March 27, 2017

Simple, Real Food: Comfort Food for Cold Days

With the winter now in full swing, it is time for pulling out the stew and soup recipes and serving warm comfort foods.  I love a big bowl of soup with a salad and some crusty bread for dinner on almost any night and find nothing easier to make.  Since most soups can be frozen, it’s another meal that can be made ahead. which is my kind of cooking.

When you are ready to take a break from all the rich holiday meals, try any of these recipes for a warming and delicious meal.

White Bean Tomato Soup with Vegetables

White Bean Tomato Soup with Vegetables

White Bean Tomato Soup with Vegetables

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 cup dry white wine

Salt, pepper to taste

28 oz. canned tomatoes with juices, chopped

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices

1 medium zucchini, diced

Tuscan kale, chiffonade, garnish

Procedure:

1. Reserve 1 can of the beans for later. Puree the rest of the beans in a processor with 1 cup of the vegetable broth. Set aside.

2.  Meanwhile heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and celery until slightly browned about 8 minutes. Add the wine and de-glaze the pan over high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the salt and pepper, remaining cup of stock, tomatoes, green beans and zucchini and cover, simmer another 10 minutes. Add the pureed beans and bring to a simmer, cook until all the vegetables are softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the reserved whole beans and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat the soup before serving and garnish with the kale.

Chick Pea Soup with Sausage

Serves 8

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, peeled, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 Tb. olive oil

1 Tb. rosemary, chopped

5 cups chicken stock

2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper to taste

5 sausages of your choice, sliced into ½ inch rounds

1 bunch Swiss chard or Escarole, rinsed, trimmed, roughly chopped

Procedure

  1. Sauté the garlic, celery, carrots      and onion in 2 Tb. of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat      until softened. Add the rosemary, stock, chick peas, salt and pepper and      bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. Spoon some of the solids      into a food processor and puree. Add the puree back to the saucepan and      cover to keep warm.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a medium      skillet and sauté the sausages until browned. Remove to a plate lined with      a paper towel to drain. Add the sausages to the saucepan along with the      greens and heat the soup covered over medium heat. When the greens are      wilted taste and adjust the seasoning, serve in large bowls.

Creamy French Lentil Soup

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

1 Tb. olive oil

2 carrots, finely chopped

3 ribs celery, finely chopped

2 shallots, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

5 cups chicken stock

3 sprigs thyme

1 1/2 cups French lentils

2 Tb. chopped Italian parsley, garnish

Procedure

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the carrots, celery and shallots and sauté 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock, thyme and lentils. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils are tender about 25 minutes.

2. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or food processor and season to taste.

3. Serve garnished with the chopped parsley.

Amanda Cushman

Amanda Cushman

Editor’s Note: Amanda Cushman of Simple Real Food Inc., is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for over 30 years.  She has taught corporate team building classes for over 15 years for a variety of Fortune 500 companies including Yahoo, Nike and Google.  She began her food career in the eighties and worked with Martha Stewart and Glorious Foods before becoming a recipe developer for Food and Wine magazine as well as Ladies Home Journal.  Having lived all over the United States including Boston, NYC, Miami and Los Angeles, she has recently returned to her home state of Connecticut where she continues to teach in private homes as well as write for local publications. 

Amanda teaches weekly classes at White Gate Farm and Homeworks and is also available for private classes.  Her cookbook; Simple Real Food can be ordered at Amazon as well as through her website www.amandacooks.com 

For more information, click here to visit her website.

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