Tag Archives: chicken stock

Zuppa Cloverdale

Winter has definitely arrived in the small town of Cloverdale. After 12 inches of snow, and sub-zero temperatures, one tends to prefer steaming hot bowls of something savory. When looking in the pantry and freezer for inspiration, I decided on soaking some flageolet beans, and pulled out a package of sweet Italian sausage. I still had a decent looking cabbage, and wha-la! Something savory and wonderful was going to happen.

Cabbage seems to be an under used vegetable. Part of the brassica family, it is high in vitamins C and K. It will help improve your digestion, is low in calories and high in soluble fiber (and you thought kale was the darling)! I love cabbage in salads, soups, stews, stir fries, rolls and roasted in wedges. We grow three different varieties of cabbage; savoy, red and a beautiful variety called Dead-On, a red tinged savoy. The following soup uses your basic white cabbage, but during the growing season I encourage you to go to your local farmers market and branch out. You will be surprised how vibrant color and texture can inspire your creativity.

ZUPPA CLOVERDALE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup dried, soaked and cooked flageolets or cannellini beans (alternatively you can use 1 15-ounce can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans)
  • 12 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 4 links) removed from casings.
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock (homemade if possible)
  • 4 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded pecorino cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If using dried beans, (which I highly recommend) cook these first. They should be soaked for 8 hours or overnight. Drain them and put in a heavy Dutch oven or pot and cover with cold water to about 1-2 inches above the beans. Place two cloves of garlic and a bay leaf in water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until tender. DO NOT SALT YOUR WATER!! Salt will prevent your beans from softening. When beans are done leave them in pot until ready to use; then drain and add them to your soup. Otherwise, simply drain your can of beans and leave in colander until ready to use.
  2. In a large, heavy pot on medium-high, place your sausage links (casing removed) into pot. Break larger pieces up with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and no longer pink. Add your onions and garlic; sauté until onions are soft.
  3. Add chopped cabbage, stock and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook until cabbage is soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add drained beans.
  4. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and/or freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  5. Ladle into bowls and pass pecorino cheese if using.

Serves: 4-6

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” –Aristotle

We Should All Roast Garlic

Ok….I put up a lot of food during the farm year.  After my post yesterday I did another round of roasted garlic.  With a portion of that garlic I made a pasta sauce that my wife Val said, “F…ing rocks!”  This is a brief but savory post of that creation.

ROASTED GARLIC PASTA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup roasted garlic cloves
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces linguine pasta
  • 3 cups baby arugula or spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Pecorino, grated

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DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Heat 8 cups of salted water in a large sauce pan on high until boiling.  Cook linguine according to package directions.  Drain.
  2. While pasta is cooking, put 1 cup of roasted garlic, with 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock and the salt in a quart Mason jar, and blend with a stick blender until smooth.
  3. Return the pasta to the pot and add the blended sauce.  Add the arugula and toss until wilted.  Place pasta in bowls and top with Pecorino and breadcrumbs.. then top with halved cherry tomatoes.  Serve.

Serves 2-4

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“You can never have enough garlic.  With enough garlic you can eat the New York Times. 

—Morley Safer

Can’t Beet It!

When I first came to the farm and was getting my sea-legs, I did not like beets.  In fact I’ve never liked beets. When I saw dozens of 100 foot rows planted, I remember asking Val, “Is there really a call for this many beets?”  I soon learned that beets are one of our most popular crops.  I also learned that when you grow food without chemicals, it directly affects the flavor of those vegetables.  You have an opportunity to find how they genuinely taste, which is often incredibly sweet.  Over time, with Val’s encouragement, I learned to not only like beets, but love them!  Now I pickle them, roast them and put them in soups.  When the weather cools off, soups come front and center.  After making borscht for several years with red beets, I began to wonder if it would work with our beautiful golden beets.  Slightly milder in flavor, I knew they would match up equally well with our carrots, onions, potatoes and dill.  It’s a wonderfully satisfying soup.

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Golden Beet Borscht:

  • 4 cups golden beets with greens, peeled and diced, greens reserved and cut into thin ribbons
  • 2 cups red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, scrubbed and sliced in disks about 1/2 inch
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 4 cups organic or homemade chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

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  1.  In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, saute the garlic and onions with the olive oil on medium-high until softened.  Add the remaining vegetables and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the fennel seed, dill, bay leaf, and stock.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are soft.  About 15 minutes.
  3. Ribbon the beet greens and add half to soup.
  4. Add the salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.
  5. Ladle into bowls, top with additional beet greens and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Serves 4

Warm and inviting golden beet borscht

 

I live on good soup, not on fine words.”   …Moliere

 

Cream Of The Crop

Spring seems to be dragging its feet around here.  One day it’s warm, the next day it’s cool, while the night’s plunge into the low 40’s and occasionally the 30’s.  It looks like our tomato planting is put off another week. Those 2600 little darlings will just have to wait it out in the hoop house until the night temperatures warm up.

The good news is that the rain and warm daytime temperatures are wonderful for glorious spring asparagus!  Do I see a pattern here?  Wasn’t I just making a pronouncement last week that it’s one of the few vegetables I will only use fresh?  Well, that was last week.  We bought 10 pounds to put up, taking full advantage of fresh Michigan asparagus while it’s plentiful now; and boy is it ever!  Nearly every stall at the farmer’s market is overflowing with the stuff.  I know that we will be reminded of our favorite veggie in this wonderful cream soup long after the season is over.

There are many approaches to asparagus soup, but typically the essentials involve asparagus, onions or leeks and chicken stock.  With spring leeks available, that choice was a no-brainer.  However the addition of garlic, fresh spring tarragon and vermouth kick it up a notch.  And of course there’s the cream.  Honestly, it’s decadence is worth the calories!

Cream of Asparagus Soup:

  • 2 lbs. fresh asparagus
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 small leeks, using white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Snap off the tough stem ends from the asparagus spears.  Cut the tips off a dozen or so and set aside for garnish. Chop the remaining asparagus into 1 inch pieces.

In a small saucepan, blanch the asparagus tips for 2 minutes, then plunge into ice water.  Let drain on paper towels.  Reserve for later.

In a heavy soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the leeks and garlic and saute until tender and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

Fragrant leeks and garlic

Fragrant leeks and garlic

Getting better all the time

Getting better all the time

Add the asparagus and 4 cups of chicken stock.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add the chopped tarragon.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth, about 2 minutes. Alternately, you can puree the soup in batches in a blender, then return to the pot.  Add lemon juice and heavy cream.  Reheat the soup to serving temperature.  Ladle in shallow bowls and garnish with reserved asparagus tips.

Tip:  This soup is also great cold, so pack it for your next lunch if you’re luck enough to have leftovers.

Serves: 4

Spring never tasted so decadent.

Spring never tasted so decadent.

“Worries go down better with soup.”