Tag Archives: bay leaf

Homemade Tomato Soup (with Grilled Cheese, of Course!)

11 Feb
Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

I have been wanting to try my hand at homemade tomato soup for years, especially since we grow and can our own tomatoes. When my friend Suzanne over at Pug in the Kitchen posted this recipe, I knew it was time. Besides, I had a can of San Marzano tomatoes that had been in my pantry over a year, and what about those 20 pints of canned jars of tomatoes I forgot about in the garage? How did I forget about canning those from the fall? I grabbed a few for my pantry lest I forget again.

This soup comes together quite easily after some initial prep. And if you are wondering how long it takes for tomatoes to caramelize in a hot oven, it takes 18 minutes according to the smoke alarm that went off during my 20-minute timer. I suggest using a vent fan during this process. 😉

My husband was amazed at the taste of this soup. According to him, it did not taste like tomato soup from a can. Errrmmm… We’ll leave it at that. Oh, and don’t forget to cook up some ooey-gooey grilled cheese sammies for dunking! We used sourdough bread and a combination of Monterrey jack, sharp yellow cheddar, and pepper jack that was leftover from Super Bowl. This makes about 3 to 4 dinner-size servings.

Homemade Tomato Soup
Adapted from Tomato Soup at A Pug in the Kitchen

1 28-ounce can San Marzano or good quality tomatoes, liquid reserved
1 pint homemade canned tomatoes (about 1 large cup fresh), liquid reserved
Ground pepper and sea salt, to taste
Olive oil, for tomatoes and vegetables
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
Small piece of Parmesan rind
3 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Additional basil, chiffoned for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place all the drained tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season to taste with ground black pepper and sea salt. Roast until caramelized or until your smoke alarm goes off (18 to 20 minutes).

Roasted and Caramelized Tomatoes

Roasted and Caramelized Tomatoes

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion and cook until they start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook about a minute more until fragrant. Add the roasted tomatoes and the reserved tomato juice (About 2 cups, add water if you don’t have that much. My canned tomatoes had a lot of of liquid.) Also add the bay leaf and cheese rind. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender. Remove the bay leaf, then add the chopped basil. Taste for seasoning.

Simmering Soup

Simmering Soup

Pour into a large blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender if you have one. I need one!) Return soup to the pot, then add the butter and cream and stir until incorporated. Keep warm while you griddle up some grilled cheese. Ladle into bowls, top with additional basil, and serve immediately with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Homemade Tomato Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Sous Vide (Sorta) Beef Bourguignon

26 Nov
Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

I say “sorta” because I only cooked about half the ingredients via the sous vide method, as I was concerned my gallon zip-lock baggie would not hold it all. This also turned out to be an accidental birthday dinner for my husband, as when I started the process 24-hours earlier it hadn’t dawned on me I’d be serving it the night before his birthday.

Don’t have a sous vide machine? No worries, you can make this on the stove top in a Dutch oven. Simply cover and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours until beef is tender.

This made an elegant dinner, with beautiful rich flavors and fork-tender beef. I served this over a cauliflower puree, but it can also be served over mashed potatoes or noodles.

Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more if needed
4 slices thick-cut bacon (reserve 1 tablespoon grease)
1 1/4 pounds stew meat (chuck beef) cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons flour, divided
2 carrots
2 thick slices from a large sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 bottle of good dry red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir
1 cup beef broth, homemade or low sodium
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 ounces baby bella (or cremini) mushrooms, sliced if large
8 ounces thawed frozen pearl onions
4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided

The Main Players

The Main Players

Set your sous vide in a large pot of water to 149 degrees F (65 C).

Cut the bacon into lardons and cook in the oil in a Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels to cool. Reserve one tablespoon of grease and refrigerate it.

Browning the Beef

Browning the Beef

Dry the beef with paper towels and season with salt and pepper and toss with 2 tablespoons of flour to coat. In the same pot with the remaining hot bacon grease, cook the beef in batches until browned on all sides. Add the beef and bacon to a 1-gallon zip-lock bag.

Peel the carrots and cut into cross-wise slices and slice the thick onion slices in half. Cook in the remaining oil in the pot (add more if needed) for about 10 minutes, then add the minced garlic and cook for about a minute more. Add the vegetables to the bag.

Veggies and Beef in Bag

Veggies and Beef in Bag

Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the beef broth and tomato paste, stir to combine, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced a quarter in volume, about 15 minutes.

Add the wine mixture, the thyme sprigs, and bay leaf to the bag. Seal using the water immersion technique, add to the sous vide pot and clip it to the side. Cover the water bath with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation. Sous vide for 24 hours.

Sous Vide

Sous Vide!!

After 24 hours, melt 2 tablespoons of butter plus the one tablespoon of reserved bacon grease to a Dutch oven. Saute the mushrooms until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the thawed pearl onions and cook for an additional five minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Baby Bellas and Pearl Onions

Baby Bellas and Pearl Onions

Melt two or more tablespoons of butter and add 2 tablespoons flour and whisk until it forms a paste. Remove bag from sous vide pot and carefully pour the liquid from the bag into the pot. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking constantly until sauce is thickened.

Beef Bourguignon Ready to Serve

Beef Bourguignon Ready to Serve

Add the mushrooms and onions and the rest of the contents of the bag to the pot and stir to combine. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Serve over cauliflower puree, mashed potatoes, or noodles. Bon Appétit!

Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

Sous Vide Beef Bourguignon

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Incredible Carne Guisada!

28 Dec

This is a reblog from a couple of years ago, but it is definitely one worth sharing again. (Plus it gave me a chance to add the handy-dandy printable PDF of the recipe at the bottom.) I assembled the ingredients early this morning before heading out to watch Sunday morning football and have some grub at a local sports bar. The house is smelling wonderful and I can’t wait to dig into it later this evening. I hope all my readers had a wonderful Christmas and will have a safe and enjoyable New Year!

Incredible Carne Guisada

Incredible Carne Guisada

This dish is SERIOUSLY amazing!!! Using a subjective adjective in my blog title along with an exclamation point already breaks a couple of my self-imposed posting rules. And there I just broke two more with capital letters and a triple exclamation point in the first sentence. But I can’t help it. This Carne Guisada is Just. That. Good. We are talking lick your bowl good. We are talking Get Outta Here that good. I cannot stress enough how much I loved this!

So now that I got all that off my chest, it’s time to start talking about the dish itself. I wanted Mexican food the other day, but wanted something different — something I’d never made before. So I went to my near and dear cookbook The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain, who always draws me into her recipes with her stories and photos that make everything in there look so gosh-darned good. This particular recipe caught my eye, and is the basis for what I ended up with. It’s a stew-like dish, served with soft tortillas, or you can dip into it with tortilla chips like an appetizer. I mixed it up quite a bit from hers but she provided me the foundation from which to build on. That sounded very scholarly. The recipe and food is not, I guarantee! I really wish I had doubled this batch, because there was not near enough leftover for my liking. I wanted more, more, more the next day for my lunch.

Carne Guisada
Adapted from Lisa Fain The Homesick Texan

1 1/2 pounds cut of beef roast or steak, any kind, cut into 1-inch cubes
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, or salt, to taste
Flour to dust over beef, about a tablespoon or so
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used half a yellow and half a red)
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and diced small
1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and diced small
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 small potatoes, any kind, chopped
1 bay leaf
Handful of chopped cilantro
1/2 cup homemade or low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dark beer, or sub with more chicken broth
Flour tortillas, warmed before serving
More cilantro, for serving

Hot and Mild Peppers and Onions

Hot and Mild Peppers and Onions

I had a rather large, lonely New York Sirloin steak in the freezer, which I deboned to get a pound of meat, and a meager 1/2 pound of boneless beef ribs in the freezer, so used those too. The recipe called for beef chuck or bottom round, but it’s all beef and you cook the heck out of it so the cut is unimportant. Season the beef cubes with Mrs. Dash (or salt) and pepper, then lightly dust all around with flour. Heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet to medium-high heat, then add the beef, in batches. You don’t want to crowd it or it won’t brown properly. Cook until it’s browned on all sides. Transfer each batch to a crock pot and set on high heat. Reduce the skillet heat to medium and add the chopped onions, peppers, garlic and spices. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, just a few minutes or so, as you don’t want to burn it. Add a skosh more oil, if needed.

Carne Guisada Ready for Liquids

Carne Guisada Ready for Liquids

Now add the mixture to the beef in the crock pot, then the tomatoes, potatoes (adding some potato was pretty outlandish, but hey, it worked!), bay leaf, and chopped cilantro. Pour in the chicken broth and beer, if using. The darkest beer I had in the house at the time was an amber ale, but you can sub with chicken broth if you don’t have any. (Yes, I did drink the rest of the beer bottle. Waste not, want not!) Cover and cook on high for three or four hours, then reduce to low for a couple of more hours, or until ready to eat. If you started this prep earlier in the day, then you can cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. The longer the better. When it’s time to eat, warm up those tortillas in a hot skillet, add a mess of the Carne Guisada to a bowl, then start digging in, slathering and slopping up all the yummy juices with the tortillas. You won’t be disappointed. And of course go back for seconds and thirds. I did.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Carne Guisada

Carne Guisada

Incredible Carne Guisada!

19 Apr
Incredible Carne Guisada

Incredible Carne Guisada

This dish is SERIOUSLY amazing!!! Using a subjective adjective in my blog title along with an exclamation point already breaks a couple of my self-imposed posting rules. And there I just broke two more with capital letters and a triple exclamation point in the first sentence. But I can’t help it. This Carne Guisada is Just. That. Good. We are talking lick your bowl good. We are talking Get Outta Here that good. I cannot stress enough how much I loved this!

So now that I got all that off my chest, it’s time to start talking about the dish itself. I wanted Mexican food the other day, but wanted something different — something I’d never made before. So I went to my near and dear cookbook The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain, who always draws me into her recipes with her stories and photos that make everything in there look so gosh-darned good. This particular recipe caught my eye, and is the basis for what I ended up with. It’s a stew-like dish, served with soft tortillas, or you can dip into it with tortilla chips like an appetizer. I mixed it up quite a bit from hers but she provided me the foundation from which to build on. That sounded very scholarly. The recipe and food is not, I guarantee! I really wish I had doubled this batch, because there was not near enough leftover for my liking. I wanted more, more, more the next day for my lunch.

Carne Guisada
Adapted from Lisa Fain The Homesick Texan

1 1/2 pounds cut of beef roast or steak, any kind, cut into 1-inch cubes
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, or salt, to taste
Flour to dust over beef, about a tablespoon or so
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used half a yellow and half a red)
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and diced small
1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and diced small
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 small potatoes, any kind, chopped
1 bay leaf
Handful of chopped cilantro
1/2 cup homemade or low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dark beer, or sub with more chicken broth
Flour tortillas, warmed before serving
More cilantro, for serving

Hot and Mild Peppers and Onions

Hot and Mild Peppers and Onions

I had a rather large, lonely New York Sirloin steak in the freezer, which I deboned to get a pound of meat, and a meager 1/2 pound of boneless beef ribs in the freezer, so used those too. The recipe called for beef chuck or bottom round, but it’s all beef and you cook the heck out of it so the cut is unimportant. Season the beef cubes with Mrs. Dash (or salt) and pepper, then lightly dust all around with flour. Heat the oil in a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet to medium-high heat, then add the beef, in batches. You don’t want to crowd it or it won’t brown properly. Cook until it’s browned on all sides. Transfer each batch to a crock pot and set on high heat. Reduce the skillet heat to medium and add the chopped onions, peppers, garlic and spices. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, just a few minutes or so, as you don’t want to burn it. Add a skosh more oil, if needed.

Carne Guisada Ready for Liquids

Carne Guisada Ready for Liquids

Now add the mixture to the beef in the crock pot, then the tomatoes, potatoes (adding some potato was pretty outlandish, but hey, it worked!), bay leaf, and chopped cilantro. Pour in the chicken broth and beer, if using. The darkest beer I had in the house at the time was an amber ale, but you can sub with chicken broth if you don’t have any. (Yes, I did drink the rest of the beer bottle. Waste not, want not!) Cover and cook on high for three or four hours, then reduce to low for a couple of more hours, or until ready to eat. If you started this prep earlier in the day, then you can cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. The longer the better. When it’s time to eat, warm up those tortillas in a hot skillet, add a mess of the Carne Guisada to a bowl, then start digging in, slathering and slopping up all the yummy juices with the tortillas. You won’t be disappointed. And of course go back for seconds and thirds. I did.

Carne Guisada

Carne Guisada

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

9 Mar
Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

I have a confession to make. I have never made stuffed cabbage rolls in my life. For years and years I have drooled over pictures of them, but the long process to stuff the cabbage leaves and braise for several hours always intimidated me. So I did the next best thing. I turned them inside out and made soup instead! While researching what ingredients go into a stuffed cabbage roll dish, I discovered that every Eastern European country has their own version of this dish. Ukranians typically make theirs with pork, sauerkraut and onions, while the Romanians add a generous amount of fresh dill to their sauce. Polish cuisine mixes ground beef or pork with rice, which is the common Americanized version. Hungarians add paprika to theirs, which I did too. Most of the sauces are tomato-based, except for in Sweden where they typically serve it with Lingonberry jam.

Trying to decide what to put in the soup took me several hours of scouring recipes (in which I could have been actually making the traditional dish!), and finally just had to start making it by the seat of my pants otherwise we’d never eat. I wrote a list of most common ingredients, then started adding them one by one, tossing in a bit of this and a pinch of that. I kept a notepad nearby so I could document what actually ended up in the soup, and how much. Another thing I did was try to healthy it up a bit by using ground turkey and brown rice, and used some homemade no-sodium turkey broth.

I always measure my success with a new recipe by how many servings my family goes back for. In this case, hubby went back for thirds and daughter took seconds. That’s success in my book! This makes a nice bit pot of soup, and freezes well. It also tasted even better the next day as leftovers. On day two, I also added a dollop of sour cream to my bowl, which is another garnish that can be added to this dish.  And please don’t get intimidated by the long ingredient list, it comes together fairly quick and easy. You can also make the cooking time much shorter if you use white rice instead of brown. Brown rice takes a long time to cook at high altitude.

Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Inside-Out Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or salt, to taste
5 to 6 cups chicken, turkey, or beef broth, homemade or low sodium
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like spicy!)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup brown or white rice, uncooked
2 cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can no-salt tomato sauce
Handful of chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 bag of shredded cabbage (I used the mixed cole slaw with carrots)
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

In a large soup pot, brown the ground turkey and chopped onions in the olive oil over medium heat until turkey is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook a minute or two more. Drain the grease, if any. Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, and add the Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Next add the broth and stir in all the rest of the ingredients except the cabbage or cole slaw and garnishes. Bring up to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer until the rice is cooked through. For brown rice, that took about an hour. White rice would probably only take 20 minutes. Once rice is tender, add the bag of shredded cabbage, bring back up to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes more. Remove the bay leaves, and garnish with parsley or sour cream. There area some exciting tastes going on in this soup!

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