Monday, April 25, 2016

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This week's community soup was Chicken Tortilla Soup.
I based my recipe off of this one from the Pioneer Woman.  I like the way she cooks: casual and home-cook friendly, with no fear of butter and cream.  I don't cook that way myself, but I do think she gets most things right. I am, however, a bit suspicious whenever someone does absolutely everything and makes it look effortless.  She cooks, home-schools the kids, takes photographs, keeps the ranch hands fed, the dogs walked, and the community catered...I can barely get myself to work and get a garden planted.  I'm just saying, I am suspicious.

Anyway-- Her soup in a slow cooker looks easy and good.  I had to vary the method because I am making so much at a time.  12 quarts!  That's 2 large slow cookers full! I used th exact same ingredients as the recipe, just modified the method slightly. I actually sauteed the onions and peppers and added the spices and the chicken (perfectly poached in stock, and cut into bit-sized pieces).  Then I chilled this down in the fridge overnight.  The next day I added the other ingredients and put the soup into the slow cookers to heat.  I only did this so  a) I could give the onions and chicken a head start, and b) I wouldn't have the whole 12 quarts to try and cool down in the fridge.  This worked well to get the soup together and It heated in the slow cookers for about 4.5 hours before serving.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Potato Leek Soup

So here is the recipe that I used as a guide for the Potato Leek soup that I made.  I say “guide,” because I did not use the exact ingredients as this, b/c I try to cook veggie soups and made this one dairy free too (for the Non Dairy types). Also, the proportion of spuds to leeks that  I used was 3 leeks to every 2 baked potato-sized russet potatoes. What I did follow is the idea and procedure for NOT pureeing the soup with a blender, but rather  “rice-ing” the potatoes separately with a food mill.  I have never done this; I usually just put the whole thing in the blender, but this article, and Alton Brown, both talk about how a blender actually breaks up the starch molecules too much and the starch busts out and can make the soup “gummy” or “gluey”.  I think that this is true to a certain extent. 

I also cooked the potatoes separately, by themselves.  This was just so I wouldn’t have to “fish” them out after they were cooked.  If you don’t have a food mill or a potato ricer, you could simply “mash” them. I also added the potato cooking water to the soup (it is a vegetable broth after all).

So do read the attached article.  It is interesting and has a good recipe.  If you want to make the recipe that I made, here are the ingredients:

6 Leeks—Cleaned very well. I do that like this:  
I use most of the green parts too, unless really tough or grundgy
4 TBS butter (olive oil would be ok too)
2 medium large Russet (baker) potatoes--peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
2 quarts stock (I used veggie stock, but good chicken stock is fine)
Sour cream to garnish

Slice cleaned leeks into 1” slices. Heat butter in a soup pot on medium high heat. Add sliced leeks and sauté. Turn heat down to medium, add 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste and
slowly sauté or “sweat” the leeks until tender.
In a separate pot, cover the potatoes with water, add salt, and boil on high heat until tender.
When leeks are tender add the stock and stir to combine. Return heat to high and simmer.
When potatoes are tender drain [Reserve cooking liquid] and mash, “rice” or process in a food mill to a fine puree.
Puree soup in a blender (or with a stick blender) until smooth and lovely, return to the pot.  Add potato puree to soup.
Adjust the seasoning, and the consistency using the potato cooking water to create a smooth soup a little thicker than heavy cream.
Garnish with sour cream if desired.