Category Archives: Soups

Turkey (or Chicken) and Gluten-Free Parsley Dumplings

It’s been years since I’ve made chicken and dumplings. Early on in our relationship, my husband did more gourmet cooking than I did. Somewhere along the way, the tables turned, but he has always made his famous Turkey Gumbo. Usually, I’d save the excess broth, full of cayenne and turkey goodness, and use it to make spicy chicken and dumplings. Of course, at the time, my dumplings were biscuits from a can. But still, the dish was a once-a-year specialty, and we adored it.

This time around, I opted to make turkey and dumplings. There was no gumbo (that might happen before the year is out if I ask nicely, though), but I had leftover turkey thighs and wings in the freezer that I didn’t use for gravy at Thanksgiving. I opted instead to use them for the meat for this dish, and some chicken broth I’d made a while back. So instead of turkey broth and chicken, this is chicken broth and turkey. You with me?

Honestly, you could just as easily use a while chicken, cut up, in place of the turkey I used. It would be just as delicious, and I’m imagining it’s easier to locate a chicken than turkey thighs and wings. But whatever you use, be sure and make dumplings. Because in my opinion, it’s all about the dumplings.

Good dumplings are fluffy, pillow-y clouds of deliciousness that sop up the broth from the soup. Bad dumplings, on the other hand, are none of these things. I’ve had bad dumplings. Not the canned biscuit ones – to be perfectly honest, those were not half-bad. I’ve had bad ones at restaurants. I’ve had failures in my own kitchen when attempting to make them from scratch as well. Thankfully, these are definitely not of the “bad” variety.

These dumplings are pillow-y. Full of flavor. The parsley mixed into the dough really makes them special. While the turkey (or chicken) soup is delicious on its own, these dumplings take it to the next level. And when it’s cold and icy (like it was this past weekend here in North Texas), they warm your belly like nothing else can. They’re perfect for a day when you and the family have been outside in the cold, or just need a bit of comfort. It’s a bowl full of happy.

Turkey (or Chicken) and Parsley Dumplings (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 large turkey thigh and 2 turkey wings (or 1 3-lb chicken, cut up)

Salt and pepper

3 T olive oil

1/2 c diced onion

1/2 c diced celery

1/2 c diced carrot

1 garlic clove, minced

1 t minced fresh sage leaves

1 t minced fresh thyme leaves

4 c chicken broth

1/2 c coconut milk

Dumplings:

1/2 c superfine brown rice flour

1/2 c sweet white rice flour

1/2 c tapioca starch

1/2 c cornmeal

1 T unflavored gelatin

1 heaping tablespoon baking powder

1 t kosher salt

1 c coconut milk

1/2 c water

2 T minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper as needed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season turkey or chicken with salt and pepper. Roast in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet for 30-45 minutes or until cooked through. Remove and allow to cool to touch.

While the poultry is cooking, in a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrot and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, sage and thyme and sauté for another minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer.

Next, make the dough for the dumplings. Whisk together the flours, cornmeal, gelatin, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the coconut milk and water and mix in. Add the parsley and stir in as well. Set aside.

Once the poultry has cooled, remove the skin and the meat from bones, and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces and place into the simmering broth. Add the coconut milk. Stir in and taste to adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Drop rounded tablespoons of the dumpling dough into the simmering soup. Cover pot, leaving lid propped a bit open, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid; allow to simmer for 10 minutes more.

Serves 4.

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

Beet and Parsnip Soup with Cashew Cream

Sometimes, the universe has a way of allowing the stars to align. Like when you walk into a store to realize that your favorite sweater you’ve been longing for is on sale 50% off. Or as you’re leaving late in the morning on your daily commute to the office, but for once, the traffic is going smoothly, and you make it on time to your oh-so-important meeting with the boss. Or when, almost as a sudden image, a mere flash of clarity in your mind, the idea for this soup appears in your head, and the next thing you know, you realize you have all of the ingredients available to make it. Beets, beef stock, parsnips, and just enough cashews to make a delicious cream for garnish.

