One of the best ways to treat tougher cuts of pork is to cook them low and slow, and this rule applies to the stove as much it does the grill. In this yummy, hearty-but-healthy spring stew, we’re braising cubes of pork loin roast (not tenderloin), and adding lots of vegetables, earthy spices and fresh tomatillos.
Down to the Bones: Which ones are best for great soup?February 23, 2016
I thought I’d squeeze in one more hot soup blog before the weather gets toasty and our thoughts turn elsewhere.
Lately, I’ve been making a big pot of vegetable soup on the weekends, starting with homemade beef stock. I went through a phase when I bought beef stock from the store – there are so many good quality ones these days, and it definitely saves time – but honestly, nothing compares to the real thing. And last year, I got inspired to return to homemade stock after we did a fun 225 Magazine story on great local soups. I had the best time picking the brains of local chefs on what makes their signature soups so delicious. Some soups were cream-based, and their success turned on straightforward decadence. But others, like Dang’s pho, MJ’s Café’s black bean and Galatoire’s Bistro’s turtle, were soups that rose and fell on house-made stocks. No surprise, they were tended for many hours at a time.
Chef Kelley McCann at Galatoire’s Bistro told me about roasting a medley of veal bones, including lots of gelatinous joints, before simmering them for hours in order to make a super rich reduction for the restaurant’s signature turtle soup. Even Maureen Joyce’s vegetable stock, used in her black bean soup at MJ’s, called for overnight slow-roasting of multiple root vegetables. Soup seems so simple, but a really good soup requires some behind-the-scenes work.
I’m not sure I have that much time to devote, but I can certainly muster a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon while I’m hanging out with my family and doing loads (…and loads…) of laundry.
So, the question is, which bones are best for creating a stock that makes your soup sing?
5 ways to perk up chili nightDecember 21, 2015
Of all the one-pot dishes you might make this holiday season, I’ll argue that a big ol’ batch of chili is the easiest. There’s no roux involved. It doesn’t require sourcing or cleaning seafood. It’s fun to serve with a topping bar. And it’s universally beloved by kids and adults.
Chili is so fast and easy that sometimes I make it too much, so I’ve been working on keeping it interesting.
Here are five ways to enliven your chili habit as you head into frenzied holiday entertaining. Enjoy.
Recipe: pasta e fagioli with fresh red beansNovember 3, 2015
I first got turned on to the Italian peasant soup pasta e fagioli when I took a cooking class on soups at the John Folse Culinary Institute several years ago. I was amazed at how flavorful a soup made of little more than beans and pasta could be. Now I really like to make it because it’s a favorite among my kids, and I can sometimes buy fresh and shelled red beans from Pontchatoula farmer Eric Morrow at the Red Stick Farmers Market. We also have an old school pasta shop here in Baton Rouge, D’Agostino’s, that sells handmade dried pastas. Their birdseye, shown below, is perfect for this soup.
Here’s my pasta e fagioli recipe, referenced in earlier post on fall soups inspired by farmers market ingredients. This version is lighter than many because it uses chicken stock rather than beef, and diced fresh tomatoes rather than tomato paste.
5 fall produce soup ideasNovember 2, 2015
I’ve got soup on the brain. Our weather in south Louisiana is still warm and muggy, but the calendar just flipped to November, it’s getting darker earlier and there is a CRAZY amount of inspiring ingredients emerging from local farms and found in local grocery stores and at our Red Stick Farmers Market. This time of year yields incredible produce here in the Bayou State, and one of the easiest ways to enjoy it is in a yummy bowl of homemade soup. Here are five simple and delicious soup ideas that use regional raw materials.
Corn and squash soup brims with summer goodnessJuly 1, 2015
One of the easiest ways to use fresh summer produce is in a luscious seasonal soup. I know, it’s hot outside, but your AC is probably on full blast, and soup is an inside dish. Corn soup (…and its many versions) is a longtime favorite around South Louisiana, but adding squash to the mix creates depth and wholesome goodness. Thanks to the Red Stick Farmers Market for planting the seed with their annual Corn & Squash-tastic event last Saturday celebrating the summer bounty. The idea of combining the two got stuck in my head and led to this simple recipe, which gives me a chance to do something different with yellow squash. I admit to getting stuck sometimes on expanding my use for it.
This soup tastes rich, but it’s really pretty healthy. A portion of the corn is pureed with a little broth to create a creamy consistency without actually using cream.