the recipe sharer

Archive: Jan 2016

Weekend soup (using whatever you have left in the fridge)

When the weeks are cooler, I tend to open the fridge doors and haul out any vegetables that could go into a soup. You will be surprised what wonderful concoctions you can come up with and how much soup you can make from very little.
Don’t overthink it and definitely don’t measure anything as soups are one of the most forgiving and inventive things you can make.

This week my ingredients are;

4 large onions, peeled and chopped
1 large turnip, peeled and chopped
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 head of celery, including leaves, peeled of stringy stuff
1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed, tossed in olive oil and seasoning and roasted at 350 degrees for 45 mins
1 whole cauliflower, broken into florets
about 12 asparagus spears, snapping off the tough ends and chopping into 1 inch lengths
5 zucchini, halved then quartered lengthways and chopped across into 3/4″ pieces
3 heads of broccoli including stems chopped
1 whole bunch fresh parsley stalks and all
french green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1″ lengths

4 to 6 (32 oz) containers chicken broth. (You can use vegetable broth if you’re vegetarian, but I think chicken broth adds far more flavor.

I put about 1/4 cup of olive oil and about 3 tbsp butter into the bottom of a very large soup stock pot, then in goes the onions, turnip, carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli and everything else, stirring as I go so everything mixes together.
After about 15 minutes of this, add the broth, stirring and it should cover the vegetables with an extra level of about 1 to 2 inches, so the soup isn’t too thick.

Let the soup bubble away, stirring it every 20 mins, for about 45 mins at least, until all the vegetables are soft. Taste the juice and season with salt and pepper, but not too much as this is something you can do after you have pureed it.
When it’s cooked, take it off the heat and leave aside for about 1 hour until it’s not so hot. Puree the soup in a blender and at this stage you can add a little cream for a more velvety texture, some soft goat cheese for a really lovely flavor and even some grated mature cheddar or Parmesan cheese, returning it back to a large saucepan after it’s pureed.
Put back on the heat, taste and season until it tastes perfect.

Just remember, play with it, even adding some chopped pancetta or bacon when you fry the vegetables and know that this huge pot of flavorful goodness will feed you for quite a long time and cost nothing more!

The "haul" for the rest of the week

The “haul” for the rest of the week

* Some other great vegetables to use are;
spinach
potatoes
sweet potatoes
tomatoes
Jerusalem artichokes (the knobbly ones)
celeriac (celery root)
fennel
kale
frozen peas, thawed
Swiss chard

Remember, whatever vegetables you put in the soup, there are certain ones that will naturally thicken the soup, like
asparagus
butternut squash
potatoes
sweet potatoes
parsnips
carrots
Cannellini or other tinned beans
cauliflower

Absurdly addictive asparagus

This recipe is really special as it combines the most wonderful melange of flavors that complement asparagus so beautifully

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Serves 4

4 oz pancetta or prosciutto cut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice
1 tbsp butter, ghee or clarified
1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces on the bias
1 1/4 cups leeks, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts or almonds
1-2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large non-stick pan, sauté the pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden.
Add 1 tbsp of butter to pan. Add the asparagus pieces and leeks and sauté until the asparagus is tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve immediately.

Pickled herring, sour cream, apple and onion salad

This is a really super recipe from a neighbor in London many years ago. We used to adore it, and I only found it again recently.
Make sure you serve it very chilled.

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Serves 4 to 6

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup full fat plain yoghurt
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tart apples, (Granny Smith) cut into thin slices
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill weed
2 x 8 oz jars pickled herring, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces

Combine the sour cream, yoghurt, lemon juice, sugar, sliced onions that have been separated into rings, apple and dill.
Alternate the herring and sour cream mixture in layers in a dish.
Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours at least.
Serve very chilled.

Asian-influenced chicken and coconut “paella”

This is Tyler Florence’s Asian version of a Spanish paella which is gorgeous. The chicken thighs are lightly crusted with crushed coriander seeds then sauteed and tucked into basmati rice that has been simmered in sweet coconut milk and ginger. Need I say any more?

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Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup coriander seeds
8 chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups basmati rice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Pea Salad
1 cup frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
A small handful of fresh mint leaves
1 bunch watercress
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Mint leaves for garnish
Lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Coarsely crack the coriander by either pulsing in a spice grinder, wrapping the seeds in a tea towel and crushing them with a rolling pin or grinding them in a pepper grinder on a coarse setting.
Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper and sprinkle all over with the cracked coriander.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep ovenproof skillet. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down and give them a good sear for 4 to 5 mins to develop a nice crust.
Turn and cook for 4 to 5 mins on the other side to brown the meat. Take the chicken out of the pan.

Put another 2 tbsp of olive oil in the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, ginger and bay leaf, and cook, stirring for 4 to 5 mins, until the onion is soft but not colored.
Now you’ve got all this great flavor going on in the bottom of the pan; chicken drippings, onion, ginger and bay leaf. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two until the grains are well coated with oil. Stir in the lemon zest. Now add the broth and coconut milk and bring that to a simmer.
Tuck in the chicken thighs, put the whole thing in the oven, and bake, uncovered, until the rice is tender and bound by a creamy sauce and the chicken is entirely cooked through,about 30 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf.

When the chicken is done, put the peas, mint and watercress into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and give it a good toss. Taste for seasoning. To serve take a big spoon and scoop out some chicken and rice and garnish each plate with the pea salad