food amongst family and friends

Mulligatawny: The All Season Soup April 2, 2013

Filed under: Chicken,Mains,Make Ahead,Quick and easy,Soups — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:03 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

MulligatawnyThis has quickly become one of my favourite soups to make. It comes together quickly, it easily adapts to make use of ingredients you have on hand and it makes for a thoroughly satisfying meal every time you make it. I don’t think I have made this the same way twice – I adjust the recipe to accommodate my cravings and my pantry. I have used chicken-apple sausage in place of the rotisserie chicken, potatoes in place of the chickpeas, light coconut milk in place of regular…this time around I was craving a big bowl of veggies, so I packed it full of carrots and kale along with a small handful of leftover tandoori chicken pieces. As usual, the flavour was rich, tart, spicy, nutty and exactly what I was craving.

The recipe comes from Spilling the Beans, but I pulled it from Dinner with Julie. The recipe below is the original, but I have noted possible substitutions. I think the key elements to keep intact are the chicken broth, coconut milk, tart apples and peanuts. You can easily use different cuts of chicken, add extra vegetables and substituted beans for the meat. I don’t know how well this would work as a vegetarian soup – it works well to leave out the chicken, but I don’t know if a vegetable broth would hold up well to the richness of the coconut milk and the spices. It’s worth a shot, but the recipe is definitely meant to be chicken-centric.

I hope you love it as much as I do.

serves 6

1 small roasted or rotisserie chicken (sub: chicken sausage removed from casing OR nearly any type of chicken (cooked or raw) + 4-6 cups chicken broth)
1 onion
coconut or olive oil, for cooking
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 T curry paste (I use Patak’s Madras paste)
1 t cumin (I like to use whole cumin, but ground will work)
1-2 cups cooked chickpeas (up to a full can, rinsed and drained) (sub: 1 potato, chopped)
1 t salt
1 14 oz can coconut milk (light or regular will both work)
1 tart apple (such as granny Smith or pink lady), finely chopped

steamed rice, for serving
chopped cilantro and chopped salted peanuts, for garnish

1. Pull the meat off the roasted chicken and put the carcass and bones into a saucepan. Set the meat aside and just barely cover the carcass with water. Peel the onion and add the outer layers of skin to the pan (at this point, you can throw in any veggie scraps you need to use up. Carrot ends, celery trimmings and fresh herbs all work well). Bring to a simmer and cook for at least half an hour. Strain into a bowl or pot and set aside. You should have 4-6 cups of stock.

2. Put your rice on, cook and let sit covered until the soup is done.

3. Meanwhile, chop the onion and sauté it in a drizzle of oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, jalapeño, garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add the curry paste, cumin and chickpeas and cook for another minute or two. If you are using raw chicken, add it now and saute until nearly cooked through. For chicken sausage, you should break it up as it cooks. For raw chicken pieces, you should have them cut into bite sized chunks before adding them.

4. Add the chicken stock, salt and cooked chicken (if you are using cooked pieces rather than raw); bring to a simmer. Cook for about ten minutes, then add the coconut milk and apple and heat through.

To serve, put a scoop of rice into each bowl and ladle the soup overtop. Sprinkle with cilantro and chopped peanuts.


Homemade chili powder and my ultimate chili February 8, 2013

Filed under: Beef,Make Ahead,Pork,Sausage,Soups,Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

IMG_7150This post has been waaaaay too long coming. I keep promising the recipe to people, but I didn’t want to post it until I had a picture, and I couldn’t take a picture until I made more, and I couldn’t make more until I had time/the season was right/the kids forgot that they don’t like chili so were willing to try it again, and I wouldn’t have time until my children (??? not sure when I will actually have more time)/the season’s almost over (again)/the kids finally forgot. That’s a lot of excuses, huh? I eventually ran out of them and just buckled down one night and made this, at which point I remembered that it takes all of 15 minutes to do and I really should have done it ages ago whether my kids liked it or not. I think I was confused because the last time I made this, I made enough to give a jar each to my 15 favourite people as Christmas gifts, which did take a long time because my coffee/spice grinder just isn’t that big. But it was a hit, hence the recipe requests, so without further ado, here is the recipe (originally found here, but adjusted a lot) along with MY (read: adjust to suit your palate) ultimate chili recipe.

