Tasty Thursday

National Soup Month is coming to a close, but here is one last soup for you to enjoy. This week's recipe is from Goat Cheese by Maggie Foard. Mmmmmm!

Red Lentil Soup with Peppery Feta Shortbread
4–6 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
1–2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
4 good-size carrots, diced
2 cups petite crimson lentils or any small red lentils, rinsed
6 cups chicken stock (low-sodium or homemade)
Pepper Feta Shortbread (see below)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Peppery Feta Shortbread
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
3 tablespoons butter
3 ounces goat feta
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground rainbow peppercorns

Warm a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the onion. Once the onion is soft, add the sage, carrots, lentils, and stock. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 45 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper at the table, if needed. The bacon and shortbread may be salty enough, so taste before adding more.

To make the shortbread, place the flour, cornmeal, butter, and feta in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the oil and pulse just until the dough begins to hold together. Shape the dough into a little log, like you would for roll cookies. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the shortbread and arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Grind some pepper over top and bake for 8–10 minutes, or until just beginning to color around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature alongside the warm soup.

Makes 6 servings


Tasty Thursday

Another fabulous soup recipe! With it being so cold outside, could you really pass up this hearty chowder from one of our favorite (out of print) cookbooks, Harry's Roadhouse Cookbook? I think not . . .

Chile Corn Chowder
3 tomatoes
1 onion, diced
4 poblano chiles, 2 diced and 2 reserved
6 tablespoons butter
5 cups frozen corn, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 quart milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grated Asadero or Monterey Jack cheese

In a dry cast-iron pan, roast tomatoes until charred on the outside and soft inside.

In a soup pot, sauté onion and 2 diced chiles in butter over low heat. Add tomatoes, 3 cups corn, salt, pepper, and milk. Bring to the scalding point (when bubbles form around the edge of the pot and the milk starts to foam). Do no boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Puree in a blender. Return to heat and add remaining corn. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt and pepper.

Roast the remaining 2 chiles. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into thin strips. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chile strips and cheese.

Makes 4 servings


"The Brazilian Table" on PBS

Yara Castro Roberts, author of The Brazilian Table, is featured on the PBS series Adventures with Ruth. Here are a couple of quick previews of the food of the program hosted by the former editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine. Check your local PBS listings to watch this episode.


Tasty Thursday

Continuing with the National Soup Month theme, we'd like to highlight another fantastic soup recipe from the beautiful cookbook Vintage Restaurant. Author Jeff Keys really knows what makes stomachs happy, and eating this tasty soup will do just that.

Szechwan Carrot Soup
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 fennel root bulb, washed and diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
20 ounces carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons peeled and thinly sliced fresh gingerroot
1-1/2 tablespoons light vegetable oil
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspoon Sriracha (Asian chile sauce that is found at most supermarkets)
1 cup Thai coconut milk (also in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
2 tablespoons Vintage Basic Asian Marinade (see below)
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup cream

Basic Asian Marinade*
2 cups soy sauce (find one that is not too salty)
12 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon course ground black pepper
2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
10 cloves garlic, mashed and diced
3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger

To make the soup, saute the first five ingredients with the oil in a soup pot for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock, chile flakes, and Sriracha. Cook on a low boil for about 35 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add coconut milk and cook for 5 minutes more. Add remaining ingredients and remove from heat. Le the soup cool a little. Puree the soup in small batches in your blender. At this point you can either reheat the soup and serve, or let it cool completely and store to serve later. It stores well for a few days in the refrigerator. Just reheat and serve. You may also garnish with pickled ginger and freshly snipped basil or sliced green onions.

To make the marinade, mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Makes 8 servings

*Use leftover marinade for your favorite meat. Take note that it is very strong and will absorb quickly into the meat. Marinate chicken or pork for only 5 minutes, leg of lamb for 15 minutes, and fish, or any other meat that you just want to flavor, put in and take out. Stores in the refrigerator for 10 days.


Tasty Thursday

January is National Soup Month, so what better way to warm up from the frigid temps than with a hot bowl of soup with this great recipe from 100 Soups for $5 or Less.

Chicken Alfredo Soup
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
9 cups water, divided
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 clove garlic, pressed
Dash of black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup broken fettuccine noodles (1-inch pieces)
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Rinse chicken; combine with 6 cups water in a 3-quart saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Skim off foam with a metal spoon. Cover, with lid slightly vented, and cook 20 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from pan and cube. Discard cooking water, rinse pan, and pour 3 cups fresh water into the pan over medium-high heat. Add cooked chicken, bouillon, garlic, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour milk into a tall glass, add flour, and stir rapidly with a fork until smooth. Pour milk into soup and bring to a light boil. Add cheese slowly while continuously stirring. Drop heat to low and stir in noodles. Cover, with lid slightly vented, stirring every 2-3 minutes to keep noodles from sticking, and cook for 10 minutes. Garnish with dried parsley.

Serves 4