I'm coming down with some sort of sore throat/cough/fever/wooziness sickness and this evening I no longer had any desire to eat what I had planned for dinner. I didn't have a lot of ingredients to work with but I came up with a delicious and soothing soup.

3 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
about 1/4 tsp. spicy (not sweet!) paprika
about 1 cup sliced ubiquitous brown mushrooms
salt, to taste

Combine the broth and rice in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in the green onions and simmer another 8 minutes or so, then stir in the mushrooms, thyme and paprika. Whisk the flour and milk together in a bowl or large cup. After another 3 minutes or so, pour this mixture into the soup, slowly, while stirring. Bring back to a low boil and continue stirring until it has thickened a bit.
Last night I re-created a soup I'd had at our local beergarden, Alter Wirt. My version was better than theirs because I used better quality sausages and added chopped rucola to kick up the flavor. :) What's exciting about this soup (when there are so many lentil soups in the world) is the tangy flavor of the mustard and vinegar along with the peppery, "green" taste of the rucola against the earthy sausage and lentil background.

Lentil and Sausage Soup


1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 *small* sausages (I use N├╝rnberger Bratwurst), or more, to your preference
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/2 tsp (or a bit more) fennel seed, crushed
13 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup uncooked black lentils (or any kind of lentil you wish)
4 cups water (or veggie or chicken broth)
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1 cup cream
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp (or a bit more) red wine vinegar
1 cup finely sliced fresh rucola (rocket lettuce, arugula)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil until the butter is melted. Add the sausages and brown evenly on all sides. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

Toss the onion, carrot and celery into the pan. Cook over medium-high until the vegetables are getting tender. Crush the fennel seed into the pan, then add the garlic. Stir these delicious bits in and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute more. Add the lentils, water, thyme and a little salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes (depending on the kind and age of your lentils).

While the soup is simmering, cut the sausages into thinnish slices.

When the lentils are tender, add the mustard, vinegar, sausage, cream and rucola. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
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( Saturday, 24 January 2004 12:48)
Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder (adapted from Didi Emmons' Vegetarian Planet, a great cookbook for beginning vegetarians/beginning vegetarian chefs)

2 TBS butter
one or two minced yellow onions (however much you like, really)
LOTS of minced garlic
1/2 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
1-2 tsp spicy Hungarian paprika
2 TBS unbleached white flour
approx. 3 cups milk and 1 cup cream (I'm not sure of the amounts but I'm pretty sure of the proportion)
Kernels from 2 ears corn (save the cobs)
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp salt
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste

In a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, cumin and paprika. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add the flour and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Slowly add the milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring or whisking constantly so the flour doesn't lump. Stir in the cream. Add the sweet potatoes and the corn cobs. Simmer the soup over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Remove the cobs and add the corn kernels. Simmer for about 2-5 minutes more, or until the kernels are as tender as you like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish (if desired) with a bit of cilantro.
.

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