Puréed Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup

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Guys, I’m sick. I caught a beast of a cold earlier this week and I am one grumpy Sara. I’m achy, I’ve been sneezing, and if I’d known this was coming, I’d have purchased stock in tissues. I’ve been spending a lot of time in bed, but I’m awake now and before I head back to the warmth of my blankets, I wanted to share this recipe with you. This soup won’t cure your cold, but it’ll sure make you feel better.

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You Say Potato…

Given that my last post was sans recipe, I thought it only fair to include a recent dish (and its recipe) in this post.  As much as I would have liked, we didn’t just eat brioche for dinner the other night, we had actual food.  And that food was one of the most delicious potato soups I’ve ever eaten.  Normally I don’t gravitate to potato soups or chowders because the ones I’ve eaten in the past have been entirely too chunky for my taste.  Not this one…this one spoke to me on a visceral level.  This soup would end up as a purée, and it had bacon in it!  How could I go wrong?

Not only did this recipe have some of my favorite flavor profiles, but it was also so simple to make.  And I (miraculously) had all of the ingredients on hand!  So, I began the task of prepping my mire poix and peeling my potatoes.  Usually, Scott plays the role of sous chef in our kitchen, but he was busy in the garage building my soon-to-be-awesome custom prep table, so I let his absence slide this time.  Besides, I knew it would please him to emerge from the garage and smell the lovely scent of garlic, rosemary, and onions sautéing away in butter.  

The best part you ask?  Well, in Scott’s opinion, it was the Bacon Vinaigrette.  Clearly.

Potato Soup with Bacon Vinaigrette
adapted from Food52

For the Soup:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced,
1 large (or 2-3 medium) carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced,
1 sprig (1 tablespoon) fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
3-5 medium Russet potatoes (weighing in at least 2 pounds), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (I used my homemade)
1 cup lowfat sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

For the Vinaigrette:

3-4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
3 scallions, finely sliced
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar (you could also use white wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch Kosher salt
pinch freshly cracked black pepper

Method:

Add butter to stock pot  and melt over medium-high heat.
Add carrots, onion, celery, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Sauté veggies until onions are soft, roughly 8-10 minutes.
To that, add the potatoes and stock.  Cook on medium-high until potatoes are very tender, roughly 20-25 minutes.
Turn off heat, add sour cream (or yogurt) and puree with immersion blender (or in a regular blender) until smooth.
Stir in champagne vinegar. 
Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

To make vinaigrette: 

Cook bacon until crispy and let drain on paper towel. 
In a small bowl, combine bacon, scallions, vinegar, salt, and pepper. 
Add oil and stir to combine.
Top bowls of soup with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette.


Squash, Bacon, and Lobster (Oh my!)

I’m a fan of soup.  A big fan.  Anything that requires slow simmering and very little attention on my part is a good thing.  And when I think of Thanksgiving, I always think of butternut squash, so naturally, I thought I would throw together a butternut squash soup for our first course.  Then I asked myself, “What could possibly make a luscious soup such as this even better?”  My answer?  Bacon and lobster, of course!

Although they are a pain to peel, the flavor of a butternut squash is well worth the effort.  I chopped it up along with an onion and garlic and tossed them all together with olive oil and the rendered fat from the bacon.  To that, I added minced sage, thyme, and a few whole bay leaves.  After a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper, I roasted them in a 450º oven for just under an hour, stirring them halfway through to ensure even roasting.

Despite the state of our house (we’re still living out of the basement due to floor refinishing) I was still thrilled to be cooking for our Thanksgiving.  The roasted veggies smelled amazing and in the meantime, I prepped the lobster tails.  It was quite simple, really.  I just snipped up the sides of the lobster tail and snipped up the belly side of the shell, removing it and exposing the flesh.  A little salt, pepper, and olive oil and voilà

I wrapped the lobster tails in foil packets and after the butternut squash mixture was sufficiently roasted, I removed it, and into the oven they went!  Before I knew it, the soup had been puréed, the lobster was done, and it was only 1:00pm!

The finished product with lobster pieces.  Delicious!

As if one dessert wasn’t enough, I went ahead and put together a quick apple tart.  I’ve made them before, but usually labored over the pastry…not this time!  No way!  Into the freezer I went and Eureka! I had a package of puff pastry!  This apple tart is the simplest way to serve a fruit dessert and if you have the right ingredients: apples, puff pastry, butter, and sugar, you should be in business!

I tossed my peeled and cored apples with a few tablespoons of sugar and a few tablespoons of brandy, but the alcohol isn’t necessary.  We all know I like hooch with my food, and I feel that brandy adds a nice element to an apple dessert.  I then layered the apples on the puff pastry, sprinkled it with more sugar, and dotted the apples with cubed butter.  After about an hour in the oven, it was golden brown and gorgeous! 

All in all, I think this non-traditional Thanksgiving went off without a hitch.  Pat prepared a standing rib roast with roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, and fingerling potatoes.  And Holly prepared a lovely scalloped celery root dish with bacon.  It was a nice change to spend the holiday with close friends and I hope we can all do it again soon. 

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