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Kidney Stew

The city of Rome is rightly famed for its art, architecture, culture and fashion, yet its traditional cuisine remains largely undiscovered outside of Italy. Traditional Roman food is the food of the poor workers of the city. This style of poor or peasant cooking, known as cucina povera, holds a special place in the hearts of all Italians who romanticise the ingenuity and imagination of their forefathers and mothers to create wholesome and hearty food out of cheap, local ingredients. Each region has its own style of cucina povera, dictated by what was available locally, and in Rome that legacy is still strongly felt.

The widespread use of offal in traditional Roman cooking can be traced back to the old working class district of Testaccio, just south of the Aventine Hill. The area is now well-known for its lively and well-stocked open markets but it was once the home of the city’s macelli, or abattoirs. Workers at the abattoirs would have their wages supplemented by the leftover offal from the animals, which became known as quinto quarto, or fifth quarter. The Testaccio district became well known for its inventive and delicious offal dishes, and the recipe for one speciality, rognone in umido, or kidney stew, is given below.

Rognone in Umido

Roman Kidney Stew

Serves Four

450g lambs’ kidneys, skinned, cored and sliced
10g butter
1 large onion, sliced
3 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
400g can of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp dry white wine

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Heat the butter in a large frying pan until melted, then add the sliced kidneys. Fry them over a moderate heat until they are browned and the juices run. Remove the kidneys from the pan and keep to one side. Next gently fry the bacon and onion in the same pan until the onion is golden. Add the tomatoes and wine and heat gently for about 15 minutes. Now stir in the kidneys and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley.



Quick and Easy Stew

On cold winter days there is nothing more satisfying than knowing there is a huge pan of beef stew cooking away in the oven. It does not take too long to prepare and once in the oven it cooks itself. Times and measurements  don’t need to be exact and favourite vegetables can be added to the pot. The best part is knowing that it will taste even better on the second day and you won’t need to lift a finger in the kitchen then.

Stewing steak is ideal for stews. Here in Greece the cut of beef which works best in a stew and adds the most flavour is known as ‘pondiki’, the Greek word for mouse.  Buy as much or as little as you like depending on your desire for meat, but if you can make the butcher understand that small pieces means small pieces it saves you cutting up the meat at home. Turn your back for a minute on a Greek butcher and small pieces equals a piece of stewing beef cut into four.

A wonderful addition to this hearty beef stew is to add dumplings 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

This is my recipe for beef stew, but add whichever vegetables you like.

 500 gms Stewing steak cut into small pieces.

3 large onions.

20 shallots.

6 carrots.

6 potatoes

A handful of black peppercorns.

3 bay leaves.

Tomato puree.

Worcestershire sauce.

1 beef stock cube.

2 tblsp flour

I prepare my stew by frying off the beef in olive oil in the wok. Whilst it browns peel and chop the onions and add to the meat. Peel and chop all the other vegetables and add the shallots and peppercorns  to the wok. When the meat and onions are nicely cooked together add tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and the flour, stir together. Pour into a large pan and cover with the beef stock. Either add the vegetables now or at some point in the next hour if you think you might be back in the kitchen. Pop it into a slow oven to cook.

 You should be able to tell from the smell when it’s ready. Incidentally this same dish is actually known as beef soup in Greece.



Potato Cheddar Soup

Soups can be hearty, but Cheddar and Potato soup can be used as a fun substitute for those days where you want to enjoy being outside and not stuck in the kitchen. Recipes can be altered to your taste but this will provide you your basic flavors. It should be noted that the longer this soup cooks on low heat the better the flavor. For an added creamy texture you can separate the soup into two halves and process one in the blender at medium speed adding two tablespoons of unsalted butter. Serve this soup with crusty bread and smiles.

Ingredients are in order of use:

Wash and peel 8 Idaho baking potatoes, proceed to cut into 1/4 inch cubes.
10 strips of bacon
1 bunch green onions, washed and tops and bottoms separated. Thinly slice the bottoms and rough chop the tops.
32 ounces Chicken Stock, any variety.
8-16 ounces of Hoop or Wisconsin Cheddar cheese, grated.
1 pint heavy whipping cream.
1 stick or 6 tablespoons unsalted butter.
Salt and white pepper to taste.

Preparation:

Add bacon roughly chopped to a large stock pot or soup pot. Saute over medium heat until bacon has browned. Pour half of the bacon grease into a container, reserve 1/2 of cooked bacon for later use.

