In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.
Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Soups in Winter
During the cold months (which some would argue constitutes some 9+ months of the year here in Alaska), I love to have a pot of soup going on the stove and some bread baking in the oven. Soups can also be my "fast" food when I'm too busy to cook a full dinner: just defrost some soup, add salad or sandwich/panini. I was surveying my freezer today, and I have a bunch of homemade stocks -- everything from fish to beef to chicken/turkey. Plus there are several types of beans, from white to black, from chickpeas to lentils. Now to some soup recipes -- no quantities, as usual -- soups are sooooo easy & perfect for using up left-overs.
First a few that are pretty much just vegetables, and cook up fairly quickly:
Apple-Onion soup Sauté equal amounts chopped, peeled apples and onions in butter until soft. Add stock or water to cover, then simmer for 10 minutes. Cool and purée. Serve sprinkled with Stilton or other blue cheese.
Mostly-Red Mid-Winter Soup I sort of "invented" this is one to use up those red chard or beet stems after cooking the greens, with inspiration from Glacier Grist recipes (see GG#52). Basically can make it with any winter vegetables hanging around the frig this time of year (good way to use that cabbage!) Saute onions, add shredded cabbage, celery, fennel (if you have it), beets and beet stems, carrots. For flavor, it's nice to add garlic, ginger, pepper or paprika. Cover with stock & simmer until vegetables are tender. Blend into smooth paste, correct seasoning (salt, pepper), and serve with dollop of yoghurt or sour cream. Sweet Potato-Kale Soup Sauté chopped onion in butter, then chunks of sweet potato and stock or water to cover. Simmer until the sweet potatoes can be pierced with a knife, then add chopped kale and cook until wilted. Leek-Potato Soup Saute leek slices in butter, add potatoes and stock or water to cover. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Blend all ingredients, then add salt. pepper, cream and parmesan cheese to taste. African Peanut Soup from an old post -- see recipe here.
Legume soups take longer to cook when you start with dried legumes, but a shortcut is to use canned beans or to keep a variety of pre-cooked beans in the freezer. Legumes make good hearty meals with all that protein: I have quite a few soup recipes under legumes here.
NEXT IS FISH. Fish Soups are also very quick and easy to make. When I process salmon, halibut or lincod in the summer, I freeze the smaller pieces in bags labelled "Fish for soup". Here is a new family favorite:
Bouillabaise A french soup that can be made with most any firm-fleshed fish. According to tradition, there should be at least five different kinds of fish in a proper bouillabaisse. In Marseille, considered the mecca of bouillabaisse, they use at least seven, not counting the shellfish. There are lots of veggies in this soup,one of the key ones being fennel and zest of an orange! Saute onions, leeks and fennel in olive oil, add garlic, zest of 1 orange, saffron (optional), thyme and /or tarragon, chile or cayenne pepper. Add fish stock or water, chopped tomatoes (canned ok) , diced red potatoes, carrots or parsnips, and seafood (such as cod, halibut, scallops, shrimp, clams, etc). During the last 5 minutes, add white wine, clam juice and/or lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. Traditionally served over french bread with Sauce Rouille (see full Bouillabaise and Rouille recipe complete with quantities here)
Borealkitchen is a blog by an amateur-- I simply enjoy cooking a variety of foods. I was inspired after we started getting a weekly CSA box last winter, which forced me to plan ahead more. This blog is my way of organizing menus and recipes, sharing my family's experiences, plus reflect on food-related issues. I also grow a garden, shop at Farmer's Markets as much as I can, and there's even a little bit of wild harvest as well... Philosophy: Good food, wholesome, mostly. My approach is more product-based than recipe-driven. By this I mean that I try to find something to do with what's in season: this week it might be an abundance of beets, cabbage or collard greens -- then I start searching for meals to incorporate them... I think of recipes as "starting points": when I start cooking, I just start improvising...
My RECIPES are rarely precise: I often just list ingredients ("Bah-humbug" to measuring, except for baking!). If I list recipes from a cookbook, I give the source and variations I've made. If a recipe came from a website, then you'll need to follow the link to the source for the "nitty-gritty" details of that recipe.
Feel free to comment or ask questions. Thanks for visiting!
I call Alaska home, but am originally from Germany. I'm incredibly lucky to have a job as a naturalist, teaching and hiking the great outdoors. My family:
The Prof (my husband);
Eldest (flown the coop);
Wolfman (teenage son);
Liesl (youngest pixie).