2016 is off to a very chilly start in southern Germany – the perfect excuse to snuggle up in front of the fireplace, to wear cozy slippers all weekend long AND to dig deep in my recipe box for new and delicious soups and stews. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for traditional Hungarian gulyás since the beginning of the month, when my husband and I shared fond memories of a brilliant culinary holiday in Budapest for New Year’s Day 2012. The experience had been a first for both of us – his first goulash ever, and my first that wasn’t made with the loving hands of my adorable Polish grandmother. My husband polished off three bowls in one sitting on our first night in Pest, then continued to enjoy it everywhere we went in Hungary’s capital for the rest of our holiday. I hadn’t made it since, but this past weekend – snowy and well below freezing – seemed like the perfect opportunity to walk down a delectable memory lane.
Gulyás (goulash) – a soup or stew made of meat or vegetables, seasoned with paprika and a variety of other spices – is the type of recipe that exists on a very wide taste spectrum. In other words, I’ve never run across a goulash that contains the exact same ingredients in the exact same quantity as another. While sweet, high quality Hungarian paprika is essential, and other additions – onion, garlic, caraway seeds, and bell peppers – are fairly standard, the contents can otherwise be tailored to an individual palate. I tossed in some of my husband’s favorites – tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, beef cheeks and red bell peppers – but encourage you to use the flavors and textures you enjoy. Serve with csipetke (small, pinched egg noodles, also known as spätzle in Germany) or a thick, crusty loaf of bread on your next chilly winter’s day – you won’t regret it!
2 red bell peppers, seeded and membranes removed, cut into ½-inch chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and membranes removed, cut into ½-inch chunks
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 fresh carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, cut into ½-inch chunks
5 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve (optional)
Melt the lard in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and cook until slightly browned, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the paprika. Add the beef and garlic, return to the heat, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the beef is no longer pink.
Add the bell peppers and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 40 minutes (see note). Add salt to taste.
Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped flat-leaf parsley, if desired. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, csipetke or thick, crusty bread.
Note: If you’re using a tougher cut of beef, cook the beef first, without the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers, for 30-45 minutes, then add the vegetables and cook for another 40 minutes, until the beef is tender.
While most people lament the arrival of cooler temps in the waning days of summer and early days of fall, I couldn’t WAIT to unearth and dust off my collection of soup recipes this week. After three wonderful – but very hot – years in southern California, Germany’s crisp mornings, drippy afternoons, and windy evenings are utter perfection in my book. Soup weather, how I’ve missed thee!
I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for Zuppa Toscana F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Oh my goodness – it did not disappoint! This is quite simply one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten. The combination of spicy Italian sausage, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes and slightly crisp kale is heavenly. And the broth – oh, the broth! Perfection! My husband and I intended to eat this as leftovers over the course of a few days, but alas, it did not see a second day. Yep, we ate all 12 servings. Two people. In one day. We’re still sad it’s gone, and speak of it fondly. It is that good.
1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional), to serve
In a large pot on medium-high heat add the ground sausage and crushed red pepper flakes. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage until it is browned and fully cooked through. Pour the cooked sausage into a large bowl and set aside.
In the same pot add the olive oil, chopped onion, and bacon until the onions become translucent and begin to brown (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Add wine to the pot and stir well to de-glaze. Combine water and Better than Bouillon chicken base, mix well, and add to the pot.
Add potatoes and cook until fork tender, approximately 20 minutes. (Note: You may wish to add more salt, but be careful – the chicken base is very salty. Taste for saltiness after each addition.)
After the potatoes are done, add the cooked sausage back into the soup. Using a large spoon, skim off most of the fat from the sausage that floats onto the surface.
Add the fresh kale and stir in to allow the leaves to soften slightly. Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream. Stir.
Add freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
Garnish each serving with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Temperatures have FINALLY dipped below 50 degrees in Southern California, which can only mean it’s – da da da daaaah – SOUP WEATHER!
What to say about this recipe? It’s caprese. In a soup. And it’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G with a buttery grilled cheese sandwich. Definitely a recipe for the ‘make this again!’ folder – enjoy!
CAPRESE SOUP WITH SOURDOUGH GRILLED CHEESE
Yields: 2 servings
2 1/2 lbs fresh mixed tomatoes
1 large garlic bulb, cut in half width-wise
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 sundried tomatoes in oil
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
50 grams fresh basil leaves + extra to serve
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 (125 gram) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella
4 slices sourdough bread
Cheddar (or other preferred sandwich) cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place the tomatoes and garlic on a large roasting tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until tomatoes have burst and garlic is soft. Remove tray from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin and place in a blender with the roasted tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, sugar, 50 grams of basil, vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blitz until smooth, then run through a sieve (if desired, to remove tomato seeds).
Spread butter on both sides of bread slices. Place one slice on a preheated griddle or grill pan, cover with cheese slices and grill until bread is of desired texture and consistency. Top with second bread slice, flip sandwich, and grill as desired. Repeat with remaining bread slices and cheese.
Transfer soup to serving bowls and top with shredded buffalo mozzarella and remaining basil. Serve heated through with grilled sandwiches.
This recipe for Pumpkin Orange Soup – courtesy of the Autumn 2012 issue of Woman & Home: Feel Good Food – is a new culinary hit in our household. While I had my doubts about the combination of pumpkin, sweet potatoes and orange in a savory vegetable broth, I was pleasantly surprised with the unique seasonal flavor of this soup. It’s easy, it’s vegan, and best of all, it’s PUMPKIN!! Enjoy!
PUMPKIN ORANGE SOUP
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled + chopped
18 ounces fresh pumpkin, peeled, seeded + chopped
14 ounces fresh sweet potatoes, peeled + chopped
Zest and juice of 2 fresh oranges
2 garlic cloves, peeled + sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
850 ml hot vegetable stock
2 ounces pumpkin seeds
Pinch of sea salt
Cream, to serve (optional)
4 sprigs fresh coriander, to garnish (optional)
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion gently for 5 minutes, until softened.
Add the pumpkin, sweet potatoes, orange zest and juice, garlic, ground coriander and stock. Season to taste. Bring to a boil, lower temperature and simmer for 25 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and liquidize the soup with a hand-held blender until smooth.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Add the pumpkin seeds and a pinch of sea salt. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan, until seeds begin to pop and turn brown. Remove to a plate to cool slightly.
Serve the soup in warmed bowls, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, cream, and a sprig of fresh coriander, if desired.
It’s cold and flu season in many parts of the country (including here, despite being 90 flipping degrees outside – in NOVEMBER), so I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes (a Tyler Florence classic!) for Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Preparing a pot of this soup is a great lazy weekend activity that – depending on the amount of time and energy you’d like to commit – can be made considerably easier with the substitution of store-bought chicken stock. I love the ability to control the level of sodium in the stock – not to mention the incredible flavor of the homemade version – so go for it if you can!
HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Yields: 2 quarts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 whole chicken (approximately 3 to 3/12 pounds), giblets discarded
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 yellow onions, quartered
1 head garlic, halved
1/4 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
To make soup:
Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes, or until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
To make chicken stock:
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak.
Add the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water, if necessary, to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.