celery

Anasazi Bean® Soup

by Nancy on February 28, 2012

in Main Dish,Soups

After our Easter ham, my mother would save the ham bone and pan drippings to make a big pot of navy bean soup. It was a good, hearty soup for the still chilly days of spring. I still make the same soup but with a few changes. First of all, I no longer save the pan drippings. I usually get a spiral cut ham with honey glaze these days. The sugar and spices in the glaze get into the drippings and add a terrible flavor to soup. Likewise, I don’t use the ham bone for stock. I usually get a small ham as I’m not serving 15 or more people like my mother did and the ham bone just isn’t large enough to make much stock. I substitute chicken stock as ham stock is not made. And then I have switched from navy beans to Anasazi beans. Well, I still think of it as the same soup.

I use to think all dried beans were created equal but not anymore. Some beans like navy beans and Anasazi beans hold their shape well when cooked. Others like pinto beans get mushy and fall apart. That’s why pinto beans are used for refried beans, they mash easily, whereas navy beans or Anazasi beans do not mash well and refried beans made with them are mealy. Other beans such as black turtle beans have distinctive flavors.

Anasazi beans are my favorite soup bean. The name Anazasi Bean® is a trademark used to popularize the bean as a gourmet bean beginning in the 1980s. The bean is also called Aztec bean, cave bean, New Mexico Appaloosa and Jacob’s Cattle. The bean cooks quickly (for a bean), stays firm and has a little more flavor than some other dried beans.

The only other ingredient that you might not be familiar with is chipotle pepper. Chipotle peppers are jalapeno peppers that have been smoked and dried. The pepper gives a nice earthy taste and a little spice to the soup. I can buy the pepper either whole or ground. I use to buy it in the Mexican section of the grocery store but it is now in the regular spice section. I add either 1 whole pepper or 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper to the pot. I’m recommending that you start out with 1/8 teaspoon, add more if you like.

Anasazi Bean is a registered trademark of Adobe Milling in Dove Creek, Colorado.

Anasazi Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Anasazi beans
  • 4 quarts water
  • 4 strips bacon or 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups diced cooked ham
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes or chicken stock base for 2 quarts liquid
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried and ground chipotle pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  1. Degas beans by placing beans and 2 quarts of water in 3 quart cooking pot, bring to a boil, remove from heat and place lid on pot, let cool (about 1 hour), then drain beans discarding water. Anasazi beans cook quickly for beans and will be cooked or nearly so by the time the water cools. Remove beans from pot if you haven’t already and continue with same pot.
  2. If you choose to use bacon fry until fat is converted to oil. This will take about 5 minutes, stir occasionally. The bacon will be “floating” in oil and the fat will be covered with tiny bubbles when it is finished.
  3. Saute onion in bacon fat (I leave the bacon in the pot) or olive oil.
  4. Add beans and remainder of ingredients including 2-2 1/2 quarts of water and simmer until vegetables are done, 15-20 minutes.

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

by Nancy on October 25, 2011

in Main Dish,Soups

It turned cold and rainy here this week so I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup. I could cut the recipe down but I freeze the leftovers in 2 cup (single serving) microwaveable containers. I can pull one out of the freezer and heat it for a quick lunch later.

Like all of my soups, this one takes less than an hour to make from start to bowl. I like my vegetables to be firm and the individual flavors of the ingredients to be discernable. Long cooking times probably destroy some of the vitamins and minerals in the ingredients too.

You can easily substitute meats in this recipe. Cooked chicken or turkey from that holiday bird coming up work well. I’ve occasionally made this with beef and then substituted beef bouillon for the chicken bouillon also.

The noodles are added just before serving and boiled for 10 minutes or as recommended on package. They absorb liquid as they cook and will double in size. If you put leftover soup in the refrigerator the noodles will continue to grow to about  3 times their original size. They still taste good but there won’t be much broth left in the dish. You may want to add more chicken bouillon prepared according to package directions.

Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

Makes 4 quarts.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken in 1″ slices
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 cup celery coursely diced
  • 2 cups baby carrots or sliced carrots
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes or 4 tablespoons chicken bouillon base
  • 5 small bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 ounces wide noodles
  1. In 4 quart pot saute chicken and onion in olive oil.
  2. Add remainder of ingredients except noodles and simmer until carrots are tender.
  3. Ten to fifteen minutes before serving add noodles and boil 10 minutes.

{ 0 comments }

Fried Rice

by Nancy on June 14, 2011

in Main Dish

I’ve heard a story that a Chinese king was traveling and stopped unexpectedly at a peasant’s house for the evening. The peasant made a dish of leftovers to serve the king, the king loved it, and thus fried rice was invented. Now this story has multiple problems if you stop to think about it but for a cooking blog the idea of fried rice using up a variety of leftovers is at least plausible. Unless you live in my house. I rarely have enough of even one leftover to add to fried rice much less 5 or 6.

Although I have a basic recipe for fried rice, I vary it according to what meat I have on hand or what vegetables are in season. In spring I might add snow peas, in summer zucchini or in winter frozen corn. I’m even more likely to vary the ingredients depending on which child is eating with us. One doesn’t like peas, another doesn’t like mushrooms, etc. I always add carrots and a green vegetable like bell pepper or celery for color appeal. And I might even add some leftovers if I have them. All ingredients should be cut into bite sized pieces. I use peanut oil to fry my fried rice although any vegetable oil can be used. Peanut oil adds some flavor of its own which isn’t bad in fried rice but I use it because you can fry foods hotter in peanut oil without the oil smoking or the food burning.