And when you make it, first allowing the beets and parsnips to roast, putting off the sweet scent of caramelizing sugars throughout the house, then simmering until everything is tender and merry, and finally, tasting a spoonful, you know. It’s as if it was meant to be.

Okay, maybe that’s a little too poetic for a soup from humble beets and parsnips, two of the ugliest winter vegetables of the world, but just look at it. With a little love and a quick puree, homely root vegetables become silky and vibrant. That color alone is enough to chase any winter blues away. Perhaps it’s a bit soon to be thinking of Valentine’s Day meal ideas, but this could be a perfect simple dish to share with a fellow beet-lover. (Or possibly even convert a former beet-hater?)

This soup is easily adaptable. I think that’s the general nature and beauty of most soups – that you can add, change, and omit ingredients to your liking. Want to make this vegan? Just substitute the lard and beef broth for olive oil and vegetable broth – it will be just as lovely. I also think it would be delicious with even more parsnips, but it’s entirely up to you. Whatever you do, be sure to give this a try. It won’t disappoint.

Print Recipe

Beet and Parsnip Soup (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan-adaptable)

1 lb beets, peeled and cut into chunks

3-4 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks

3 T melted lard (made from pastured pork fat – here’s a tutorial on how to render lard) or olive oil, separated

1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped

2 pieces green garlic, chopped (or 4 garlic cloves)

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

8 allspice berries

1/2 t fennel seeds

2 c beef stock (homemade is best - here’s a tutorial on how to make beef stock), or vegetable stock for vegan

1-2 c vegetable stock (again, homemade is best)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley and Cashew Cream (below), for garnish

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the beets and parsnips with 2 tablespoons of the lard and season with a bit of salt. Roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of lard in a stockpot over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring, until softened. Tie the thyme, bay leaves, allspice berries, and fennel in a piece of muslin to make a bag. Toss the bag along with the beef and vegetable stock into the stockpot. Allow to simmer on low heat until the beets and parsnips are ready, and then add the beets and parsnips to the soup. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the muslin bag from the pot, and then remove from heat for a minute or two. Pour the soup into a blender (or use a stick/handheld blender) and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve, garnished with parsley and cashew cream.

Serves 4-6.

Cashew Cream (gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)

1 c raw cashews, soaked in water for a few hours

1/3-1/2 c filtered water

juice of 1 large lemon

About 1/2 t of salt (to taste)

Drain the soaked cashews and place in a high-powered blender along with 1/4 cup of the water, the lemon juice, and the salt. Blend on a medium-low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides, until smooth. Add additional water as needed to thin the cream just enough so that it can be drizzled over the soup. Store remainder, refrigerated, for 3-4 days.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Stew (with optional added ham!)

This soup is a bit random. Chicken, a lot of different vegetables, and even some ham all found their way into my soup pot this past weekend. But often times, isn’t that the beauty of soup? You might have a kitchen full of various bits and bites, leftovers, and odds and ends, and with the right combination and a little simmering time, you have a rustic, comforting meal. It’s not culinary extravagance, but it’s good, particularly when a cold wind is blowing outside.

This particular soup started because I wanted to find something to make using the ham bone from Christmas that I’d thrown in the freezer. I didn’t want a bean soup (although leftover ham bones make beans taste delicious), nor did I want a potato or greens soup. Instead, I opted to go rogue, and create a random soup using a chicken that was also in my freezer, dried shiitake mushrooms, and whatever veggies were knocking about in the fridge. I wanted it to be creamy and comforting, but I didn’t want it to be heavy.

What resulted as a humble soup relying mostly on long-simmered, pureed vegetables as the “cream”, plus more veggies for texture and interest. Not to mention tasty bites of chicken and a lovely ham flavor accenting throughout. It wasn’t beautiful, and it wasn’t fancy, but it warmed my belly and satisfied my soul. (It didn’t hurt that it was a bit nutritious too.)