Add potatoes and green onion bottoms into soup pot and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir gently throughout. By this time the potatoes should be slightly soft but not cooked throughout. Add all of the chicken stock. Then add another 6 cups warm water.

Stir ingredients so they are all mixed. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least one hour, but this soup can be left for up to 4 hours stirring about once every 30 minutes to an hour making sure ingredients haven’t stuck to the bottom of the pan.

To finish off the soup, bring it back up to a boil on medium high. Begin adding 3/4 of the grated cheese about a half cup at a time. Making sure to whisk it in properly so it dissolves throughout the soup. Once all cheese has been whisked into the soup. Add the heavy whipping cream, whisk this in and add the unsalted butter a tablespoon at a time then continue to boil for five minutes.

Serve in deep bowls and garnish with reserved green onion tops, bacon and grated cheddar cheese. Enjoy!



Recipes Taco Soup

This hearty soup is terrific for family get-togethers in the fall and winter when the weather is chilly and you need a dish that can easily be doubled to serve a large number of people. Taco Soup incorporates robust tomatoes, zingy green chilies, satisfying ground beef and beans with a distinctive southwestern flavor that will please any hungry family.

This easy-to-prepare dish can fit into any schedule, slowly simmering for two or more hours or quickly cooked for busy weeknights. Taco Soup can be prepared in advanced, cooked and then frozen to serve as an emergency dinner solution.

Taco Soup

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 four-ounce can of chopped green chilies

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 packet taco seasoning

1 packet ranch dressing mix

2 fourteen-ounce cans of stewed tomatoes

1 fourteen-ounce can of Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1 fourteen-ounce can of jalapeno pinto beans*

1 fourteen-ounce can of pinto beans

1 fourteen-ounce can of yellow hominy

Sliced black olives and shredded cheese to garnish

(*if your family prefers a mild taste you may substitute jalapeno pinto beans with a second can of regular pinto beans)

Directions:

In a large pot brown ground beef adding green chilies and diced onion. After browning add taco seasoning and ranch seasoning, mixing well.

As the meat simmers empty two cans of stewed tomatoes and one can of Mexican-style stewed tomatoes into a large blender. Blend fully and pour into the pot. Adjust the heat setting under the pot to medium and add the beans and hominy, including any liquid in the cans.

If you are pressed for time, simply allow the soup to cook on medium for twenty minutes. When time allows, you may simmer the soup for two hours on low.

To serve, spoon a portion into a bowl and top with sliced black olives and shredded cheese. This soup is well-accompanied with flour tortillas, corn bread or simple saltine crackers.



Recipe Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse is a classic Provencal fish soup served from the finest restaurants to the smallest cafes throughout Europe. References to it go back hundreds of years, but generally it’s origins are considered to be from that cradle of southern French cooking, Marseilles. The stock gets its rich flavors from herbs, fish heads, bones, shellfish and vegetables. Traditionally, it is served with crusty artisan bread, perhaps toasted and a rouille, a slightly spicy sauce for dipping. 

Recipes abound for Bouillabaisse and each cook tends to think their own is the best. This recipe takes advantage of traditional flavors, with a few short cuts for convenience. A recipe for the rouille is included below. This is a recipe that lends itself well to experimenting, allowing it to evolve into your own dish..

Ingredients

3 tbl extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed

2 quarts water

1 cup white wine (optional)

1 sprig each of parsley, fennel, thyme and basil

2 cups tomatoes, chopped

1/2 tsp powdered saffron

1 tsp sea or kosher salt

3-4 lbs fish heads, bones and shrimp shells 

1 lb peeled shrimp (shells can be used for above)

1 lb fleshy fish such as halibut, flounder, whitefish or sole, coarsely chopped

1 lb debearded and well scrubbed mussels or clams

1 tbl orange zest

cracked pepper to taste

1 loaf whole wheat artisan bread

Rouille

Heat two tablespoons of the EVOO in a large stockpot and saute the onions and garlic until tender. Add the walter, wine, herbs, tomatoes, salt, fish heads, bones and shells. Bring to a boil, stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes. Pour the broth through a colander or strainer into a large bowl to separate it from the solids. Discard the solids. Pour the third tablespoon of EVOO into the stockpot and raise the heat to medium high. Add the fish and saute for about one minute. Add the stock and the shrimp and mussels or clams and the orange zest. Reduce the heat to a simmer until the mussels have just opened. Add the pepper to taste. Serve with bread and rouille. Serves 6.

Rouille

1 garlic clove, peeled and mashed

1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 cup bread crumbs

3 tbl bouillabaisse broth

2 tbl fresh parsley

1 tbl fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup EVOO

Mash the garlic and cayenne into the salt in a small bowl. Add the bread crumbs, broth, parsley and lemon juice and stir to moisten. Place the mixture into a food processor and set to puree. Add the EVOO slowly as needed to make a thick sauce. Serve with the artisan bread.

For more variations see:

Food network

Epicurious



Chicken Tortilla Soup Fabulous Heavenly Soul Food

Chicken Tortilla soup is a popular Texan/Mexican staple soul food. Everyone has their own favourite version of this satisfying, comforting nourishment passed on through generations. Others happen to be passed a bowl of this soul food and are blessed to be given the recipe. Some add jalapeno peppers, others prefer a tomato base, and others prefer to add black beans. Using plenty of vegetables add to the healthy earthiness of what is literally a meal in bowl. 

Here’s a fabulous version to serve four. Allow an hour for preparation and cooking time.

Ingredients

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cans sweetcorn (drained)

1 cup diced celery

2 cups diced carrots
1 clove garlic crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika
2.5 pints (or 3 large cans) chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small red chilli diced small
Juice of one lime or lemon
1-2 cups of salsa depending upon taste

1 tsp. oil
1 cup tortilla chips
½ cup grated cheese e.g. Monterey Jack

1 avocado

Chopped parsley

Small pot Sour cream

Method

Boil the chicken pieces in a pan of water for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan and shred. In the meantime gently fry the onions in the oil and when translucent, add the chopped garlic, chilli, cumin and paprika. Stir gently, mixing with the onions. Add half a pint of chicken broth (or one can) and stir.  Empty contents into a large pan.  Add the shredded chicken and the remaining chicken broth, lime or lemon juice, corn, carrots, celery and salsa and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat, season to taste, and keep on a low simmer for 40-45 minutes. Serve in open bowls, topping each with diced avocado, tortilla chips and cheese. Garnish with sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Instead of using bought tortilla chips, try making your own.

Spray a baking tray with fry light, cut three tortillas into thin strips and scatter on the baking tray. Spray them with fry light and liberally scatter sea salt over the strips and bake for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.

For a low fat version, omit the oil and add all the main ingredients to the broth and cook for 20 minutes.   Remove the chicken pieces; shred and then re add the chicken to the soup. Use ½ cup half fat cheese, and ½ cup tortillas and garnish with parsley, omitting the sour cream and avocado.

Heaven!



Recipes Fish Soup from Stock

A wonderfully delicious tasting soup evokes a true sea-side memory. This recipe uses a traditional stock base with a very sublime background, seafood taste. The ingredients remain simple, yet the flavour offers a truly breath-taking depth of flavour with timeless sophistication. An excellent time to serve this fragrant soup is ideally on a cool summer´s evening, or as a precursor to a splendid dinner party. This soup is an excellent way to use up left over fish off-cuts too.

Serves 4-6 people

Fish Stock

2kg of any fish off-cuts include heads, tails, crab claws, bones (avoid oily fish like salmon and herring)

2 glasses of white wine

2-3 litres of spring water

1 carrot

2 cloves of crushed garlic

1 knob of butter

1 stick of celery

1 onion

1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, and parsley)

10 peppercorns

Gently saute the onion, celery, garlic, and carrot until soft. Add the wine, bouquet garni, and peppercorns and stir in to release the flavours. Stir in the fish off-cuts, savour the fish flavour as it releases, and pour over the spring water. Reduce the heat of your stock and simmer gently for 2 hours minimum. Sieve off the stock and reserve the liquid for the main soup dish.

Main Soup dish

2ltrs of fish stock

1 kg of any flake fish

2 glasses of white wine

2 medium onions

6-8 shallots

4 cloves of garlic crushed

2 sticks of celery

1 cup of double cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley leaves to garnish

Chop the onions, shallots, celery, and garlic finely and saute in the butter until translucent and soft. Next add the white wine to the pan and allow to reduce for roughly 2 minutes. Then add the fish flakes and stir through. Gently allow the ingredients to infuse for 5 minutes. Add the fish stock to your pan. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season the soup according to taste.

