Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Simplest Roasted Chicken with Tabouli Salad, Cream of Asparagus Soup, Onion and Almond Soup with Saffron and a Simple Light Butternut Squash Soup

I am a self-professed soup snob euphmistically referred to as a soup enthusiast. As a child, my Granny home-made us all of our baby food thus creating some pretty sophisticated soupies out of her grandchildren. I carried on the tradition with my children and therefore they too can distinguish "bad" soup from "good" soup. The soups on this week's menu are unique, flavorful and have been approved by yours truly. Here we go.....

1. Simplest Roast Chicken with Tabouli Salad

Yield 4 servings
Time 50 to 60 minutes
Mark Bittman
  • 1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put a cast-iron skillet on a low rack in the oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Rub the chicken all over with the oil and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.
2. When the oven and skillet are hot, carefully put the chicken in the skillet, breast side up. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until the bird is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh reads 155 to 165 degrees.
3. Tip the pan to let the juices flow from the chicken’s cavity into the pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Carve and serve.
recipe found on Heartland Bulgar Wheat box or dailyunadventuresincooking.com 

(8 servings)

1 cup bulgur
2 medium tomatoes
1/2 English cucumber(optional)
1/2 green pepper(optional)
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper 
1/2 tbsp oregano 
dash of cayenne pepper 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Put bulgur in a bowl and stir in 2 cups of boiling water. Cover with a plate and let sit for 30 minutes.
While the bulgur cooks you can prep the vegetables. Ideally the tomatoes, cucumber and green pepper are all chopped the same size. When dicing the tomatoes and cucumber first de-seed them. Then chop the green onions very thinly.
Place vegetables in a salad bowl and add parsley and mint. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder cayenne pepper, oregano, salt and pepper. Add dressing to vegetables and toss to combine. Add bulgur to vegetables and dressing and fold to combine all ingredients.Enjoy this simple, refreshing salad with a side of egg salad for lunch or roasted chicken with dinner. 

2. Cream of Asparagus Soup

2tbs butter
2tbsp olive oil

2lbs of green asparagus
1 large onion, chopped 
1/2 cup of diced leeks 
6 cups of chicken broth 
2 egg yolks 
1 cup of heavy cream 
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper 

1. Wash asparagus, snap the tough ends off and cut a dozen or so tips and set aside. Chop the rest of the asparagus. In a large pot, heat butter and oil at medium high heat. Once butter starts melting, add onions and leeks to the pot and cook down for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently.
2. Add asparagus, and chicken broth to the soup pot, bring the soup to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Meanwhile, boil 1/2 cup of salted water in a skillet and place spears to simmer for 3 minutes or until bright green and tender. 

3. While soup is cooking, whisk together egg yolks and heavy cream in a mixing bowl. Remove soup from heat and puree in batches using a blender. Return soup to the pot and slowly whisk in cream and yolk mixture. Reheat at low temperature until sufficiently hot enough to serve. Be careful raise the temperature too high when reheating the soup. Too much heat will cause the soup to separate.

3. Onion and Almond Soup with Saffron 

3tbsp butter
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 strands of saffron
2 oz of toasted ground almonds
3 cups of chicken broth
3 tbsp dry sherry
salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped almonds
3 tbsp chopped parsley

1. Melt butter in a heavy soup pot over low heat. Add onions and garlic, stir to distribute butter evenly, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Onions should be soft and golden yellow in color. Add saffron strands and cook uncovered for 3 minutes. Add  ground almonds and stirring constantly cook for another 2 minutes.
2. Pour in stock and sherry and season with pepper and salt. Bring soup to a boil and lower to a simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Process soup in a blender in batches, return to pot and and reheat slowly.
4. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped almonds, parley and a few saffron strings.

4. Butternut Squash Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 med onion
1 large celery stock
1 large carrot
2 med yukon gold potatoes
1 med butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
32 oz of MSG free chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1. Heat butter in a soup pot and add onion, celery and carrot. Cook down veggies for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, squash and chicken stock, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover an cook for 40 minutes or until squash has softened.

2. Process soup in blender, return to pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into individual bowls, top with freshly ground nutmeg and serve immediately.

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