For a vegetarian dish, double or triple the mushrooms and omit the meat.

Fried Rice

  • 3 cups steamed rice
  • 2 cups shrimp, chicken or pork
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 bell pepper or 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup corn, peas or snow peas
  • 1 cup mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Serves 4.

  1. Clean shrimp or cut chicken or pork into bite sized pieces.
  2. Cut onion, carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper, celery and other fresh vegetables into bite sized pieces. Mince garlic.
  3. In large skillet or wok, saute meat and garlic in oil until cooked through. If using shrimp, remove shrimp from skillet.
  4. Add onion, mushrooms, carrots, snow peas, bell pepper and celery (and other vegetables except frozen or canned) and saute.
  5. Move food away from center of skillet and pour in beaten egg. Scramble egg breaking it into bite sized pieces.
  6. Add frozen or canned corn or peas and other frozen, canned or precooked vegetables. Heat through.
  7. Add rice and soy sauce. Heat through stirring frequently. Serve.

{ 0 comments }

Potato Soup

by Nancy on February 17, 2011

in Main Dish,Soups,Vegetarian

This is an old-time classic family recipe. It’s a classic because you like it just the way it is. I have liked it just the way it is for over 50 years. Was I surprised when Carrie came up with a variation that I liked, well, maybe not better but just as good.

My mother’s classic version is vegetarian – potatoes, onions and celery in a thin white sauce base. Carrie added bacon in her version which adds a rich flavor.

The bacon version of this recipe uses fat from the bacon instead of margarine or butter to make the rue (flour/fat mixture used for thickening). You have to render the fat out of the bacon so you have a liquid oil that you can mix with the flour. Cut the bacon strips into 1/2″ pieces. Kitchen shears make quick work of this. Place pieces in saucepan and heat on high. Fry until fat is converted to oil. This will take about 5 minutes, stir occasionally. The bacon will be “floating” in oil and the fat will be covered with tiny bubbles when it is finished.

Potato Soup

  • 6 strips of bacon  or  1/3 cup margarine or butter
  • 4 T flour
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 6 small red potatoes diced
  • 6 cups milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  1. In 3 quart saucepan fry bacon until crisp or melt margarine or butter.
  2. Add onion and saute in fat.
  3. Stir flour into fat. It’s OK if bacon and onion get mixed in too.
  4. Add 1 cup of milk, mix evenly into flour/fat mixture. Stir constantly until mixture boils and thickens.
  5. Stir in rest of milk. Add potatoes. Heat just to boiling and simmer until potatoes are done, about 20 minutes.

{ 1 comment }

Mild Midwest Chili

by Nancy on December 28, 2010

in Main Dish,Soups

Winter holidays were full of family parties and at New Year’s we had two! On New Year’s Eve my parents went square dancing but us kids, my grandparents and my uncles and aunt went up the (gravel) road a whole 1/2 mile for a evening at my Great Aunt Irene’s house. We watched football, played Tripoly and card games, ate all kinds of great tasting, bad for you snacks and welcomed in the New Year watching the Times Square Ball drop on TV with Guy Lombardo singing Auld Lang Syne.

On New Year’s Day, well later the same day, we gathered at my grandparents house for more football, preferably with the Green Bay Packers playing and winning. After huge Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts (and being out late the night before) my grandmother made a couple of simple soups for our meal, chili and oyster stew. Oyster stew was a favorite of my grandfather and I think New Year’s was the only time my grandmother made it because she had to special order the oysters. Oysters were not a common food in the Midwest.

Chili on the other hand was a meal we had frequently. Both my mother and grandmother canned tomatoes in the summer and this was a dish that used them that everyone liked. They mostly canned tomato juice (passing cooked tomatoes through a colander got rid of the seeds and the skins easily) so chili was really a tomato juice based soup. Midwesterners don’t tend to like much heat in their food and the chili was mild. If I remember correctly, my mother used about 1 tsp. of Shillings chili powder mix in 3 quarts of chili. This wasn’t powdered chili, this was a mixture of spices like cinnamon, cloves, and a mild chili powder.

I only grow tomatoes for fresh use in my urban garden so I modified my mom’s recipe to use store-bought canned tomatoes. I make my chili chunkier, more like a stew, by using diced tomatoes instead of tomato juice as a base and leaving the other vegetables chunky. I vary the type of beans that I use. My mother used kidney beans but I sometimes use pinto beans or black beans instead. You could even use garbanzo beans to add a cheesy flavor.  I’ve spiced it up a bit by increasing the amount of sweet spices (cinnamon and cloves) but keep the hotness down by adding only a small amount of hot chili powder. I did grow up in the midwest after all.

Mild Midwest Chili

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3  14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1  14 ounce can kidney, pinto or black beans
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. whole mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes or powdered chili (optional)
  1. Brown ground beef in 4 quart pan.
  2. Add celery, onion and pepper and saute with beef.
  3. Add tomatoes and beans including liquid in cans.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes.

{ 0 comments }