Lisa Gagnon made this soup a couple of weeks ago for the musicians performing at Fiddleheads Saturday Market. It’s dairy-free, possibly vegan and gluten-free depending on what brand of bullion cubes you use; it gets it’s incredibly rich and creamy texture from pureeing most of the cooked mixture before serving. She doesn’t measure out the herbs so add to taste as she does.The ingredient amounts here are halved from the original recipe, which filled a very large soup pot.
If you prefer, substitute the water and boullion cubes for store-bought or homemade organic vegetable broth. You could also use more mushrooms than called for, and/or substitute another variety: shiitake, oyster, etc. (Don’t use portobello as they would most likely lend an unpleasant color.)
LISA GAGNON’S BROCCOLI & MUSHROOM SOUP (NON-DAIRY)
2 medium-large onions, chopped
1/2 head garlic, coarsely minced or crushed
Olive or Safflower Oil, enough to coat bottom of pan
1 bunch broccoli, stems chopped
6 ounces white button or crimini mushrooms, sliced or chopped
Fresh or dried herbs to taste: rosemary, thyme, oregano
2 Veggie Gourmet (or your favorite brand) boullion cubes
In a saucepan or soup pot sautee the onions and garlic with olive oil over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft. Add sliced mushrooms to pan and lightly sautee until tender, about five minutes or less. Add the broccoli, stems and flowerets, to the pan and just enough water to cover broccoli; do not use more than that or your final product will be too thin. Stir in boullion cubes and herbs to taste, and simmer until broccoli stems are tender, stirring occasionally. Adjust herbs as necessary.
When the broccoli is tender, hold some of the flowerets and chunks aside; if you use more mushroom than the recipe calls for, hold some of the slices aside as well. Puree in the remainder in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary. Add the reserved vegetables back in the mixture. Can be served hot or cold.
The lovely ladies of our Produce Team: Amelia Lord, Sue Guida & Wendy Jakobski at the Mystic Marriott, 04/16/12. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Jakobski.)
On Monday Chef Paul Krawic invited Fiddleheads to do a tasting at the Marriott in New London to sample the Produce Dept's wares. Richard Virgin, Wendy Jakobski, Sue Guida and Amelia Lord were the "prep chefs" for the evening. Dishes sampled included a vegetarian stiry fry done by Richard, Sue's wheatberry salad, and sweet potato-lentil stew from Alicia's Silverstone's book The Kind Diet, brought to us by Alison La Bella.
Sue told us her recipe for wheatberry & fruit salad came from Cooking Light Magazine, April 2010**; she has made it with and without the goat cheese listed, and each versions has it's devoted partisans here at the co-op. In other words, it's delicious either way, and the folks who got to taste it Wednesday night at the hotel certainly agreed.
Amelia, Sue and Richard Virgin "represent" Fiddleheads at the Marriott, with humor and style to spare. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Jakobski.)
We had a lot of requests for the sweet potato and lentil stew recipe from folks who sampled it that night, and we promised to share it here:
Alicia Silverstone's Sweet Potato & Lentil Stew
From The Kind Diet (Rodale Books, 2009)
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced, or 2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tsps. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne
fine sea salt
2-3 medium sweet potatoes,peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
7 cups vegetable broth
1 cup lentils, brown or multi-colored
Heat the oil over medium in a large, deep pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Stir in the tomatoes or paste and ginger and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, and a small pinch of salt. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, then taste for seasonings; try to use only enough salt to heighten the flavors.
Add the sweet potatoes, broth, and lentils. Stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft. Serve on its own, or over rice or couscous.
**Earlier today I listed Women's Day Magazine as the source of the wheatberry salad recipe; Sue corrected me and that has been fixed. -J-
Deborah Hinchey sent me one of her favorite recipes from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook 1 by Hugo Arnold (with Leylie Hayes) for the chain of Avoca shops in Ireland. Department stores that have their own cafe has become a rather "quaint" idea, at least in this country (or at any rate in Michigan where I grew up), although Lord and Taylor's in NYC has a charming cafe (hint for travelers making their first trip to the city: L&T also has restrooms); and Ikea is trying to revive the practice. (If you're willing to set foot in those monstrous, chaotic spaces to begin with. Especially in New Haven, where dining options are so plentiful.) Most department stores in this country needn't bother with their own cafes, of course, when the mall itself has a "food court" to serve that need, even if those spaces are rather dismal and serve up standard fast-food fare.
I also remember some lovely lunches in a very elegant old-world setting with my mother in the 1980's at Hudson's Department Store in Detroit, Hudson's was the 100+ year old department store that was to Detroit what Macy's is to New York; the company even hosted the big Christmas parade in downtown Detroit that was telecast every Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, Hudson's was bought out, merged with another company and then eliminated altogether and the original downtown store torn down. Gone was the store and gone was the parade; another link to the city's own history, and another bright spot in the year, were eliminated when we perhaps needed them most.
But, I digress....we're here to talk about stew.
