PERFECT SOUPS AND STEWS FOR FALL
Soups can be light and refreshing with the added sweetness of seasonal vegetables and herbs. Paired with breadsticks or crackers, soups can be a full meal.
Stews on the other hand are a full-bodied mixture of large pieces of meat and vegetables melding together in a rich sauce. Mixed with short pastas or wide egg noodles, stews can be savored well into the winter months
CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS
This is comfort food at its very best, especially great for consoling yourself over
the loss of warm summer days.
1-fryer chicken, cut up or 3 lbs. bone-in breasts or 2 lbs. boneless/skinless breasts
2-TB. canola (vegetable) oil
3-Cups water or chicken broth
1-whole bay leaf
1-Cup celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1-small onion, chopped (1/2 Cup)
1-Cup carrots, cut into small pieces
1/2-tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3-Cup flour or chicken gravy mix
4-tsp. baking powder
1-tsp. freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place the chicken in a pan and season. Bake the chicken until browned, about 30 minutes. It doesn’t need to be fully done. Remove the chicken from the bones and skin and set aside.
Place the bones and skin in a soup pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Add the bay leaf. Cook for 45 minutes.
While the stock is cooking, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Strain the stock and return to the pot.
Add the chicken, celery, onion and carrot to the pot.
Add the salt and pepper.
Simmer for 30 minutes, using a large spoon to skim off any fat that rises to the top. Combine the flour and water and whisk to a smooth paste. Slowly drizzle into the broth, stirring continuously, until the desired consistency.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
Cut in the butter and blend until you have pea-sized bits of dough. Add the milk and stir until mixed.
Drop by the teaspoon into the broth and chicken mixture. Simmer until the dumplings become light and fluffy.
If you are unsure about your dumpling-making skills, you can start by cooking them in a separate pan of simmering chicken stock at least 2” deep. Dumplings need a bit of room to float around and turn themselves over during cooking. Once you like the looks of them, you can transfer them into serving bowls full of stew and spoon some of the broth over them, or you can move on to cooking them right in the chicken stew. They will be a richer brown color if cooked in the stew. There is plenty of dumpling batter to play with!
BEEFY MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP
As the weather turns cooler, soup is the perfect meal to chase away the chills.
1-lb. lean beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2-TB. olive oil
3-medium onions, coarsely chopped
10-oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
3-large carrots, sliced
1/2-Cup pearl barley
7-Cups beef broth
1-Cup dry red wine or no salt added tomato juice
1-2-tsp. salt (to taste)
1-Cup frozen green peas
2-tsp. fresh lemon juice
Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and sauté until brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan drippings and cook until the onions are golden. Return the beef to the pot. Stir in the carrots, barley, broth, wine, 1 tsp. salt and PEPPER, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, until beef and barley are tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the lemon juice, taste and add more salt if desired, and serve.
FIVE HOUR OVEN STEW
Try a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of ginger for a burst of flavor.
1-1/2 lbs. stew meat, beef or pork or boneless chicken thighs, cubed
6-Cups peeled, cubed potatoes (or small red potatoes unpeeled), about 4 large
12-small whole pearl onions, or 2 medium onions cut into chunks
4-Cups carrots, peeled and cut into 3" rounds (5-6 medium carrots)
2-Cups celery, cut into chunks (2 large stalks)
1-15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes or 2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1-2-tsp. salt (to taste)
1/2-tsp. ground pepper (to taste)
1-2-tsp. turkish oregano(to taste)
1/2-tsp. granualted garlic powder (to taste)
In a large, oven-safe pan, combine all of the stew ingredients. It is not necessary to brown the meat. Cover and bake at 250° for 4 to 5 hours. 30 minutes before serving, taste the stew and add the rest of the seasonings as desired.
SPLIT PEA SOUP
This easy soup is a great way to use up leftover ham on the bone - or buy ham shank at the store-the smokier the better. Split peas are nice in that they don't have to be soaked-perfect when you're in a hurry.
1/2 - 1-1/2-lb. dried, split green peas
2-3-Cups ham, chopped
2-qts. ham stock (simmer a ham bone in water with 2 bay leaves for 2 hours and strain)
1 small onion, finely minced
3-large white potatoes, peeled and diced
1-carrot, peeled and cut into thin coins
One pound of peas (a regular-sized bag) is the average amount used for thick soup, 1/2 lb. will make a thinner soup, and 1 1/2 lbs. will make a thick porridge. Wash the peas by covering with water and draining several times, until the water runs clear. Place the peas, chopped ham, ham stock and minced onion in a soup pot, bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce heat to medium-low and stir every 15 minutes or so to keep the peas from sticking to the bottom. Simmer the soup for one hour, and then add potatoes, carrots, savory, thyme, and salt. Cook until the peas are pretty much dissolved and the potatoes are tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with freshly ground black pepper on top. This soup is even better after a night in the fridge. Split Pea Soup also freezes well.
Recipes adapted from Penzeys: