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This is nothing fancy, but it's a good, cheap, hearty soup perfect for a farm-house supper. Be sure to adjust the salt level carefully. Undersalting this soup produces a dull dish indeed.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
5 cups chicken stock, homemade preferred
5 cups water
2 cups canned or fresh tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/2 pound fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
1. Place a heavy-duty stockpot or soup kettle over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil. When butter stops foaming, add onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté until the vegetables soften, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add lentils, chicken stock, water, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until lentils are very soft.
2. Add salt and pepper and rice. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. The soup will have thickened a bit and the rice should be tender. Check the seasonings and add more salt if necessary. Stir in the spinach, cover, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is fully cooked. Adjust seasonings.
3. Ladle into bowls and serve with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese and hunks of country bread.
Chicken and Dumplings
I have tried many recipes for dumplings, some made with cottage cheese, others made with potatoes. I find the cheese-based dumplings to be too wet and heavy, while the potato dumplings are good but take too much extra work for a simple supper. You can use the dumpling recipe below with any dish that has a fair amount of liquid, such as a stew.
1 (3- to 4-pound) chicken cut into pieces (see recipe instructions)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
2 cups coarsely chopped mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup half-and-half
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
For the dumplings:
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup buttermilk, or more as needed
1. Heat oven to the lowest possible setting. Cut chicken into 10 pieces (cut each breast half in half again), rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a very large Dutch oven with a cover. When foam subsides, add chicken pieces in two batches, starting with the skin side down, and brown both sides over medium-high heat, a total of 10 to 12 minutes for each batch. Pour off fat. Return all chicken to the Dutch oven, add stock and water, bring to a simmer, and cook gently, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Be sure that the thigh meat is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken to a bowl, cover with aluminum foil, and place in 200 degree oven to keep warm. Strain cooking liquid through 4 layers of cheesecloth. (You can skip straining the sauce for a less "refined" dish). Return the liquid to the Dutch oven.
2. While the chicken is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. When hot, add the mushrooms and onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mushrooms release their liquid, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the half-and-half and season liberally with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
3. For the dumplings, whisk together the first three ingredients. Whisk together the egg, melted butter, and buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula to form a dough, much like a biscuit dough. If it needs a bit more buttermilk to moisten (it probably will), add it 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in the Dutch oven, add the dumplings, and cook covered for 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and place in preheated oven.
4. Whisk the onion-mushroom mixture into the broth in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly (it will be the consistency of half-and-half). Arrange chicken and dumplings on serving plates and cover with sauce. Garnish with an abundance of parsley.
Serves 4 to 6
Bavarian Apple Cake
I tried making this recipe both as an upside-down cake and also right side up and the latter won hands down. This is a crumbly, rich cake with a nicely browned topping. The juices and sugars caramelize with butter and the nuts are sweet, toasted, and crunchy. This recipe works both as a coffee cake and also as a rustic dessert.
3 large, firm, tart apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1. In a large bowl, combine the apple slices with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and nuts. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch springform pan.
2. With an electric mixer, whip 4 tablespoons butter with the 1/4 cup reserved sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat each one until incorporated, about 1 minute total. Add buttermilk and vanilla and beat another 30 seconds. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder onto wax paper. Fold the flour mixture into the butter/egg mixture with a rubber spatula until incorporated. Spread the batter, which will be very thick, evenly over the bottom of the pan with the spatula. the layer of batter will be very thin.
3. Heap the apple mixture evenly over batter. (Fussy bakers can arrange the apples in concentric circles.) Dot the top with the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces.
4. Bake about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted deep in the center of the cake comes out dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Posted August 12, 2010
I love this cookbook! My children LOVE every recipe I have tried, as do all the adults...so it's a win, win! Fresh ingredients and made with love....they won't even eat Macaroni and Cheese out of a box anymore!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.