 

Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Stew

1 ham bone with a bit of ham left on it

1 whole chicken

1/2 yellow onion, peeled but left in one piece, studded with 6 cloves

2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into a few pieces (don’t bother to peel)

1 stalk celery, cut into a few large pieces

1 bay leaf, 1/2 t coriander seeds, and 1/2 t peppercorns, tied into a bag with a small piece of cheesecloth

1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms

2 c vegetable broth

1 lemon, sliced

2 T olive oil

2 T arrowroot starch

1 c non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk)

2-3 c water

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 zucchini, chopped

3 c chopped kale

1/4 t cayenne pepper

salt and pepper tp taste

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c chopped flat-leaf parsley

 

Place ham bone, chicken, onion, carrot, celery, bag of spices, mushrooms, and vegetable broth in a slow cooker. Lay lemon slices on top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Strain broth from meat and vegetables. Skim fat from broth, and place broth and the carrot, celery, and mushrooms (as many as you can pick out, don’t get too worried about getting every last one of them) in a blender and puree. Set aside. Pick meat from bones and tear into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, add olive oil. Heat to medium heat and whisk in arrowroot starch. Add non-dairy milk and whisk in. Bring to a slow boil, whisking frequently, until thick. Add broth mixture from blender, water, and carrots. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add meat, zucchini, kale, and cayenne. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water if needed. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and parsley.

Serves 6.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Daring Cooks: Cooking With Tea! (Gluten-Free Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes)

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

This was an innovative challenge, as most of us have never cooked with tea. Sarah suggested several recipes, including Chinese tea eggs (which I’ve made before – they’re pretty and quite tasty!), and this beef braise that uses rooibos tea. I really enjoy rooibos tea (I’m kind of a tea nut – I probably have 15 different varieties between the house and my desk at work), and thought that this would be a unique way to try it. It was also easily converted to gluten-free, which is an added bonus.

This was a different stew than what I usually prepare – the flavors of ginger, garlic, and the rooibos are warming. It smelled heavenly. However, if I was to make it again, I’d make some changes. I used beef stew meat, and it was too lean and became somewhat dry. I’d rather use brisket or another meat with more fat. Also, it was too sweet for our tastes. The recipe originally called for 3/4 cup of honey – I reduced it to 2 tablespoons – and it still was too sweet. I think omitting the honey entirely, and instead adding some other “sweet” spices, such as star anise, would be perfect.

All in all, I did really enjoy using rooibos in a braise such as this, as it added a lovely complex boost to the flavors. This was a wonderful challenge!

Gluten-Free Beef Braised in Rooibos Tea with Sweet Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat (next time I’ll use brisket, cut into bite-sized pieces)

salt and pepper

2 T arrowroot starch

1 T coconut oil

2 onions, sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 T tomato paste

5 rooibos tea bags

1 quart just-boiled water

5 T red wine vinegar

4 strips unwaxed orange peel

2 cinnamon sticks

2 inches fresh ginger, minced

4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 T honey (next time, leave out)

cilantro leaves, to garnish

Season the beef and coat in the arrowroot starch. Heat the oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven, and brown the beef on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add the onions and celery and saute for a minute. Cover with a lid and let soften for 10 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and saute for another minute.

Meanwhile, add the tea bags to the just-boiled water and allow to steep for 4-5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour into the stock pot. Return the beef to the pot, and add the red wine vinegar, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and ginger. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours or until beef is tender.

Add the sweet potatoes and honey and allow to simmer for 20-30 additional minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with cilantro.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Life As A Plate (Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, Crockpot Chili)

grain-free primal bread

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is one of my favorite blog events. I’ve said it time and time again, but I love the opportunity to really get to know another blogger – test their recipes, read a lot of their posts, and the best part – taste their food. This month, Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger is being hosted by Sea over at Book of Yum. (She’s also the creator of this great event.) I was excited to adopt one of my new favorite bloggers – AndreAnna at Life As A Plate.

