Salmon Chowder

A bowl of Salmon Chowder with Bacon
My friend, Chris, accuses me of going into hibernation every year from the Autumn equinox until Spring. I’d protest these accusations, if they weren’t spot on. I’m a Nester by nature and, when the weather chills and the days shorten, my inclination is early evening PJ’s, a fire in the fireplace, sleeping kitties on my lap, a blanket and a tummy-warming bowl of satisfying soup for dinner. This chowder, my first soup of the season, is the precise tool for the job. See you again in March!


Salmon Chowder

You can replace the canned salmon with fresh cooked salmon if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • ¾ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups whole milk (or cream)
  • 1 can (14-3/4 ounces) salmon, drained, flaked, bones and skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) hot sauce, such as Tapatio
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in large saucepan until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper to bacon fat in pan and sauté until softened. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, potato and dill weed, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir in corn, milk, and salmon. Simmer for 10 minutes until heated through. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with reserved bacon.

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White Bean and Spinach Soup

Great Northern Bean and Spinach SoupI’m so intently focused on unique that I sometimes forget how satisfying simple can be. Working from home today, I decided to scent the house with simmering beans, garlic and rosemary – yes, I do realize that it’s August and 110 degrees outside, don’t judge. I turned the slow cooker to “high,” smashed a few garlic cloves, added them to the cooker and allowed the cloves to sputter in a spoonful of duck fat (when you have frozen duck fat, why use olive oil?) until the garlic was just beginning to soften. To that, I added dried Great Northern beans, a sprig of garden rosemary and 2 small Turkish bay leaves. I covered the whole mess with cold water by about 2” and let the slow cooker do its work for the next 3 hours while I cranked out emails. Once the beans were soft and creamy, I liberally added kosher salt and let the beans bubble for another 15 minutes.

I transformed a big ladle-full into a satisfying and healthy soup by sprinkling chopped fresh spinach on the bottom of a bowl and covering it with beans and broth, letting the whole thing sit for a minute or two until the spinach was wilted. The soup only needed a dollop of Greek yogurt and grind of fresh pepper as garnish. And done.

Soup Mondays – Chili

No 2015 resolutions for me. Still, I’m determined to temper 2014’s incessant baking flurry with a healthful alternative. This winter, I’ve implemented ‘Soup Mondays’ in the office through January and conceivably into February, if the project still interests me. In my cookbooks, there’s a dozen or more soup recipes just begging to be tried. For week #1, I elected a hearty chili (maybe not technically soup, but who will argue) adapted from the late Capt. James F. McDonnell and “The Firefighter’s Cookbook” by John Sineno. I finished the chili late on Sunday and, with the Monday morning rush, didn’t have time to snap a photo. This smoky chili smoldering with just a bit of spice was a hit in the office and may make an encore appearance at the new neighborhood Bunko group I recently joined.

Phoren’s Chili
Adapted from James McDonnell
The Firefighter’s Cookbook by John Sineno

1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 ½ T. chili powder
1 T. smoked paprika
1 T. dried oregano
1 T. instant coffee granules
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. cumin
1 ½ c. chicken or beef stock
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can refried beans

Cheese
Green Onions, chopped
Crema

Sauté sausage and ground beef. Once all water from meat has evaporated, add onion and green pepper and sauté until meat and vegetables are brown. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Add tomato paste and sauté until bottom of pan has a golden glaze. Add, chili, smoked paprika, oregano, coffee, sugar, salt, pepper and cumin and sauté until fragrant. Add stock and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan (there will not be much liquid). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 ¼ hours. Check and stir occasionally so mixture doesn’t burn and add additional stock if needed. While meat is cooking combine beans and set aside. After meat is cooked, add beans and heat through. Serve garnished with cheese, green onions and crema.

Phoren’s Pho

These chilly nights have brought my thoughts and cravings from gelato to warm, comforting, Autumn soups.  The season’s first:

Phoren’s Pho

1.5 lb.  bone-in beef short ribs

1.5 lb.  beef shank, cut into 2 or 3 pieces

½         onion, sliced

1          1 inch piece ginger, smashed

½         bunch scallions, white parts smashed and greens chopped

2          garlic cloved, smashed

1          fresh red chile, stemmed and halved

6 c.      water

1/8 c.   soy sauce

2          whole star anise

1          2 inch cinnamon stick

8 oz.    dried flat Asian rice noodles

Mint sprigs, cilantro sprigs, lime wedges

Pat meat dry and brown meat in batches in a soup pot.  Set meat aside.  Brown onion, ginger, scallions, garlic and chili. Add water, soy sauce, anise, cinnamon and meat with juices.  Simmer, covered for 2 to 2 ½ hours.  Transfer meat to cutting board. Discard bone and membrane and cut or shred into small pieces.

Strain broth through a chinois, skim fat, add meat back in and season with salt.  Meanwhile, heat unsalted water in another pot until boiling, remove from heat, add noodles, cover and soften 6-7 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

Place noodles in bowls, add scallion greens, cilantro and mint sprigs.  Ladle in soup and flavor with lime.

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine