh side. Return the squash to the oven for about another 15-20 minutes, or until the flesh of the squash is very soft when pierced with a fork.  Remove from oven and let squash cool for 10 minutes or so.  Scoop out the flesh and place in medium-sized bowl.  (Do not let squash cool completely as it will be difficult to remove from its skin.)

In large stockpot, heat the butter over medium heat till melted.  Add the olive oil.  Add the onion, celery, carrot, and parsnip.  Stir briskly for 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute, continuing to stir the mixture.

Add the chicken stock, apple, and spices.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for about 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves.  Stir in cooked squash.

Purée soup mixture in blender until very smooth.  Work in batches, starting with one cup of the mixture, puréeing it until smooth, then adding another 1 to 1½ cups, never filling the blender jug more than a scant half full at a time.  Transfer puréed mixture to clean stockpot. Add the maple syrup and milk.  Stir well.  Heat slowly over medium-low heat but do not boil.  Add the Parmesan and cheddar cheese.  Stir until cheeses are melted.  Serve plain or garnish with croutons and some toasted squash seeds, a dollop of sour cream with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or a toasted baguette slice topped with cheese, herbs, and bacon.

Yield:  Apx. 8-10 servings (apx. 1 cup per serving)

Note:
To make this soup lactose-free, use lactose-free butter, milk, and cheese.

Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This classic roasted butternut squash soup is luxuriously thick, velvety smooth, and is packed full of flavourful aromatics, light seasonings, and a blend of cheeses. Pure comfort food at its finest!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash apx. 3 lbs
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 - 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup onion finely chopped
  • ¼ cup celery thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup carrot thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup parsnip thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock homemade or store-bought
  • 1 small apple any variety, peeled and diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¾ tsp dried summer savory
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch ginger
  • Pinch cayenne optional
  • Salt and freshly Ground Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • cups whole milk or combination of whole milk and cream
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Wash butternut squash. With large chef’s knife, slice the squash in half, vertically. With large spoon, scoop out the seeds and fibrous matter from the interior of each squash half (save the seeds for roasting!)
  3. Prepare large rimmed baking sheet by lining with tin foil sprayed lightly with cooking oil. Lightly brush the cut sides and scooped out hollow of the squash halves with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Roast the squash in preheated oven for about 35 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and, with a large flat lifter, carefully flip the squash pieces over, applying another light brushing of olive oil to the flesh side. Return the squash to the oven for about another 15-20 minutes, or until the flesh of the squash is very soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and let squash cool for 10 minutes or so. Scoop out the flesh and place in medium-sized bowl. (Do not let squash cool completely as it will be difficult to remove from its skin.)
  4. In large stockpot, heat the butter over medium heat till melted. Add the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and parsnip. Stir briskly for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, continuing to stir the mixture.
  5. Add the chicken stock, apple, and spices. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for about 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in cooked squash.
  6. Purée soup mixture in blender until very smooth. Work in batches, starting with one cup of the mixture, puréeing it until smooth, then adding another 1 to 1½ cups, never filling the blender jug more than a scant half full at a time. Transfer puréed mixture to clean stockpot. Add the maple syrup and milk. Stir well. Heat slowly over medium-low heat but do not boil. Add the Parmesan and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheeses are melted. Serve plain or garnish with croutons and some toasted squash seeds, a dollop of sour cream with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or a toasted baguette slice topped with cheese, herbs, and bacon.

Recipe Notes

To make this soup lactose-free, use lactose-free butter, milk, and cheese.

For other great soup, chowder, chili, and stock/broth recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

SOUPS

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
Cream of Celery Soup
Ham Lentil Soup
Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup
Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Roasted Cream of Asparagus Soup
Hamburger Soup
The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone

CHOWDERS

PEI Mussel Chowder
Turkey Chowder

STOCKS/BROTH

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Beef Stock

CHILI

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Chili

PIN ME TO PINTEREST!

 

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

I love a bowl of rich Irish Stew any time of the year but, for certain, I will make it around St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a filling and tummy-warming stew that is always a welcome sight on the dinner table.

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

According to my research, traditional Irish Stew was made with cheap cuts of mutton or lamb and basic root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, onions, and turnips. Years ago, these would have been ingredients that were, no doubt, simply what would have been available at the time in the Irish countryside where sheep were raised for their wool and for food and when, before the potato famine, potatoes were a primary Irish crop.

Over the years, Irish Stew recipes have changed according to the locale and what ingredients are available in the cook’s local area.  For example, beef is often used in North America today instead of lamb in Irish Stew and other ingredients are added to make a more flavourful, hearty stew as opposed to a broth-like dish.  Purists might argue that these changes result in a brand new stew recipe altogether and is something entirely different than the original Irish Stew.

Regardless what it is called, I like my version of Irish Stew!  It has a nice rich, robust flavour and a splendid reddish-brown color that comes primarily from the addition of tomato paste with the aid of some red wine and the Guinness.  Using Guinness and red wine also helps to tenderize the meat and also adds to the flavour of the stew.  I don’t add huge amounts of either as the intent is not to “drown” the natural flavours of the beef and veggies but rather to blend and enhance flavours.

Any kind of potato can be diced and used in this recipe.  However, with the ready availability of mini potatoes in recent years, I like to use the tiny potatoes left whole with peelings on. I think they add an interesting element to the stew. If you can’t find the really small, mini potatoes, use slightly larger small potatoes sliced in half, lengthwise.

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

The nice thing about Irish Stew (once you have all the veggies cut up) is that it is an all-encompassing meal with all the vegetables in one dish (no worries about getting different pots of vegetables all cooked at the same time for the meal and a real bonus of only having one pot to wash).  This meal-in-one stew really needs nothing more for a hearty meal than a slice of bread, rolls, or garlic bread and perhaps some homemade mustard pickles on the side.

I like to slow-cook this stew in the oven at 325°F for a couple of hours as opposed to cooking it on the cooktop.  I find oven-cooking allows the flavours to slowly blend and the stew to gradually thicken as it cooks. The longer the stew cooks, the thicker the sauce will be but the stew should be cooked only until the vegetables are fork-tender, not mushy. If the sauce has not all cooked up with the vegetables (some varieties of potatoes, for example, will soak up more sauce than others), it makes a great dipping sauce for the bread or rolls!

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

Ingredients
3/4 pound stew beef chopped
1 – 1½ tbsp olive oil

1 cup carrots sliced
2/3 cup parsnips, sliced or diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup turnip, diced
1 leek sliced  (white and light green part only)
3 cups potatoes, diced OR 1 lb mini potatoes (left whole)

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 – 5.5 oz can tomato paste
1 – 10 oz can beef consommé
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup Guinness
1 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 bayleaf

Instructions
Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 325°F.

Chop stew meat into bite-size pieces.

In large skillet, over medium heat, brown meat in 1 – 1½ tbsp olive oil.

Place vegetables and meat in greased 2½-quart roaster or casserole.

In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. Stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.

Cover roaster and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.

Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings

My Island Bistro Kitchen's Irish Stew

A rich hearty stew made with beef and a variety of vegetables and flavoured with Guinness and red wine

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb stew beef, chopped
  • 1 -1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 2/3 cup parsnips, sliced or diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup turnip, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 3 cups potatoes, diced OR 1 lb mini potatoes (left whole, peelings on)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 5.5 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 10 oz can beef consommé
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bayleaf

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Chop stew meat into bite-size pieces.
  3. In large skillet, over medium heat, brown meat in 1 - 1½ tbsp olive oil.
  4. Place vegetables and meat in greased 2½-quart roaster or casserole.
  5. In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. Stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.
  6. Cover roaster and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.

Recipe Notes

Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread.

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

I am always dismayed (and disheartened) at how many people toss a turkey carcass after the turkey dinner. To me, that is such a waste as there is a lot of goodness in that turkey carcass and it makes great homemade turkey stock that can be used in many recipes.

Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey

A good poultry stock is a handy staple to have on hand in the cook’s kitchen (or freezer).  The stock can be used as the base for soups, sauces, braised dishes, and gravies and it can also be used when called for in any number of different recipes and other dishes. One of the best things about a homemade stock is that you know what is in it, there are no preservatives, and the amount of salt can be controlled.

Homemade Chowder
Turkey Chowder

I usually cook turkeys that are in the 7-9 pound range. Therefore, my recipe below for turkey stock is based on the carcass from this weight range of turkey.  However, this recipe is scalable meaning, if you cook a smaller turkey, reduce the amount of ingredients proportionately and, likewise, if you cook a larger turkey, add additional measures of the ingredients called for in the recipe.

If it is not convenient to make the turkey stock right after the turkey has been roasted and carved (or the next day), simply bag up the carcass in to an airtight zippered freezer bag and toss it in the freezer and make the stock later.  In fact, at the time of writing, I have three turkey carcasses in the freezer waiting to be made in to stock whenever I need it. And that’s in addition to 16 cups of stock already made and frozen!

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

So, to prepare the carcass for stock making, remove all the meat you want from the carcass and use it for other purposes (or cube it up and freeze it for later use in soups or casseroles).  Leave some bits of meat on the carcass. Now, it is entirely possible to make the turkey stock with just the carcass of the roasted turkey (and some aromatics and seasonings, of course) and I have often done so.  However, by adding 2 more pounds of turkey pieces, the result will be a deepened flavor of the stock.  These can be any kind of turkey pieces at all so long as they still have bone-in -– legs, wings, thighs. Generally, I buy whatever is on sale at the time.  Brush a light coating of oil over these turkey pieces and place them in a greased roasting pan.  Place them, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to prevent fat splatters), in a preheated 425°F oven for 25-35 minutes, turning once or twice during the roasting.  Remove the turkey pieces and transfer them to a heatproof dish.  Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits and drippings from the roasting pan. Add about ½ to ¾ cup or so of water to the roasting pan to deglaze it over medium heat, stirring up the brown bits. This will deepen the flavor of the stock when it is added to it.

You will need a very large stock pot to make this stock – one that can accommodate the size of turkey carcass you are using, two additional pounds of turkey pieces, all the veggies, and 16 cups of water. Although possible, I don’t bother breaking down the carcass unless I need to do so to get it to fit in the stock pot.  Add everything to the pot, skin included, from both the carcass and additional turkey pieces along with the liquid from the deglazed pan.

Turkey stock can be very bland if it does not have enough seasonings added to it. That’s why I add some aromatic and flavourful vegetables – carrots, leek, parsnips, onion, celery, rutabaga, mushrooms, and a hefty dose of garlic. There is no need to peel the vegetables (except for the rutabaga that often has a wax coating).  Just make sure the vegetables are very well washed.  You want all the flavour and colour you can get from the vegetables, some of which is contained in the skins/peelings which will later be discarded anyway once the stock is cooked and strained.  Celery is a big flavour agent in this stock and that’s why, in addition to the five ribs of celery called for in the recipe, the celery leaves and the celery stalk base are used to intensify the flavour. While an optional ingredient, any kind of mushrooms can be used in the stock – I usually use the white button or cremini variety.

Fresh herbs can, of course, be used in this recipe (and I do use them when it is gardening season and I have them fresh). However, I have given amounts for dried herbs because we don’t all have access to quality fresh herbs year-round.  Even though this stock will be strained, I still like to gather up all the dried herbs and spices into a bouquet garni because it corrals them and keeps the stock cleaner.  To make the bouquet garni, cut an 8” square of double layer of cheesecloth, place the herbs and spices in the center, gather up the cheesecloth, and tie it with string.  Add this lovely aromatic sachet to the stock pot.  As the stock simmers, it will be infused by the herbs and spices. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, and sea salt.  The vinegar will extract the collagen, nutrients, and minerals from the bones through the slow simmering process.  Because only a small amount of vinegar is used, it will not leave a negative taste to the stock.

Bring the ingredients almost, but not quite, to the boiling point over medium-high heat.  It’s critical that this stock NEVER boil – that will make it cloudy and the look you’re aiming for is a clear, translucent liquid. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.  The temperature of the liquid should reach and stay around the 200°F point. A candy thermometer is useful to verify the heat from time to time as the stock simmers. If the temperature of the liquid dips below 200°F, simply increase the heat just a bit to bring the temperature back up to the simmering point. If it exceeds 200°F, drop the heat back. It’s okay if you see tiny bubbles forming but they should not break the surface of the liquid. The other tip to a translucent stock is not to stir it as it is simmering. This will stir everything up and can cause clouding to occur, resulting in a murky stock. While a cloudy stock will not affect its flavour, a translucent stock is more eye appealing.

