{Rachael Ray’s Autumn Beef Stew With Apple, Onion and Roasted Garlic}

Beef Stew

Apparently it’s turning into soup week here on the blog! Which totally makes sense because its been so cold and rainy here on the central coast this past week… At least in my mind, I guess, if not in reality.

We actually made this soup, or stew rather, for Christmas dinner and I’ve been meaning to share it with you for awhile now, but I got a little distracted in the process. But there’s no time like the present, I suppose! As you know, I try not to each much meat (although I seem to be getting talked into it more and more these days), but this sounded too good to pass up. As a self-proclaimed soup addict, beef stew used to be one of my favorite things to make/devour, so I guess it wasn’t too much of a stretch to indulge myself. And it was Christmas after all!

The most interesting thing about this beef stew, and what I think makes this soup so special, is that you actually make mashed potatoes and serve the soup along side them for an extra hearty meal (see picture above). It reminded me of being in London again in a dark, wooded bar and ordering bangers and mash smothered in gravy on a cold night.

The recipe itself is by Rachael Ray and was featured on the Dr. Oz show in December.

Check out the recipe on his website:

Beef Stew

Rachael Ray’s Autumn Beef Stew With Apple, Onion and Roasted Garlic Recipe


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{Split Pea Soup with Apples}

Pea Soup and Panini

Since the first soup we made out of Anna Thomas’s Love Soup was such a success (albeit a bit labor intensive!), I was excited to try the second soup in the book that caught my eye: “Carol’s Finnish Pea Soup with Apples.” This soup sounded interesting for several reasons. First, the name–who wouldn’t be enticed with title like that? Second, the ingredients: split peas and frozen green peas, dijon mustard, and an apple–I was intrigued!

Learning from my past mistakes, I actually read the entire recipe before starting this time and decided to pre-chop and pre-measure everything before beginning, which, strangely enough, made the entire process a whole lot easier. Funny how that happens. Also, this recipe is much more traditional throw-everything-into-a-pot-and-let-it-simmer kind of soup which helped the process just a bit.

Of course, you’re not getting away that easy: there were a few additional steps required! I was pretty excited about one of them: peeling and coring the apple. Now, you could just do this the boring way and use a peeler and a knife and all. Or you could use one of these.

Apple Corer

Honestly, using my apple corer was probably the main reason I chose to make this recipe. I love it! We used to have them at the preschool I went to and I’ve been in love with them ever since. All you have to do is crank the handle and the machine magically creates a fun peeled and cored spiral apple. Cool, right? The corer is also a great time saver for making apple pies or a fun kid friendly kitchen activity. Or just entertaining to use if you’re a nerd like me. They’re not that expensive either!

Apple Corer

Anyway, when you can peel (cracking myself up here) yourself away from the apple corer, the soup itself is pretty quick and easy to make. See the brown ball-shaped things in the soup? Those would be the coriander seeds you were supposed to toast and then grind. But since I don’t have a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, I just decided to throw them all into the soup which makes for quite the burst of flavor when you bite down on one! Note: I have since ordered a mortar and pestle ;)

Pea Soup

Jeff and I had also received a cast iron griddle and griddle press for Christmas, so we decided to make paninis with fresh homemade foccacia. This is what happens when I have too much time on my hands!

Griddle and Press

Foccacia is one of the easiest breads to make and only requires a short rise–about 1 hour.

Foccacia

For the paninis themselves, we just added whatever we had in the fridge that sounded good: brie, marinated artichoke hearts, marinated red peppers, basil with a good ol’ garlic lemon aioli. A lot like these actually. The griddle press was pretty fun to use too!

Panini

Can you tell this meal was all about fun kitchen gadgets?

Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup with Apples

Makes 6-7 servings

Adapted from Anna Thomas’s Love Soup

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

1.5 cups dried split peas

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 medium stalks celery, diced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 large onion, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 teaspoons sea salt

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced

12oz fresh or frozen green peas

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Steps:

Rinse the split peas and add them to a large pot along with the carrots, celery, thyme, bay leaf along with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for about half an hour.

Heat up 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and saute, stirring often, until the onion is aromatic, soft, and light brown, about 3-4 minutes.

Add to the onion to the soup along with the apple and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

At the end of the 15 minutes, add the remaining ingredients: peas, coriander, mustard, cider vinegar, broth, cayenne, and pinch of salt.

Finally, let the soup simmer for another 15 minutes to let the ingredients incorporate fully. Just before serving, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil (Note: this step makes a huge difference in the flavor, don’t skimp!)

Serve with paninis or bread or whatever, and enjoy!

Total time: 1 hour

{Black Bean Soup}

Black Bean Soup

It appears that summer is back on the central coast. I’ve spent the last few days walking on the beach, reading in the delightful sun, and deep cleaning my house. Nothing like a little tease of sunshine to bring on early spring cleaning! And at night, I’ve been pushing that sunshine out of my mind and pretending like it’s the deep winter again (well, as deep as it gets around here!), so I can get in my soup making mentality. You see, for Christmas, my mom got me this:

Love Soup

Love Soup by Anna Thomas, who originally wrote Vegetarian Epicure. The book has 160 vegetarian and vegan soups–right up my alley! I love, love, love making soup. It’s so comforting and peaceful and usually you just have to saute a few things and throw them into a big pot together all day. Well, that’s what I thought anyway, until I picked this soup as my first to try: Spicy Black Bean Soup with Sweet Peppers.

Me, well, being me, I didn’t quite read all of the instructions before starting cooking at 4:30 only to later realize how long and involved this soup making process was going to be. A bit of advice: always read the entire recipe before you begin! But you knew that, I’m sure. And maybe not make another crazy meal the night after you make something like this. Just saying. But as labor intensive as this soup was, it was totally worth it. In fact, I think it was one of the best soups I’ve ever made or maybe that I’ve ever had. Really!

Here’s a brief overview of the process.

First, you combine dried black beans, water, onions, and garlic in a large pot and let simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

Black Bean Soup

Meanwhile saute carrots, celery, onion, and garlic with a little olive oil until they brown, about a half hour then add to the soup.

Black Bean Soup

Char 2 bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green on your stove top if you have a gas stove, or in the broiler if you don’t. Sweat them in a paper bag for a few minutes, then remove the skin, chop, and throw in the soup.

Make an Ancho and Guajillo puree by boiling them in water for for a half hour with some garlic, then blend, and add to soup.

Black Bean Soup

Finally toast some cumin seeds and add them to the soup along with vegetable broth, cilantro, and lime juice.

Black Bean Soup

Oh, and make some cornbread while you’re at it.

Cornbread

We made it! But seriously, you should make this–it’s worth the effort, I promise.

The recipe below is how I made it, tweaked a bit from the original. For example, Thomas argued for the inclusion of the Mexican spice epazote in the recipe but, alas, I could not find it at any of my usual haunts. I’ve never used it before, so I have no idea how much this changed the soup.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Adapted from Love Soup by Anna Thomas

Makes 7-8 servings

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup dried black beans

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

2 large stalks celery, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large bell peppers, 1 red and 1 greed

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

2 cups vegetable broth

1 small bunch cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons ancho chile puree (2 dried ancho chiles + 1 dried guajillo chile + 2 cloves garlic + sea salt)

Steps:

Rinse beans and place in a large pot with about 10 cups water with half of each of garlic and onions. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook, covered, until beans are soft, about 1 to 2 hours. Add a pinch of salt when the beans are soft

Heat oil in a large pan. When the oil is hot, add the carrots and celery along with the remaining onions and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, about half an hour. When they are done, add to the pot of beans then deglaze the pan with a little bean broth.

Char the bell peppers either on the flame of you gas stove top, in the broiler, or in a 450 degree oven, until the skins are blackened. Place blackened peppers in a paper bag and sweat for a few minutes. Remove the peppers’ skins then core and seed, cut into 1 inch pieces, and add to the soup.

Make your ancho/guajillo chile puree by combing chiles, garlic, and sea salt in a small pot with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer, allowing to cook for about half an hour. Let the mixture cool a bit then blend into a thick sauce.

Toast the cumin seeds lightly then grind and add to soup along with the ancho/guajillo chile puree and vegetable broth.

Chop 1/2 of the cilantro and mix into the soup, saving the rest for garnish.

Finally, let the soup simmer for another 20 minutes or so then add a bit of lime juice and more salt, if needed,

Enjoy!

{Minestrone Soup}

Minestrone Soup

I’d been craving Minestrone Soup for awhile now and this past week, we finally had the perfect type and amount of leftover veggies from our CSA box to make it. Minestrone is the perfect solution for when you realize my vegetables are wilting and I need to use them or I have way too many vegetables and don’t know what to do with them all because you can really add whatever vegetables you would like to it. We added cauliflower this time!

Veggies

It also makes for great leftovers–I’ll be having it for lunch every day this week! Why is it that you can never make just a little soup?

Also, we used a bean mixture we had with several variety of beans, but you could use any–traditional Cannellini beans would work well.

Check out the pictures for a step by step guide or the recipe below!

Step 1: Heat olive oil in a cast iron pot (or in a separate frying pan if you do not have one–sorry!). Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and cauliflower and cook until soft and aromatic, about 7-9 minutes.

Step 1

Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Step 1 Part 2

Step 2: Deglaze vegetables with white wine. Add vegetable broth, beans, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.

Step 2

Step 3: Cook covered soup until beans are soft, about 2-3 hours depending on the type of beans. For a faster cook time, use precooked beans.

Step 3

Step 4: About 10 minutes before serving, add pasta and cook until it becomes al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Step 4

Step 5: Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Step 5

Minestrone Soup Recipe

Serves 5

Print recipe!

Ingredients:

1 box (22-24oz) vegetable broth

1 cup Farfalline pasta

1 cup uncooked beans

1 14oz can diced tomatoes

3 cups celery, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 cup cauliflower, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

2 cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs thyme

1/4 cup parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Steps:

Heat olive oil in a cast iron pot (or in a separate frying pan if you do not have one–sorry!). Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and cauliflower and cook until soft and aromatic, about 7-9 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Deglaze vegetables with white wine. Add vegetable broth, beans, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.

Cook covered soup until beans are soft, about 2-3 hours depending on the type of beans. For a faster cook time, use precooked beans.

About 10 minutes before serving, add pasta and cook until it becomes al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Serve warm, and enjoy!