AndreAnna is inspirational to me. She struggled with weight issues (her story is here), but finally has found a new life through eating primally (via the Primal Blueprint – check it out over at Mark’s Daily Apple) and through Crossfit. She’s completed a Warrior Dash. Her blogs are definitely entertaining - one minute, you’re laughing at her wit, and the next, she will bring you close to tears as she shares deep, emotional, inspirational streams of thought. She cooks amazing meals that make me drool. In short, she is a badass. (I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever used that term on this blog, but it’s by far the best descriptor I have for her.)

So what does little Tasty Eats At Home do when adopting AndreAnna? Try to keep up! I love primal/paleo eating. I have dabbled in and out of this for a while, finding that I feel better with fewer grains, fewer starches, and much less sugar (even natural sugars). So I knew her recipes would jive with my body. But what to make? Surprisingly, I made foods that aren’t normally associated with this time of year – rosemary olive oil bread and crockpot chili. Why? Well, the bread was just calling my name – and I had rosemary in the garden – and the crockpot chili didn’t involve any heating of my kitchen at the way-too-hot-to-think hour of 6pm. (I avoided that issue with the bread by baking it early in the day on Saturday.) Both were amazing.

The bread was soft. Pliable. Moist. Brittany enjoyed it at dinner (in fact, she had 4 slices!) with butter. I enjoyed it unadorned, restraining myself from matching Brittany slice-for-slice. I omitted the parmesan cheese, but threw in 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes for a punch of flavor.

The chili was just as satisfying. In spite of the heat, I had a generous bowl (plus a tiny bit of a second helping) for dinner, and then portioned myself out some more for lunch the following day. It was even better the second day, and was a hearty meal I looked forward to eating. I didn’t put the ingredients in the crockpot in stages, as I wasn’t home to do so, but dumping everything in together and leaving it to simmer for hours worked just fine. I enjoyed it with onions and cilantro. Yum.

There are many, many more delicious recipes I could devour from AndreAnna’s blog. Collard greens? Yes, ma’am! And she and I must think alike, because she posted a kohlrabi slaw recipe too (looks SO good). And just in case you think there isn’t room for dessert on a primal diet, AndreAnna has desserts covered too.

After reading her latest post, I am further inspired. AndreAnna has the drive to push herself hard, encourage others to do so, but also has an incredible amount of grace. I think that I’ll also sign up for Warrior Dash next year- even if I finish last, I know I’ll finish. Thanks AndreAnna!

Daring Cooks: Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Our May hostess for The Daring Cooks’ challenge, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

I’m no stranger to gumbo. Every year, my husband makes Emeril’s gumbo turkey ya-ya around Thanksgiving, and if we’re lucky, another pot at New Years’ Eve. It’s delicious. It’s also one of the few gumbos out there that doesn’t have okra and file powder in it, so it’s more to my husband’s tastes. The entire family looks forward to that gumbo.

When I went gluten-free, I asked him to make the gumbo gluten-free so I could enjoy it. This took some trials to get right. You see, the base of any good gumbo is the roux – that mix of cooked flour and oil that browns and adds so much flavor to the gumbo while thickening it. You can find just about any gluten-free flour can thicken a soup, if you put proper amounts in it, but finding a flour that browns similarly to wheat flour is a bit tricky. Regular rice flour failed – it was gritty, never soaking up the oil, and ultimately burning. Eventually, though, we got it right. When I saw that this month’s challenge was gumbo, I realized I was overdue in sharing this gluten-free gumbo version with you.