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

As the mixture is simmering, you will likely notice some fat from the bones rising to the surface. Periodically take a large spoon and skim this fat away and discard it.  Don’t cover the stockpot while the stock is simmering as it is more difficult to keep the liquid at the simmering point if it is covered. Also, some reduction of the liquid is required in order to achieve desired flavour. If you find that too much of the stock is evaporating too quickly, add a bit more cold water to ensure all the ingredients are submerged in the liquid. However, be cautious about adding too much water as it will dilute the flavour of the stock.

This stock can simmer away for up to 8 hours. However, I find 5-6 hours is generally sufficient. Once the stock has simmered for this length of time, remove it from the heat and strain it.  To do this, line a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth. Place the colander over a clean stock pot and pour the stock into the colander.  Discard the remaining solids – i.e., the bones, vegetables, meat, and bouquet garni.  Because the meat that came off the carcass and the turkey pieces has been simmered for hours and served its purpose, it is tough and is of no significant nutritional value so I discard it. Sometimes, I find the meat after this process can have an offputting flavor so it’s not the best to use in soups or casseroles.

Wash the original stock pot in which the mixture had been simmering. Place a new piece of double-layer dampened cheesecloth in a fine wire mesh sieve and place the sieve over the clean stock pot.  Pour the stock through the sieve.  This second straining will help ensure a clear stock, free of all impurities. Place this stockpot containing the strained stock into a large sink filled with ice water to cool it quickly.  Skim off any further solidified fat as the stock cools. Place the cooled, strained stock in the refrigerator to chill completely (this will take several hours or overnight, even) then remove any remaining solidified fat from the stock’s surface.  For more intense flavored stock, it can be placed back on the stove at medium-low heat and simmered until reduced to one-half the amount, yielding a stronger, more concentrated flavour but there will obviously be less quantity.

So, apart from the necessity to use the right ingredients in the stock, the three big tips I have for making a clear, high quality stock are:  1) Don’t boil it; 2) Don’t stir it; and 3) Don’t cover it while it simmers.  Basically, put the ingredients in a large stockpot, get the liquid to the simmering point, and let it be to do its thing.

This stock will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days or it can be frozen for up to six months, at this point, in freezer-safe containers of desired size.  I usually freeze and label mine in different quantities based on what recipe I intend using it in. I will often freeze some stock in ice cube containers and use them for flavoring dishes, like rice or steamed vegetables, or stir fries where smaller amounts may be needed.

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Turkey Stock

Ingredients:
Carcass (with some meat left on it) from 7-9 lb roasted turkey
2 lbs fresh cut up turkey pieces

1 tsp mixed peppercorns
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried coriander
1 tsp dried summer savory
3 whole cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
4 whole allspice
1 whole star anise pod

16 cups cold water
1 tbsp cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
1½ – 2 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste

1 large onion, skin on, halved
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise
2 large carrots, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
Celery stalk base + 5 celery ribs and leaves (celery ribs cut into 3” chunks)
1 head garlic, halved crosswise, skins on the cloves
3 slices rutabaga, about ¾” thick, peeled and sliced in half
2 large parsnips, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
6-8 mushrooms (button or cremini), halved (optional)

Method:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush thin coating of cooking oil over raw turkey pieces. Place turkey pieces in greased baking pan.  Roast, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to avoid splatters in oven) for about 25-35 minutes, turning with tongs after 15 minutes.  Remove turkey pieces from oven and transfer to heatproof dish.  Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits left in roasting pan. Mix with approximately ½ – ¾ cup of warm water. Heat over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.

Place turkey carcass and turkey pieces into large stock pot along with the browned liquid from the roasted turkey pieces.

Using a small 8” square of double cheese cloth, gather the dried herbs and spices together in the center and tie up cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni.  Drop the sachet in to the stock pot. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, sea salt, onion, leek, carrots, celery root and ribs, garlic head, rutabaga, parsnips, and mushrooms (if using).

Bring mixture to just below the boiling point over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Reduce heat to a low simmer (liquid temperature should reach and remain around the 200°F point) and let stock simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 hours. If liquid evaporates too much and too quickly, reduce the heat and add a bit more water (e.g., 1 cup, or so).  Periodically, skim the fat, as it forms, from the surface of the stock as it simmers. Do not stir mixture as it simmers as this may create a cloudy stock.

Prepare a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth.  Place colander over large clean stock pot and pour the stock/broth mixture into the colander to strain it.  Discard the solids – i.e., bones, vegetables, and bouquet garni.

Wash original stock pot in which the stock was made. Line a fine mesh sieve with a new piece of double layer of damp cheesecloth and place over the clean stock pot. Pour stock through sieve to remove any remaining solids, stray herbs, etc.

Place stockpot containing the strained stock in large sink filled with ice water to cool the stock quickly.  Remove and discard any solidified fat. Place strained stock in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight, to chill completely then remove any remaining solidified fat from the chilled stock.

Use stock immediately or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Alternatively, pour stock into freezer-safe containers of desired size and freeze for future use.

Yield:  Apx. 16 cups (depending on amount of evaporation and reduction that has occurred).

NOTE:  Strained stock may be reheated over medium-low heat and reduced to one-half. This will yield a stronger flavored and more concentrated product but, naturally, there will be less quantity.

Straining the stock twice through a cheesecloth-lined colander/fine mesh sieve will yield a clearer stock, free of any impurities.

This recipe is scalable – if you have a smaller turkey frame, reduce quantities of ingredients; if it is a larger frame, increase quantities proportionately.

 

Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe

Turkey carcass, combined with a blend of herbs and spices and aromatic and flavorful vegetables, makes healthy and tasty homemade turkey stock
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 Carcass (with some meat left on it) from 7-9 lb roasted turkey
  • 2 lbs fresh cut up turkey pieces
  • 1 tsp mixed peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp dried summer savory
  • 3 whole cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 whole allspice
  • 1 whole star anise pod
  • 16 cups cold water
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 large onion, skin on, halved
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise
  • 2 large carrots, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
  • 5 celery ribs with leaves+ celery stalk base (celery ribs cut into 3" chunks)
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise, skins on the cloves
  • 3 slices rutabaga, about ¾” thick, peeled and sliced in half
  • 2 large parsnips, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
  • 6-8 mushrooms (button or cremini), halved (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush thin coating of cooking oil over raw turkey pieces. Place turkey pieces in greased baking pan. Roast, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to avoid splatters in oven) for about 25-35 minutes, turning with tongs after 15 minutes. Remove turkey pieces from oven and transfer to heatproof dish. Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits left in roasting pan. Mix with approximately ½ - ¾ cup of warm water. Heat over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.
  2. Place turkey carcass and turkey pieces into large stock pot along with the browned liquid from the roasted turkey pieces.
  3. Using a small 8” square of double cheese cloth, gather the dried herbs and spices together in the center and tie up cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni. Drop the sachet in to the stock pot. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, sea salt, onion, leek, carrots, celery root and ribs, garlic head, rutabaga, parsnips, and mushrooms (if using).
  4. Bring mixture to just below the boiling point over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Reduce heat to a low simmer (liquid temperature should reach and remain around the 200°F point) and let stock simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 hours. If liquid evaporates too much and too quickly, reduce the heat and add a bit more water (e.g., 1 cup, or so). Periodically, skim the fat, as it forms, from the surface of the stock as it simmers. Do not stir mixture as it simmers as this may create a cloudy stock.
  5. Prepare a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth. Place colander over large clean stock pot and pour the stock/broth mixture into the colander to strain it. Discard the solids – i.e., bones, vegetables, and bouquet garni.
  6. Wash original stock pot in which the stock was made. Line a fine mesh sieve with a new piece of double layer of damp cheesecloth and place over the clean stock pot. Pour stock through sieve to remove any remaining solids, stray herbs, etc.
  7. Place stockpot containing the strained stock in large sink filled with ice water to cool the stock quickly. Remove and discard any solidified fat. Place strained stock in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight, to chill completely then remove any remaining solidified fat from the chilled stock.
  8. Use stock immediately or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Alternatively, pour stock into freezer-safe containers of desired size and freeze for future use. Yield: Apx. 16 cups (depending on amount of evaporation and reduction that has occurred).

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Strained stock may be reheated over medium-low heat and reduced to one-half. This will yield a stronger flavored and more concentrated product but, naturally, there will be less quantity.

Note 2: Straining the stock twice through a cheesecloth-lined colander/fine mesh sieve will yield a clearer stock, free of any impurities.

Note 3: This recipe is scalable – if you have a smaller turkey frame, reduce quantities of ingredients; if it is a larger frame, increase quantities proportionately.

Be sure to read the accompanying blog post to this recipe as it contains additional information and tips on making turkey stock.

For my recipe for homemade Beef Stock, click here.

Pin These Images to Your Favorite Pinterest Boards!

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

Homemade Cream of Celery Soup

Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of Celery Soup

Every year we try to grow two or three new vegetables in our garden.  Here, on PEI, we have a very short growing season and so, whatever we grow, must be suitable to that climate. One day, in late June, I was at John’s Greenhouses in Summerside and they had trays of very healthy looking celery starter plants.  On a lark, I bought a tray of six plants and transplanted them.  Never, in my wildest imagination, could I have contemplated how well they would grow!  With leaves on stalks intact, they grew to be 30″ tall.  The celery had a nice crisp bite to it but, seriously, how much celery could we eat raw?

Celery
Celery
Celery
Celery
Celery
Celery

I began thinking about what I could do with the celery and how I could process it into something else. Thus was born my recipe for Cream of Celery Soup which has now elevated itself to one of my favorite cream-based soups.

Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of Celery Soup

I have made and tested this recipe several times (well, you know, we did have a lot of celery in the garden!), adjusting the ingredient amounts and perfecting the method.  This process results in me publishing a recipe for a tasty soup I am delighted with.  It also enables me to share my lessons learned and tips for successfully making this soup.

Ingredients

Use the freshest celery you can find for this recipe.  Chop it finely because celery takes a long time to soften during cooking – the smaller the pieces, the faster it will cook.   I use both onions and leeks in this recipe as they each contribute their own unique flavor to the soup.  They may come from the same family but their unique flavour qualities add levels of complexity and depth to the celery soup.  Always use freshly minced garlic in this recipe – it will have more flavour than a bottled version.  Either chicken or vegetable stock may be used as a base in this soup. I typically use chicken stock.

To get that silky smooth texture for which great cream soups are known, use a combination of whole milk and cream (18% MF). Fat-reduced and skim milks do not do well in this soup. This soup can be made entirely with whole milk but using cream for a portion of the dairy content in the soup will yield a richer and smoother soup. Also, this soup will freeze well if whole milk and cream are used. In fact, I make this soup as part of my batch-cooking menu and freeze it in individual portions. It’s great for work lunches.

I add shredded cheddar cheese to this soup.  Celery and cheese have long been great partners so why not pair them in a soup.  I also add a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese to the soup as well.

I love my herb garden and make good use of it.  It’s important to choose herbs for this soup that will pair well with the other ingredients.  I have chosen dill, parsley, and either rosemary or thyme.  Only add these to the late stage reheating of the soup, after it has been puréed, and the milk and cream added.  Softer stemmed herbs such as dill and parsley tend to wilt and become discolored if they are overcooked.  While the more woody rosemary or thyme can withstand a bit more heat, I tend to add them all at the same time, near the end of the cooking process.  The amount of seasoning is always a personal preference. My strategy in herb usage is that they should enhance, not overpower, the dish.  I recommend using the amounts I have indicated in the recipe the first time you make the soup – the herb quantities indicated are considered modest amounts. Then, the next time you make the soup, adjust the quantities of the herbs according to your personal preference.

Method

Celery takes a long time to soften during cooking.  Melt the butter in the saucepan and give the celery the benefit of a head start of about 5 minutes cooking before adding the onions, leeks, potato, and garlic. Cook the vegetables until they are softened – about 15 minutes.  Then, add the thickener (regular or gluten-free flour) followed by the liquid stock (chicken or vegetable) and continue to cook the mixture for 30-35 minutes. The goal is to ensure the vegetables are thoroughly cooked and softened and that time has been allotted for the flavors to blend.

The mixture needs to be puréed until smooth, either in a blender or food processor or, alternatively, via an immersion blender.  I typically use the blender for this and I let the soup cool for about 30-40 minutes or so before putting the hot mixture into the jar of the blender.  I have learned the importance of blending part of the mixture first and then adding the remainder of the mixture while continuing to purée it as, otherwise, it is very difficult to get a  smooth soup.  Because celery has a “stringy” component to it and because, sometimes, no matter how much blending, there can always be little bits of the vegetables that have not puréed completely smooth,  I recommend straining the puréed mixture through a medium mesh wire sieve into a clean stockpot to get rid of any unpuréed residue.  This will result in a smoother textured soup.

Once the puréed mixture is transferred to a clean stock pot and the milk/cream blended in and heated, the cheeses and fresh herbs can be added.

Never boil a cream soup; instead, gently heat it just until the cheeses have melted.

Serving

This soup should be served hot.  It can be garnished with croutons, slivered almonds, croutons, fresh herbs, or a sprig of celery leaves.  Serve it in small quantities as a starter to a meal or in larger bowls as a tasty lunch or light supper. The soup is great served with homemade biscuits, rolls, or bread.

Making this cream-based soup is a great way to make use of fresh celery.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of Celery Soup

Homemade Cream of Celery Soup

Ingredients:

¼ cup + 1 tbsp butter
8 oz celery, chopped fine (apx 2 cups)
2½ oz leek (white and green parts only), sliced thin (apx. 1 cup)
2 oz onion, finely chopped (apx. ½ cup)
4 oz potato, peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour (to make it gluten-free, use 1/3 cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)

2 cups warm chicken stock
2/3 cup whole milk
2/3 cup 18% cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
¾ tsp fresh dill, minced
1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
¼ tsp thyme or rosemary, finely chopped

Celery leaf, croutons, or slivered almonds for garnish (optional)
Sprinkle of nutmeg for garnish (optional)

Method:

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add the celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to just below medium and add the leek, onion, potato, and garlic.  Cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes, stirring often.

Sprinkle flour onto vegetables and stir for approximately 1 minute.  Add chicken stock.  Cover. Bring to a boil.  Add the bay leaf. Cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30-35 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.  Cool for 30-40 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.  Transfer mixture to blender or food processor, starting with a good half of the mixture, puréeing, and then adding in the remainder and continuing to purée until smooth.  Strain puréed mixture through medium mesh wire sieve, into clean stock pot, to remove any bits of ingredients that have not completely puréed.

Add milk, cream, salt, and pepper to the mixture.  Heat over medium heat.  Do not boil.  Add the grated cheddar and parmesan cheeses along with the fresh herbs.  Stir until cheese melts. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with a sprig of celery leaf, croutons, or slivered almonds and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Yield:  5 cups, approximately 4-5 servings (1 to 1¼ cup/serving)

Delicious Cream of Celery Soup with layers of flavor. Perfect as a starter or for a light lunch or supper.

Homemade Cream of Celery Soup

Yield: 5 cups

Serving Size: 1 - 1 1/4 cups

Delicious homemade Cream of Celery Soup with layers of flavor. Perfect as a starter to a meal or for a light lunch or supper.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz celery, chopped fine (apx 2 cups)
  • 2½ oz leek (white and green parts only), sliced thin (apx. 1 cup)
  • 2 oz onion, finely chopped (apx. ½ cup)
  • 4 oz potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flour (to make it gluten-free, use 1/3 cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
  • 2 cups warm chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup 18% cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ tsp fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp thyme or rosemary, finely chopped
  • Celery leaf, croutons, or slivered almonds for garnish (optional)
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to just below medium and add the leek, onion, potato, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Sprinkle flour onto vegetables and stir for approximately 1 minute. Add chicken stock. Cover. Bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf. Cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30-35 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Cool for 30-40 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor, starting with a good half of the mixture, puréeing, and then adding in the remainder and continuing to purée until smooth. Strain puréed mixture through medium mesh wire sieve, into clean stock pot, to remove any bits of ingredients that have not completely puréed.
  3. Add milk, cream, salt, and pepper to the mixture. Heat over medium heat. Do not boil. Add the grated cheddar and parmesan cheeses along with the fresh herbs. Stir until cheese melts. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with a sprig of celery leaf, croutons, or slivered almonds and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2017/09/28/homemade-cream-of-celery-soup/

Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of Celery Soup

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s PEI Mussel Chowder

My Island Bistro Kitchen's PEI Mussel Chowder
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s PEI Mussel Chowder

Mussels are a favorite shellfish of mine and, while I love them steamed in various different broths, today I am presenting them in the form of Mussel Chowder and I’m sharing my own personal recipe.

Steamed PEI Mussels
PEI mussels steamed in basil pesto with white wine, onion, and garlic

PEI mussels are world famous and PEI is the country’s largest mussel cultivator. According to the Mussel Industry Council of Prince Edward Island, the Island produces some 45 million pounds of mussels annually and grows 80% of Canada’s mussel production.  Fresh PEI mussels are shipped to the USA, Hong Kong, Japan, and Kuwait. We may be Canada’s smallest province but mussel farming on PEI is big “muscle” and big business. I love checking out restaurant menus when I travel around the world and seeing PEI mussels on the menu!

PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer

The blue mussels that come from PEI are farmed mussels meaning they don’t come from the sea bottom but, rather, they are grown in mesh sleeves, known as “socks”.

Mussel Sock
Mussels in the Sock in Which They are Grown

On the day I publish this mussel chowder recipe for the first time, it is Food Day Canada, a day set aside each year to celebrate all the great Canadian foods we enjoy.  Here, in PEI, I have no shortage of local food options to choose from but, this year, it’s all about the mussels.

PEI Mussels
PEI Mussels Steamed in Rhuby Social Beer from Upstreet Craft Brewing

Mussels are more tender than clams and less gritty.  They are readily available on the Island at seafood outlets and supermarkets and are commonly served at gatherings on PEI.

PEI Mussels Served at Many Gatherings
Steamed PEI Mussels Served at Many Gatherings

Mussels are an affordable seafood and are quick, easy, and fast to prepare.  Steam them in liquid (even plain water) for 7-10 minutes, till the shells open. Dip these tasty little morsels in melted butter and oh-là-là! I like them steamed in beer, white wine, or apple juice with some garlic and fresh herbs.

PEI Mussels

Mussels are a great power food. They are low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals.  They are also gluten-free and are a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

There are many different styles of mussel chowder and just as many ways to make it.  My mussel chowder is luxuriously rich, thick, creamy, and packed with wonderful flavor.

Begin by sweating some onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in butter to release the wonderful aromatics.  Add the flour and blend into the vegetables. This roux will thicken the chowder. Add the reserved mussel broth, chicken broth,  white wine, and some good PEI potatoes. Pour in some milk to make the chowder nice and creamy. Finally, add in the steamed mussels, and fresh herbs.

Serve with crusty rolls, traditional homemade biscuits, whole wheat biscuits, or garlic or artisan bread.

My Island Bistro Kitchen's PEI Mussel Chowder
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s PEI Mussel Chowder

My local beverage pairing for this chowder is the Commons Czech Style Pilsner produced by PEI’s Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown. This is a clean, crisp lager that pairs well with mussels. You can read the story I previously wrote about this artisan brewery by clicking here.

PEI Mussel Chowder Paired with Upstreet Brewing Company's Commons Czech Style Pilsner
PEI Mussel Chowder Paired with Upstreet Brewing Company’s Commons Czech Style Pilsner

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s PEI Mussel Chowder

Ingredients:
2 lb PEI mussels, washed and beards removed
1½ tbsp butter
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup white wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2-3 tbsp butter
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup peeled and diced potatoes
3 tbsp flour
1 cup reserved strained mussel broth
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1½ cups whole milk or a combination of evaporated milk and whole milk
1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ tsp fresh dillweed, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Method:
To steam the mussels, melt butter in large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Add the white wine, parsley, and thyme.  Bring to a boil.  Add the mussels. Cover. Steam for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until the mussel shells have opened.  Set aside 4 mussels in their shells to use as garnishes, then remove the mussel meat from the remaining shells, discarding any shells that have not completely opened.  Store mussels in refrigerator until needed. Strain the broth through a fine sieve and set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the second amount of butter over medium heat.  Reduce heat slightly and add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic.  Sweat the vegetables, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, just until the onion is transparent.

Reduce heat to low. Add the flour to make a roux and stir to blend with the vegetables.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and scorching.  Gradually add the reserved mussel broth, chicken broth, and white wine, whisking constantly to work out any lumps. Add the bay leaf and potatoes. Increase heat to medium high and bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 8-9 minutes or until potatoes are almost fork tender.

Remove about ¼ cup of the hot liquid from pot and stir into the milk to temper it.  Pour tempered milk into hot mixture and stir to combine well.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the steamed mussels, fresh herbs, and butter. Cook for 4-5 minutes until mussels are heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove and discard bay leaf. Ladle chowder into bowls and garnish each with a steamed mussel, fresh herbs, or chopped chives. Serve with crusty rolls, biscuits, or artisan or garlic bread.

Yield: Apx. 4 servings

My Island Bistro Kitchen's PEI Mussel Chowder

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s PEI Mussel Chowder

Serving Size: Apx. 4

A hearty and delicious mussel chowder made with world-famous PEI mussels

Ingredients

  • 2 lb PEI mussels, washed and beards removed
  • 1½ tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup peeled and diced potatoes
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup reserved strained mussel broth
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups whole milk or a combination of evaporated milk and whole milk
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh dillweed, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. To steam the mussels, melt butter in large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the white wine, parsley, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Add the mussels. Cover. Steam for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until the mussel shells have opened. Set aside 4 mussels in their shells to use as garnishes, then remove the mussel meat from the remaining shells, discarding any shells that have not completely opened. Store mussels in refrigerator until needed. Strain the broth through a fine sieve and set aside.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the second amount of butter over medium heat. Reduce heat slightly and add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, just until the onion is transparent.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add the flour to make a roux and stir to blend with the vegetables. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking and scorching. Gradually add the reserved mussel broth, chicken broth, and white wine, whisking constantly to work out any lumps. Add the bay leaf and potatoes. Increase heat to medium high and bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 8-9 minutes or until potatoes are almost fork tender.
  4. Remove about ¼ cup of the hot liquid from pot and stir into the milk to temper it. Pour tempered milk into hot mixture and stir to combine well. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the steamed mussels, fresh herbs, and butter. Cook for 4-5 minutes until mussels are heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove and discard bay leaf. Ladle chowder into bowls and garnish each with a steamed mussel, fresh herbs, or chopped chives. Serve with crusty rolls, biscuits, or artisan or garlic bread.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2017/08/05/my-island-bistro-kitchens-pei-mussel-chowder/

 

Ham Lentil Soup Recipe

Today, I am sharing my newly-developed recipe for Ham Lentil Soup that is made from a leftover ham bone, broth, and ham.

If you are a regular follower of my food blog, by now you have likely figured out that I am a fan of leftovers and of foods that generate leftovers that can be used in other dishes.  One of my favorite comfort food meals is a boiled ham dinner.  I blogged about this back in 2013. I buy a large smoked pork picnic ham, place it in a big stockpot with lots of water and boil it for a good while then add the vegetables to make a meal-in-one-pot soup.  Easy-peasy and, oh, ever-so-tasty. However, these hams are almost always quite large and there is a lot of meat. After a couple of days of leftover ham with scalloped potatoes, sandwiches, and perhaps my Hawaiian Fiesta Casserole, I find it’s time to do something else with the ham and the flavorful broth in which it was boiled.

I’ve decided that all that good ham broth should not go to waste so I have developed a recipe to use the leftover ham broth and ham to make a tasty soup… a second soup, of sorts, from the same piece of meat.  Ham Lentil Soup is a good economical way to use leftovers.  You will need to refer back to my 2013 post for directions on cooking the ham in order to get the ham broth, so go ahead and click here for those instructions.  Make sure you use enough water to cook the ham so that you end up with 7 cups of ham broth and, remember, the water will reduce as the ham cooks so you will most likely need to top it up during the cooking process.

Ham Lentil Soup
Ham Lentil Soup

Now, this leftover Ham Lentil Soup could be made without the ham broth, instead using all chicken broth or vegetable broth. However, what would be missing would be the wonderful flavor of the natural ham broth. So, after I have removed the cooked ham from the stock pot, what I do is refrigerate the ham broth overnight. A layer of fat will form on the top of the broth. Skim all of that off and discard it.  Strain the broth through a cheesecloth lined strainer to remove any remaining whole bits of fat.  Place 7 cups of the ham broth along with the meaty ham bone striped of most of its meat, and the addition of several wonderful spices into a large stockpot. The bone has great flavor in it and the spices will enhance the ham broth and form a flavorful foundational base for the soup.  It’s the broth that makes this soup so it needs lots of flavor. After this broth has cooked slowly in a large stock pot under cover for about 45 minutes, it will have reduced down to about 4 cups or so. Strain this so you have a clear broth.

