Mexican Black Bean Soup with Sausage Recipe

Mexican Black Bean Soup with Sausage
It’s been a roller coaster of spring-like temperatures and freezing, regular February temperatures around here the last few weeks. That plus the lovely no six diet (no: dairy, wheat,eggs, fish, soy or peanuts) diet I’m on to help baby A’s digestive issues means we’ve had to get very creative with dinners. Luckily for me, J has taken the changes to our culinary repertoire in stride and has come up with a lot of alternatives to our favorite dishes. He found this lovely one from Food and Wine magazine.  Since I was baby A wrangling, I only got a picture of the finished product.

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Mexican Black Bean Soup with Sausage Recipe
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
  2. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and the chipotle or ground chipotle, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the black beans and chicken stock and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
  5. Using a potato masher, coarsely crush some of the beans (we skipped this step).
  6. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over high heat.
  7. Add the sausage and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the sausage to the beans.
  9. Then add the lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Simmer the soup for 2 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, or longer if you'd like!
  11. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve, passing the sour cream and lime wedges separately.

My opinion:
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this ended up being very filling and just the right amount of heat to warm me from the inside. It’s absolutely a soup we will add to the rotation, even once we (hopefully!) can start adding the no items back to my diet.

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Langlois Andouille Cornbread Stuffed Green Pepper

 

On a recent visit to New Orleans, J and I got to take a cooking class at the amazing Langlois Culinary Crossroads. The very appropriate slogan is “decadent with no apologies” and that proved more than true during our class. We made several wonderful dishes, including an Andouille Cornbread Stuffed Artichoke. Unfortunately, the artichokes at home, didn’t quite look as good. Luckily, Chef Amy told us about 15 ways to use the same stuffing/dressing and we improvised stuffing a green pepper instead.

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Langlois Andouille Cornbread Stuffed Green Pepper
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. If not using pre-made cornbread, bake the cornbread according to package instructions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the andouille until browned.
  3. Then add the onions, bell pepper and celery (the holy trinity) and the garlic until the vegetables are wilted. Add the pinches of Emeril's essence cajun seasoning to taste. You want it to be a little red. That's from the paprika, not the cayenne, so don't panic. Remove from heat and add cornbread, parsley and green onions.
  4. Mix well and allow to cool. Add the cheese and mix again. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add chicken stock a little at a time to make it more like a dough (it should stick together). Stuff the peppers and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

My opinion:
I love this super filling dish. It is light enough for a summer meal, but surprisingly filling. Plus, if you have left over mix, Chef Amy suggests freezing it in patties for a nice side dish.

Hot and sour soup

homemade hot and sour soup

J grew up eating the decadent hot and sour soup at King Doh, authentic Peking and Szechuan cuisine. After several years of trial and error, we finally found a recipe that is really close to the original. To celebrate the Chinese New Year last night, we made a big pot.

Ingredients:
2 quarts chicken stock
2 ounces dried black mushrooms (we had trouble finding these and had the must success using fresh shiitake mushrooms)
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red chili paste (in a pinch, we combined Thai chili oil, Sriracha sauce and Hoisin sauce to make a paste)
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 small can water chestnuts (you can buy them already sliced)
1 small can straw mushrooms
18 ounces firm tofu, drained and cubed
three small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons sesame oil
green onion, chopped (to garnish)

Directions:
If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in water according to package directions. Heat oil in wok or large pot. When the oil is hot, add ginger, chile paste and chicken, cook for about two-minute. Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and mushrooms, cook for about a minute. In a bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper and sugar and pour into wok. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes (don’t rush this. The simmering is what seals in the hot and sour flavors). Add tofu and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water and add to soup and cook until thickened (this will make the soup cloudy and thick, but don’t add too much cornstarch or it will gelatinize . Stir soup in one direction to get current going then add beaten egg, it will look feathery. Stir the soup brining the contents from the bottom to the top> Garnish soup with green onion and serve.

My Opinion:
Make sue you leave the soup on low for seconds. The second bowl is always better than the first. The only thing we might add in the future is some shrimp or an onion. The soup is even better the next day!

Here’s a photo of the King Doh version.
King Doh Hot and Sour Soup

Nordstrom Tomato Soup

Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup

We don’t live anywhere near a Nordstrom’s or the next best place for tomato soup, La Madeline.  So we had to find a way to make it ourselves. Luckily, J found this recipe on Food.com. With a few tweaks, we could be back in San Antonio at La Madeline enjoying this soup by their fire.

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 large carrots, diced
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes (84 ounces total) (diced will work too if you have a hard time finding whole, just make sure they aren’t seasoned!)
1 quart chicken stock (it’s better with stock but broth will work in a pinch)
1 pint heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add carrot and onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes, then add basil and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more. Add tomatoes (including juices!) and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.

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Allow the soup to cool somewhat, then purée until smooth in a food processor (Trust me, it’s much easier than in the blender).

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We skip this step because we don’t mind a few chunks, but if a smoother texture is what’ you’re after, strain the purée before returning to the pot.

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Add cream little by little over low heat, stirring gently. Do not boil it! Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm.

My opinion:
This makes more than we could ever eat, but it freezes beautifully and reheats wonderfully over the stove or in the crock pot. We’ve made this four or five times and it never disappoints. With a side of grilled cheese this is the perfect comfort food.

Green Chicken Enchiladas


Using the tomatillo salsa recipe as a base, we made these amazing Green Chicken Enchiladas. While a bit time consuming, the recipe makes more than enough to freeze half and reheats very well. If you plan to freeze, just leave off the cheese!

Ingredients:
1/4 to 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa (for the chicken mixture), plus 1/4 for the bottom of the pan and about 1/2 to 2/3 cup for the top (under the cheese)
2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium Onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
1/4 cup All-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
Chopped cilantro leaves
3 pounds boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 large Flour tortillas (we used the burrito sized ones)
1/2 pound Monterey Jack (or Mexican blend) cheese, shredded
2 cups Sour cream, if desired
Chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves for garnish, if desired

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast chicken in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until cooked though.  Let cool and then shred.  Set aside. For more flavor, season the chicken with salt, pepper and cumin prior to roasting.  While the chicken is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized , approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for another minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn’t burn.  Gradually add the chicken stock. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add 1/4 cup of the tomatillo salsa and some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

To make the Enchiladas, take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Mix the salsa, cheese and the chicken mixture together in a bowl.  Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix  in an Enchilada. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll to enclose it. Place the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all eight tortillas. Finally pour the reserved enchilada sauce and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish with cilantro and tomato, sour cream and guacamole if desired.

My opinion:
Perfect for a hot, summer evening.