Since it’s May and not November, turkeys are scarce in the grocery stores. So in this instance, I substituted a similar amount of whole chickens. I have no real preference for one over the other – both were delicious. But what really made this gumbo, in my opinion, was the delicious cajun smoked sausage I found from a local rancher, Rehoboth Ranch. (In fact, I sourced the chickens from them too!) That, plus some andouille from Applegate Farms, really added a ton of high-quality flavor (not just salt, like the way cheaper sausages tend to taste). Also, in the past, the white meat from the poultry had a tendency to dry out, as it spent too long cooking. To compensate for this, I removed the chicken breasts, and only poached them for about 20 minutes when making the stock. This way, they were cooked through, but not overcooked. A bit fussy? Perhaps. But gumbo is a longer, more intricate dish anyway. Why not take one extra step to improve the flavor? This is optional, of course. If you decide to make this, you can totally leave the birds intact.

The result? It was a hit – again. We had a few family members over, and there wasn’t much left over. (Gumbo leftovers are divine when you take them for lunch – just saying.) Just the right amount of heat, deeply savory, and full of complex flavors from a long simmer and of course, that roux. Gumbo is a comfort food for sure; at least, in my book it is.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

3 small chickens (about 9-10 lbs total) – you can opt to cut them into quarters and remove the breast meat

10 cups water

2 medium-size yellow onions

2 ribs celery, cut into a few pieces

2 bay leaves

1 T salt

1 1/2 t cayenne powder

1 c vegetable oil

3/4 c sorghum flour

3/4 c sweet white rice flour (sweet white rice flour is much finer than regular flour, so no gritty texture)

2 c chopped yellow onions

1 c chopped bell pepper

1 c chopped celery

12 oz andouille sausage, cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 lb smoked sausage, cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced thinly

2 T chopped green onions

2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

Steamed white rice for serving

Put the chicken (reserve the chicken breasts), water, quartered onions, celery pieces, bay leaves 1 tablespoon of the salt, and the cayenne in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until the chicken is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the breasts and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Remove thechicken, strain and reserve the broth.

In a large, heavy pot or a Dutch oven, over medium heat, combine the oil and flours. Stirring slowly and constantly, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, chopped celery, and sausages. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the reserved broth and stir until the roux mixture and broth are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken and pick the meat off the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Coarsely chop the chicken meat. Add the chicken. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Skim off the fat that has risen to the surface with a spoon. Stir in the green onions and parsley and serve the gumbo in individual soup or gumbo bowls.

Serves 10-12.

Menudo Rojo

This is the kind of dish that evokes strong opinions, at least where I live. There are devoted lovers of menudo, and there are avid haters. (Obviously, I’m of the former group, or I wouldn’t be posting a recipe.) Rarely do I meet someone who is on the fence. When faced with a steaming, spicy, filling, healing stew (some say it’s a hangover cure), with a mountain of tortillas to enjoy alongside, why would anyone despise this dish? Most of the time, it has to do with tripe. Tripe is scary, gross, or otherwise unthinkable to some. It’s not a “normal” cut of meat in my part of the world, so it’s frowned upon and shunned in favor of the fancier cuts. My opinion? That we should cozy up to tripe – give tripe a chance!

What is tripe? Tripe is made from the first three chambers of an animal’s stomach (usually beef). The type most commonly found in Latin markets and most commonly used in menudo is honeycomb tripe, which comes from the third chamber. You will most likely find it already thoroughly cleaned, so it will look white, have a honeycomb texture, and should have very little odor to it, if any at all. (Sometimes you might find a grayish version – this type needs to be rinsed well and boiled for a while to remove any grittiness.) The advantages to tripe? If you’re into nose-to-tail eating, tripe will definitely need to be considered. (I’m in favor of sustainable eating. Shouldn’t be throwing away perfectly good parts just because they’re not steaks or roasts. Sometimes, the offal is the true delicacy.) It’s a good, inexpensive source of animal protein – it sells for a fraction of the price of other cuts of beef. Most of the time, all that cleaning is done for you at the butcher, so it is not extremely difficult to prepare. It also adds a lovely textural contrast to soups – simmered long enough, it becomes slightly chewy, but also giving and soft. It is not strongly flavored, and is more apt to take on the flavors added in a recipe than imparting its own. It is a key component in menudo, one of the more popular Mexican soups available.

Menudo is traditionally enjoyed for breakfast, often on New Years’ Day, but can be enjoyed on just about any weekend morning. Imagine a large bowl, filled with chili-spiced pork broth, bits of pork and tripe, hominy, laced with lime juice, and garnished with onion, cilantro, and fresh chiles. You pick up a fresh corn tortilla, roll it up, and dip a bit in the soup, and enjoy. Spoonful after spoonful opens your weary eyes with a spicy kick, and your whole body warms and is awakened. If you’re like me, that heat, complimented by the fresh lime and cilantro, is an addictive, delicious combination.  It’s an amazing thing when salty, fiery, meaty, and piquant flavors combine – it’s almost an explosion that knocks you back, but keeps you coming back for more. You might decide that this should become a regular meal in your rotation, especially in chilly months. (Of course, I could enjoy menudo any time of year!) For me, this is a comfort food – the warmth that the soup gives my body brings a sense of calm and happiness. Why that is, I’m not sure. I just know this is good stuff.

If you’ve been shy about tripe before, give it a try in menudo. Cut it into small, manageable bits, so that you can enjoy bite-sized morsels without feeling overwhelmed. You might find that you enjoy this new nose-to-tail eating thing, and feel better for it. Menudo will cure what ails you!

Menudo Rojo, adapted from Diana Kennedy’s The Art of Mexican Cooking

1 ½ lbs honeycomb tripe, rinsed well and cut into 1-inch squares

2 pigs feet (trotters), halved

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled

8 peppercorns

2 t kosher salt, or to taste

2 t Mexican oregano

4 quarts water

4 dried ancho chiles

3 dried guajillo chiles

1 large Hatch chile (or Anaheim or poblano), roasted, peeled, and chopped (can substitute canned green chiles)

1 15-oz can white hominy, drained

1 t ground cumin

To serve:

Dried oregano

Limes

Chopped onions

Chopped cilantro

Corn tortillas

Place the tripe, pigs feet, onion, garlic, peppercorns, salt, oregano, and water in a large stockpot or soup pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the tripe and foot are tender but not too soft.

Meanwhile, remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and toast on a dry skillet for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Pour enough water to cover, and allow to simmer at a low heat, soaking the chiles.

Remove the pigs feet from the pot and set aside. When cool enough to touch, remove the fleshy parts and either tear into small pieces or chop, and return to pot. Add the hominy and Hatch chile to the pot.

Remove the soaking chiles from the water and place in a blender along with the cumin. Ladle about a cup of the simmering broth from the pot into the blender, and puree until very smooth. (Add additional broth if necessary) Pour chile puree into the simmering pot and stir in. Allow to cook for about 2 hours (or more) a low simmer. Season with additional salt as necessary.

Serve in large bowls, with oregano, limes, onions, cilantro, and tortillas at the table for each guest to customize their own bowl.

Serves 8.

Soupe de Tomates a la Nicoise (Nicoise-Style Tomato Soup)

Months ago, Alain Braux, a chef and nutritherapist from nearby Austin, Texas, shared his newest book with me – Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food.

Alain asked me to review his book, and so I did. It was a lengthier read than a lot of “cookbooks”, so it took me a bit of time. However, Alain is thorough. He explains the aspects of celiac disease, what it is, how to manage it, and gives a lot of details on how to travel, live healthfully, and some of the topics many books don’t cover – how to cope. Many just starting out with a gluten-free or dairy-free diet feel they have few choices – either feel deprived, or live with inferior store-bought “substitute” products. Alain explains that there is a third option, and he offers up some delicious French recipes to get you started. French recipes? (Aren’t most French recipes comprised of bread and cheese – and wine? How is this accomplished on a gluten and dairy-free diet?) Alain shows that even gluten and dairy-free French dishes can be delectable.

I tried several recipes, but by far, my favorite was one of the easier ones – his tomato soup. It tasted so fresh, bright, and satisfying. I enjoyed it with a slice of Ginger Lemon Girl’s vegan crusty bread for an easy vegan meal. On a chilly evening, it can’t get any better than that.

Soupe de Tomates a la Nicoise (Nicoise-Style Tomato Soup), from Alain Braux’s Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food

2 T olive oil

2 medium white onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 t sea salt

3 lbs ripe tomatoes (since it’s still winter, I opted for high-quality canned whole tomatoes)

2 t sugar

5-6 basil leaves

2 t dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 clove

1 t ground black pepper

1 qt vegetable broth

5-6 parsley sprigs

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 T olive oil

1 c rice or tapioca, optional (since I had bread, I omitted this)

In a large soup pot, saute the onions, garlic, and salt in the olive oil until golden. Clean and quarter your tomatoes. Add to the onion mix. Add sugar, basil, thyme, bay leaf, clove, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook at medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender.

Process the whole soup in a food processor with a metal blade until coarse, but not pureed. Put back into the pot and add the vegetable broth to your liking, making the soup as thick or as thin as you’d like. Bring to a boil.

At this point, you can enjoy the soup as is. Great hot or cold. Or you could add the thickener of your choice – rice, tapioca, or even some mashed potatoes.

Just before serving, mix the finely chopped parsley and garlic with the olive oil. Stir into the soup and serve.

Daring Cooks: Vegan Cassoulet

 Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

I have always wanted to make cassoulet. It’s rich, comforting, and perfect for a wintry day. However, lately I’ve been focusing on lighter fare. (In addition, I looked at the challenge for the first time this week, and didn’t think I could spend the time needed, or get the duck legs I wanted, in time.) So while I will definitely make the traditional cassoulet one day soon, this month, I opted for a lighter, quicker version of the dish. I opted to go for a vegan cassoulet, and confit some garlic cloves.

The cassoulet came together relatively quickly. (I did opt to cook my own beans from dried, rather than canned. I used Stephanie’s slow cooker instructions, so the beans were ready when I came home from work. I think they taste better than canned, and they tend to be more digestible. An added bonus – they’re much lower in sodium.) This is one relaxing dish to make. As the aromatic vegetables cooked, the aroma was so comforting – a myriad of leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic wafted through the air. The act of slowly stirring beans in a pot soothes me – it’s not stressful, high-speed cooking. This is love in a pot.

My favorite part about the dish though had to be the breadcrumbs. I will have to confess – the gluten-free bread I used was not vegan. I had frozen Udi’s to use up – so I made breadcrumbs from that bread. (Udi’s uses eggs) However, you could use Carrie’s lovely vegan gluten-free bread and make it completely vegan. These breadcrumbs were so deliciously crisp, with the inticing bite of the garlic and freshness from the parsley. I snuck spoonfuls while in the kitchen. These breadcrumbs balanced the creamy beans perfectly.

All in all, I didn’t miss the rich components of a traditional cassoulet (or what I’d imagine it would be, I have never actually eaten it). This was so satisfying (and healthier). I’m looking forward to the leftovers!

Vegetarian/Vegan Cassoulet
Vegetarian Cassoulet by Gourmet Magazine, March 2008

(Note: we didn’t actually make this recipe, but we’re sure it’s a good one!)

Ingredients:

3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-wide (25 mm) pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-wide (25 mm) pieces
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
4 thyme sprigs
2 parsley sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (1 gm) ground cloves
3 (19-oz/540 gm) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 qt (4 cups/960 ml) water
4 cups (960 ml) (300 gm) coarse fresh bread crumbs from a baguette
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (12 gm) chopped garlic
1/4 cup (60 ml) (80 gm) chopped parsley

Directions:

1. Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch (13 mm) pieces, then wash well (see cooks’ note, below) and pat dry.
2. Cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herb sprigs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon (2½ mm) each of salt and pepper in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in beans, then water, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with rack in middle.
4. Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon (1¼ ml) each of salt and pepper in a bowl until well coated.
5. Spread in a baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once halfway through, until crisp and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
6. Cool crumbs in pan, then return to bowl and stir in parsley.
7. Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf. Mash some of beans in pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth.
8. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle with garlic crumbs.