Then, get those aromatics cooking in the oil. Add the strained ham broth and top it up with 4 cups of vegetable broth so you have 8 cups of liquid.  The great part about this soup is that if you end up with more than 4 cups of strained ham broth, just add less vegetable broth or, conversely, if you have less than 4 cups of ham broth, top it up with more vegetable broth.  Follow the recipe for when to add the different vegetables and lentils that require different cooking times. If there is a vegetable you don’t like, simply replace it with an equal amount of a vegetable you prefer.

Ham Lentil Soup
Ham Lentil Soup

This is a great way to totally maximize the use of a large ham. When you get tired of it, dice up the leftover ham and use it in this soup. Anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 cups of leftover ham will suffice for this recipe. It’s meant to be a brothy, not thick, soup. I have added some orange lentils to this soup for extra substance but also because lentils are a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and minerals. I have chosen orange lentils because they cook in a relatively short time, usually about 20-25 minutes. Don’t overcook the soup after adding the lentils or they will turn to mush. The lentils will still be flavorful but they will have lost their shape if cooked too long.

This Ham Lentil Soup is a good way to maximize and change up leftover ham and it also freezes well.

Ham Lentil Soup
Ham Lentil Soup

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Ham Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

Step 1:
1 leftover meaty ham bone
7 cups liquid (ham stock, chicken or vegetable broth)
2 whole star anise
10 whole cloves
½ cinnamon stick (about 3”)
3 cardamon pods
5 whole peppercorns
1 large unpeeled garlic clove
2 whole allspice
2 bay leaves

Step 2:
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup onion, chopped
2/3 cup celery, chopped (apx. 1 large stalk)
1/3 cup parsnip, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups strained broth from Step 1 above
2 vegetable stock cubes
4 cups hot water
¾ cup carrots, diced
½ cup turnip, diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp summer savory
¼ tsp cloves
Pepper, to taste
4 oz (apx. ¾ cup) orange lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup potato, diced
19 oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
1½ – 2 cups cooked leftover ham, diced
Fresh parsley for garnish

Method:

Step 1: Place leftover ham bone in large stock pot. Add 7 cups liquid (either ham stock left over from boiling the picnic ham or, alternatively, use chicken or vegetable stock).  Add star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, peppercorns, garlic clove, allspice, and bay leaves. Cover and boil gently over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through fine mesh strainer.  Discard bone and spices. Set broth aside. This should yield approximately 4 cups broth.

Step 2: Heat oil over medium heat in the large stock pot.  Add the onions, celery, and parsnip.  Sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute, stirring briskly.

Return strained broth from Step 1 to stock pot.  Dissolve 2 vegetable stock cubes in 4 cups hot water. Add to the strained broth. Bring to a boil.  Add carrots, turnip, and spices. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Add the lentils.  Cook for 10 minutes then add the potato and drained kidney beans.  Cook for about 10 minutes then add the corn, peas, and cooked ham. Cook for about 10-15 minutes longer, or until vegetables are fork tender.

Yield:  Apx. 12 – 1-cup servings

Ham Lentil Soup

Yield: Apx. 12 - 1-cup servings

This flavorful ham lentil soup makes good use of leftover ham bone, broth, and ham along with a mixture of vegetables, spices, and lentils.

Ingredients

  • Step 1:
  • 1 leftover meaty ham bone
  • 7 cups liquid (ham stock, chicken or vegetable broth)
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • ½ cinnamon stick (about 3”)
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 large unpeeled garlic clove
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Step 2:
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup celery, chopped (apx. 1 large stalk)
  • 1/3 cup parsnip, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups strained broth from Step 1 above
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 4 cups hot water
  • ¾ cup carrots, diced
  • ½ cup turnip, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¾ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • ½ tsp summer savory
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz (apx. ¾ cup) orange lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup potato, diced
  • 19 oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1½ - 2 cups cooked leftover ham, diced
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Step 1: Place leftover ham bone in large stock pot. Add 7 cups liquid (either ham stock left over from boiling the picnic ham or, alternatively, use chicken or vegetable stock). Add star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, peppercorns, garlic clove, allspice, and bay leaves. Cover and boil gently over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through fine mesh strainer. Discard bone and spices. Set broth aside. This should yield approximately 4 cups broth.
  2. Step 2: Heat oil over medium heat in the large stock pot. Add the onions, celery, and parsnip. Sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute, stirring briskly.
  3. Return strained broth from Step 1 to stock pot. Dissolve 2 vegetable stock cubes in 4 cups hot water. Add to the strained broth. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, turnip, and spices. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Add the lentils. Cook for 10 minutes then add the potato and drained kidney beans. Cook for about 10 minutes then add the corn, peas, and cooked ham. Cook for about 10-15 minutes longer, or until vegetables are fork tender.

Notes

Please read entire blog post for additional information on making this soup.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2017/02/14/ham-lentil-soup-recipe/

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Ham and Lentil Soup
Ham and Lentil Soup

 

Ham and Lentil Soup
Ham and Lentil Soup

Turkey Chowder Recipe

Turkey Chowder is the perfect way to use up leftover turkey.  It’s a welcome tummy-warming and tasty chowder for cold winter days and is a real treat after skiing, a long winter walk, snowshoeing, or coasting on the snow-covered hills. Serve with warm rolls or biscuits straight from the oven for an extra special treat.

Homemade Chowder
Turkey Chowder

I make this chowder throughout the year, not just after Christmas or Thanksgiving when I have roasted a turkey.  If you don’t have the leftovers from a turkey, simply buy and roast turkey breasts. Dice up the cooked meat and, voilà, you have the needed turkey for a tasty chowder.

Turkey Chowder
Homemade Turkey Chowder

Apart from the soothing, comfort-food taste, two things I like most about this chowder: First, its simplicity of basic ingredients used and, second, the easy method used to make the chowder.

Like any great soup or chowder, this one starts with the aromatics. The flavor base for this chowder is a basic French Mirepoix. This is nothing more than a combination of three humble vegetables finely chopped and sautéed in butter –  onion, celery, and carrots.  These three veggies alone form the foundational flavor base for many dishes. Ever walk into a home or restaurant and pick up the heady scent of these veggies being sautéed? That’s the French Mirepoix in the making and you just know that something good is going to come from it!  It’s important that the veggies be finely chopped so they will release their flavor and aroma early in the cooking process. It’s also important to allow the necessary time for them to sauté. For example, if all you did was dump all the ingredients for this chowder into a pot all at once, the flavor would be very bland. This is because the onion, celery, and carrots need time to release their flavors and this is what will give the deep, well-rounded flavor in soups or chowders.

Homemade Turkey Chowder
Turkey Chowder

Once the French Mirepoix is well underway, add the next layer of aromatics – the dried summer savory and the garlic salt.  Summer savory is a very common herb to use as a poultry seasoning here on Prince Edward Island and I always have to have summer savory for my poultry stuffing/dressing.  Add the next layer of aromatics – mushrooms and red pepper.  Now you have the flavor base for the chowder.

Chowders are, by nature, thick consistency.  My recipe calls for a couple of tablespoons of all-purpose flour.  The flour is simply sprinkled over the aromatic mixture in the pot and stirred in. This is followed by the addition of chicken stock (or turkey stock if you have used the turkey carcass to make your own) and cubed potato. Make sure you stir the mixture well to ensure there are no lumps forming from the flour – nobody likes a lumpy chowder. The base for the chowder should be silky smooth.  Very slowly add the milk all the while continuing to stir the mixture to keep it lump-free. Don’t boil the chowder but, instead, allow it to heat slowly before adding the cooked turkey, creamed corn which lends a sweetness to the chowder, and grated Parmesan cheese.  Taste the chowder and add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  The chowder is done when it is heated through, the Parmesan cheese has melted and been incorporated into the chowder, and the cubes of potato are just fork tender – don’t cook them to mush.

This hearty chowder is perfect served with rolls, biscuits, or your favorite crackers.

Turkey Chowder
Homemade Turkey Chowder

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Turkey Chowder

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter
¾ cup onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrots, diced
3 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup red pepper, chopped
1½ – 2 tsp dried summer savory
¾ tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup potato, diced
1¼ cups milk
2 cup cooked turkey, cubed
1 – 10oz can creamed corn
Sprinkle salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

Melt butter in large soup pot.  Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle the mixture with summer savory and garlic salt. Increase heat to medium-high and add mushrooms and red pepper and cook 3-4 minutes, continuing to stir vegetables often.

Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir for 1-2 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and potato. Bring to a boil, stirring to ensure flour is incorporated and not lumpy.  Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly add the milk while stirring the mixture. Cook, stirring mixture, for approximately 2 minutes.

Add the cooked turkey, creamed corn, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan.  Heat to melt the cheese and ensure potato is fork tender but do not boil chowder.  Serve hot with rolls, biscuits, or crackers.

Yield: Apx. 4-5 servings

Turkey Chowder Recipe

Yield: Apx. 4-5 servings

A thick, flavorful chowder that uses leftover cooked turkey, aromatic vegetables, creamed corn, and Parmesan cheese, all seasoned with dried summer savory

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots, diced
  • 3 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1½ - 2 tsp dried summer savory
  • ¾ tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup potato, diced
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 2 cup cooked turkey, cubed
  • 1 – 10oz can creamed corn
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in large soup pot. Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle the mixture with summer savory and garlic salt. Increase heat to medium-high and add mushrooms and red pepper and cook 3-4 minutes, continuing to stir vegetables often.
  2. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potato. Bring to a boil, stirring to ensure flour is incorporated and not lumpy. Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly add the milk while stirring the mixture. Cook, stirring mixture, for approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked turkey, creamed corn, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Heat to melt the cheese and ensure potato is fork tender but do not boil chowder. Serve hot with rolls, biscuits, or crackers.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/12/26/turkey-chowder-recipe/

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Turkey Chowder
Turkey Chowder

 

Homemade Turkey Chowder
Turkey Chowder

The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone

Italian Soup
The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone

I spent some time in Italy this fall and, of course, now I am totally motivated to do more Italian-inspired cooking like this minestrone soup, for example.  It’s very easy to get inspired when traveling to beautiful parts of the world, especially those known for fine cuisine and wines!

Cinque Terre
Manarola, Italy

Vineyards were busy as the grape harvesting was on when we were in Italy. The one in the photo below was near Manarola in Cinque Terre (Liguria Region)  on the rugged Italian Rivieria. Those are terraced vineyards you see in the background in the photo above and a close up of one in the photo below as harvesters collect the grapes for winemaking.

Grape Harvesting
Harvesting Grapes near Manarola, Italy

And, of course, I always check out the local farmers markets, like the one below in Venice, when I travel.

dsc00991

And, I can never pass up colorful Italian pasta or good quality olive oil!

Pasta
Italian Pasta (Venice, Italy)

But, alas, I am back home in my Prince Edward Island kitchen with lots of ideas for Italian-inspired dishes.  I have actually been making this minestrone soup for many years, tweaking and adjusting it until it reached my satisfaction. In fact, it is a staple in my freezer – I freeze portion-sized servings and then take them to work for weekday lunches. Served with a homemade biscuit, crusty roll, or garlic bread, this is a filling soup.

Minestrone
The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone

Minestrone is what I call the “kitchen sink of soups” because many different ingredients can be included in the soup, almost everything but the kitchen sink! It’s often called “the big soup” for a reason and that is because it contains lots of ingredients. This is a vegetable-type soup that, no matter the recipe, will contain common ingredients like beans, onions, tomatoes, a variety of vegetables, and some kind of pasta.  Other ingredients, such as meat, can be added as well to make it a more hearty meal.  Pretty much any vegetables you like can be added to the soup but you will generally find carrots, peas, string beans, tomatoes, and zucchini in most minestrone soups. There is no fixed recipe as such for minestrone and ingredients vary according to the regions of Italy and what is in season and available at the time the soup is made. There are as many versions of this soup as there are cooks! I have tasted minestrone in different restaurants and they all taste different but they all still go by the same name!

Minestrone
The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone

This Mediterranean soup is cooked in a broth – beef, chicken, or vegetable stock may be used. Like many soups with vegetables, I find the broth needs some extra seasoning. I rely heavily on basil, oregano, and Italian seasoning for this soup and these are somewhat standard in most minestrone recipes. To further deepen the flavor, I also add a couple of tablespoons of my homemade basil pesto. You can find my pesto recipe by clicking here.

Pesto
Basil Pesto

What follows is my recipe for Beefy Minestrone (printable version of the recipe follows at end of posting).

The Bistro's Beefy Minestrone Soup
The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone Soup

The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone

Ingredients:
 
330g (¾ lb) stew beef, cut into small ¼” – ½” bite-size cubes
2 tbsp cooking oil
2/3 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh fennel, very finely chopped (optional but good)
½ cup celery, chopped
2/3 cup carrots, sliced thinly

1 – 796 ml (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 – 284 ml (apx. 10 oz) can tomato soup
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 cups stock (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1½ tsp fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp brown sugar
1¾ tsp dried basil
1¾ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste

½ cup green or yellow string beans (fresh or frozen), cut into 1”–1½ “ inch pieces
1 – 540 ml can (apx. 18 oz) six-bean medley or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
160 g (apx. 1¼ cups) zucchini, diced
1 cup uncooked elbow pasta
1½ cups frozen peas

1-2 tbsp basil pesto

Olive oil for drizzling (optional)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

In large stock pot, brown beef cubes in oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add onion, garlic, fennel, celery, and carrots.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding a small amount of additional oil, if necessary.

Add the next 11 ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook slowly for about 12-15 minutes.  Add the string beans.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the six-bean medley (or red kidney beans), zucchini, elbow pasta, and frozen peas. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 7-10 minutes, or until pasta is just fork tender.

Remove soup from heat and stir in the basil pesto.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with either a drizzle of olive oil or grated Parmesan cheese.

Yield: Apx. 12, one-cup servings

Pin This Minestrone Recipe To Pinterest!

Minestrone
The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone

The Bistro’s Beefy Minestrone

Yield: Apx 12, one-cup servings

An Italian-inspired hearty minestrone soup with beef and a variety of tasty and healthy vegetables and pasta cooked in a broth flavored with basil and oregano

Ingredients

  • 330g (¾ lb) stew beef, cut into small ¼” – ½” bite-size cubes
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh fennel, very finely chopped (optional but good)
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 2/3 cup carrots, sliced thinly
  • 1 – 796 ml (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 284 ml (apx. 10 oz) can tomato soup
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 cups stock (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp brown sugar
  • 1¾ tsp dried basil
  • 1¾ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup green or yellow string beans (fresh or frozen), cut into 1” – 1½ “ inch pieces
  • 1 – 540 ml can (apx. 18 oz) six-bean medley or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 160 g (apx. 1¼ cups) zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow pasta
  • 1½ cups frozen peas
  • 1-2 tbsp basil pesto
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In large stock pot, brown beef cubes in oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add onion, garlic, fennel, celery, and carrots. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding a small amount of additional oil, if necessary.
  2. Add the next 11 ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook slowly for about 12-15 minutes. Add the string beans. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the six-bean medley or red kidney beans, zucchini, elbow pasta, and frozen peas. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 7-10 minutes, or until pasta is just fork tender.
  4. Remove soup from heat and stir in the basil pesto. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with either a drizzle of olive oil or grated Parmesan cheese.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/11/23/bistros-beefy-minestrone/

Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup

One of my all-time favorite soups is made with the most unlikely vegetable – cauliflower. I first had this soup on a cold, rainy night in a small café in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, many years ago. We were looking for light fare and cauliflower was the soup of the day. I must admit, the thoughts of cauliflower in soup was not at all appealing to me but the menu was limited so this is what was ordered. What came to the table was, without a doubt, one of the most palate-pleasing soups I’ve ever had! Rich and creamy with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top and served with a multi-grain bread, this became a soup that I just had to figure out how to make on my own.  So I set about figuring out just what ingredients would have been used to enhance the somewhat blah cauliflower. My recipe is a good replica of that first cauliflower soup I so enjoyed.

Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Over the years, I’ve worked on my recipe for the soup. The first thing I do is roast the cauliflower that I sprinkle with nutmeg.  Of all the spices, I find nutmeg complements the cauliflower best. Roasting vegetables deepens their flavor and this, of course, contributes to the overall flavor of the soup. To make life simpler, rather than say the recipe calls for one head of cauliflower (which comes in different sizes), or x cups of florets, I’ve measured the exact weight of cauliflower my recipe takes for optimal results.  This measurement is taken after the main core stalk of the cauliflower has been removed and discarded. For roasting, I break off chunks of the florets instead of breaking off each individual floret.  The small florets would burn in the roasting process and there is a difference between roasting and burnt offerings! It’s important to stir and turn the cauliflower every 10-12 minutes as it roasts to prevent burning and to ensure even roasting of all sides of the florets.  I also find that loosely mashing the roasted cauliflower with a potato masher makes the vegetable easier to purée evenly.

I use a combination of leeks, onion, and garlic to flavor the soup. The addition of a small amount of fresh fennel does add a layer of flavor complexity to this soup but its addition is optional. When I am making this soup at a time when I have fresh fennel in the garden, I use it but I would not buy an expensive fennel bulb out of season for the small amount the recipe calls for.

The base for this soup is chicken stock. I use the liquid chicken bouillon concentrate to make the stock but homemade or canned/boxed stock can certainly be used.

Cool both the cauliflower and the soup mixture to room temperature before puréeing it. I recommend puréeing the mixture in small batches to ensure the mixture is very smooth and free of any lumps or chunks of cauliflower, leeks, or onions.

I also recommend the milk be at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes or so before blending it into the puréed cauliflower mixture to avoid the milk curdling. Use whole milk, not fat-reduced or skim, for this soup – it’s meant to be luxurious, velvety, and soothing to the palate. In fact, a small amount of cream can be substituted for part of the milk in the recipe. This soup freezes well (yes, it really does) but whole milk or a blend of milk/cream needs to be used when freezing cream-based soups successfully. Soups made with fat-reduced or skim milk do not freeze and reheat well as the ingredients tend to separate.

Once the milk is added (slowly) to the puréed mixture, it’s important not to boil it – all it needs is a slow, gentle heating to the point that the cheese will melt.  My recipe calls for a blend of three flavorful cheeses – cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan.  I buy the bag of pre-shredded cheese with this mixture in it and these three cheeses do complement, not only each other well, but the cauliflower, too.  Stir the soup over low heat just until the cheeses have all melted and blended into the soup. Never boil this soup.

The soup may be served in small appetizer-sized portions for the soup course of a dinner or, in larger portions as a main meal for lunch or a light supper.  Serve this gorgeous-colored soup with homemade biscuits, crusty rolls, rustic or French bread.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

1¼ lb cauliflower florets, chopped into chunks of about 7-9 florets   (weighed after large core stalk removed)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper

3 tbsp butter
2/3 cup sliced leeks (white and light green parts only)
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
¾ oz fresh fennel, finely minced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour

2¼ cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk (at room temperature for 20-30 minutes)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup shredded three-cheese blend (cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking oil.

In large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets, oil, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Spread cauliflower in single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Roast for approximately 40-45 minutes or until cauliflower is very soft, stirring and turning the cauliflower every 10-12 minutes for even roasting.  Cool slightly.  Break florets into small pieces and mash loosely with a potato masher to break down the florets for easier puréeing.

In medium-sized stock pot, melt the butter.  Sauté the leeks, onion, fennel, and garlic over medium heat until leeks and fennel are softened (but not browned), about 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to blend. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 2-3 minutes or until mixture is thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Purée cooled mixture along with the cauliflower in small batches in food processor or blender until smooth.

Return puréed mixture to stockpot and, over medium-low heat, slowly stir or whisk in the milk.  Add salt and pepper to taste. When mixture is heated (do not boil), stir in 1 cup of three-cheese blend.  Heat, stirring constantly, just until cheese is melted (do not boil).

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with roasted cauliflower florets.

Yield: 6-7 servings

Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Yield: 6-7 servings

A rich and velvety-textured cream-based soup made with roasted cauliflower and a blend of three cheeses.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ lb cauliflower florets, chopped into chunks of about 7-9 florets (weighed after large core stalk removed)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup sliced leeks (white and light green parts only)
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • ¾ oz fresh fennel, finely minced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2¼ cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups whole milk (at room temperature for 20-30 minutes)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded three-cheese blend (cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking oil.
  3. In large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets, oil, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Spread cauliflower in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast for approximately 40-45 minutes or until cauliflower is very soft, stirring and turning the cauliflower every 10-12 minutes for even roasting. Cool slightly. Break florets into small pieces and mash loosely with a potato masher to break down the florets for easier puréeing.
  4. In medium-sized stock pot, melt the butter. Sauté the leeks, onion, fennel, and garlic over medium heat until leeks and fennel are softened (but not browned), about 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to blend. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 2-3 minutes or until mixture is thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Purée cooled mixture along with the cauliflower in small batches in food processor or blender until smooth.
  5. Return puréed mixture to stockpot and, over medium-low heat, slowly stir or whisk in the milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. When mixture is heated (do not boil), stir in 1 cup of three-cheese blend. Heat, stirring constantly, just until cheese is melted (do not boil).
  6. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with roasted cauliflower florets.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/11/09/roasted-cream-of-cauliflower-soup/

Pin this Cauliflower Soup to Pinterest!

Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Cream of Cauliflower Soup

For the recipe for the biscuits in the photos, click here.

Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup Recipe

Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup
Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup

For many years, I have been making this hearty soup known as Goulash.  It’s a well-filled soup and is a very filling one! Good any time of the year, this soup is especially tummy-warming on cold days.

This soup is not difficult to prepare but there are vegetables to chop which does take a bit of time.  I have weighed the main ingredients in this recipe because I find that recipes that call for ingredients in bulk form such as 1 onion or 2 carrots or 2 stalks of celery are not very helpful, particularly for less experienced cooks.  For example, is the onion big or small? Does the recipe developer mean to use 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 3/4 cup, or 1 cup of onion? Then, of course, there is always the issue of how finely chopped the onion is meant to be – it takes a lot more onion that is finely chopped to fill a cup measure than it does if the onion is coarsely chopped. So, to simplify things and to help ensure success when making this soup, I am using weight as the main measurement for many of the ingredients. I use my digital kitchen scales all the time and could not get along without them.

My recipe calls for extra lean ground beef; however, if you prefer to use cubed stew beef, that also works in this dish.  I recommend, the first time making this soup, to make it exactly according to the amount of spices the recipe calls for then, next time, if you want it a bit more or less spicy, adjust the quantities accordingly.  The recipe also calls for tomato truffle ketchup.  If you can’t find this in your area, you can certainly substitute regular tomato ketchup; however, the truffle ketchup has earthy undertones that do contribute to the flavour of this rustic soup.

Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup
Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup

The beef broth/tomato base for this soup is incredibly tasty so it makes it a great soup to serve in a hollowed out bread bowl.  Break apart the bowl as you eat the soup and use the bits of bread to soak up the tasty juice of the soup.

Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup
Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup

This is a main meal, full deal kind of soup!

Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup
Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup

 

(Printable version of recipe follows at end of posting)

Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

5 oz. celery, chopped (apx. 2 stalks or 1 cup)

7 oz carrots, peeled and diced (apx. 2 carrots or 1½ cups)

5 oz. onion (1 cup – 1 large onion)

7 oz rutabaga, peeled and diced (apx. 1½ cups)

2 oz parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced (apx. 2/3 cup)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp paprika

½ tsp caraway seed

Pinch cayenne

1 bay leaf

1¼ lb extra lean ground beef

1 cup tomato paste

1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice

2 tbsp tomato truffle ketchup

6 cups beef stock, heated

1½ tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp brown sugar

5 oz chopped zucchini (apx. 1 cups)

1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced (apx. 3 cups)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

In large soup pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the celery, carrots, onion, rutabaga, parsnip, garlic, spices and bay leaf.  Cook over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the ground beef and scramble fry till no longer pink – about 8-10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, ketchup, beef stock, vinegar, brown sugar, zucchini, and potatoes.  Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Remove and discard bay leaf.

To serve, ladle into bread bowls or soup bowls.

Yield: Apx. 12 – 1-cup servings

—————————————————————————-

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting and recipe, please share it on your social media websites.

