HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Friday, October 9, 2009

AUTUMN - WHEN A COOK'S THOUGHTS TURN TO SOUP RECIPES





With the first frost, the smell of dying leaves in the air, and the beauty of greens, browns, and grays that Fall brings to the surrounding Wisconsin landscape, my thoughts turn to the soul satisfying warmth of really home made soups. I have two genuine favorites. The first, I am proud to say, is a concoction of my own I call "Pot Roast Soup" as a 4-5 pound pot roast is the key ingredient.

I am a fan of the crock pot because it allows you to simmer ingredients over night with no fear of spoiling the simmering stock.
Here is my recipe:

POT ROAST SOUP

1 pot roast, 4 to 5 lb
1 beef soup bone
3 cans Swanson beef stock (refill cans with water and add to stock)
handful of fresh green beans, trimmed, cut up
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 16 oz can whole tomatoes with juice, chopped up
beef bouillon (I LOVE "Better Than Bouillon", pkg'ed in jars)
McCormick's garlic/pepper seasoning in a grinder jar

In a large crock pot or soup kettle:

Put the three cans of beef stock into crock pot and simmer while you:
brown the soup bone and pot roast, grind some McCormick's on it too
Add the browned bone and pot roast to the stock and add three equal cans of water
Add three healthy tsp of the "Better Than Bouillon" to the mix as well

simmer for at least two hours ( on high w/ crock pot)

remove meat and bones, set aside
skim stock and strain thru cheesecloth

add the chopped vegetables to the stock then:
in a rather large dice, cut up the pot roast, removing all the fatty parts
If soup bone has meat, add that as dice also

Simmer for several hours. Like any soup, this gets better as it ages and is re-heated.

It is great autumn fare.

This next recipe is one that I found years ago while I was on the road, performing in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, at the Mead Inn. Many times while I was on the road I would fill my motel stay day with trips to the local library and seek out cook books with recipes that appealed to me. I found a German cook book in the Rapids library (I wish I had written the name of the book down and purchased a copy of my own - but that's hind sight). I copied several excellent recipes from that book, including a very tasty Sauerbraten.

The following recipe is one of my all time favorite soups. What's really maddening is I misplaced it for several years. Just this week I stumbled upon it tucked between the pages of another of my cook books that was over at the office. So late last night I went out and bought the ingredients and went to work on the most time consuming part of the recipe, the chopping up of the various vegetables into a fairly uniform dice, about a one inch dice.

Kim and I had our first serving for lunch today. Terrific!

Kartoffelsuppe (pictured)
(The BEST German Potato Soup Recipe)

Ingredients:

2 lbs potatoes
about 3 pints water
2 carrots
1 14 ounce can tomatoes (chopped)
1 leek
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
4 ounces bacon
1 large onion
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped chives
4 tablespoons sour cream
salt, pepper
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Cut peeled potatoes, carrots. leek, celery, and tomatoes, into small dice. Put with water in a slow cooker. Cook on high until potatoes fall apart. Whisk until a smooth texture is achieved. (I use my electric mixer with it set on a medium speed) Season with salt and pepper. Add the sour cream. Fry the bacon untiil crisp/ crumble it. Cook chopped onion in bacon fat. Stir bacon and onions into the soup. Sprinkle with chives and parsley and serve with a good German rye with caraway seed or pumpernickel bread.

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Lemon Meringue Pie (pictured)

2 packages Jello cook and serve pudding
4 large fresh lemons or a bag of small fresh lemons
1 prepared 9 inch (not bought) single pie crust

Prepare pie crust following your favorite recipe. Recently I discovered that James Beard's suggestion of filling the unbaked pie crust with uncooked white beans to keep the crust's shape works well. I store the beans in a plastic bag and reuse them whenever I make a pre-baked single pie crust.

Follow the directions on the Jello package, doubling the ingredients for one pie. I deviate from the recipe by squeezing enough fresh lemon juice to make at least one half cup. You will find that this really makes a wonderful difference in contrast between the sweet of the meringue and the tartness of the lemon filling.

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