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Posts from the ‘Soup’ Category

Spanish Pea Soup with Crispy Ham


Oh, March…you don’t really belong to winter…and yet you’re not a full-fledged spring month either.  Sigh…

I don’t know about you, but this time of year, I start craving all things spring.  Ramps, fiddleheads, greens, onions and asparagus, but there is one vegetable in particular that I look forward to the most.  Spring peas.  I think my devotion to the fresh-from-the-garden-spring-peas comes from disliking all peas that were placed in front of me before sometime in my mid-twenties…and is most likely related to the fact that 99% of those were of the frozen or canned variety.

Here’s a revelation.  This Spring Pea soup can be enjoyed any time of year.  Let me say that again, you can enjoy the delightful crisp and sweet taste of spring peas any time you feel like it.  Herein lies the genius of this Spanish Pea Soup with crispy ham and the Barefoot Contessa!  So even if it is still dumping snow in your neck of the woods…it can be springtime in your mouth!

Spanish Pea Soup with Crispy Ham

Good olive oil
½ cup chopped shallots (2 large shallots)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 pounds frozen peas, such as Bird’s Eye Sweet Garden
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thin slices Spanish Serrano ham or Italian prosciutto

In a deep (8 x 5-inch) heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock, frozen peas, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until coarsely pureed, season to taste.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the ham in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, until crisp.

Reheat the soup and serve in shallow bowls with a slice of crispy ham on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve hot.

The ham is an integral part of this dish…a nice salty and crunchy complement to the sweet peas.  We opted to serve some crusty bread alongside and we couldn’t resist yet another Barefoot Contessa recipe for Garlic Roasted Cauliflower to make the dinner a bit heartier.

This is so simple, quick and fresh that it makes a perfect weeknight meal, and leftovers are wonderful, even served cold for lunch with a dollop of creme fraiche and of course the drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt!

What is your favorite spring craving?

 

 

Ina’s Winter Minestrone with Garlic Bruschetta


A few weeks ago, I proclaimed this soup one of the best (especially for a brothy soup) soups I’d ever put in my mouth.  I am not joking.  I almost licked the Tupperware clean a week later after I ate my 7th lunch of reheated soup.  The photos are not my finest work – straight from the iPhone as we had company over when I made it and I didn’t stop and take photos before serving.  However, the recipe was too good to just post as a ‘Dinner Last Week’ photo post.

When it comes to soup…I tend towards the creamy or puréed ones.  Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had a minestrone that I had any interest in eating again.  I actually surprised myself AND Woody when I mentioned this was one of the recipes I wanted to make first out of my latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook – Foolproof.  The mixture of pasta, white beans, spinach added at the last second, a dollop of pesto, the richness of parmesan and the butternut squash is so savory and flavorful and perfect for a winter evening…even a mild California winter evening.

I made the recipe exactly as written and the only thing I might change is to add a bit more pancetta.  I thought for sure that the leftovers would be good…but expected the pasta to be blown out from continuing to soak up liquid and the wilted spinach to turn to mush…surprisingly, it held very well.  My mouth still waters thinking about this soup…I’d be surprised if I can wait another month to make it again.

Winter Minestrone with Garlic Bruschetta

from Ina Garten’s “Foolproof Barefoot Contessa”

Good olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, ½-inch-diced
1½ cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (½-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups (½-inch) diced celery (3 stalks)
2½ cups (½-inch) diced peeled butternut squash
1½ tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
26 ounces canned or boxed chopped tomatoes, such as Pomi
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti (see note)
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
½ cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
Garlic Bruschetta (recipe follows)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more chicken stock. Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.

Serve large shallow bowls of soup with a bruschetta on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and serve hot.

Garlic Bruschetta

1 baguette
Good olive oil
1 garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Slice the baguette at a 45-degree angle in inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Take the slices out of the oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic.

 

ps:  This recipe is all over the internet, pinterest, etc.  Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks it is absolutely delicious.

