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Soup Season?

Mary Honrud

For the Courier

Usually our minds will turn to soups as fall arrives with the cooler weather and more gloomy skies. For me, that season of soups is now. Well, really, I think soup is always good. We’ve had some really nice weather recently, but the fog and no sun is here right now. That has me wanting comfort food. Soup fills that want.

First up is a hearty soup featuring wild rice and mushrooms. I combed through several variations on this theme, and settled on one that didn’t call for cream or milk. Those of you who don’t do well with too much dairy will appreciate my discernment.

Wild Rice/Mushroom/

Sausage Soup

12 oz medium Italian bulk sausage

1 1/3 C diced onion

1 1/3 C thinly sliced carrot

1 1/3 C diced celery

10 oz mushrooms, sliced thin

32 oz chicken stock

64 oz water

1 1/3 C wild rice, rinsed

2 C kale

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

Cook the sausage in oil in large pot, breaking up into chunks. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Sweat the onion in the same pan, adding 1 tsp oil if needed. Add carrots and celery, sweat until softened. Remove to bowl with the sausage. Cook mushrooms in same pan in batches, so they’re not crowded. Put in bowl with meat. Pour stock and water in pot, with the thyme. Heat to boiling, scraping bottom of pot to get up browned bits. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes . Add rinsed rice, cook 10 more minutes. Add kale, simmer 10 minutes. Remove thyme, stir in meat and veggies, cook additional 10-15 minutes, until rice is tender. Season to taste.

I didn’t have celery when I made this, so ignored it. I also didn’t add that much water. I might have used 2 cups of water with the 32 oz container of chicken stock. And I used dried thyme leaves, about a teaspoon. Kale wasn’t an option either, so I used fresh spinach, but I tore a handful of leaves into the bowl and put the soup on top of it. I did add pepper, but no salt as we feel the chicken stock has plenty of salt. And I sprinkled minced green onion on top of each serving. (I didn’t put spinach in Dennis’s bowl.)

This soup was shared with our sports-reporting daughter, who texted “this soup is amazing.”

The same daughter, who is undergoing chemo treatments currently (and doing wonderfully well with that) has been after me to make borscht for her. I’d been resisting, and I don’t know why as I do happen to like beets. I finally succumbed to her entreaties and bought fresh beets to make a pot of the stuff. Again, I considered several recipes before settling on one. Some call for green cabbage, some for a can of cannoli beans, some for stew beef, some for vinegar. I did make a slight change to the one I made, using a few ribs of diced celery in place of the cabbage.

Vegetarian Russian/Ukrainian Borscht Soup

1 pd beets, peeled, chopped

8 oz carrots, 1/8” circles

4 1/4 C water, DIVIDED

5 Tbl tomato paste

4 C low sodium vegetable broth

3 bay leaves

1 # white potatoes, peeled, in 1/2” cubes

2 Tbl EVOO

5 large cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

1 small head green cabbage, shredded

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp pepper

1 Tbl sugar

2-3 Tbl fresh lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

2 Tbl fresh dill, + more for garnish

Plain Greek yogurt for garnish

Sauté onion in oil in a large pot, 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1 minute, reduce heat. Add beets and carrots plus 1/4 C water. Stir to combine, heat on low, simmer 20 minutes, uncovered. Add cabbage, broth, 4 C water, tomato paste, sugar, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1/2 hour. Add potatoes, bring bake to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Once potatoes are cooked, turn off heat, add dill and lemon juice and zest. Discard bay leaves. Serve with a dollop of yogurt on each bowl, more dill, and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

I used a 6 oz can of tomato paste, and Better than Bouillon for the broth. I didn’t peel the potatoes, just scrubbed them really well before dicing them. As I said above, I skipped the cabbage and used diced celery instead. You could skip the yogurt and additional dill and the extra lemon juice, but they make the soup so pretty - the white atop the rich red soup.

The title of the borscht is really long, and the process took most of the morning, but the results were worth the time and effort. I will make this soup again. It’s a lovely red soup. I also made the effort to find and purchase fresh beets rather than use canned.

My other cooking this week (for Dennis. While he did eat the mushroom/rice soup without complaint, I knew he was not about to consume beets in any form.) was pork tenderloin. With that, I zapped a couple white spuds in the microwave, smashed them open, topped them with butter, a couple slices of pepper jack, and freshly grated reggiano Parmesan. I had broccoli roasted at 400° with red onion, sliced, and a pint of cherry tomatoes, sprinkled with Tajin, EVOO, and a bit of garlic salt.

Pork Tenderloin

Mix together 1 Tbl brown sugar; 1/2 tsp each of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Rub liberally on all sides of 1 # tenderloin. Put pork on foil covered pan with a lip. Use 1/8 C butter in thin slices on top of the meat. Sprinkle with dried parsley if desired. Bake at 400° in center of oven, uncovered, 25 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing. Use pan juices over sliced meat.

We will survive the weather and be back to gardening, or at least dreaming of it, in a couple more months. Hang in there. Spring will return.


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