The recipe Deb shared, (which is also up on our archive page "Here's Linkin' at You, Kid") is different from most beef and Guinness recipes I've come across in that you do not dredge the meat in flour before you brown it; instead, you use flour to create something of a simple roux or gravy, and that suits me fine. I've never had a positive experience coating beef in flour, when the meat itself browns so beautifully; the flour only seems to create an odd texture and mouthfeel, and if the pan isn't hot enough the flour won't form a proper crust. Four Mile River Farm sells pre-cut stew beef in 1lb packages at Fiddleheads; or try a lean but flavorful cut such as top round, eye of round, sirloin tip; or experiment with FMRF soup shanks or beef ribs.
Across the pond Guinness is not just a beverage but a food (especially in the centuries when both food and water quality were questionable at best), and if you've ever enjoyed a draught you'll understand that it is a meal in itself. If you can’t get a Guinness - or would rather drink it than cook with it - Fiddleheads has regionally-produced porters and stouts, such as Wolaver’s Stovepipe Porter. Deb has only used Guinness in this, but if you give another brew a try, won't you let us know how it came out?
BEEF AND GUINNESS STEW
(From the Avoca Cafe Cookbook written by Hugo Arnold with Leylie Hayes.)
3 lb beef brisket, cut into 2 inch cubes; or pre-cut stew beef (see note)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 heaped teaspoon plain flour
1 pint Guinness
3 carrots peeled and sliced
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 garlic cloved, peeled and crushed
In a heavy skillet, stewpot, dutch oven or casserole dish (Deb’s note: I use my cast iron stewpot), brown the meat in the oil on the stovetop in batches, transferring it to a plate as it is done. Add the onions to the pot and saute for 10 minutes, until they are just coloured. Lower the heat and return the meat to the pot. Add flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes, then stir in the Guinness along with the carrots, thyme, bayleaf and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and bring to simmering point. Cover the casserole and transfer to an oven preheated to 275 degree F. Cook for
1-1/2 hours, until meat is very tender.
Produce team associate Sue Guida was good enough to share her personal recipes for Creamy Tomato Soup after I begged her for the recipe. ("Ain't too proud to beg, sweet darling...") We posted this on the Fiddleheads FB page nearly a month ago, but it's worth revisiting as the weather has taken a definite turn toward something colder and crisper...sorta-kinda-maybe resembling late autumn/early winter. (Maybe.) The recipe incorporates chickpeas rather than dairy products to give it it's texture, and substituting veggie broth for the chicken makes it vegan. (The vegans and vegetarians amongst us already know that, of course; some of us are still finding our way there.) Included is the escarole salad she recommends as an accompaniment; I wasn't going to post the salad recipe here as I thought we weren't carrying any more escarole, until I walked into the co-op today and saw several heads of it that Anita Kopchinski and Bill Sokol had brought us from Hidden Brook Gardens in Ledyard on Friday.
Sue's specialty, IMO, is recipes that are almost Zen-like in their simplicity, no fuss, no frills and nothing unnecesssary. Simple, satisfying and just plain good.
Sue Guida's Creamy Tomato Soup
olive oil for sauteeing veggies
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can undrained diced tomatoes (Muir Glen is good)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2 cups low-sodium, gluten-free chicken (or vegetable) broth
dried rosemary to taste, chopped (or double the amount fresh),
basil and oregano to taste
2 tea. sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in you heavy-bottom pot and saute the onions for a couple of minutes, add garlic and sautee a bit more (do not brown). Stir in the tomato and the drained chickpeas; add the broth, herbs and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Cool enough to handle, then puree in blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to pot and heat through; season with pepper. Escarole or bitter greens salad makes a nice accompaniment.
Note: Instead of dried rosemary you could add one sprig of fresh and not bother chopping; remove before pureeing soup.
Wash as much escarole as you want, drain a little, break it up and put in bowl; sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper. Pour some EV olive oil over escarole. Just as you're sitting down to the table and NOT before that, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the salad. EAT. (The lemon juice cuts the bitterness of the escarole just a bit.)
(Previously posted on Facebook Fiddleheads Food Co-op )
Sue Guida shared this "simple" and lovely recipe for escarole soup, which she adapted from one by Dom Deluise. Yes, I know what mental picture popped in your head when you saw Dom's name : the loveable but VERY overweight actor. Me too. Rest assured Sue's adaption is very heart-healthy. (Substitute gluten-free vegetable broth to make it vegan.) This recipe also solves a problem for those - like me - who've seen the lovely heads of escarole we have from Hidden Brook Gardens and misidentify it as lettuce, or wonder what to do with it otherwise.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 potato, peeled and diced (some of the local potatoes in the co-op would be great for this)
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 good-sized head of escarole, well-washed & coarsely cut
good-quality freshly-grated parmesean cheese or vegan substitute (optional)
In soup pot heat olive oil and gently brown garlic (do not burn). Add prepared onion, carrots and potato if using (which breaks up and thickens the soup nicely.) After 1 minutes add the broth; add chopped escarole, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 1 hour. Serve sprinkled with grated cheese. Have some hot italian bread on the table.
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Text and photos copyright 2011-2013 Janice Janostak unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.