Monday, September 8, 2008

Food is Love - a cooking feature - with Deconstructed Early Fall Soup

I'm starting a new weekly feature here on my blog - it's a cooking feature with recipes and photos of yummy things that my husband Charles, the chef, makes at home. Yay!

This feature is to be called "Food is Love." It comes from a slogan that was once painted on the windows of our favorite little Italian restaurant in Great Falls, Montana, where Chuck and I lived for a while once upon a time. We have always loved that saying so here it is, Food is Love.

Today's recipe is inspired by a trip to the Lents Farmers Market, which happens on Sundays at SE 92nd and Foster (right behind Trillium Artisans) in Portland. We've been enjoying going there and filling our reusable grocery bag with fresh, organic, local produce (and always a delicious Honey Cake from Ararat Bakery).

We are making: Deconstructed Early Fall Soup

Chuck tells me that deconstructed foods are all the rage now. In this case, the vegetables are boiled in stock and then removed and served separately from the broth. The tender potatoes and carrots are wonderful this way, and the cup of rich broth is hot and hearty on a cool fall day. This recipe is just an incredibly simple way to bring out the best in those fresh farmers market veggies and roots.

Here are the ingredients (we are feeding a family of four):
  • 6 medium size organic potatoes (we used a mixture of white and red)
  • One whole medium red onion, chopped
  • One bunch of baby carrots
  • 1.5 quarts of beef stock (you can use beef base and follow the instructions, or make your own from 1.5 quarts of water, 2 T. salt, stew bones, and mir poix - a mixture of diced celery, carrots, and onions which is simmered for four hours and then strained)
  • 1/2 t. white pepper
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. anise
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flake
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger of 1 T. finely minced fresh ginger
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh Thai basil
What to do:
  • Simmer the carrots, potatoes, and onion in the beef stock over medium heat for 30 minutes until tender.
  • Remove vegetables from stock and set aside. Return stock to heat and add your spices. Do not boil.
  • Serve the broth hot with fresh chopped cilantro and Thai basil, and a squeeze of lemon or lime, with the vegetables on the side. The potatoes are great smashed up with some butter, salt and pepper. Garnish with cherry and pear tomatoes if you like.

Chuck also made some broiled lemon pepper chicken fingers to go with the deconstructed soup. Delicious!

The leftover broth can be used for a hot drink when you have a cold, as a base for gravy, or to make any kind of beef soup such as an Asian-style beef noodle soup.

Check back next Monday for our next cooking adventure, and remember - Food is Love!

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