The Winter of 2011 may be the best winter you’ve had in a long time or the worst winter you’ve had in a while. This, of course, all depends on who you are and how much you love the cold, the snow and spending lots of time out in it! While these last few years in Maine have helped me learn to enjoy Winter and all that comes along with it (I’m about to buy my first pair of snowshoes!) the real reason I’ve learned to love this cold dark season has less to do with what I can do outside and more to do with what I can put inside- that is I mean, all the good food I can eat!
Over the years I have found Winter to be a great time to treat myself to the foods I love. It helps of course, that I love hot food! And working with the Nutrition Center has exposed me to many delicious and hearty recipes that help take the chill away while keeping my body healthy enough to fight off the colds that seem to linger behind every snow bank. Whether it is a group of us is sitting together sharing a pot of Farmhouse Beef Stew at our Adult Cooking Class or a handful of staff and volunteers serving up 100’s of bowls of French Onion Soup at our Winter Farmer’s Market, we love to share recipes that not only taste great but are good for the body and the soul. So read on if you’d like to serve yourself up something warm this season. And when you’re done cooking, make sure to pass the recipe on and invite a friend to join you.
12 Servings – 40 min 10 min prep
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onions, chopped small
1 large carrots, diced
1 large celery ribs, chopped small
1/2 package mushrooms
½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
8 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium)
14 fluid ounces canned tomatoes, mash and include liquid
8 fluid ounces canned red kidney beans, including liquid
¼ cups pearl barley
1 large potatoes, cubed ½ inch
½ tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoons curry powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cups chopped kale or spinach
½ tablespoon soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoons dried dill weed
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
In a heavy bottom cooking pot, add olive oil, chopped onions, sliced carrots, chopped celery, mushrooms, garlic powder and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently. Add water, vegetable broth, mashed tomatoes including liquid, kidney beans, barley, cubed potatoes, basil, vegetable soup base, curry and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until barley is barely tender. Add soy sauce and dill weed; cover and simmer another 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender; stirring a few times during cooking. Adjust seasonings to taste. Remove from heat when done and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. When serving, stir in 1 teaspoon of grated parmesan cheese into each bowl. Refrigerate any unused portion of soup or freeze for future use!
Healthful Hint: Add any veggies you like! (i.e. green beans, corn, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower). Using frozen vegetables will save you money and time!
Culinary Hint: For a full bodied soup, finish off with a couple of Tablespoons of sherry or cooking wine and a teaspoon or two of Worchester sauce.
Curried Pumpkin Apple Soup
6-8 servings – 50 min 10 min prep
4 tablespoons butter, broth, or water
1 cup onion, chopped
3-4 apples, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
2 cups broth
1 ½ cups apple cider (or apple juice)
2 cups pureed pumpkin (or canned pumpkin)
1 cup light cream or milk
¼ teaspoon maple syrup
In large saucepot, melt butter (or broth).
Add onions, apples, and garlic.
Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add spices, cook for 1 minute.
Add broth and cider. Boil gently, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes.
Stir in pumpkin. Cook for 5 minutes.
In batches, puree in a blender or food processor.
Return to saucepan, add cream and syrup.
Mix well and heat until warm.
Helpful hint: When using fresh pumpkin, bake in casserole dish with enough water to cover the bottom. Cut pumpkin in half (remove seeds) and cook until soft. Let cool, remove inside of pumpkin and cook down (to remove excess water) by heating medium saucepan and stirring constantly until water has been removed.