 

 

2011 Meals in Review | part one


As I’m a bit behind these days, I noticed while perusing my photos from the past year in search of a couple photos for a new year’s card to send out, how many delicious moments we had in 2011.  What follows is not only what we made, but what we enjoyed! 

The delicious moments of 2011…


January

Rosemary Sea Salt Dinner Rolls (recipe credit: Pioneer Woman)

Creamy Pheasant and Wild Rice Soup

Orechiette with Pheasant, Bacon and Spinach

Butternut Squash, Shallot and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pot Roast…good the first time, better the second…

Cumin-scented Butternut Squash with Onions and Wild Rice

Pot Roast Ravioli

Homemade Fettuccini

Boboli’s done right…!  (yes, you are correct…that is an egg cracked on top peeking out from underneath the arugula and parm!

 

February

yummm…pancakes

Delicate Scrambled Eggs with Truffle Salt

A Birthday dinner at Bouchon

Cod Brandade with Tomato Confit and Fried Sage Leaves

Frisée aux Lardons et Oeuf Poché

Croque Madame

Back at home…Cheese Soufflé

Lump Crab Cakes

Valentine’s Day Cheese Fondue

Tempura and Cold Soba Noodles

Baby Artichoke Gratin (recipe credit: latimes.com)

 

March

Fancied-Up Burgers

Seared Scallops with Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Welsh Rarebit

 

April

April brought with it a trip to Vienna for Woody’s work…

Käsekrainer – near perfect street food

Beef Tartare with all the appropriate accoutrements

Veal Medallions

Finally in the homeland…a full plate of spätzle just for me!

A celebratory meal at Meinl am Graben began with a Veal Carpaccio for Woody

Tortellini with Consommé and Crisped Prosciutto

Honestly…I can hardly remember what exactly this course entailed…but I DO remember that it  was incredibly amazing!

The third course of our prix fixe…again…perfection!

Although I can’t say the name of the place…the fare was delicious

A trip to Vienna without Viennese coffee would be a crime!

Back at home…Pacific Spiny Lobster with Fava Beans and Meyer Lemon

Grilled Cheese Invitational…who says no to that…?

Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes…there were plenty more sandwiches and a lot more cheese, but most disappeared before I could get a shot!

And of course, an annual batch of Deviled Eggs for Easter!

 

May

Fried Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

Onion & Bacon Tart

Minted English Pea & Lemony Feta Crostini

Another birthday was cause for a trip to the Los Olivos region, some wine tasting and of course a meal or two…

Bistro Burger

Spring Vegetable Pot Roast

Ebelskivers

Savory Lentil Salad

House guests meant a trip to the Original LA Farmer’s Market and an Oyster Po’ Boy

June

Chicken Garlic Sausage & Swiss Chard Flatbread

Potato Salad – Two Ways

Poppyseed Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone Frosting

Part two coming soon…

Seared Scallops with Roasted Caulifower Soup, Peppery Olive Oil & Fresh Parsley!


Scallops are like the tenderloin of the sea.  If I spot a seared scallop dish on a menu…it’ll be hard to steer me in another direction.  Seared in butter, with a nutty sweetness and tender texture…I could eat them right out of the pan, but plop them in a delicious soup with a little something extra…and, I’m DONE!  Stick-a-fork-in-me-done!  And just one bowl of soup, simply presented is completely satisfying.