Connect with “the Bistro” through the following social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

Follow “the Bistro’s” tweets on Twitter

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest

Follow “the Bistro” on Instagram

——————————————————————————

Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup

Yield: 12 - 1-cup servings

A wholesome and filling beef and vegetable soup in a tomato-based sauce

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 oz. celery, chopped (apx. 2 stalks or 1 cup)
  • 7 oz carrots, peeled and diced (apx. 2 carrots or 1½ cups)
  • 5 oz. onion (1 cup – 1 large onion)
  • 7 oz rutabaga, peeled and diced (apx. 1½ cups)
  • 2 oz parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced (apx. 2/3 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp caraway seed
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1¼ lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato truffle ketchup
  • 6 cups beef stock, heated
  • 1½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 5 oz chopped zucchini (apx. 1 cups)
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced (apx. 3 cups)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In large soup pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion, rutabaga, parsnip, garlic, spices and bay leaf. Cook over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground beef and scramble fry till no longer pink – about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, ketchup, beef stock, vinegar, brown sugar, zucchini, and potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  3. To serve, ladle into bread bowls or soup bowls.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/04/05/rich-and-hearty-goulash-soup/

Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup
Rich and Hearty Goulash Soup

PEI Potato Leek Soup Recipe

PEI Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

I am not sure which country can, in fact, lay claim to being the originator of Potato Leek Soup.  Some say it is of Welsh origin while others give Ireland credit for this tasty soup.  If you have ever eaten Vichyssoise, a cold version of Potato Leek Soup, you may attribute its origins to France due to its association with Vichy.  Then, of course, there is Tattie and Leekie soup from Scotland.

Potato and Leek Soup has two main ingredients – potatoes and leeks.  They are complemented by some gentle seasonings of garlic, onion, celery, bayleaf, and thyme, all cooked in chicken stock.

PEI Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

Leeks are related to the onion and shallot family but they do differ.  Leeks resemble giant overgrown green onions. Leeks are usually 12″-14″ long and about 1″-2″ in diameter.  They will have three shades that vary from white at the bulb end to light green in the middle to deep green at the top.  The deep green top is tough and bitter so is discarded, leaving the light green and white sections as the usable parts of the leek.  The root end is cut off and the outer layers of the white and light green sections discarded.

Leeks have a more subtle flavour than onions or shallots so don’t overpower other ingredients in a dish.  Sometimes, as in my recipe for Potato Leek Soup, when I want some strengthened flavour, I will add a small amount of onion .

There are a couple of ways this soup can be made – either the entire mixture puréed until smooth or, if you prefer some chunkiness to the soup, simply remove about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups of the vegetables and purée the rest. This is what I have done in the soup you see in these photos. Either way, it is a filling and satisfying soup.

Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

I make good use of my immersion blender for cream and purée soup making. However, you can certainly use either a blender or a food processor to purée the vegetables.  I generally allow the soup to cool for 30-40 minutes before using my immersion blender and, sometimes, if I am in a hurry, I put the soup pot in a sink full of cold water for a few minutes to speed up the cooling process.  I know some people do use their immersion blenders in really hot soup. I recommend you check your instruction manual for your immersion blender to see what it says about using the blender in hot liquids.

Potato Leek Soup can be served perfectly plain or it can be dressed up with a garnish of sour cream, croutons, chives or parsley.  Serve the soup with biscuits or crusty rolls or bread.

Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

PEI Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients:
2-3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and sliced into ¼“ slices (about 3 cups, chopped)
1 stalk celery, sliced
1¼ lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp thyme
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup whole milk
½ cup white cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)
Sour Cream, Croutons, Parsley or Chives, and Truffle Oil for garnish (optional)

Method:
Melt butter in medium-sized stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add leek, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

Add potatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.

Remove about 1¾ cups vegetables from the soup and set aside. Using hand-held immersion blender, purée the remainder of soup until smooth. Add the milk and heat over medium-low heat until mixture is hot, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the cheese and stir until cheese is melted and blended into soup.

Add reserved vegetables to the soup purée. Stir gently over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes until heated.

To serve, ladle into soup bowls. Add dollop of sour cream and croutons and, if desired, a drizzle of finishing oil such as truffle oil and a sprinkle of parsley or chives.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings (1+ cups each)

—————————————————————————-

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting and recipe, please share it on your social media websites.

Connect with “the Bistro” through the following social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

Follow “the Bistro’s” tweets on Twitter

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest

Follow “the Bistro” on Instagram


PEI Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup
Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup Recipe

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

I make a lot of soups and freeze many of them in single servings so that they are quick and easy to place in the lunch bag on weekday mornings. They’re healthy and nutritious, not to mention tasty.  I like to have a variety of different soups on hand that includes those that are broth-based and hearty vegetable along with those that are cream-based or puréed.

The recipe I am sharing today is a new recipe creation that is a cream-based vegetable soup.  It’s the perfect soup for winter because it uses what we often refer to as winter, or root, vegetables. These are ones that are traditionally harvested late in the fall and they store and keep well over several months – think of potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, and parsnip, for example.

This is an easy soup to make and it blends a number of wonderful flavours that include both celery and leek. It’s very lightly spiced and is a silky smooth soup that I would put in the comfort food category. The great thing about this soup is that none of the nutrients from any of the vegetables is lost.  The vegetables are all cooked in the chicken broth and then the whole mixture is puréed so all of the goodness of the vegetables is maintained.

I find recipes that simply call for ingredients in quantities like a small parsnip or 2 medium-sized potatoes or 1 large carrot are not very helpful, particularly for less experienced cooks.  I have, therefore, tested out this recipe and carefully measured the weights of vegetables to be used for best success.  One of the most used (and most useful) tools in my kitchen is my digital scale and I use it all the time. I highly recommend that every cook invest in a good quality digital scale.

I miss my herb garden in winter. However, dried herbs work really well in this winter soup. Because, for presentation purposes, I don’t want any specks of herbs to appear in this soup, I make a small herb packet out of cheesecloth to contain the herbs while the soup cooks. The cheesecloth has a sufficiently open weave that the soup mixture is infused with the flavour of the herbs as it cooks. It’s very easy to remove and discard the herb packet before the soup is puréed.

Different vegetables take different cooking times so this soup starts with those that take the longest – rutabaga, carrots, parsnip, and celery.  Give them about 15 minutes headstart before adding the leek and let it cook for 10 minutes then add the potatoes which take the least amount of time to cook.

I make good use of my immersion blender for cream and purée soup making. However, you can certainly use either a blender or a food processor to purée the vegetables.  I generally allow the soup to cool for 30-40 minutes before using my immersion blender and, sometimes, if I am in a hurry, I put the soup pot in a sink full of cold water for a few minutes to speed up the cooling process.  I know some people do use their immersion blenders in really hot soup. I recommend you check your instruction manual for your immersion blender to see what it says about using the blender in hot liquids.

I recommend that whole milk be used in this recipe (or, alternatively, you could use a milk-cream blend for a richer soup). I have tested freezing this soup and find it freezes well for me; however, it is very important that at least whole (not skim, or partly skimmed) milk  be used if you intend to freeze any of the soup. Using a fat free or low fat milk will result in the soup breaking down when frozen and it just does not hold its structure when it is reheated. I know that some people frown on freezing puréed and cream soups but I have been freezing them with great success for many, many years.

When making the roux (the butter and flour) for the cream base, make sure you stir the roux while it is blending to prevent it from scorching. Add the milk slowly to the roux, whisking it constantly to prevent lumps from forming. It’s quite unappealing to have lumps in what is supposed to be a silky smooth cream soup.

Adding some shredded cheese to this soup makes a richer soup and certainly enhances the flavour. While a basic cheddar cheese could certainly be used, my preference is to use a shredded cheese blend such as mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan.

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp. dried fennel
1/8 tsp dried marjoram
½ tsp dried parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
5 oz rutabaga, diced
5 oz carrots, sliced
2 oz parsnip, thinly sliced
2 oz celery, sliced
7½ oz leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into ¼“ slices
7 oz potato, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1½ cups whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup shredded cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)

Method:
Bring chicken stock to a boil in medium-sized soup pot.

Cut small 4”-5” square of finely woven cheese cloth. Make the herb packet by placing the bay leaf, basil, fennel, marjoram, and parsley in the center of the cheese cloth. Gather up ends of cheesecloth, tie tightly with kitchen string, and add the herb packet to the chicken stock along with the garlic, rutabaga, carrots, parsnip, and celery. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables for 15 minutes.

Add leek and cook 10 minutes then add potatoes and cook vegetables 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Remove from heat and discard the herb packet. Purée mixture until smooth using an immersion blender or food processor.

Melt the butter in separate medium-sized soup pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, stirring constantly to blend the two ingredients and to prevent scorching. Gradually whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth. Increase heat to medium and continue to whisk milk mixture until it is thickened to desired consistency then add the puréed vegetable mixture. Stir mixture until heated then add the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and blended into soup. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with croutons, a sprinkle of parsley, and a drizzle of a good quality finishing olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!

Yield: Apx. 5-6 servings

—————————————————————————-

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting and recipe, please share it on your social media websites.

Connect with “the Bistro” through the following social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

Follow “the Bistro’s” tweets on Twitter

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest

Follow “the Bistro” on Instagram

——————————————————————————

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

Yield: apx. 5-6

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp. dried fennel
  • 1/8 tsp dried marjoram
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 oz rutabaga, diced
  • 5 oz carrots, sliced
  • 2 oz parsnip, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz celery, sliced
  • 7½ oz leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into ¼“ slices
  • 7 oz potato, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)

Instructions

  1. Bring chicken stock to a boil in medium-sized soup pot.
  2. Cut small 4”-5” square of finely woven cheese cloth. Make the herb packet by placing the bay leaf, basil, fennel, marjoram, and parsley in the center of the cheese cloth. Gather up ends of cheesecloth, tie tightly with kitchen string, and add to the chicken stock along with the garlic, rutabaga, carrots, parsnip, and celery. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables for 15 minutes.
  3. Add leek and cook 10 minutes then add potatoes and cook vegetables 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.Remove from heat and discard the herb packet.
  4. Purée mixture until smooth using an immersion blender or food processor.
  5. Melt the butter in separate medium-sized soup pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, stirring constantly to blend the two ingredients and to prevent scorching. Gradually whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth. Increase heat to medium and continue to whisk milk mixture until it is thickened to desired consistency then add the puréed vegetable mixture. Stir mixture until heated then add the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and blended into soup.
  6. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with croutons, a sprinkle of parsley, and a drizzle of a good quality finishing olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/02/16/cream-of-winter-root-vegetable-soup/

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

 

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

> Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

 

Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup

 

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Cock-A-Leekie soup was on the menu during my first cruise in 1991 and I have loved this simple fare ever since.

While its origins are unclear, this savoury broth soup is most often associated with Scotland.  In particular, it is often standard fare as a starter on menus for “Burns Night” dinners which, of course, celebrate the birth of Scotland’s famed poet and lyricist, Robert Burns (aka Rabbie Burns) on January 25th. Burns, as you may know, wrote many famous poems and lyrics during his short life and one you may most recognize would be “Auld Lang Syne” which is often sung on New Year’s Eve.

And, as a wee bit of soup trivia, “Cockie Leekie” was also one of two soup options on the Titantic’s  First Class Passengers’ lunch menu on the  day the ship sank in April, 1912.

Earliest tracings of this soup date back to the 1500s. Of course, with Scottish ancestry, I am wondering if my ancestors from the Isle of Skye may have dined on Cock-A-Leekie soup. As I write this posting, it is the eve of “Burns Night” so it seems apropos that I would do a posting with a Scottish flavour.    I am, therefore, sharing my recipe for Cock-A-Leekie soup.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

So, what’s in Cock-A-Leekie soup? Well, the answer is, not much, actually.  As its name suggests, the two main ingredients are chicken and leeks – in fact, you may hear the soup called “Chicken Cock-A-Leekie” or “Chicken and Leek Soup”.  Original recipes also called for the addition of prunes in this soup and it’s unclear as to why unless they were added for extra nutrition.  Barley is often added to the soup to act as a filler and to provide some natural thickening to the broth.  Rice is sometimes used instead of barley.  Very little seasoning is added to a traditional Cock-A-Leekie soup, often nothing more than a bit of thyme and parsley.

Over the years that I have been making this soup which, by the way, freezes well, I have “jazzed” it up a tad to add some additional flavour. By adding some parsnip, carrots, celery, and rutabaga, nutritional value is increased and the soup is more filling and can, in fact, be used as a main meal for lunch, as opposed to a starter.  My recipe also has some flavour boost from minced garlic, allspice, and Herbes de Provence.  I don’t add a lot of any of these but just enough to increase the flavour a bit.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

I use chicken breasts with bone in for this recipe.  In my view, any meat or poultry with the bone in has more flavour than boneless versions. Because chicken is one of the main ingredients in this soup, about 2 cups of meat will be required.  Generally, about 1 1/4 lbs of chicken breast, bone in, will yield around 2 cups of cooked chicken, diced. I also add a bay leaf, some liquid chicken bouillon, and a handful of celery leaves to the chicken as it cooks – the leaves from 2-3 stalks of celery will suffice.  I find chicken can be very bland unless it is given a flavour boost.

The chicken for this recipe can either be diced or shredded. My preference is to dice the chicken (as shown in the photo below) as it makes a tidier soup and I find the shredded chicken to be too stringy for my liking.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

The different vegetables in this soup require different cooking times so, parsnips and rutabaga and celery get added first to give them a head start on the cooking process.

Because this soup does not need to cook for hours on the stove, I recommend the use of pearl barley over pot barley because it cooks quicker.  In addition, I have added some split red lentils to the recipe as they, along with the barley, help to naturally thicken the broth without adding any other thickening agent (such as flour or cornstarch). Lentils belong to the legume family and are edible pulses which are crops harvested solely for the dry seed.

Split Red Lentils
Split Red Lentils

Because the split red lentils cook quickly and the idea is that they not turn to mush in this recipe and detract from the soup’s broth texture, add them near the end of the soup cooking process. Lentils are, of course, rich in fibre, have a high protein content, and are a good source of vitamins and minerals all of which naturally lead to numerous health benefits. So, they are a good contributor to healthy soups.

This soup can be served with crusty rolls, baguette, biscuits, crackers, or with traditional Scottish oatcakes as I have done here.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

I hope you will try Cock-A-Leekie soup and that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Ingredients:

5 cups water
2½ tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
1¼ lb. skinless chicken breasts, bone in (should yield apx. 2 cups diced chicken, cooked)
1 bay leaf
Handful of celery leaves

1 small parsnip, sliced thinly
1 celery rib, sliced
2/3 cup rutabaga, diced
2 tbsp pearl barley
¾ tsp salt
1 medium carrot, sliced
2 cups sliced leek (white and light green parts) – apx. 1 large leek
1½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp split red lentils
1/8 tsp allspice
¾ tsp Herbes de Provence
¾ tsp dried parsley

Sour cream, parsley, and truffle oil for garnish (optional)

Method:

In medium-sized soup pot, bring the water and chicken bouillon to a boil. Add chicken breasts, bay leaf, and celery leaves. Cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until chicken pieces are cooked, using a meat thermometer to check doneness.

Remove chicken pieces from broth and transfer to heat-resistant plate to cool slightly before removing meat from the bones. Remove and discard celery leaves.

While chicken is cooling, add the parsnip, celery, rutabaga, barley, and salt to the broth.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables for about 10 minutes then add the carrot, leek, garlic and brown sugar.

Sliced leek for Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Sliced leek for Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Return mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the lentils, allspice, Herbes de Provence, and parsley. Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, just until lentils are tender but not mushy.

Split Red Lentils
Split Red Lentils

Dice, or shred, chicken and add to soup. Heat gently for about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a dob of sour cream, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of truffle oil, if desired.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings (1 cup each)

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

—————————————————————————-

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting and recipe, please share it on your social media websites.

Connect with “the Bistro” through the following social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

Follow “the Bistro’s” tweets on Twitter

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest

Follow “the Bistro” on Instagram

——————————————————————————

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1-cup

A tasty broth-based soup filled with nutritious ingredients and flavour.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 2½ tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 1¼ lb. skinless chicken breasts, bone in (should yield apx. 2 cups diced chicken, cooked)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Handful of celery leaves
  • 1 small parsnip, sliced thinly
  • 1 celery rib, sliced
  • 2/3 cup rutabaga, diced
  • 2 tbsp pearl barley
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced leek (white and light green parts) – apx. 1 large leek
  • 1½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp split red lentils
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • ¾ tsp Herbes de Provence
  • ¾ tsp dried parsley
  • Sour cream, parsley, and truffle oil for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized soup pot, bring the water and chicken bouillon to a boil. Add chicken breasts, bay leaf, and celery leaves. Cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook until chicken pieces are cooked, using a meat thermometer to check doneness.
  2. Remove chicken pieces from broth and transfer to heat-resistant plate to cool slightly before removing meat from the bones. Remove and discard celery leaves.
  3. While chicken is cooling, add the parsnip, celery, rutabaga, barley, and salt to the broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables for about 10 minutes then add the carrot, leek, garlic and brown sugar. Return mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the lentils, allspice, Herbes de Provence, and parsley. Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, just until lentils are tender but not mushy.
  4. Dice, or shred, chicken and add to soup. Heat gently for about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  5. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a dob of sour cream, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of truffle oil, if desired.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/01/24/cock-a-leekie-soup/

Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup
Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

One of my all-time favorite comfort soups is homemade tomato soup.  I have been working for the past couple of years to develop a tomato soup recipe that uses the right blend of ingredients and spices to achieve a balanced tomato soup that is pleasing to my palette. Recipe development can be a lengthy and tedious process and the recipe I am sharing today is the result of my efforts.  Once I crafted the final version of this soup, no canned tomato soup will now do!

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

The tomatoes I recommend to use in tomato soup are the plum tomatoes, sometimes referred to as the “Romas” or “Italian tomatoes”.

Roma Tomatoes

These are an oblong, almost egg-shaped, tomato and they are a firm tomato, quite meaty, and less watery with fewer seeds than other tomato varieties.  They also have a gorgeous vibrant red color that translates into wonderful color for soups and sauces. They are ideal for roasting because of their thick wall of flesh that does not break down and collapse quickly.  For these reasons, the Romas are often used in canning, soup-making, and for making tomato sauce and paste.

I like to roast the vegetables for this soup because the roasting draws out and heightens their flavour,  making a more flavorful soup.  It’s important to coat (but not drench or soak) the vegetables with a high quality olive oil before roasting them.  This will help to keep the vegetables from drying out during the roasting process. Although a plain olive oil can certainly be used, I like to use a flavored oil such as oregano or herbes de provence, for example, as this adds additional flavor. The only vegetable I find difficult to get roasted soft is the celery so, for this vegetable, I recommend cutting it into small chunks about 1″ long.  Through the roasting and cooking processes, the celery will eventually soften but it does take more time (but it is necessary for the flavor it provides to the soup). Use care not to burn or over-char the vegetables — there is a definite line between vegetables that are well-roasted and those that are burned. The goal is to have a flavourful soup that uses roasted vegetables but has no ‘burnt’ taste to it.

Use the freshest of ingredients you can find for this soup; it matters.  Using fresh herbs is essential for the best flavor of the soup and add them near the end of the cooking process so their flavor will be more intense and true.

I use a hand-held immersion blender to purée the vegetables although a standard food processor would also work.  How smooth to purée the mixture is a matter of preference.  For a more refined soup, purée the mixture until very smooth; for a more rustic, artisan soup, purée less.

While whole milk by itself can be used in this recipe, I like to add a mixture of whole milk and blend (or, if I want to be really extravagant, whipping cream) because it gives better flavor and texture to the soup.  I make this soup in large batches and freeze it. It will not freeze well and maintain its quality texture if anything less than whole milk is used and it freezes even better if blend or whipping cream is used along with the whole milk.

This is not a highly spiced soup because my intent is that it remain very much a tomato-flavored soup. Any ingredients added are intended to compliment and enhance the soup’s flavor, not mask or overpower the tomato flavor.

Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized carrot
1 medium-sized onion
1 leek
½ celery stalk
1 – 1½ oz piece of fennel bulb
2½ lbs ripe plum tomatoes (Romas)
4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
2 cups hot water
1 tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
1 tsp sugar or honey
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1¼ cups whole milk
½ – ¾ cup blend or whipping cream
Sea Salt
Pepper

Sour Cream (optional)
Seasoned Croutons (optional)
Fresh Herbs (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place oven rack in center of oven.

Peel carrot, onion, and strip outer layers from leek – use only white and light green part of the leek. Cut carrot, leek, and celery into chunks about 1” – 2”. Chop fennel bulb into 2-3 chunks. Cut tomatoes and onion into quarters. Place vegetables into a large bowl and add unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle vegetables and garlic cloves with enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat mixture with oil. Place vegetables and garlic, single layer, on greased tinfoil-lined baking pan.

Roast, uncovered for apx. 45-60 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked soft (do not burn them). Remove vegetables from oven and split garlic peeling to extract garlic.

Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the roasted vegetables and garlic along with the liquid chicken bouillon, hot water, ketchup or tomato paste, sugar or honey, and bay leaf.  Stir. Cover. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of simmering, add the fresh basil, oregano, and thyme.

Let mixture cool to lukewarm. Remove bayleaf, then purée mixture with immersion blender or in a food processor to desired consistency/smoothness.

Return puréed mixture to large pot. Add milk and blend (or whipping cream). Stir well.

Heat gently, over medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent scorching. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sour cream, seasoned croutons and fresh herbs, if desired.

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: Apx. 6-8 servings

—————————————————————————-

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting and recipe, please share it on your social media websites.

Connect with “the Bistro” through the following social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

Follow “the Bistro’s” tweets on Twitter

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest

Follow “the Bistro” on Instagram

——————————————————————————

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: Apx. 6-8 servings

A flavorful homemade tomato soup filled with goodness.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized carrot
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 leek
  • ½ celery stalk
  • 1 – 1½ oz piece of fennel bulb
  • 2½ lbs ripe plum tomatoes (Romas)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • ½ - ¾ cup blend or whipping cream
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Seasoned Croutons (optional)
  • Fresh Herbs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place oven rack in center of oven.
  2. Peel carrot, onion, and strip outer layers from leek – use only white and light green part of the leek. Cut carrot, leek, and celery into chunks about 1” - 2”. Chop fennel bulb into 2-3 chunks. Cut tomatoes and onion into quarters. Place vegetables into a large bowl and add unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle vegetables and garlic cloves with enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat mixture with oil. Place vegetables and garlic, single layer, on greased tinfoil-lined baking pan. Roast, uncovered for apx. 45-60 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked soft (do not burn them). Remove vegetables from oven and split garlic peeling to extract garlic.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the roasted vegetables and garlic along with the liquid chicken bouillon, hot water, ketchup or tomato paste, sugar or honey, and bay leaf. Stir. Cover. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of simmering, add the fresh basil, oregano, and thyme.
  4. Let mixture cool to lukewarm. Remove bayleaf, then purée mixture with immersion blender or in a food processor to desired consistency/smoothness.
  5. Return puréed mixture to large pot. Add milk and blend (or whipping cream). Stir well. Heat gently, over medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent scorching. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sour cream, seasoned croutons and fresh herbs, if desired.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2015/11/15/cream-of-roasted-tomato-soup/

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted Cream of Asparagus Soup

Do you have certain foods you like to have in the different seasons?  One of the springtime treats in my house is asparagus.  Last spring I paid a visit to local asparagus grower, Tim Dixon, of North Tryon.  You can read the story here.  There is something about buying locally-grown foods at the farm gate – the freshness can’t be beat.  I recently dropped by Tim’s farm to pick up my taste of Island-grown asparagus.

Asparagus is a very versatile vegetable and one of the first available in spring in our Maritime climate.  Asparagus is lovely served with a Hollandaise sauce, in a quiche, wrapped with goat cheese in proscuitto and roasted, or in a myriad of other ways.  One of my favorite ways to serve asparagus is as a cream soup.  I like to roast the asparagus first as I find the roasting brings out the nutty, earthy flavors in the asparagus.  Today, I am sharing my recipe for this soup.  While it does take a bit of time to make, the end result is so worth the effort.

Roasted Cream of Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb asparagus
1 leek, white and light green parts only
1 stalk celery
1 garlic clove
1 potato
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 bayleaf
¼ tsp dried dillweed
¼ tsp dried basil
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
½ cup grated cheddar cheese

For garnish:
Croutons
Asparagus tips
Olive oil

Method:

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Assemble ingredients.

Trim asparagus ends. Cut leek in half. Cut celery stalk and potato into 2-4 chunks.

In large bowl, combine asparagus, leek, celery, potato, and garlic clove. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss vegetables to ensure they are well coated with the oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place oiled vegetables, single layer, on foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast in oven for about 20- 30 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender. Remove vegetables from oven and cool slightly.

Loosely chop vegetables into chunks and place in bowl of food processor.

Pulse until vegetables are puréed.

Transfer puréed vegetables to large pot.

Add chicken stock, bayleaf, dillweed, and basil.

Whisk flour into milk until smooth. Pour into soup mixture.

Season with salt and pepper.

Mix ingredients well over medium-low heat, stirring regularly to ensure mixture does not scorch.

When hot and thickened to desired consistency, add Parmesan and grated cheddar cheese. Heat just until cheeses are melted.

Serve hot garnished with croutons and 2-3 steamed asparagus tips. Lightly drizzle a good quality olive oil around the garnish.

