Caldo de Gallina (Dominican Chicken Soup)

We just can’t seem to let go of winter’s chill out here on the island. Perhaps some Dominican style chicken soup will be good for the soul. A bit of red pepper flakes adds just the right amount of heat to this fairly straight forward broth.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds cooked chicken (skinned, boned, cut into small pieces)
  • 2 medium potatos (cut into cube-like structures)
  • ½ cup of Yucca (cut into cube-like structures too)
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 cup celery stalk (chopped into cubes)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (if not available, substitute dried parsley)
  • 1 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 10 cups water
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add chicken, bouillon cubes, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and dried cilantro. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water, potatoes, yucca. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Break up the angel hair pasta and add to the pot. Stir frequently until noodles are tender. Remove from the heat and serve.

dominican chicken soup

Stewed Mushroom Side dish

The rich meaty flavor of mushrooms make them one of the most popular side dishes with most cuts of steak. Although I prefer to use the white mushrooms for this side dish, you could choose to use the meatier portabello.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound or so mixed mushrooms
  • 1/2 stick Butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 Tablespoon of dried
  • a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • a splash or two of Duck Walk red wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Trim the mushrooms as needed, removing any tough stems. Cut the larger mushrooms into smaller pieces. Smaller mushrooms may be left whole or simply halved to show off their form. Rinse all the mushrooms well and roll them in a paper towel to dry them off.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter, onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions just begin to turn golden brown. Add the mushrooms and continue. In a few minutes the mushrooms will release quite a bit of moisture and become a bit soupy.
Add the thyme and salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender and most of the moisture has evaporated, concentrating the flavor. Add a splash of wine and the cream. Continue simmering until the sauce has thickened once again. Stir in the green onions.


Vegitarian Lentil Soup 01

A friend of mine stopped over yesterday; because her water wasn’t working right she came over to soak some lentils, quinoa, and rice. It got me thinking that I haven’t made lentil soup in a while. Now that the fall weather is approaching, I feel more ‘soup days’ approaching. I like nice thick hearty soups on cool day and lentil soup is one of the very few soups that I make which is vegetarian friendly.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups rinsed and drained French Lentils
  • 3 med sized carrots
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Boquet garni

  • 1 Tablespoon dried tarragon
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Few sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorn balls

Peel and cut carrots diagonally about 1/4 inch thick. Peel and mince garlic. Chop onion and tomatoes. Add oil to large pot over medium heat. Sauté onions and carrots until they start to brown a little. Add tomatoes, paprika. Stir and cook covered for a few minutes. Then add water, Worcestershire sauce, lentils, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil.

While soup heats to a boil, you can prepare your seasoning packet! Double two layers of cheese cloth large enough to contain herbs. Place 2 bay leaves, black peppercorn balls and sprigs of fresh herbs in the center of the cloth and tie up. Add herb packet to pot and cook covered for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until lentils are tender.

If the soup looks too thin, uncover and simmer for a couple more minutes. If it looks too thick, add a touch more water. Serve with good, crusty bread!

french lentil soup

french lentil soup

Rosé Summer Mussels

Every Mediterranean country has its version of shellfish in a tomato-based broth, and the wine of choice for each is an earthy, full-bodied pink wine. Here, seek out a nice sweet rosé, I sever these with a bottle of Martha Clara Vineyards sweet rosé.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 5 oz can v-8 juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes, v-8 Juice, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now, when it comes to the canned tomatoes and the v-8 juice, I use the low sodium option here. Too much sodium is not good for you and around here I’m all about cooking things that are good for you… most of the time. So lets get back to the mussels.

Discard any mussels that have broken shells or that don’t clamp shut when tapped. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover; bring to a boil. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, just until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Remove the open mussels. Continue to boil, uncovering the pot as necessary to remove the mussels as soon as their shells open. Discard any that do not open.

Stir the black pepper into the broth. Taste the broth and, if needed, add salt. Ladle the broth over the mussels and serve with the garlic toast.

mussles with tomato broth

mussels with tomato broth

Chipotle Marinade with Duck Walk Red

Marinades generally consist of an acid to tenderize tough cuts of meat, with an oil to promote juiciness, and herbs and spices to enhance the meats natural flavour. I use this little marinade for seasoning top round cuts of beef and make fajitas with a side of pineapple salsa.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup duck walk red wine
  • 1 (2 ounce) package dried ancho chiles
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Juice of one lime

Soak dry chilies overnight in water, until soft, then remove seeds and toss all of the ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth.

Spread this mixture over a nice cut of top round and let it soak for at least one hour before grilling it up. Slice it thin and use this for fajitas.

top round with chipotle madinade

Squid Week – Portuguese Style

Squid week continues… Portuguese style. This is a squid stew recipe from the Madeira Islands. It’s a bit spicy with the curry and hot pepper, and it incorporates ginger and tomatoes brought to the islands through their extensive trading networks. Fragrant and hearty, it makes a wonderful addition to your collection of coastal recipes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs. squid, cleaned and sliced into 1/4″ slices, leaving the tentacles in one piece if they’re small enough
  • 2 fresh tomatoes (or 4-6 canned), peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine like Duck Walk
  • 2 cups fish stock (and if your on Long Island you should really be making your own here)
  • 2 large long island potatoes, peeled and cut into a julienne
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers (red, green, yellow, or any combination), cut in fine strips
  • 2 little hot peppers, chopped (I use the jalapeno)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onions, garlic, and peppers for about 5 minutes. Blend in the curry powder and ginger and stir for a minute or two. Add the bay leaves, salt, and tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce to lowest heat and steam for 5 or more minutes. Add the squid, wine, and stock. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to low heat, cover, and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Only by very slow cooking will the squid be really tender and not rubbery. Add the potatoes, keeping the heat at a bare simmer, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender–about 30 more minutes.

When ready to serve, ladle into flat soup plates, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve with lots of bread, and a bold red wine like Nautique from Peconic Bay Winery

Sustainable Mussels w/ Fennel and Chorizo

Speaking of sustainable food from the sea, mussels are a plentiful and renewable resource. At least I think they are renewable.. Mr Mussel meeting Mrs Mussel and lots of little mussels appear…  Here’s a spicy way to prepare these little jewels.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded and patted dry (discard any that won’t close)
  • 3/4 cup white wine like Duck Walk Windmill White
  • 4 ounces dried Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika – hungarian
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Toasted crusty bread


Grind the fennel seeds ( I use a spice mill) and place in a food processor. Add the oil, shallot, garlic, paprika and coriander. Process until the mixture is ground and paste-like.

Transfer the spice mixture to a heavy large pot. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic and shallots no long smell raw, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Add the mussels and cook without stirring until the shells on the bottom begin to open, about 3 minutes. Add the wine. Cover the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the mussels open, about 4 minutes.

Add the chorizo and butter, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the butter is incorporated. Season the sauce with salt if desired. Toss the mussels in the sauce. Divide the mussels and sauce among 4 shallow bowls, discarding any that did not open. Serve with the toasted bread.