Kids in the Kitchen: Escargot and Turtle Soup

If you’ve been following along with Kids in the Kitchen for any length of time, I’m sure you can guess who was in the kitchen this time around by the title of the post. Most kids wouldn’t choose escargot and turtle to prepare. Brandan, however, thrives on trying new things. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was how readily the dishes were received by some other members of the family. Brittany actually expressed how excited she was to try escargot. (Matt, not so much, but he did try it, at least.) The turtle soup was also well-received, considering it was so foreign to the kids.

My husband and I are quite familiar with escargot. It’s one of our favorite indulgences, albeit something we rarely have an opportunity to enjoy. (And now, I hesitate to try to enjoy it with non-dairy butter, because I’m afraid it just won’t be the same. If any of my dairy-free friends have tried it and have advice, please share!) The kids, however, never tried it before and were eager. Brandan was surprised (and perhaps disappointed?) when he didn’t get to start with live snails. He was greeted instead by canned escargot and empty, clean snail shells. As for me, I would much rather skip the “nasty” part and would much prefer the easy route!

The turtle meat was difficult to source. I knew I saw it at one of our local Asian groceries at one point in time, but I visited a few days ago, and no luck. So I contacted a local seafood shop (Capt’n Dave’s Seafood Market) and was able to order the meat in time for this weekend. However, it certainly wasn’t cheap. The next “adventure” will certainly have to be a more budget-friendly meal, which, with Brandan’s tastes, will certainly require some negotiation.

The turtle soup required some time and prep work, but the easy and simplicity of the escargot offset that. But it was well worth it – the soup was a bit spicy, full of flavor, and the turtle meat emerged tender and delicious. (FYI, turtle meat is actually quite nice. The texture is similar to pork, in my mind, and the flavor just as mild.) The kids enjoyed it with french bread. But in their minds, the escargot stole the show. Buttery and garlicky, it was fun and delicious. I borrowed Jaden’s recipe at Steamy Kitchen, omitted the cognac, and it was perfect. If you eat dairy, this would be a great classic appetizer to impress.

For the escargot recipe, visit Steamy Kitchen here.

Gluten-Free Turtle Soup, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

2 lbs boneless turtle meat

2 3/4 t salt

3/4 t cayenne

6 c water

1/2 c grapeseed oil

1/2 c sweet white rice flour

1 1/2 c chopped onions

1/4 c chopped bell peppers

1/4 c chopped celery

3 bay leaves

1/2 t dried rubbed sage

2 T minced garlic

1/2 c crushed tomatoes

1/2 c Worcestershire sauce

3 T fresh lemon juice

1/2 c dry sherry

1/4 c fresh chopped parsley

1/2 c chopped green onions

4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

For garnish:

2 T chopped green onions

2 T chopped hard boiled eggs

Put the turtle meat in a large saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 t cayenne, and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Simmer for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a platter, reserving liquid. Chop the meat to 1/2 inch dice. In another large saucepan, heat oil and rice flour over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, for 6 minutes. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute another 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, sage, and garlic, and saute, stirring, another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and turtle meat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the remaining salt and cayenne, the reserved turtle stock, lemon juice, and sherry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add the parsley, green onions, and eggs and simmer for 45 minutes. Garnish with green onions and eggs.

Serves 6-8.

Don’t Forget! There’s still time to enter into the giveaway for Gluten-Free Holiday! Visit here and enter for your chance to win a copy of Kelly and Peter Bronski’s Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking or Jules E Dowler Shephard’s Free For All Cooking!