Celery Root Soup – We Tried it, We Like it!

Celery Root Soup – We Tried it, We Like it!

While trying to decide whether or not to grow celeriac last year,  I came across an interesting recipe for Celery root soup with pear, ginger and sage in the food pages of the Boston Globe.  It was presented by Globe correspondent, Sally Pasley Vargas.  We made one change, we substituted shallots for the leek.  Also, Catherine and I both agreed that the soup could use double the ginger listed.  Other than that, we followed the procedure to a “T”.

The pairing of celery root and pear is genius.  This is the kind of soup to make on a snowy day in mid-Winter.  Oh yes, the sage adds just the right herbal accent. Here is a link to the recipe:https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2016/01/19/recipe-for-celery-root-soup-with-pear-ginger-and-sage/01gafRdmZOf5Ecwx5IfOkK/story.html

Happy Eating.

All the best,

Greg Garnache

Bean Soup with Bacon

Bean Soup with Bacon

Background

This past growing season, we made a conscious effort to put more of our legume production into beans for drying.  We’ve tried freezing green beans with less than great results so we decided to try something new.  We planted two heirloom varieties; Vermont cranberry and Kenearly, a white bean from the state of Maine).

I have to tell you that we having been really enjoying  cooking with dried beans.  We’ve had baked beans, potato leek and bean soup, and a “killer” red beans and rice among others.  Today, we are talking about a soup made with Kennearly beans.  The base recipe is taken from “Slow Cooker Revolution”, a cookbook presented by the people behind “America’s Test Kitchen” on PBS.  I have tweaked the recipe to satisfy my particular soup making style, but ATK deserves some props.  This is my take on their “Tuscan White Bean Soup.”

KENEARLY BEANS DRAINED, RINSED AND READY FOR ACTION

KENEARLY BEANS DRAINED, RINSED AND READY FOR ACTION

Ingredients

1 pound white beans (I used Kenearly) soaked overnight in 4 quarts of water containing 2 tablespoons of salt.  Beans were drained and rinsed prior to cooking

6 ounces of quality bacon chopped into 1/2″ squares
3 onions, diced
8 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 cup of white wine (for deglazing)
6 cups of chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 parmesan cheese rind
1 large sprig of rosemary

Procedure

  1.  Prep all of the vegetables, stage the rest of your ingredients and setup your slow cooker.
  2. Place a couple tablespoons of cooking oil (I used extra virgin olive oil) in a large saute pan, heat up the oil and add the bacon.  Cook until crispy.
  3. Add Onions, garlic and red pepper flakes to pan and saute until the onions have browned.  Place in slow cooker.
  4. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of white wine and add to slow cooker.
  5. Add chicken stock, beans, bay leaves and cheese rind to slow cooker.  Set on low and cook for 10 hours.
  6. Twenty minutes before serving, add sprig of rosemary to slow cooker.
  7. Remove bay leaves, rosemary and cheese rind.  Serve with crusty bread and a salad.
  8. ALL OF THE FLAVOR INGREDIENTS SAUTEED AND READY FOR THE SLOW COOKER

    ALL OF THE FLAVOR INGREDIENTS SAUTEED AND READY FOR THE SLOW COOKER

    A BIG BOWL OF DELICIOUSNESS

    A BIG BOWL OF DELICIOUSNESS

    Prep time was about 40 minutes and well worth the effort.  I forgot to mention that we added some shaved parmesan cheese just before serving.  This one is going into the rotation.

Potato, Leek and Bean Soup

Potato, Leek and Bean Soup

One of my favorite activities in late Fall and early Winter is making soup.  With all of the great vegetables still available from the garden I am always looking for new and tasty combinations.  For this soup I started with a basic potato/leek soup recipe using chicken stock as the liquid.  To this, I added cooked Kenearly Yellow Eye beans that I had grown and dried this year.   Rock-n-Roll in a bowl!  Really, this was pretty good, especially with bacon bits sprinkled on top.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter
6 medium leeks that have been cut in half lengthwise and then sliced in 1/4″ segements
1 pound of your favorite potatoes peeled and diced (I used French Fingerlings)
6 cups of chicken stock (homemade is the way I roll)
3 Cups cooked beans (I used Kenearly Yellow Eye beans that I had grown and dried) (2 cans of cooked white beans would also work)

PROCEDURE

Add butter and oil to a dutch oven, set temperature to medium, add leeks and saute for eight to ten minutes.

Add potatoes and cook until they begin to soften. (10 minutes)

Add stock and beans. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree using a food processor.

Serve with an herb garnish (chives, green onions, fresh thyme, etc.) or cooked bacon bits.

All the best,

Greg Garnache

 

Garden Journal – 1st Week of October

Garden Journal – 1st Week of October

The gorgeous weather we enjoyed in September has spilled over into the first week of October.   The rock-n-roll and jazz-funk of Summer has been replaced  with more sedate classical music for company as I harvest late season tomatoes, peppers, fennel, kale, beets, carrots and raspberries.  Ah, the raspberries.  This is the first full year of production for our Fall bearing “Heritage” raspberries.  What a pleasant surprise; tasty and prolific.  One twenty five foot bed has yielded somewhere in the neighborhood of two gallons of berries.  We are about to process our third batch of jam.  We have frozen raspberry sauce and three quart containers of berries for later use.  We are eating fresh berries daily on yogurt, over chocolate ice cream, in raspberry swirl brownies, etc.  Life is good.

THE HARVEST BASKET IN THE FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER

THE HARVEST BASKET IN THE FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER

 

Tomato Season Winds Down

I have been gradually reducing the tomato plant population over the last couple of weeks, harvesting both ripe and green tomatoes and pulling plants.  Our kitchen windows are lined with fruit in various stages of ripeness; trophies of another successful season.  It won’t be long before those tomatoes are replaced with Christmas decorations.

A WINDOW DECORATED WITH RIPENING TOMATOES

A WINDOW DECORATED WITH RIPENING TOMATOES

A few Words About Kale

Over the Summer months we don’t tend to eat much kale.  We use it mostly in  juice making and treats for the chickens.  Now that fall is here, we will begin using it in soups and stews.  Right now, we have four plants in the garden;  two Russian Kale and two Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale.  These plants have been in the ground since early May.  They’re not pretty but still producing.

A BIG UGLY TUSCAN KALE PLANT

A BIG UGLY TUSCAN KALE PLANT

A Soup Comes Together

Chicken Soup with Beans and Kale

I’ve been retired now for about a year and a half and since then have been gradually taking on more of the cooking duties.  One of my favorite cooking projects is soup.  As with most of my soups, this one started with a roasted chicken.  Last Sunday, I prepared a “Beer Can” chicken in our Weber kettle grill using a spice rub recipe from “Weber’s Big Book of Grilling“.  After our meal, I removed the remaining meat from the carcass and used the bones to make stock.

GREG'S GARDEN PARTY CHICKEN SOUP WITH BEANS AND KALE

A NICE HOT BOWL OF GREG’S CHICKEN SOUP WITH BEANS AND KALE

In addition, I had some leftover “Vermont Cranberry” beans I had slow cookedfor chili.  Stock, chicken meat, beans;  time to make some soup.  To me, classic soup starts with the trinity of onion, celery and carrots.  I finely chopped one large onion, two stalks of celery and two large carrots; then sauteed them in olive oil.  I added six cups of stock, two cups of chicken, two cups of cooked “Cranberry beans”,  four “Tuscan Kale” leaves shredded, a tablespoon of fresh thyme, a two cup bag of chopped plum tomatoes from the freezer and salt and pepper to taste.  Everything except the chicken and celery came from the garden, which made this an act of love. The smokiness of the chicken stock and the texture of the beans helped to make this soup one to remember.  Catherine loved it.

All the best,

Greg