Pork Shoulder Kapusniak

The snow keeps piling up outside and there’s nothing like a nice warm bowl of soup. Traditional comfort food for warming you up after a day of shoveling. Well, this soup is a modification of my friend’s grandmother’s Polish Kapusniak. It’s a hearty soup traditionally made with pork spare ribs and sauerkraut. I make mine with less expensive chunks of pork shoulder and non pickled sauerkraut (as known as cabbage). I like to get the pork shoulder chunks with a good percentage of fat to meat, but if the pork you get is a bit on the lean side, you can add a few rashers of bacon. So…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage shredded
  • 3 large carrots cut in chunks
  • 2 rings of celery cut in chunks
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 large Long Island potatoes
  • 8 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 quarts of water

In a large dutch oven braise the pork over a medium heat. Once a good deal of fat has been rendered, deglaze with a little water. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute for a few minutes. Add the cabbage and the potatoes. Start pouring in the water and turning down the heat to low. Add the tomato paste, paprika, salt and pepper.

Let the soup cook on the low heat for two hours. This gives all the ingredients time to meld, and starches from the potatoes ill help to thicken the soup. Ladle this into nice big bowls, and serve with fresh pumpernickel bread. Then watch the snow outside.

kapsuniak

Smoked Pork Pea Soup

I’m often asked by friends of mine “what the heel do you do with those”, when I’m out scouring ingredients from the market. This happened most recently when a friend of mine and I were shopping over at Cherry Valley market. While perusing the meat section I happened to find some rather meaty smoked pork neck bones. “What the hell do you do with those” she asked.
“Well”, I said “soup! You can throw just about anything into a soup”.
It’s true. I think that smoked pork adds a good deal of heartiness to what would otherwise be a bland pea soup. And with the snow falling in sheet around here, a hot bowl of pea soup with fresh buttered bread is certainly called for.
Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  2 ½ pounds of smoke pork neck bones
  •  1 lb bag of split green peas
  •  2 carrots diced
  •  2 ribs of celery diced
  •  1 large onion diced
  •  Salt

Firstly, boil the pork bones until the meat falls neatly off the bones. Shred the meat and discard the bones. In a large soup pot combine the meat and diced carrots, celery and onion, along with the one pound bag of green split peas. Add eight to ten cups of water and salt, then bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook another hour and a half, stirring occasionally.
Once the soup thickens up, it’s ready to be ladled out and served up with plenty of bread and butter. Now enjoy by the window and watch the snow.

smoked_pork_neck_bones

Sea Bass Stew

Its that time of year… winter is a great time to cook warm hearty soups. This one is quick and easy. Also Cherry Valley Market has been having Italian loaves on sale for $1.29 for a pair on Fridays.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 lb sea bass filets, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of fresh chopped tomato (about 1 medium sized tomato)
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 8 oz of clam juice
  • 1/2 cup Duck Walk white wine
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • Touch of dry oregano, Tabasco, thyme, pepper
  • Salt

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add parsley and stir 2 minutes. Add tomato and tomato paste, and gently cook for 10 minutes or so.

Add clam juice, dry white wine, and fish and simmer until fish is cooked through, less than 10 minutes. Add seasoning. Salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted Italian bread.

bluefish bikini

Red Clam Chowder with a kick

Clam chowder is a wonderful dish this time of year. When the weather turns cold and blustery, there’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup. And with the added kick of minced jalapeno and Texas Pete’s hot sauce, this soup will open up those sinuses!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 5 drops Texas Pete, or other hot pepper sauce

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, place the vegetable oil, onion, carrots and celery. Slowly cook and stir 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Mix in the bacon, potato, clam juice, tomatoes, tomato sauce, white pepper, seasoning salt, parsley, marjoram, garlic powder, thyme, mustard, Cajun seasoning and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 20 minutes.

Mix in the clams and cook approximately 5 minutes more. Serve with oyster crackers.roasted-tomato-soup

 

Creamy Tomato Soup

Best Yet Market out here by me has a sale on its canned tomatoes, one dollar per can, and a great price on basil at the same time. So, a little chill in the air and a thought springs to mind. The market often has a nice variety of rolls, and I could really use a nice bowl of warm soup, with a warm buttered roll… yeah, I think I have a recipe for this.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 1lb cans of diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves
  • 1 large Spanish onion chopped
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook until tender. Mix in tomatoes and chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken broth, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 15 minutes.

Grab your immersion blender and blend the mixture till smooth. Reduce heat to low, and gradually mix in the heavy cream. Pour soup through a strainer before serving. Garnish each serving with a sprig of basil. Toss that roll in the microwave for a second or two, butter it up, and sit down for lunch.

toamtosoup01

Spicy Pumpkin and Sweet Potatoe Soup

Its that time of year… pumpkin pickin’ time! Pumpkins populate “punkin’” patches and make spooky faces from door steps and window sills around Halloween, but Sugar Pie pumpkins are the sweet and mellow ones used for cooking—not scary, and 100% tasty. And unlike their jack-o’-lantern brethren, they are thin-skinned for easy peeling. The sugar pumpkin is a small 3 to 8 pound range squash that has a wide range of cooking applications, but in this recipie… that firey jack-o-latern will meet his spicy match.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin
  • 4 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

In a mortar or spice grinder, grind coriander, cumin, oregano, fennel, red pepper, salt and peppercorns into a coarse powder. Blend in garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil to form a paste.

Wash pumpkin, and cut into 2-inch wide wedges, scraping away seeds. Peel potatoes and cut each potato lengthwise into 6 wedges. Smear the pumpkin and the potatoes with the spice paste and place in a baking dish.

Roast in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until tender and just beginning to blacken at the thinnest points.

Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, cook the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent.

Chop pumpkin and potatoes into smaller chunks and add this with the chicken broth into the pot. Using an immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. Be sure to scrape the roasted spice paste off the baking dish and include it in the puree. It may be necessary to deglaze the dish with a little chicken broth.

Heat this thoroughly and then serve with toasted french bread slices. Make this vegan friendly by using a flavorful vegetable stock.

new-pics-077

Bay Crab Chowder with Corn

As the weather turns cooler, thoughts turn to… chowder! Since I used one can of crab for the appetizer, I will use the other can of crab meat for… you guessed it, chowder! You can’t just buy one can of crab… or at least I can’t. Add it to some chicken broth and milk, with some corn, and a shake or two of Old Bay seasoning, and you can make a simple Chesapeake Bay style staple.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 leaf McCormick® Bay Leaves

Heat butter and oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add potatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and bay leaf; cook and stir 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and chicken broth. Bring to boil. Add corn and crabmeat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

corn-crab-chowder-finished-1

Quick Red Borscht

So I was running errands in the city yesterday and passing by a German bakery. All of a sudden I had a hankering for fresh pumpernickel rolls. So I picked up some rolls and went over to the Polish deli for a length of smoked kielbasa. So a couple of beets, an onion, and some cabbage later and dinner was in the making. The past couple of days have been cold and rainy and a steaming pot of comfort borscht sounded perfect.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 small beets
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/l pound of kielbasa
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 tablespoon course sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

I grate the beets right there in the soup pot to make things easier, then dice up the onion and toss that in, and add the water, salt, and pepper. Get this on the stove on medium heat for about ten minutes.

Add in the cabbage and the kielbasa and cook another ten minutes.

Ladle out into deep soup bowls and serve with slightly toasted buttered pumpernickel rolls.

pumpernickel-rolls

Simple Chicken Broth

It’s a few days into spring by way of the calendar, but you couldn’t tell it from the weather out there. It’s still cold and blustery out there. And this weather can certainly lead to a bad case of the sniffles. To help combat this, have a nice bowl of homemade chicken broth. Broth is not the same thing as stock even though many people use the two interchangeably. Stock, which is a basis for many soups and sauces, is made from water and bones, chicken bones, beef bones, fish bones. Broth is made from water and meaty bones. It also often contains vegetables and aromatic herbs in the mixture as well. So broth contains much more flavor than stock. A chicken broth is a great thing to make for those packages of very inexpensive chicken backs.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound meaty chicken backs
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 celery rib
  • A couple stems of parsley
  • A pinch or two of rosemary and thyme
  • A pinch or two of sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a stock pot, cover them with water, and bring it to a rolling boil to break down all the connective tissue in the chicken backs. Reduce the heat to low and cook for two to three hours replacing water as you go. Then, strain everything through a colander into another pot. Discard the solids. Then, slowly strain the mixture through cheesecloth to further clarify the broth. Then serve it in a mug or bowl. I like to server this with toasted garlic bread.

Chicken Broth

White Bean and Smoked Pork Soup

As I’ve mentioned, Meat Farms is selling slab bacon now, and there are some recipes, especially soups, that really do benefit from bacon in chuck or diced cuts. Its why I prefer the thick cut bacon to regular sliced bacon. Bacon regularly sliced becomes non existent when added to soups, it just renders down to nothing.  Recipes often call for larger piece of smoked pork, like hocks, or butts, to add meat to these recipes. But, now, there is an option… really meaty bacon! So, without further ado… here’s an upgrade to our White Bean soup.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 pound slab bacon diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 large onions sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 cups of cooked white kidney beans, or great northern beans
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups of water
  • salt and pepper and a dash of hot sauce to taste

Melt the butter in a kettle and saute the bacon until ti just starts to crisp. Add the onions and sweat them for five minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and slowly cook over a low heat for about half and hour. Serve with buttered chunks of fresh bread.