Yield: 4-6 servings

This soup is lovely served with a good quality rye bread.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

Hamburger Soup

As I write this post, it is a stormy day on Prince Edward Island with high winds and lots of snow – brrrrrrrrrr.  Most of the Island is shut down, including the Confederation Bridge which links us to the mainland in New Brunswick.  Roads are filling in as soon as the plows clear them.  It’s a stay-at-home day, for sure.   Stormy days always put me in the mood for good old-fashioned homemade soup — dinner in a pot and it smells sooooo good simmering away on the stove.

Hamburger Soup
Hamburger Soup

This is the recipe I have been using for years for hamburger soup.  It is very mildly seasoned so the taste of the vegetables comes through.  This is a true comfort food soup.  Like any soups, if you don’t care for a particular vegetable omit it and replace it with one you do like.

I make this soup and freeze it in individual containers to have ready for weekday lunches at work (it reheats well in the microwave).  For this reason, I don’t use potato in this soup because I don’t find potatoes freeze well (they tend to go grainy and mushy).  If you are planning to eat this soup as soon as it is made, then potatoes may be added.  For the freezer version, I replace the potatoes with a pasta – today it was macaroni I used.

Hamburger Soup

 Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp oil

1 lb extra-lean ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

¾ cup diced celery

⅔ cup diced turnip

¼ cup diced green pepper

1¾ cups diced carrots (about 3 medium-sized)

½ cup diced parsnip

¼ tsp garlic powder or garlic salt

1½ tsp dried basil

1½ tsp dried parsley

6 whole allspice

¼ – ½ tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

6 cups beef stock

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 – 19 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1 – 10 oz can mushrooms, drained

20 oz. tomato soup

1 large bayleaf

1 tsp sugar

¼ cup long-grain rice

½ cup diced zucchini (with peel)

1 cup raw macaroni

Directions:

Assemble ingredients.

Ingredients for Hamburger Soup
Ingredients for Hamburger Soup

Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon.  Fry beef for about 4-5 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.

Drain off, and discard, excess liquid.

Add onion, celery, turnip, green pepper, carrots, and parsnip.  Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add garlic powder or salt, basil, parsley, whole allspice, salt and pepper.  Stir and sauté for 6-8 minutes.

Add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato soup, bay leaf, and sugar.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Add rice and zucchini and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Lastly, add the macaroni and simmer for an additional 10-12 minutes until the macaroni is cooked.

Remove and discard whole allspice and bayleaf.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve with baguette slices, crusty rolls, or crackers.

Freezes well.

Yield:  10-12 servings

 My featured Island product in this recipe was ground beef from KJL Select Meats in Charlottetown, PEI.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

Chili After the Sleigh Ride

Sleight Ride at Potts Farm, Bonshaw, PEI
Sleigh Ride at Potts Farm, Bonshaw, PEI

Yes, it can be chilly after a sleigh ride and there is nothing better to warm up with than a bowl of hot, homemade Chili Con Carne afterward!  Nothing stirs up a great appetite better than lots of fresh country air!

Homemade Chili
Homemade Chili

PEI has seen its fair share (well, some might say, more than our fair share) of snow this winter.  While, for some of us, the snow means work shoveling and challenges getting around and planning for events, for others it means business.

Waiting Patiently for Passengers to Load the Sleigh

There are a number of farms on the Island that offer sleigh rides throughout the winter months.  Thanks to Mother Nature sending lots of snow to the Island, this year has been exceptionally good for the sleigh ride business.

The photos of the sleigh ride that appear in this posting were all taken at Potts Farm in Bonshaw, on the South side of PEI. Their sleigh rides take you through fabulous trails of the woodlands of their farm.

Before we headed out to Potts Farm, I made this big pot of my favorite chili to have ready when we got home.

Chili
Chili

A chili con carne meal is very easy to prepare because it, essentially, is a meal in one pot.  One of the things I like about chili is that it can be adapted according to ones likes and tastes.  For example, if you don’t like green pepper, simply leave it out.  To achieve a mild or spicy chili according to your taste preference, adjust the amount of chili powder and garlic added.  I like my chili mild-flavored and full-bodied (as opposed to “runny”), meaning I like to add lots of ingredients like onions, celery, green pepper, fresh mushrooms, canned tomatoes, and kidney beans so that it is a nice, thick, chili but still has some juice to it.  I also like lots of tomato flavor so, in addition to the canned tomatoes, I add both a can of tomato soup and one of tomato paste.  Once all the chopping of veggies is done and the cans opened, it’s pretty much just a matter of combining them all in a soup pot and letting them simmer for a good hour or more to allow the flavors to mix and mingle.

Chili freezes well and I freeze it in individual, portion-sized containers to have ready for quick packing of the lunch bag on those weekday mornings when time is always at a premium.  Add a crusty roll, bread, or biscuits, and it makes a substantial tasty and filling lunch.

My recipe for chili follows.  My featured Island product in this recipe is the ground beef which I purchased at KJL Select Meats butcher shop that is co-located with Riverview Country Market in Charlottetown, PEI.  If you are on PEI and have not yet had a chance to visit this butcher shop, I would encourage you to do so.  They have great Island meat available.

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Chili Con Carne

2 tbsp oil

1 cup onion, chopped

½ cup green pepper, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1½ lb lean or extra-lean ground beef

1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice

2 – 14 oz. cans kidney beans, undrained

1 – 10 oz. can tomato soup

1 – 5½ oz. can tomato paste

Pinch cloves

Pinch pepper

1 – 2 tsp chili powder, to taste

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I use oregano flavoured from our local Liquid Gold store)

1 tsp liquid beef bouillon

1 bayleaf

4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Ingredients for Chili
Ingredients for Chili

In large pot, heat oil.  Add onion, green pepper, celery, and minced garlic clove.

Quickly sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add ground beef and cook until browned.

Add remaining ingredients (including the canned tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato soup, and tomato paste and seasonings) except the mushrooms which will be added later.

Adding the Seasonings

Bring ingredients just to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and slowly cook the chili for about 30 minutes, then add and stir in the sliced mushrooms.

Adding Mushrooms
Adding Mushrooms

Cover and simmer for another 30-40 minutes.  Serve hot with French bread, crusty rolls, or homemade biscuits.  If desired, garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and/or sliced green onions.

Yield:  8-10 servings

 

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro KitchenYou may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Chili
Chili

 

Chili
Chili Con Carne

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner – 2012

Irish Coffee

So, St. Patrick’s Day 2012 has come and gone.  A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.   We are all a wee bit Irish on March 17th, aren’t we – either Irish by heritage or Irish at heart!

My St. Patrick’s Day Menu this year consisted of Prince Edward Island Blue Mussels steamed in Guinness, herbs, and vegetables and served with Cows Creamery Sea-Salted butter, melted; Spirited Irish Stew served with Irish Soda Bread; Irish Cream Cheesecake; and Irish Coffee as an after-dinner drink in front of a cozy fireplace.

PEI Blue Mussels Steamed in Guinness

PEI cultivates great mussels.  Local supermarkets sell them bulk by the pound which is good because I am the only one in the household that likes them.  The key to steaming mussels is to use very little liquid and steam them just until their shells open.  If you use too much liquid, it will dilute the flavour of the mussels and they will have a very bland taste.  I have steamed these shellfish in water, beer, and in wine in the past.  However, the Guinness I used yesterday, along with the vegetables and herbs, made the mussels a very rich and delightful treat.  The mussels were infused with the Guinness and herbs but not so much that the seafood taste of these tasty morsels was lost.

So, for one serving, this is what I used:

2 Tbsp carrots, very finely chopped

2 Tbsp celery, very finely chopped

2 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped

½ tsp garlic purée

½ tsp. dried dillweed

1 – 1 ½ Tbsp butter

Melt butter in saucepan and sauté ingredients 2-3 minutes, then add:

1 cup Guinness

Bring to a boil

Add 9-10 oz. PEI mussels (about 15).

Cover pot.  Reduce heat to medium.  Steam approximately 3-5 minutes or until shells are open.  Using slotted spoon, remove mussels from liquid and transfer to plate, discarding any unopened shells.  Serve with melted butter.

PEI Blue Mussels Steamed in Guinness

 Irish Stew

Spirited Irish Stew

According to legend, traditional Irish Stew was made with cheap cuts of mutton or lamb and basic root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, onions, and turnips. Years ago, these would have been ingredients that were, no doubt, simply what would have been available in Ireland where sheep were raised for their wool and for food and, before the potato famine, potatoes were a primary Irish crop.

Over the years, Irish Stew recipes have changed according to the locale and what was available in the cook’s local area.  For example, beef is often used in North America today instead of lamb in Irish Stew and other ingredients are added to make a more flavourful, hearty stew as opposed to a broth-like dish.  Purists might argue that these changes result in a new stew recipe altogether and is something entirely different than the original Irish Stew.  Regardless what it is called, I like my version of a Spirited Irish Stew.  It has a nice rich, robust flavour and a splendid reddish-brown color that comes from the addition of tomato paste.  Using Guinness and red wine helps to tenderize the meat and also adds to the flavour of the stew.  I don’t add huge amounts of either as the intent is not to “drown” the natural flavours of the beef and veggies but rather to blend and enhance flavours.  The nice thing about Irish Stew (once you have all the veggies cut up) is that it is an all-encompassing meal with all the vegetables in one dish (no worries about getting different pots of vegetables all cooked at the same time and a real bonus of only having one pot to wash).  It really needs nothing more than a slice of warm Irish Soda Bread, fresh from the oven and slathered with butter and perhaps some homemade mustard pickles on the side.

I like to slow-cook this stew in the oven at 325ºF for a couple of hours as opposed to cooking it on the cooktop.  I find oven-cooking allows the flavours to slowly blend and the stew to become nice and thick.  Recipe follows at end of this blog posting.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread in which baking soda, and often baking powder, are used as the leavening agents as opposed to yeast.  My research revealed that ingredients for a basic Irish Soda Bread would include flour (often both all-purpose and whole wheat), baking soda, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, and molasses.  More elaborate breads might include raisins, currants, or nuts.  I also learned that it was not uncommon for the soda bread to be cooked on a griddle although I am not sure how the bread would have gotten baked all the way through without first getting burned on the bottom!

Soda bread dough is not kneaded like yeast breads and, in fact, it is recommended that the dough not be handled any more than is necessary for the dough to stick together.  In this respect, it is somewhat like tea biscuit dough except that it is a heavier, denser texture.

Irish Soda Bread Dough

Some recipes suggest that Irish Soda Bread should be baked in a pan or casserole dish for a softer crust or, for a more crispy hide, baked on a parchment-lined baking sheet which is how I baked mine.

Irish Soda Bread Ready for the Oven

The Irish Soda Bread recipe I used comes from Tea Time Magazine.  I found the bread was a good accompaniment for the Irish Stew but it is a dense, heavy bread and one that is probably best eaten fresh, warm from the oven, and on the day it is made.

Irish Soda Bread

 Irish Cream Cheesecake

I figured if I was going Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day, I might as well go all out and make a cheesecake that had Irish Cream Liquor in it.  I have often relied on recipes from Company’s Coming Cookbooks because I find them quite reliable, not containing ingredients I either wouldn’t have in my pantry or be able to readily source locally, and the directions are presented in a clear, easy-to-understand format.  That’s why I turned to Company’s Coming for the recipe for the Irish Cream Cheesecake.  I didn’t want a large cheesecake so I halved the recipe and used a 7” springform pan.

Irish Cream Cheesecake

I could not have been more pleased with the result.  The cheesecake had a lovely smooth texture, not over-powered by the Irish Cream Liquor but yet with a pleasing taste.  I served it simply with a dob of whipped cream, a drizzle of rich chocolate syrup, and a chocolate.  A superb and fitting finish to my St. Patrick’s Day meal!

Slice of Irish Cream Cheesecake Drizzled with Chocolate Sauce

My Island Bistro Kitchen's Spirited Irish Stew

By Barbara99 Published: March 18, 2012

  • Yield: (5-7 Servings)
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs 0 min
  • Ready In: 2 hrs 30 mins

A rich hearty stew with beef, a variety of vegetables, and flavoured with Guinness and red wine

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients.
  2. Chop stew meat and vegetables into bite-size pieces
  3. Brown meat in 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil.
  4. Place vegetables and meat in roaster.
  5. In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. With large spoon, stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.
  6. Cover roaster and place in pre-heated 325F oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.
  7. Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, or French Bread.

WordPress Recipe Plugin by ReciPress