Two Soups for You

There’s nothing I love more on a cool fall day than a delicious soup and tonight I have two for you! (Sadly, none left over for me. Ah, well.)

Soup 1: Roasted Corn Chowder

Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

This soup takes WORK. Like, a lot of work. But it was so worth it, especially making the corn stock from scratch. Give yourself all afternoon for this one. Definitely a weekend endeavor.

Stock:

  • 8 ears corn
  • 1 1/2 quarts water, or more if needed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Put the husked corn on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning as needed to evenly brown. Remove the corn from the grill and when cool enough to handle remove kernels and set aside.

Put the corn cobs into a large stock pot, add the water, chicken stock, salt, pepper, garlic, peppers, cilantro stems, onion and celery. Put the pot over high heat and bring it to a strong boil. Cook for 45 minutes, then strain the solids. Cool.

Soup:

  • 2 cups baby purple potatoes diced (1/2-inch)  {I used purple potatoes just because I love them and the extra pop of color; red-skinned potatoes would work just as well}
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup diced bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a medium saucepan, cover the diced potatoes with 3 cups of the cooled stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the 4 tablespoons of butter, and once melted, add the diced onions, half of the corn kernels and all the peppers. Saute about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring frequently. Stir in 3 cups of the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender (get one…it’s worth it. My sister got me this one from Cuisinart for my birthday. Best. Thing. Ever), blend until smooth. Pour out of the stockpot into a bowl to set aside.

Wipe the stock pot clean, put it over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, then drain on a paper towel lined plate. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat, along with the remaining corn. Season with the salt and pepper and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and combine well. Stir in the heavy cream, add the corn puree mixture. Heat through and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, I topped the soup with the cilantro leaves and freshly made corn tortilla strips. (Just cut up a stack of corn tortillas with a pizza cutter and fry until golden in vegetable oil.)

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Soup 2: Winter Squash Soup with Dried Figs and Toasted Pine Nuts

(also known as wildly easier than the last soup!)

This soup is adapted from an amazing cookbook, Simply Organic, by Jesse Ziff Cool. This is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. I’ve had it for a few years and have so enjoyed it. It’s divided by season and has beautiful pictures (which I love in my cookbooks). Check it out here on Amazon.

Ingredients:

  • a mixture of winter squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped coarsely {I used 1 large acorn squash and 1/2 medium butternut squash}
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (skins on)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 5 dried figs, sliced (I used Turkish figs, my favorite)

In a large stock pot (I used my 4.5 quart Le Creuset….yay for wedding presents!), add the olive oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft and slightly caramelized. Add the chopped squash and the wine. Cover the veggies with broth. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes until the squash is very soft.

Using an immersion blender (again, get one, it’s worth it), puree until totally smooth. Add the thyme through the maple syrup and puree again.

Top with the pine nuts and the figs. Along with a crusty piece of bread, you have a delicious and satisfying fall dinner.

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What is your favorite fall soup?

~CM

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Early Fall Delights

One of the great things about fall is that my husband and I get a bit more free time together. Despite my crazy back to school schedule, he has fewer gigs so our free time more frequently falls on the same days. On one of those days we went apple picking and did a corn maze (what can I say, it’s fall in New England!).  Actually, we did the same corn maze that made the news when a family got lost inside and called 911 (check out the story here). It was a fun challenge, but we didn’t find it that hard…

 

With our haul of apples, we made a new version of one of my favorite fall treats: apple crisp. We gave it a different twist by cooking it in our favorite cast iron skillet.

This was so good, we made it twice!

Not only was this one of the best apple crisps I’ve ever had, it was also delightful over Greek yogurt for breakfast!

Skillet Apple Crisp

adapted from First Look, Then Cook

Topping:

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick of melted butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom {this isn’t necessary, but I think it really makes it special}

Filling:

8 small-medium apples, peeled and sliced in 1/4 in pieces {I used Cortlands}

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3/4 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons butter

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together all topping ingredients until well combined. Set aside for now.

Meanwhile, put the cider in a small sauce pan and reduce over medium heat by about 1/2. This will take about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together the apples, agave, cinnamon, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet. Toss in the apples and cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat. This precooks the apples a bit so they aren’t as crunchy. Turn off the heat and pour the reduced cider over the apples. Spread the topping evenly over the top and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool a bit to spare your palate and enjoy!

You could serve this with ice cream but my husband and I found that it didn’t even need it. It was sweet and creamy enough with the precooked apples. Yum. Now I want more. Might have to go for round 3!

Happy Fall!

~CM