Spiced Chestnut Soup

Spiced Chestnut Soup

 

 

Fall is here and certain flavors are starting to be used in everything from coffee to dish soap. Yes, I am speaking about the omnipresent Pumpkin Spice. It is everywhere.

But it is not here. Nope. Not happening on this blog.

But I know Fall is about so many other flavors.

Like chestnuts.

I love chestnuts. When I lived in NYC and the chestnut roasters would set up on the street corner, the smell would entice me like no other. Except the smell of those sugared cashews and almonds, which would bring me to my knees. But, I digress.

Chestnuts are available now already steamed and peeled, packed in jars and vacuum sealed bags. It could not be easier to use chestnuts in your everyday life, not just for that Thanksgiving stuffing. I buy them all the time, but you haven’t seen a lot of recipes using chestnuts because I tend to eat them straight out of the container. By the time I come up with a recipe to try, I have already eaten them all! sigh. . .

Chestnuts are generally a seasonal item. but if you buy the jarred or vacuum sealed bags they will last for many months. Stock up when you see them. That way, when you want to make this soup in the Spring, you are ready!

 

Spiced Chestnut Soup

 

Spiced Chestnut Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 13 ounces steamed and peeled chestnuts roughly chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock preferably homemade or low sodium
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  1. In a soup pot over low heat, melt the butter.

  2. Add the onion, salt, thyme, paprika, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.

  3. Add the chestnuts, stirring to coat them with the spice mixture.

  4. Add the stock and water, raise the heat to high.

  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

  6. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

  7. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. 

  8. Adjust the seasoning as needed and serve immediately.

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

 

When it comes to soups, I love mine chunky. Sure, a velvety Potato Leek Soup, or a Spicy Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup have their place, and are welcome on my dinner table. But I do love a soup with pieces of meat and vegetable floating around in the bowl, like this Hatch Chile Meatball Soup.

My last post was a recipe for a Hatch chile infused chicken stock, which was made specifically for this soup. Fresh Hatch chiles were used to flavor the stock with a slightly spicy and herbal note, and the meatballs use Hatch chile powder for another layer of flavor.

This meatball recipe makes more than you will need for this soup, but they are really tasty on their own. I cooked up some of the batch in BBQ sauce, and baking or sautéing them in bacon fat is also a great way to cook them.  I mean, really, anything sautéed in bacon fat is wonderful.

Hatch Chile Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 36 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons mild Hatch chile powder

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, using clean hands, mix together all the ingredients until combined well.

  2. Using your hands, roll the seasoned meat into golf ball sized meatballs.

  3. Cover and refrigerate the meatballs until ready to use.

 

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Hatch chile chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 Hatch chile meatballs
  • 1/2 pound pee wee Dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 pound baby zucchini stem end trimmed
  • juice of one lime

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, bring the stock and water to a boil.

  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the meatballs.

  3. Cook the meatballs for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes 

  5. Add the zucchini, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

  6. When ready to serve, stir in the fresh lime juice.

Hatch Chile Chicken Stock

Hatch Chile Chicken Stock

 

Sadly, another Hatch Chile season is almost at a close. Hopefully you got your case of Hatch chiles, and had them roasted for you at one of the Melissa’s Produce Hatch Chile Roasting events near you. There are still a couple of events coming up, in case you missed one. This recipe for Hatch Chile Chicken Stock actually calls for fresh Hatch chiles, which you can still find in supermarkets.

Usually a chicken stock is made to be a neutral base, with the essence of chicken being what you taste. That way the stock can be used for sauces, soups, stews or whatever you needed it for. If you already know what recipe you intend to use your stock in, you can layer the flavors of the recipe into your stock base.

Here are a few basic stock additions to consider:

Ginger, lemongrass – Asian dishes

Cilantro, coriander, cumin – Mexican dishes

Cardamom, clove, cinnamon – Indian dishes

Also consider fresh herbs and dried chiles as additions to your stocks for a maximum flavor boost.

I made this stock in my slow cooker, which I do if I am making a smaller amount of stock. When I make my post Thanksgiving turkey carcass stock, I use my 16 quart stockpot and cook it overnight. For this stock, I used a few chicken carcasses I had in the freezer, and cooked it for 24 hours in my 8 quart slow cooker.

If you like to roast chickens or buy quality roasted chicken from your market, save the carcasses after you eat the meat. Pop the bones into a resealable plastic bag, and freeze them. When you have 2-3 frozen, you can make a pot of stock.  If you have any chicken  or turkey necks, throw those in too!

Classic chicken stock is made from raw bones, but you can make a really good stock using roasted chicken bones.

Once your stock is made, if you do not need to use all of it, pour the cooled stock into resealable plastic bags and lay them flat on a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan into the freezer until the stock is frozen. Remove the sheet pan from the freezer, leaving the bags of stock. The flat bags of stock take up less space in the freezer.

Hatch Chile Chicken Stock

Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 quarts

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken carcasses
  • 4 mild or medium Hatch Chiles seeded, cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrots washed and quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 quarts cold water

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken carcasses into a large (8 quart)  slow cooker.

  2. Place the Hatch chiles, onion, carrots, bay leaf and thyme into the slow cooker, tucking ingredients around and on top of carcasses.

  3. Pour the water over the ingredients, adding more if needed to bring the level to the top of the slow cooker.

  4. Set the slow cooker to low, and the timer to 24 hours.

  5. When stock is done, strain the stock into a large bowl or pot through a double layer of cheesecloth.

  6. Place the bowl into an ice bath to cool the stock quickly, then refrigerate until completely cool. 

  7. Remove and discard any fat that has solidified on the surface. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

  8. Use or freeze stock within 2-3 days.

The 24-Hour Wine Expert

24HourWineExpert

I like to consider myself a wine aficionado, although I am probably closer to being a wino. . . I mean a wine lover.

While I was in culinary school, one of my favorite classes was an intensive wine course we were required to take. This class was a combination of lectures, tastings and wine pairings.  My school was located in San Francisco, so we were able to take field trips to the Napa and Sonoma Valley for tastings and meetings with local wine makers. Although I enjoyed wine before, I had no real understanding of wine. This class opened my eyes, and my palate.

In California, you can find great wine being made from the Mexican border all the way up to the Oregon border. I have been to wineries all over this state, and learned through tasting what my favorite wines are. But, while California has many varietals to choose from, the reality is that wine is produced all over the world and has been since biblical times. And learning about wines from other countries can be daunting, especially if you aren’t required to take a class, as I was.

That is where The 24-Hour Wine Expert written by renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson comes in. This pocket-size book makes choosing the right wine so simple, even if you are a wine novice.  This book is written for everyone, with no wine snobbery or language that is not accessible.

About the same size as a Kindle or other tablet, this book easily fits in your purse or bag, so taking it with you when you go wine shopping is easy.

Are you having a dinner party? Consult the chapter about Matching Wine to the Occasion.

Don’t know a thing about European wines? Read Wine Regions You Need to Know About – A Cheat Sheet.

Not sure how to store and serve your wines? How to Handle Wine and Essential Hardware are the chapters you need.

From learning about each grape variety to choosing the right bottle, The 24-Hour Wine Expert breaks it all down for you in an unfettered, simple to understand style.

To learn even more about wine and Jancis Robinson, visit her website, where you can find articles, tasting notes and more.

Find links to purchase The 24-Hour Wine Expert here.

 

Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Abrams Books and the Abrams Dinner Party.  I may receive compensation in the form of monetary compensation or product compensation in exchange for my review. I believe in reviewing only products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers. All the opinions are my own.

Vegan 3 Ingredient No Churn Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Vegan 3 Ingredient Coconut Milk Ice Cream

 

 

Only three ingredients? And it is vegan? And you don’t need an ice cream maker? And it actually tastes really, really good?

Yes. This Vegan 3 Ingredient No Churn Coconut Milk Ice Cream is fabulous!

Mix it. Freeze it. Eat it.

This recipe came into existence because of two things. First, I wanted something a little sweet but didn’t want to break out any kind of electrical appliance. Second, I had just been to a lovely luncheon at Melissa’s Produce that featured a demo and menu from Chef Yvonne Ardestani of My Eclectic Kitchen.

Chef  Yvonne develops vegan and gluten free recipes, which even this confirmed carnivore likes. I met Chef Yvonne a year or so ago at another Melissa’s Produce event, and immediately liked her, as she is very warm and personable. No creepy, fake personality and she doesn’t make you feel bad for not being a vegan. Living in Los Angeles you meet a lot of folks who think their chosen lifestyle is THE ONLY LIFESTYLE ANYONE SHOULD HAVE , and then look down their noses at you if you do not adapt said lifestyle. But not Chef Yvonne, though she will tell you of the health benefits and what it has done for both her husband and herself. Now that, I can relate to.

Though a vegan lifestyle will never be one for me, but I have been eating more meat free dishes, mainly for health reasons.  I am using Chef Yvonne’s My Eclectic Kitchen App (which is available for IOS and Android) for plant based recipe inspiration. At the luncheon I was able to sample vegan cheese, meatloaf and some quinoa meatballs that will be made in  my kitchen very soon.

For my sweet treat, instead of pulling out the heavy cream, I pulled out some cans of coconut milk, a vanilla bean and raw sugar to make this easy frozen dessert.

 

Vegan 3 Ingredient Coconut Milk Ice Cream

 

Vegan 3 Ingredient No Churn Coconut Milk Ice Cream
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: about 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cans (13.5 ounce) full fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup raw sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
Instructions
  1. Pour the coconut milk and sugar into a medium bowl.
  2. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into milk. Add the vanilla pod also.
  3. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Refrigerate the mixture for 3 hours to overnight to let the flavors develop.
  5. Remove the vanilla pod from the mixture.
  6. Whisk the mixture to evenly distribute the vanilla seeds, and to add some air to the mixture.
  7. Pour into a large loaf pan and place into the freezer.
  8. After about an hour, stir the mixture.
  9. Return it to the freezer until frozen solid.
Notes
You may substitute the vanilla bean with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract