That last big storm that came through snowed us right in on our little mountain ridge.
It usually takes two days and a power outage before we see anyone out here to clear our roads and set things straight. This time, because the county people came out months earlier and cleared huge swaths of trees near all the power lines, we had electricity through the entire storm. I miss the trees, especially my favorite ancient hemlock near our creek that still breaks my heart to see lying where they left it, but I guess we were warm through the storm.
I was able to cook, make snow cream, and watch my kids play in the 7 inches of white stuff that resulted.
And thanks to a really nice neighbor in our cove, the road was plowed on the second day.
Before we had our fresh snow cream, I made a pot of hot and spicy soup to keep us from going into hypothermia. My boys love tomato bisque, so I just jazzed up my basic method by adding sausage and creole spices, after making a good brown roux.
Since tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, I’m going to turn right around and do it again!
3 oz. spicy sausage, removed from its casing
1 T minced garlic
1 c. small dice red onion
1 c. small dice yellow onion
1/2 c. small dice celery
2 T flour. I used gluten free.
1/2 c. white wine
1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
3 c. stock or water
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground mustard powder
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Pink Himalayan salt to taste
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Cilantro for garnish
In a large saucepan over medium to high heat, cook the sausage to render the fat and brown the crumbles.
Add the garlic to sweat. Toss in the onions and cook until translucent.
Stir in the flour to combine with the sausage fat to make a roux. Watch the temperature and adjust to prevent burning the roux as it gently browns. Be careful not to scorch it.
Deglaze the pan with the wine while constantly stirring.
Stir in the stock or water.
Stir while the liquids thicken.
Add the tomato sauce and spices. Season a bit with salt, but save the final seasoning for the end.
Bring to a boil while stirring.
Lower the heat to a simmer.
Cook until the liquid has thickened and reduces.
Add the chopped cilantro and season with salt to taste.
Ladle into serving bowls and garnish.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
Those chilly fall days required something warm and hearty for hungry bellies. This is what I whipped up for lunch on two drizzly days last week. It really is a cheese soup with pumpkin, rather than a pumpkin soup with cheese added. An excellent sneak for the three men in my life who despise hard and summer squashes cooked into savory dishes. In fact, this creamy, cheesy soup has been designated as a mac ‘n’ cheese substitute by my little family. My husband, who loves “the blue box please” brand macaroni and cheese but rarely gets it, had seconds and then sat with his jaw hanging when I told him he had just polished off a two bowls of pumpkin soup.
A splash of cream and a bit of grated Ashford Cheddar from the stash of goodies I purchased the Saturday before from English Farmstead Cheese Store made it extra special.
I give step-by-step instructions in my post 10 Steps to Cooking Fresh Pumpkin for Pie for hard squash roasting to make this soup. Butternut, or even acorn, squash could be substituted for the pumpkin in this recipe.
4 T butter
4 T flour. I used King Arthur Gluten Free so that I could cut down on my white wheat flour usage.
4 c. whole milk
1 c. grated Ashford Cheddar + a little extra for garnish
Pink Himalayan salt to taste
White pepper to taste
Heavy cream for garnish
Make a blonde roux by melting the butter in the bottom of a small stock pot over medium heat.
Whisk in the flour and continue stirring for approximately one minute.
Slowly pour in the milk while whisking vigorously to gradually incorporate it while avoiding the production of lumps.
Stir in the pumpkin when all of the the milk has been whisked in.
Heat while stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue stirring and cooking until it thickens. Around 8 minutes.
Stir in the cheese and continue cooking and whisking until the soup reduces to the desired thickness. I called it done after only another minute or so.
Ladle into serving bowls.
Drizzle with cream and sprinkle with cheese.
And…if I hadn’t been trying to give my family a mac ‘n’ cheese sub. with this soup, I would have treated it the way nature intended and added a sprinkle of nutmeg, maybe even some toasted pecans.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
This dish didn’t start life as a pot of soup. Well it did, but its parents were chicken stock and fresh marinara. They fell in love, married, and now I’m in love with my Chicken Pizzaiola Soup.
I combined fresh tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, and extra virgin olive oil with precooked chicken and carrots that were left from my weekly stock making. I added a little of the stock and simmered everything to make a warm, late cold season pot of soup. The only things that would have made it better were if the veggies had come from my garden and I’d made garlic rolls to go with it. Either way, I think we will be celebrating this marriage till death do us part. My family loved it, and I’m wanting to get a second pot going. It’s another chilly day in the mountains.
8 Roma tomatoes, small dice
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 T extra virgin olive oil
4 c. sliced button mushrooms
6 carrots, cooked and mashed
3 c. cooked chicken, pulled into pieces
6 c. water
2 c. chicken stock
Himalayan pink salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T dried basil
In the bottom of a small stock pot, saute the garlic in the oil until translucent. Add the tomatoes. Cook until softened, then mash with a potato masher.
Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, stirring frequently.
To the pot, add all the remaining ingredients.
Simmer around 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.