Instructions are simple:

Take one head of cauliflower, cut it up into rough chunks, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 375º oven for 20 minutes, or until brown around the edges and your kitchen smells wonderful.  Prep the scallops by letting them rest on a plate on a counter so they come to room temperature, which helps with sear.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit.  The salt actually helps bring soluble proteins to the surface which will also help develop a nice crust.  Once the cauliflower is cooked, let cool and then toss into a soup pot, add in chicken or vegetable broth to almost cover.  If you want a little more complex flavor, you could sweat some onions in the pot first and then dump the rest in.  Bring it to a boil and then break out your immersion blender.  (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you don’t know what you’re missing…it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances and is a very inexpensive addition to your culinary toolbox.)  Purée the bejeezus out of it…the silkier the better.  And if you really want to get fancy you can break out a chinois, or strainer and make sure you’ve caught any sneaky chunks.  Season again with salt and pepper and any additional flavors you want; truffle salt would be interesting…maybe some smoked paprika…fresh herbs…you could go a lot of directions.  Keep the soup warm and sear the scallops in butter with at least a touch of oil which will help prevent the butter from burning.  When the pan is hot, add in the scallops, and make sure to not crowd the pan.  Leave the little guys be in the pan…don’t move them around, don’t peek underneath.  Just 2-4 minutes on the first side, flip them and cook for another 2 minutes and they will be done.  DO NOT OVERCOOK THE SCALLOPS!  It would be an atrocity of great proportion and the scallop police would come find you, take you away and feed you rubbery overcooked seafood for the rest of your life to prove a point.  Don’t do it!

Portion the soup out into shallow bowls, drop in the scallops, drizzle with a favorite olive oil and finish with a scattering of parsley and just a touch of sea salt!  Voilá!

You can thank me later!

Just Carrot Soup


Soups are simple.  Actually…soups can get very complicated…but most of the time it is unnecessary.  Soups are a peasant food…made with leftovers and bones and carcasses and bits and pieces.  Soups are what you make when you have a few things and you cook them up in a pot of water and add whatever aromatics you might have around.  Lastly, soups are perfect for fall…even California fall.

We had an abundance of carrots.  I suggested a Carrot Ginger soup…and W’s reaction was “…nothing sounds grosser”.  Ummm, really…?  Because it is actually quite a classic combination.  Carrots themselves are sweet and can end up a little like thin, bland baby food if not processed correctly…but okay…no carrot ginger!   Just carrot soup!

Start with carrots.  Lots of them.  Slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices.  No points for prettiness…it will all be puréed in the end.

I start almost all of my soups with a basic mirepoix of the holy trinity – onions, celery and carrots.  Since it is carrot soup…I just upped the carrot percentage.  Of course garlic is great as well.  Heat a large pot, add some olive oil and a little butter and throw everybody in the pool.  I start with the heat on high to jumpstart the veggies and sauté for a few minutes until they are coated and beginning to warm.  Season with salt and pepper and any other herbs you would like to add.  Once the fragrance of all the wonderful things in the pot is wafting through the kitchen…then it is time to add stock, broth or water.  I put just enough to barely cover the vegetables.  Put the lid on and let cook for at least 15-20 minutes so the carrots are tender.

Check the vegetables for doneness, and now it is time to purée.  One of the most useful small appliances I have in my kitchen is my hand-blender.  It’s affordable (models ranging in price from $15.00 to $60.00), saves on dishes (you don’t have to transfer the hot veggies in batches into a blender and then back to the pot), small and compact (perfect for apartments and small kitchens), and is easy to clean.

Use your hand-blender or your counter-top blender (purée in batches), to blend the soup.  At this point you might need to add additional broth or water to get the soup to the proper thickness.  Make sure to correct for seasoning as well.  I typically add a touch of cream or half and half…but if you plan on freezing any of the soup, set that portion aside – the cream won’t freeze well, and you’ll be better off adding it to the soup once you’ve re-warmed it.

A lot of the fun you can have with soups is what you put in them or on them once they’re in your bowl.  Everything from seared scallops, fried herbs, sliced sausages, crumbled bacon, a splash of vinegar or cream, a drizzle of olive oil or a sprinkle of cheese.  We went for simplicity…with a touch of cream, a single leaf of parsley and a few drops of really good Arbequina olive oil.

Serve immediately.  Soups make great leftovers as well…sometimes even better the second day.  Enjoy!

Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz


Summer tomatoes to good to cook call out for a gazpacho…especially this one made with fresh vegetables and puréed with a secret ingredient for creaminess.  Drizzled with a touch of sherry wine and olive oil…it lives up to the promise of being fresh, rich and satisfying.

Following the recipe, roughly chop the vegetables and salt them helping to bring out their moisture.

While the vegetables are getting to know each other, dice the remaining veggies into a brunoise…or small uniform cubes.

Salt these as well, mix together and then set in a colander over a bowl to allow the excess liquid to drain.

Don’t you dare throw out that liquid…now to use the secret ingredient…white bread.  Tear the white bread into chunks and let it soak up all of the vegetable sweat.

Toss the soaked bread in with the roughly chopped vegetables…mix it around…and now it is time to blend.

Use your blender to puree the mixture…make sure that you have as smooth a consistency as possible.  Most likely, you will need to do this in 2 or more batches.

The color is gorgeous and it smells amazing.  While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil which will begin to emulsify the mixture.

Transfer the mixture to a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids by pressing the mixture with a spatula or back of a ladle.

Add the sherry vinegar, minced herbs, season with salt and pepper and add in half of the small diced vegetables.

This is a soup that gets better the longer it sits…all the ingredients and flavors need a chance to marry and connect.  Overnight in the fridge is best, but a couple of hours will do.  Remember to salt and pepper the soup again when it is chilled to make sure the seasoning is correct.  The temperature of the food can greatly affect the seasoning.

If I were serving this in a restaurant, I would bring a bowl to the table with a small pile of diced veggies in the center and a small pitcher full of the soup, and a side plate of the various accoutrements.

Lade the soup around the vegetables.

Finish the soup with a drizzle of Spanish olive oil, and a few drops of sherry vinegar.

Voilá!

Serves 4 to 6.  From Cook’s Illustrated.

For ideal flavor, allow the gazpacho to sit in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Red wine vinegar can be substituted for the sherry vinegar. Although we prefer to use kosher salt in this soup, half the amount of table salt can be used. Serve the soup with additional extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, ground black pepper, and diced vegetables for diners to season and garnish their own bowls as desired.

Ingredients

3 pounds (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes , cored
1 small cucumber , peeled, halved, and seeded
1 medium green bell pepper , halved, cored and seeded
1 small red onion , peeled and halved
2 medium garlic cloves , peeled and quartered
1 small serrano chile , stemmed and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt (see note)
1 slice high-quality white sandwich bread, crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar , plus extra for serving (see note)
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley , chives, or basil leaves
Ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop 2 pounds of tomatoes, half of cucumber, half of bell pepper, and half of onion and place in large bowl. Add garlic, chile, and 1½ teaspoons salt; toss until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Cut remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into ¼-inch dice; place vegetables in medium bowl. Mince remaining onion and add to diced vegetables. Toss with ½ teaspoon salt and transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Set aside 1 hour.
  3. Transfer drained diced vegetables to medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about ¼ cup) and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.
  4. Transfer half of vegetable-bread mixture to blender and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Repeat with remaining vegetable-bread mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil.
  5. Stir vinegar, minced herb, and half of diced vegetables into soup and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours to chill completely and develop flavors. Serve, passing remaining diced vegetables, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and black pepper separately.

Dilled Zucchini Soup with Chicken Sausage


I know you have zucchini and summer squash.  How do I know this?  Because it is the middle of July and you’ve probably planted at least 1 (if not 3) zucchini plants and maybe a summer squash and a few patty pans…?  You watered these plants…and hoped for the perfect amount of sunshine and warmth.  Maybe you were busy for a few days or away for a weekend…and then all of a sudden…unbeknownst to you…your plants have taken over your entire garden…your entire yard…and are pondering what kind of defenses you might have around the house.  You’re also concerned you may have been watering the garden with some kind of superfood…as those zucchini that, last time you looked, were cute and just about ready to pick at 6 inches long…they have now swelled to be somewhere between enormous and unreasonably long and are almost the size of your thigh.  Don’t worry…this happens every summer.  Now you must put these zucchini back in their place…you must use them in all manner and let them know that you’re watching.  You’re keeping your eyes on those zucchini…boundaries have been set.  It’s time to cook.

