Monday, August 6, 2012

Chicken Soups from Around the World!

Over the past year and a half Oliver and I have been working our way through a cookbook that his parents gave us, which was written by their friend, Cat Cohen, titled Chicken Soups from Around the World.  It is a compilation of 52 recipes for soup that contain some form of chicken and are typical for specific nations around the world (and some US regions).  We created the occasion Chicken Soup Wednesdays in an effort to complete one recipe per week (when feasible with our crazy schedules). As we went we colored in a world map that we printed to track our progress.  We also wrote our reviews of each of the recipes in the book and kept track of our favorites.  I wanted to share my top 3 recipes here on the Savory Lab so that you can take a little mini soup trip of your own!


And the gold goes to......


Hunsekjuttsuppe with Apples and Vegetables

This recipe is an easy-to-prepare light meal that balances sweet and savory flavors.  Who knew that apples and leaks would make such good soupfellows.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins

3 Tbls butter
1 leek, white portion only, cleaned and thinly sliced
1carrot, diced
1 parsnip, diced
3 Tbls flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 medium Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled, and sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken meat, diced
Salt and white pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan and slowly saute leek, carrot and parsnip for a few minutes until they begin to soften but do not brown.
Stir in flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until well blended.
Add the broth, stirring vigorously.
Simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until soup is smooth and slightly thick.
Add apple slices and chicken meat, and simmer for about 10 minutes longer.
Season with salt and pepper.


Chicken Soup with Eggplant, Okra & Peanut Butter

My browser took me on a culinary safari to find this delightful soup from the other side of the world.  Smooth or chunky, it’s the peanuttiest.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins

½ onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup eggplant, diced
1 oz olive oil
1 Tbls curry porder
1 tsp powdered chili
2 Tbls tomato paste (or 1 can tomato sauce)
1 cup chicken leftovers or thawed frozen breasts, sliced
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup peanut butter
1 can diced tomatoes
1 butternut, zucchini or other squash, diced
1 cup frozen okra
1 large potato, diced
1 oz. lime juice
Salt and pepper

In a flying pan sauté the onions, garlic and eggplant in olive oil. 
Add curry and chili powders and tomato paste. 
Add the chicken meat and sauté until the chicken is cooked. 
Put aside to let the flavors mingle. 
Put the chicken broth in a large soup pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Add the tomatoes, peanut butter, potato, and squash and stir well. 
Bring to another boil and then lower to simmer. 
Add the chicken mixture, lime juice, salt and pepper and cook for another 20 minutes. 


Chicken Rice Soup with Yogurt and Mint

Light and flavorful, this Middle Eastern recipe makes me feel healthy just thinking about it.  The creamy texture of the yogurt and hint of mint make this soup quite delightful.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 60 mins
Total Time: 75 mins

1-2 cups chicken leftovers or thawed breast strips, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup parsley, chopped
3 celery stalks with greens, diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 Tbls olive oil
5 cups chicken broth
½ cup uncooked rice
1 Tbls fresh or dried basil
1 Tbls fresh or dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 cup zucchini, cubed
1 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1 oz lemon juice
2 Tbls fresh or dried mint

Sauté the chicken meat, onions, garlic, parsley, celery, and carrots in olive oil for a few minutes in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. 
Add the broth, rice and spices. 
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. 
Add the zucchini during the last 10 of these minutes. 
Combine yogurt, egg and lemon juice in a bowl and beat well. 
Add a small amount of broth to the warm it slightly. 
Slowly add the yogurt mixture to the soup along with the mint, warm slowly and turn off the heat. 
Serve with warm pita bread or lavash and some beet-colored pickled turnips (I did not have these and it was still fantastic!). 

Thanks so much for the adventure Cat! And we plan on continuing on our weekly joy of Chicken Soup Wednesdays using recipes we find online until our map is completely filled in. Woohoo!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fagottini di Formaggio (Cheese Bundles)

I have always wanted to make pasta at home from scratch, without any machines or professional pasta tools - get a true glimse of how the old Italian ladies used to do it back in the day.  I thought what better pasta creation to attempt than fagottinis!  This is a style of pasta that I fell head over heels for when I was studying abroad in Siena and have not been able to find a great replica of since I left that tasty country.  In Italian fagottini means little bundle...and crazy enough, that is exactly what they are!  After searching through many recipes online I came up with the following combinations based on my preferences and what I had in the house.  Honestly, this dish turned out better than most that I have had in any Italian restaurant in the states..and a close second to real Italian deal.  Feel free to follow the little old Italian lady inside of you and get creative with your own filling and sauce twists.  Buon appetito!

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 20 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

For the pasta: 
1 1/2 cups flour
two eggs and 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:
½ cup gorgonzola
2 Tbls fresh cheese
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 small garlic cloves
freshly ground black pepper
a bit of olive oil
one egg white

For the sauce:
100 g butter
½ cup roughly chopped pecans
1 Tbls chopped dried parsley
1 tsp chopped dried sage
1/4 cup + 2 Tbls heavy cream
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Finely grated Parmesan for topping

To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.

Create a well in the center and add the eggs and egg yolk. Using a fork, beat the eggs while mixing in the flour a little at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Form into a ball and knead until the dough takes on a smooth surface, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let it rest on your kitchen table while you're preparing the filling.

To make the filling, heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, cook until translucent. Combine in a bowl with gorgonzola, fresh cheese, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Add egg white and stir to combine.

To make the pasta, cut the ball into few pieces. Work with only one piece at a time and keep the remaining pieces wrapped in plastic wrap. Lightly flour the table and roll the piece of dough until the pasta is very thin. You may use pasta machine, too. Using a decorative pastry cutter or a sharp knife, cut the sheet into small squares of equal size. Using a teaspoon, drop balls of filling onto each square. Brush around the filling with a bit of water. Take the square in hand and form the fagottini - a bundle. Place them onto a lightly floured tray or towel. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a rapid boil. Add the fagottini in small batches and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

Once you put the fagottini in the water start cooking the sauce. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the butter without stirring until it starts to darken to a golden color. Add the nuts and cook until the butter is golden brown and the nuts are fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the herbs, cream, and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Cook for 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the fagottini with a slotted spoon to the skillet with the butler, swirling to coat. Move to a bowl, sprinkle with the parmesan, spooning the sauce over the ravioli to melt the cheese.

Serve with pride and some nice white Italian wine! =)

(The only hastily taken photo of the final product before they were all devoured - so irresistible!)

Adapted from Duonos ir Zaidimu and many other sites...