Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin Soup

It's time to get ready for Thanksgiving and all the fun cooking and culinary traditions that have special food memories for our family.  One frequently requested dish is Pumpkin Soup.  This is spectacular when served in a scooped out pumpkin, using it as your soup tureen.  Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Soup

16 ounces canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
10 cups chicken stock
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg, freshly grated, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Sugar, to taste
2 cups half-and-half

Curry powder (optional)
Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

Sauté the celery and onion in the butter until tender, but not brown.

Simmer the tapioca in 2 cups of the chicken stock until tender, about 8 minutes.  Stir this regularly while cooking.  Set aside.

Method A:  If using an immersion blender:  Place the pumpkin into a 6 quart soup pot.  Add the celery and onion along with a bit of the chicken stock and puree until smooth

Method B:  If using a blender:  Blend the celery and onion with 1 cup of the stock until smooth.  Add this to the pumpkin into a 6 quart soup pot.   

Into the kettle with the pumpkin, celery and onion, add all the remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Be careful that you do not burn this soup.

Add the tapioca, nutmeg, salt, pepper and sugar, all to taste. 

If using curry powder, this is the time to add to the pot. 

When hot and ready to serve, add the half-and-half and correct the seasoning. 

This is spectacular when served in a scooped out pumpkin, using it as your soup tureen. 

NOTE:  if you want to use fresh pumpkin, use 2 ½ pounds fresh pumpkin, cleaned and peeled.  Cut into large pieces and steam until tender, about 45 minutes.  Or, you can bake the pieces until tender.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lamb Cacciatore

Are you ready for a "hit out of the park" dish???  This is it.. so enjoy!  (wish I had a picture, but we ate it too fast!)

Lamb Cacciatore

Kathleen Barnett

Serves 6

This is a classic stew from Italy and a favorite for the fall.  It is a braised dish and the sauce is flavored with anchovies.  Don’t let that put you off as they finish the sauce and your guest will say…”this is great!”.

3 lbs boneless lamb
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Flour for browning
½ cup olive oil
2 large carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, rough chop
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped,  or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 long sprig fresh rosemary, chopped

1 cup beef stock
¼ cup red wine
¼ cup red wine or balsamic vinegar

6 anchovy fillets OR 2 teaspoons anchovy paste

Pre heat oven to 375°

Cut the lamb into 2-inch cubes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Dredge the lamb in flour.  Heat the olive oil in large casserole or dutch oven, and in batches,  brown the lamb on all sides.  As done, transfer into a holding plate. 

Into pan, add carrots, celery and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, sage and rosemary and continue to cook for 1 minute.  Add stock, wine and vinegar to deglaze pan.  Bring to a boil, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan; then add lamb into pan.  Cover and braise in the oven until tender.  Check at 45 minutes and every 15 minutes thereafter, about 1 ½ hours maximum.   

Mash anchovies, or stir in anchovy paste into small about of the sauce.  Return to the casserole, stir well and continue to cook another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and taste for seasoning before serving.