Unfortunately we didn’t get any zucchini plants of our own in this year…but I can’t resist buying them at every farmer’s market I visit.  Zucchini is summer to me.  My dad used to find 18 ways to use up all of our garden zucchini…and I like every one of them.  Zucchini bread, zucchini sautéed with herbs, zucchini pancakes, grated zucchini, zucchini fritters…the list goes on…and reminds me I’ve got a lot of cooking to do this summer. We needed to use our zucchini and summer squash and decided on a soup…which I promised Woody would be quick…(it’s never as quick as I say it will be – but don’t tell Woody that).

Start with onions (that’s pretty much a rule…start with onions).  Sauté in butter.  We had found these amazing tiny little marble sized potatoes that unfortunately were just a bit past their prime needed to be used.  (Dear Kitchen, please stop making our potatoes sprout within one day of purchase when we store them in a dark cupboard! – any thoughts/ideas/helpful hints/secret passwords are much appreciated)

We boiled the potatoes for 5 minutes…just so they were par-cooked and wouldn’t have to boil in the soup forever.  I threw in some garlic (actually a lot of garlic) and all the sliced and diced zucchini and summer squash we had in the house and some fresh dill.  I let these heat through…tossed ‘em around a bit, seasoned with salt and pepper and then added some water.  I can hear you gasp…”‘water…?  why not broth…?”  I wanted a cleaner flavor, and broth can sometimes take a very light and pure vegetable flavor and bring it down.  Make it feel like a winter soup, heavy and hearty.  And water is just one of those ingredients you’ll never run out of.

Once everything was sufficiently simmered…the immersion blender (quite possibly my favorite kitchen appliance) comes out…and…POOF!  You made soup.  When blending, follow a few simple guidelines.  First, remove your pan from the heat.  Second, make sure there is enough substance to cover the small holes surrounding the blade protector – otherwise, all the time you saved making soup will be spent wiping down every known surface in a 6 foot radius of your soup pot…pour into a smaller pot if necessary.  Third, blend, blend and blend some more…unless you want it chunky – then don’t blend as much.  I love soups that are incredibly smooth and if you plan on enjoying this soup cold…a chunky cold soup can seem wrong.  Fourth, you may need to thin the mixture to get the consistency right…add slowly…as taking liquid out is impossible at this stage.

Now is the time to taste as well…make sure your seasonings are right.  Taste and taste again.  I also added a dash of cream…just for mouth feel really.  And I can’t resist making pretty designs in the soup.

We happened to have some slightly sweet chicken sausages, so we browned them up, sliced them, laid them in a bowl, poured the soup around and POOF!  Dinner.  I garnished with a little fresh dill and some finely diced red bell pepper.

Pretty good for not having planned dinner that night.  This soup is amazing the next day served cold.  I only wish I had had some fresh lump crab meat to pile on or maybe a seared scallop…or even perhaps a ball of fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of olive oil.

Pheasant, Partridge & Wild Rice Soup


This is Cleo – our French Pointer – a bird dog – she’s vicious…not really…she’ll lick your face off, nibble your nose and crawl in your lap.

Cleo

I know…why is our dog making an appearance on our ‘food blog’…because she is an important part of our lives…and important in the grand scheme of things.  I realize that whether she howls in the morning when I’m trying to put pants on is not affecting world peace…however…her role as a bird dog is important in participating in (as much as we can, as an urban LA couple) where our food and meat comes from.

