Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall soups and harvest

With the weather turning cooler and the leaves starting to change, I've been happy to have on hand a number of soups tucked away in the freezer from spring. It's so nice to be able to warm up a quick bowl of soup for lunch — particularly when you are fighting off a cold from all the wacky weather shifts. I've shared a couple of the recipes with you already, like this one for cauliflower soup. But surprisingly, I haven't posted one of my favorites — the Witches' Brew Soup from Southern Living circa 2001. It was one of the first soups I cooked that made it into my regular rotation.

Witches' Brew Soup
Adapted from Southern Living, October 2001

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Toppings: shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, cooked and crumbled bacon

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add chicken and next 3 ingredients, and saute 10 minutes. Stir in broth and next 3 ingredients.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Stir in 2 cans of beans and chiles.

Mash remaining can of beans in a small bowl. Whisk together flour and milk, and stir into beans. Gradually add bean mixture to soup mixture, stirring constantly. Cook 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in cilantro. Serve with desired toppings.

In garden balcony news, we harvested our little corns this past weekend. Here is the boy cradling two of our youngins like a proud new papa. Unfortunately, they weren't youngins enough. I think we picked them about three weeks too late. We had two baskets growing and decided to sample one ear from each to compare since the plants in each had progressed quite differently. Well, we each took a bite of our respective samples, quickly spat them out and passed on sampling the second ear. Pure starch and really hard. They looked so much like real, yummy corns that we let them keep growing hoping they would reach a fuller size. Ah well, it just goes to show that size doesn't matter. The experiment continues and notes have been taken.

I also decided to pull out all the carrots. After months and months, here they are. True baby carrots. Again, note taken. Common sense: it is difficult to grow a good-sized root vegetable in a shallow box.

Hope you all are enjoying the crisp air. It's making me want to bake and knit, so stay tuned for more updates!