Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beefy Borscht

Our son made borscht for us when we visited him and his bride in Missoula, Montana last fall. It was delicious. So I found Emeril Lagasse's recipe on the web and reworked it so I could eat it on my weight loss plan.

Beefy Borscht

1 Tablespoon bacon grease

1 ½ pound lean beef chuck, cut into bite-size pieces

1 cup diced onion

1 rib celery, minced

2 carrots, peeled and grated

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons dried oregano

3 Tablespoons fake bacon bits

2 bay leaves

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 quarts water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds red beets, tops removed, roasted and grated

6-8 cups shredded green cabbage

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt bacon grease in Dutch oven over high heat; add the beef and cook, stirring, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.


To the fat in the pan, add the onions and carrots, cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic oregano, and bay leaves and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the red wine vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan. Return the meat to the pot and add the water, fake bacon, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered until the beef is tender, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, place the beets in a large piece of foil. Roast in oven until tender and can be pierced easily with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Trim the stem and root ends and remove the skins. Coarsely grate and set aside.


When the meat is tender and falling apart, add the beets and cabbage. Simmer over low heat for another 30 minutes. Season with additional red wine vinegar, salt and freshly grown black pepper to taste.

--Serves 8

Ladle into bowls, top with a Tablespoon of plain yogurt.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chicken Soup No. 5

I made this soup this afternoon while Don was off running errands. When he came home the soup was simmering. He said, "Something smells great in here." And I answered, "It's my new perfume, Chicken Soup Number 5." That's how the name of the soup came about.

I started with Pam Anderson's trusty Fast Chicken Soup Base. (Sorry I use it so often, but I'm losing weight and I know exactly how to make it so that it's fairly fat-free and I can put a ton of veggies in it. And change the flavor with herbs and spices so sometimes it's Italian, sometimes it's Middle Eastern, sometimes it's Southwestern.)

Fast Chicken Soup Base
Makes 3 1/2 - 4 quarts. Serves 8.

2 quarts chicken broth, plus 1 quart water
1 store-bought roast chicken
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions (2 cups), cut into medium dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds or half rounds, depending on size
2 large celery stalks, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Bring broth and water to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle. Meanwhile, separate chicken meat from skin and bones; reserve meat. Add skin and bones to the simmering broth. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until bones release their flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.
Strain broth through a colander into a large container; reserve broth and discard skin and bones. Return kettle to burner set on medium-high.
Add oil, then onions, carrots and celery. Saute until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chicken, broth and thyme. Bring to a simmer. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. Return to a simmer before adding the extras of your choice.)

Today's variation: 1 medium onion and 4 green onions instead of the 2 large onions.
Sliced thin 1 medium zucchini, peeled and thinly sliced 2 small turnips.
Cut 1/4 of a medium green cabbage into thin strips.

Once the soup is assembled place 1/2 cup combined fresh parsley and basil leaves into a food processor with 3 cloves garlic, whir until well blended and stir into hot soup.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cauliflower and Ham Soup *edited*

This soup grew out of meat left from supper and the vegetables in the quick sale bin at Woodman's.

Cauliflower and Ham Soup

1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 49.5 oz. can chicken broth
1 1/4 cup juice reserved from previously cooking ham (you can substitute 1 can of beef or vegetable broth)
1 quart water
1 3/4 lb. cauliflower florets, chopped bite size or smaller
4 large carrots, thin sliced
1 1/4 lb. cooked ham, diced
at least 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons Penzeys Bavarian Herb Blend
3 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
Pepper to taste

Saute onions and celery in oil heated over high heat in soup kettle until soft. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour.