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.

Summer Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tangerine Hatch Chile Vinaigrette

Summer Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tangerine Hatch Chile Vinaigrette

This has got to be one of my favorite times of the year. Why? Its certainly not because of the triple digit heat or the annual brush fires burning out of control in Southern California.

It is because Hatch Chile season is just around the corner!

Yes, I love Hatch Chile season, because I love chile peppers in all forms. I grow three different kinds of chiles in my little organic garden: Poblano, Shishito and Habanero. I can’t grow Hatch chiles, because they are unique to New Mexico, where they get their one of a kind flavor.

But it is OK that I can’t grow my own, because every year, thanks to Melissa’s Produce, I can go to a local supermarket and get freshly roasted Hatch Chiles by the case! Then all I have to do is clean, pack and freeze them for a years worth of deliciousness.

In fact, you can probably find a Hatch Chile roasting near you! Click here for a listing of chile roasting events all over the country.

Recently, my friend and fellow food blogger Erika Kerekes introduced another flavor in her line of sauces Not Ketchup. With no added sugar, Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup is a great sauce to have in your pantry. Sweetened with only fruit, the addition of Hatch Chile powder adds a lovely and balanced kick to this sauce.

Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup

Tomato season is in full swing, and you can find sweet and juicy tomatoes at your local farmer’s markets, or even your own garden. The minute I tasted Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup I knew the spicy sweetness would compliment summer tomatoes. So I made a fat free vinaigrette, and added a little extra zing with some ground Hatch chile powder.

I suggest serving this Summer Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tangerine Hatch Chile Vinaigrette with the dressing and seasoning salt on the side. I used Hawaiian black sea salt, but any sea salt will be delicious. I recommend sea salt because of its clean flavor, which will enhance the flavor of the vegetables.

Summer Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Tangerine Hatch Chile Vinaigrette

Don’t hesitate to use this dressing on other vegetables, salad greens or to dress chicken or tuna salad. It is a wonderful way to add flavor without adding extra fat.

 

Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tangerine Hatch Chile Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: ½ cup
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Tangerine Hatch Chile Not Ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon raw sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon lightly chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • ⅛ teaspoon mild Hatch chile powder
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

 

I may receive compensation in either monetary or product form for my recipe development. I take pride in working with products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers.  All opinions are my own.

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Brown Sugar-Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

Brown Sugar-Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

Brown Sugar-Vanilla Frozen Yogurt is actually the ingredient list. Brown sugar + vanilla + yogurt = creamy and tangy goodness.

As I am writing this the temperature outside is nearing 110°, and my entire duct system, furnace and air conditioner are being replaced. Considering the old Day and Night system was new when my parents bought this house 50 years ago, that is a pretty good run for a major appliance!

But, while everything is being installed, we have no AC during a brutal heat wave in the Western states. So, I decided I needed a cold treat for these hot days.

The yogurt I used was a full fat goat milk yogurt, but that can easily be substituted with a lower fat cow or sheep milk yogurt. Just make sure it is plain yogurt with nothing added, just pure yogurt. No sugar, no coloring, no cornstarch, no carrageenan, just pure yogurt.

 

Brown Sugar-Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 quart
Ingredients
  • 1 quart plain yogurt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer of your ice cream maker for preparing to freeze ice cream.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, brown sugar and vanilla until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Pour the yogurt mixture into your prepared ice cream maker, and freeze until the desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Place yogurt into a sealed container and place into freezer until ready to use.