Chili Powder

5 dried Guajillo chilies

2 dried Chipotle chilies (if you are a big Chipotle fan, you could add one more of these and one less Arbol)

3 dried Arbol chilies (if you like really spicy chili, I would add another of these)

1 Tbsp good quality smoked paprika

1 Tbsp coriander seed

2 Tbsp cumin seed

1 big cinnamon stick

2 tsp whole cloves

4 tsp oregano

1 tsp onion powder (your could also add garlic powder here; I like to add fresh garlic to the chili, but if you want to keep the chili prep minimal, that’s one way to cut down)

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

1. Wipe dust off the dried chilies and toast them whole on a cookie sheet in a 200 oven, until the chilies are crisp and fragrant, anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on the chilies.

2. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium heat and toast coriander and cinnamon for one minute, then add the cumin seed. Toast until fragrant, 5 minutes at the most, being careful not to burn them.

3. Remove the seeds and stems from the guajillo and chipotle chilies, then add, along with remaining ingredients to a spice/coffee grinder. If using your regular coffee grinder, tap out any loose grounds, but don’t worry about it being perfectly clean; the coffee with be a good flavour kick in the chill. Afterwards just run a piece of fresh bread through it to clean up the remaining spices. I usually have to do mine in two batches to start with and then do one big batch once everything is ground down to size.

4. Pat yourself on the back, you’re done.

My Ultimate Chili

OK, this is the way I like chill; it’s rich and flavourful, with a slight kick (in deference to my children. As it is I still have to add a big spoonful of yogurt to theirs to mild it out a little) and a subtle sweetness. I have my favourite chili veggies in here and all my favourite beans. Make sure when you make it, you do the same; if you prefer green peppers to red, switch it; if you don’t like mushrooms, or don’t like them from a can, switch it; if you want to burn your mouth with heat, add more chilies or hot sauce; make it your own, but trust me and try the chocolate, vinegar and brown sugar, they make this recipe!

2-4 cloves garlic (to taste), finely diced

2 medium onions, diced

1 lb extra lean ground beef (I love bison or ostrich here as well)

1 lb good quality chorizo sausage, casings removed (I use a chicken one I love, but pork is also fantastic, just make sure you have eaten the sausage on it’s own and like the flavour of it, as that’s what will come out in the chill, more than the type of meat)

2, 28 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 24 oz jar passata (strained tomatoes)

50 grams dark (the darker the better; 70-85%) chocolate

3 Tbsp dark brown sugar

2 Tbsp vinegar (I just use white, but white wine would work too)

2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp Chili powder (this is assuming the homemade stuff above; if using store bought, you will need a lot more, I would say double to start)

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 10 oz cans whole mushrooms, halved

2 sweet red bell peppers, diced

4 19 oz cans beans (I usually use 2 kidney beans, one chick pea, and one either black bean or black eyed peas, depending on what’s in my cupboard)

1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add beef, sausage, onions and garlic. Cook, stirring and breaking up large chunks of meat, until beef and sausage are just cooked.

2. Add tomatoes, passata, chocolate, sugar, vinegar, salt, chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until thickened to stew like consistency.

3. Add beans, red peppers, and mushrooms. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are cooked to your liking. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary, keeping in mind that the flavours will enhance over time. I prefer to make my chili a day or two before I plan to eat it, to give the flavours time to bloom.



PS A friend told me to try giving my kids taco chips to scoop up the chili with; worked like a charm, now everyone loves chili!


MIso Vegetable Soup with Barley January 14, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Quick and easy,Slow Cooker,Soups — blisteringlydrunk @ 7:26 pm
Tags: , ,

Miso Vegetable Barley Soup

I’m home sick right now with the cold/flu from hell, so a little shot of miso is just what the doctor ordered.  And I tell you, this was easy and super delicious.  And came out of the slow cooker, so I basically just had to sit around for it to do its thing.  I prepped everything yesterday (using my food processor to chop and dice) and threw it all (less the beans, miso and toppings) in the slow cooker this morning.  Prep time was about 15 minutes all together. I got this from Judith Finlayson’s Sensational Slow Cooker Gourmet.  Ahhh, Judith, how I love your recipes…

The stuff

1 t olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 onions, finely chopped
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t cracked black peppercorns
1 c barley (I used pot barley – yum!)
7 c vegetable or chicken stock (I used a combo)
2 c sliced green beans
1/4 c dark miso
1/2 c finely chopped fresh parsley
smattering of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

And now…

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds.  Add carrots, celery and onions; cook until carrots are softened, stirring occasionally – about 7 minutes.  Add thyme and peppercorns and cook for about a minute.  Add barley, tossing to coat.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Transfer to the slow cooker (or cover and refrigerate for up to two days).

Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4, until barley is tender.  Add green beans and miso.  Cover and cook on High until beans are tender – about 15 minutes.  Stir in parsley.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan.  We had this with lovely Sourdough from the Farmer’s Market. (For 6 servings, a bowl was 4 Weight Watchers points). Enjoy!  Ren


Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup December 17, 2012

Filed under: Mains,Soups,Turkey — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:57 am
Tags: ,


Okay, when my hubby mentioned he was making this, I inwardly cringed. Turkey, kale and brown rice soup…ugh! But let me tell you, it was fantastic! Even my daughter ate it up. The recipe came from the show Giada at Home.  We modified it a bit, and this is the version we made.  The parmesan on top was a great final touch, and I’m excited for my leftover lunch today.


2T extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot
1 medium onion
3 medium carrots that were shredded (accidentally, but it worked out well) in a food processor
2 large yellow peppers, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
8 oz. ground turkey, broken into chunks
1 T mixed herbs (we used basil, oregano, rosemary, a bay leaf and thyme)
8 c low-sodium chicken broth
1, 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 c cooked brown rice
1 small bunch kale, coarsely chopped
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots, onions, carrots and peppers and sauté, stirring frequently until the vegetables begin to brown and soften slightly – 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the turkey and stir until the meat turns white and begins to color very slightly around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the herbs and stir for 1 minute.  Add the broth, tomatoes and rice and bring to a boil.  Stir in the kale and season with 3/4 t salt and the black pepper.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Season with remainder of salt.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Enjoy!  Ren


April Snow Storms bring . . . Beef, Leek, and Pot Barley Soup April 4, 2012

Filed under: Beef,Mains,Make Ahead,Soups — blisteringlydrunk @ 7:58 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I actually made this prior to the snowstorm, based on day 5 of my husband’s voice slowly disappearing. I thought he deserved a soup, and since I’ve been feeling uninspired in the kitchen lately, I used this as an excuse to try a new recipe, which I took straight from Meagan. This is like a grown up version of the hamburger soup my Mom always made when we were kids, and everyone loved it. Apparently the original recipe calls for 2 1/2 lbs of beef short ribs, but Meagan used beef stew meat, so I went for a combo of the two; 1/2 lb of short ribs for flavour and the rest stewing meat. I think if I have time in the future to make this the day before I want to eat it, I’ll try all short ribs, then cool it, so I can skim the fat off, but just having a couple in there added a ton of flavour without all the fat. This was an easy recipe that the whole family loved, plus I froze half of it for an easy dinner later; I can see this becoming a regular in my soup rotation.

2 1/2 lbs cubed stewing beef or short ribs

1 tsp each, salt and fresh ground pepper

1 Tbsp oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 large leeks, sliced, white and light green parts only

5 celery sticks, chopped

3 medium carrots, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 L beef broth

1 L water

1 cup red wine (I used a bordeaux)

1, 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, leaves only (I aimed for a well rounded Tbsp)

3/4 cup pot barley

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the meat, then add to pot, stirring until browned on all sides.

2. Add garlic, leeks, carrots and onion, lowering heat to medium low, stirring once or twice, then covering. Let veggies ‘sweat’ (cook without browning) for about 10 minutes, without lifting the lid. Then take the lid off and turn up the heat to medium or so and let the veggies get slightly browned.

3. Add broth, water, wine, tomatoes, and thyme and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer, mostly covered, for about an hour. Add barley and simmer, covered, for another 45 minutes, or until barley is tender. Stir in balsamic and parsley.

4. At this point it is ready to serve, or if using all short ribs, let cool to room temperature, then cool for several hours, or overnight, in the fridge, or until fat solidifies on top. Scrape fat off the top, then reheat and serve.

Serves 6 – 8 adults




Italian Sausage and Chickpea Soup March 6, 2012

AKA March snowstorm and head cold soup. This is one of my all time favourite soup recipes, and I am stunned that it has not been posted yet. The inspiration is from Jamie Oliver , but I have attempted to health it up a little. It doesn’t look like much, but the spicy sausage (and it’s worth getting some good stuff here) brings excellent flavour and heat, good tomatoes provide some sweetness and depth and the fresh spinach really grounds the flavours. Not to mention that the tomatoes, spinach and chickpeas are all excellent immune system boosters, so this really is good for a head cold, plus I find the spiciness clears me up in no time. Also, this is a nice fast soup to make, about an hour start to finish and it freezes beautifully. Just try it already.

2 raw spicy Italian sausages, casings, removed

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

4 sticks celery, with leaves, finely chopped

500g fresh spinach, washed and chopped (I used 2 bags of washed baby spinach and only chop it if my girls are in a picky mood)

8 large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped (fresh tomatoes really are better here, but only if they are in season and flavourful, otherwise, good quality tinned tomatoes are fine)

1 19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1.3 litres chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil as needed

1. In a large soup pot, heat a tsp or so of olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage, cooking through, making sure to break it up as you go. Add in onion, garlic and celery, lower the heat to low and cover with lid. Leave it for 10-15 minutes to let the vegetables sweat.

2. Remove the lid, increase the heat, and let everything brown a little. Add in remaining ingredients and let simmer for 40-50 minutes.

3. Either use an immersion blender to puree about half the soup, or for those of you gadget challenged like me, just use your blender to puree in batches until it’s thickened to your liking. Bring back to temperature and serve.




Creamy potato, sausage and kale soup November 18, 2011

Filed under: Sausage,Soups — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:49 pm
Tags: , ,

I happened upon this recipe while taking a quick look at a site Meagan had recommended to me (based entirely on the amazing kitchen this women has) and knew that I would be making it soon, as it seemed somewhat fated considering I had just received two cases of sausage from a friend’s fundraiser. It was late and dark by the time I took this picture, so don’t judge this entirely on that; this was spicy and rich, with an earthy balance in the potatoes and kale. All round a lovely soup, and I’m not usually inclined towards creamy soups. That said, I could not bring myself to use the sheer amount of cream in the original recipe, and opted for whole milk instead, which is how I’ve written it here. Also, choose your sausage carefully, as it’s flavour will permeate and define the whole soup. I used Spolumbo’s spicy Italian, which turned out to be a little too spicy for my children, but perfect for me. I think I will probably go for half spicy Italian and half chicken apple in the future. Unless you know of a nice, sweet mild Italian sausage (Missing Link at the Calgary Farmer’s Market makes an excellent chicken one), which would be perfect for a not so spicy version of this soup. Whatever you choose, just make sure you like the sausage. This should serve 6, heartily, with a sweet bread to tame the spiciness, we had this one.

1 bunch kale, cleaned and torn or chopped into bite sized pieces

5 medium to large potatoes (red would be best), thinly sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 big Italian sausages (see suggestions above)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (not chili flakes, unless you are really looking for some heat)

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 1/2 cups whole milk

a large glug of coffee cream (for richness, at the end)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until just soft. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a stock pot, remove sausage from casings and cook over medium heat, making sure to break up the sausage quite fine. About halfway to cooked, add the onions. Cook, stirring, until onions are soft and the sausage is cooked through.

3. Add red pepper flakes, oregano, broth and milk. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

4. Taste here, and add salt and pepper as needed. Add potatoes and cream, then stir in the kale. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until kale is cooked and potatoes are heated through.