For the third consecutive year, I have had my family over for lunch on New Year's Day. This year, my grandma and my aunt Jan and my cousin Jessie came as well. I love having people over, but because I live an hour away from everyone, I don't get visitors as often as I would like. We had a fantastic time, though, and here is what we ate...
Beef Barley Soup (From my New England Soup Factory Cookbook, modified)
3 pounds stew beef, cut into bite sized pieces (I buy it already cut up... from Aldi of all places)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
12 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized red onion, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
3 portabella mushrooms, diced
1 (8 oz.) package sliced mushrooms, baby portabella or button
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 pound pearl barley (the only kind I could find was quick cooking, and it worked fine)
1 bottle burgundy or other fruity red wine
1 can tomato paste
5 (14 oz.) cans beef broth
2 bay leaves
5 generous dashes Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Place beef, vinegar, water and salt in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Drain. If not using right away, be sure to cover so the meat does not dry out.
Over medium-high heat, in a large stockpot, combine olive oil, garlic, onion, mushrooms, celery and carrots. Saute for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cooked beef, barley, wine, tomato paste, stock, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes or so for at least 1 1/2 hours (The longer it simmers the more the water cooks off and leaves just the delicious flavor.) Remove from heat. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
*I actually made this last night, and reheated it, so I think by the time all was said and done, it probably simmered close to hours. It was a hit, though!
Potato, Bacon, and Chive Soup with Horseradish (From my New England Soup Factory Cookbook)
3 tablespoons butter
5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
8 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup sour cream
2 cups half and half, light cream, heavy cream, 2% milk, or some combination therein
4 tablespoons bottled minced white horseradish
4 generous dashes Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes Tobasco sauce
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add garlic, red onion and celery. Saute for 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir to coat with the butter and vegetables. Add chicken broth, onion powder and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are soft and tender, 30 - 35 minutes. (Be careful not to let all of the liquid cook out, or you will have a burnt mess...) When potatoes are soft, remove pot from heat.
Puree the potatoes. There are several ways to do this, depending on how many dishes you want to dirty and what kind of equipment you have.
1. Use an immersion blender. This is ideal, but I don't actually know anyone who has one.
2. Mash the mixture together with a potato masher -- this will get the job done, but will be the lumpiest option
3. Use a hand mixer. Be careful not to scratch up your nonstick pans, though
4. Place portions of the mixture in a blender, and blend until smooth
Add sour cream, milk product of choice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and Tobasco sauce. Mix well. Return pot to stove. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 additional minutes. Garnish each serving with bacon, green onions, and sour cream, if desired.
I totally forgot to serve the green onions today, and no one complained! Otherwise, this was a big hit, as well.
Chicken with Wild Rice Soup
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
3 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 package Uncle Ben's Original flavor quick cooking long grain and wild rice box
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream, light cream, half and half, or 2% milk, or some combination therein
In a medium pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and allow to cook on low for 20 minutes or so.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery. Saute for 7 minutes. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour, salt and pepper. Stir in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
Pour rice mixture into cream mixture, and stir until well incorporated. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. If it gets too thick, add milk or chicken broth to thin it out.
Rosemary Bread *My description of how to make this bread won't do you a whole lot of good if you don't already know how to make yeast bread... If you have questions, let me know.
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
about 2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Pour warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix together oil, margarine and sugar. Pour in yeast mixture, and stir gently. Add flour to mixture gradually, until a sticky ball forms. On a well floured surface and with floured hands, knead the heck out of the dough. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and rosemary over the dough, and continue to knead until spices are incorporated throughout the loaf. Drizzle olive oil in the bowl, and coat the ball of dough. Cover bowl and put in a warm place for one hour. Punch down dough, and allow to rise for another hour. Shape dough, and place on a greased cookie sheet. coat the top of the loaf with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake at 375 F until golden brown and crusty... about 25 minutes.
2 pie crusts... I used the Pillsbury kind, but if you want to make one from scratch, don't let me stop you...
2 (16 ounce) cans tart cherries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Line a pie plate with first crust.
Drain cherries, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Mix cherries, juice, sugar, tapioca, extract, and salt; pour into the crust. Dot with butter. Top with second crust. Make sure to seal the edges of the crust tightly.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 55-60 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with sugar.