I did not grow up hunting…in fact…I don’t recall seeing a real gun…never mind touching or shooting one, until college for a women’s studies class – a whole other story entirely.  Anyway, guns, hunting, bird dogs…all of these are a bit foreign to me.  But knowing where my food comes from, being capable of participating in the collection of food items (not just veggies…but the animals…and the meat they provide), and preparing them in all different manner; all of these things are very important to me, to us.  Don’t get me wrong…I had my vegetarian years, when my mother insisted I felt bad for the cows; and they may have coincided with my women’s studies years…but I do love me some bacon and it doesn’t get much better than duck fat, so I think I should know, actually I think we all should know, and have an appreciation for, not only where our food comes from but what it takes to get that food from the earth/farm/wilderness/etc. to our table.

Ready for Birds

Over the holidays, we visited my family in Utah and brought Cleo along, my parents cats were nonplussed.  Understanding that we live in LA county, Cleo does not get much of a chance to exercise her little bird-hunting brain very often…although Woody tries hard.  So we made sure to get a day of pheasant hunting in, even if it was a crazy snowy day with very cold and blustery winds; even if I forgot to pack my long underwear because I worked up until a few hours before we packed the car to drive to Utah, and even if, I was sick.

We headed out hoping to get some pheasant and Hungarian partridge…planning on using everything and anything we shot in a delicious soup adapted from a recipe from Woody’s dad, Dennis.  First off, Cleo needed no assistance in bringing in the first of the pheasant’s.  No shots were fired…I repeat, no shots were fired.

It went like this:  a pheasant flies out of a bush…continues to fly out into a field and land about 300 yards away (they don’t like to fly in bad weather…just like Delta’s pilots…they prefer to hunker down); Cleo watches this happen and as soon as the pheasant lands…takes off, bounding and leaping through 2-3 feet of deep snow.  At this particular moment, I was not sure a) what would happen when she got there; b) if she’d be too tired to get back to us; and c) what we were going to do with a live pheasant in Cleo’s mouth.  Oh, but not to worry…a) she pounced and nipped at the pheasant she had a good hold of it; b) Woody met her halfway as he pictured her passing out from exhaustion; and c) no need to worry about c) since Cleo rung the pheasant’s neck all by herself and the pheasant was as dead as a doornail.  So let’s recap – we went hunting with our bird dog who is supposed to POINT at birds she smells…then scare them up out of the bushes, so we can shoot them…and then retrieve them for us…and instead – we went hunting, didn’t fire a single shot, Cleo chased, killed, and retrieved a pheasant and we had at least 1 bird in the bag for our soup.  Luckily, Woody’s a good shot and with some help from Cleo we were able to get a few more…otherwise, it would have been ‘soup for one’…maybe two with small portions.  Here is our final take:  5 Pheasants and 3 Hungarian Partridge!

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Okay…on to the actual cooking part.  The birds were cleaned for us…is a shockingly quick manner, might I add (perhaps a little too graphic this early in the life of this blog…details to come).  All that was left to do was to give ‘em a quick rinse and once over to make sure we removed any shot that could be embedded in the meat.

please excuse the pink plastic cutting board...

We roasted the meat after seasoning it liberally with salt and pepper and giving it a few aromatic herbs.

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I cut up a standard french mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery.Then we cubed the pheasant and partridge, sweat all the veggies, cooked the wild rice in a separate pot until it was al dente…and then the soup really comes together.  I love this soup for many reasons.  It is a great creamy comforting dinner, it gets better the next day and even the day after…and 1 recipe makes a large quantity of soup…it’s like a never-ending soup bowl as the wild rice continues to soak up moisture, so when reheating, it is easy to heat on the stove and add broth to thin it back down to soup consistency.

Sweat the veggies, season, all the cubed partridge and pheasant, combine, season again, add broth and cooked wild rice…add a touch of cream…and Voila!

simple mirepoix, meat, broth and rice

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Puff Pastry and Kale Chips

Pheasant, Partridge and Wild Rice Soup

We topped it with a square of golden puff pastry and kale chips (aka oiled and salted kale leaves that have been roasted until crisp).

the final dish

and those who enjoyed it!

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