Remove from the heat to stir the cream through the soup. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

Serve with warm, crusty bread and an odd glass of chilled white wine, for a sumptuous delectable dish full of depth and flavour.

The subtle fish flavour, combined with the high quality fish stock, make this sumptuous dish a delight to consume. The combination of onions, garlic and white wine adds a slight rustic quality to the underlying flavour of the fish ingredients. A wonderful fish soup providing amazement, sustenance and delight to your friends and family.



Chicken Noodle Soup Recipes Including Vegetarian and Speedy Alternatives

This version of Chicken Noodle soup (vegetarian alternative below) is a fabulous low fat, nutritious, comforting and satisfying soup, made in minutes with little preparation!  Not only does it taste great, it offers immediate comfort on the coldest days, is a great stress reliever and is brilliant for anyone suffering from winter colds, coughs or influenza! 

All that in one bowl! 

1. Here’s how….

Ingredients

1 chicken breast
1 pint of chicken stock
½ pack choi
3 spring onions chopped (reserve some of the chopped green tops for later)
5 chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp sweetcorn
50g rice or wheat dried noodles or vermicelli, or linguini!
1 small red chilli finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon grated fresh root ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Method,

Place stock and chicken in a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer over a low heat.  Whilst chicken is cooking, gradually add the pak choi, the chopped spring onions, mushrooms, sweetcorn, chilli, ginger and garlic. Check after 20 minutes and once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and finely shred it or small dice it.  Add the shredded/diced chicken to the pan, together with the noodles, lemon juice and soy sauce.  Stir and then check for seasoning, and add salt and ground black pepper to taste. Cook for another five minutes on low heat and then serve, ladled into bowls. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and the remaining chopped spring onions over the top.

2.Vegetarian alternative

For a vegetarian variation use the ingredients list as above, substituting miso soup mix or organic vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock, and replace the chicken with tofu or chicken shaped quorn pieces. Use the speedy method to cook the ingredients as below.

3.Speedy alternative

If you are in hurry, use cooked chicken, fine diced or shredded instead of the uncooked chicken breast, Barts ready ginger, and dried, quick cook egg noodles.

Ingredients

1 cup of cooked chicken, fine diced or shredded
1 pint of chicken stock
½ pack choi
3 spring onions chopped (reserve some of the chopped green tops for later)
5 chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp sweetcorn kernels
50g dried egg noodles
1 small red chilli finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon Barts ready ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Method

Place stock, pak choi, chopped spring onions, mushrooms, sweetcorn, chilli, ginger and garlic into a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer over a low heat. Add the cooked chicken and cook for five minutes. Add the noodles, lemon juice, and soy sauce stir, and cook for an additional two minutes. Check for seasoning, and add salt and ground black pepper to taste. Serve, ladled into bowls. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and the remaining chopped spring onions over the top.

Comfort food at it’s best!  Enjoy!



Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla soup is a Texas favorite that is weaving a mouth watering path across the country. This soup is simple enough for you to easily make in your own home. This delicious recipe serves 8, has a prep time of 20 minutes and total cook time of 45 minutes. Not only that, but it’s low calorie! You can enjoy this indulgence with a guilt free conscience.

The secret to this recipe is the tortilla crumbs and you can make them ahead of time. The crumbs act as a broth thickener, making this soup more like a stew, and provide additional flavor.

Tortilla Crisps Ingredients:

4 (6 inch) yellow corn tortillas
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut the tortillas into 1/4 inch strips and then in half. Place strips in bowl with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and mix well. Spread the tortilla strips on a cookie sheet and bake 12-14 minutes. Place the strips on cooling rack.

Soup Ingredients:

4 (6 inch) yellow corn tortillas
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 medium zucchini
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 pressed garlic cloves
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
2 cans (14.5 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
3-3 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1 tsp salt or Morton’s Lite Salt

Stack tortillas and cut into 1 inch strips. Place tortillas in a blender or food processor until fine crumbs form. Set aside.

Dice onion and zucchini and set aside zucchini. Place oil and diced onion in a 4 quart casserole dish. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes and add cilantro, pressed garlic, and cumin. Cook 20-30 seconds before stirring in tortilla crumbs, chicken stock, fire-roasted tomatoes and pinto beans. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 15 minutes until soup is thickened, stirring frequently.

Stir in the zucchini, chicken and salt. Cook for 3 more minutes and serve! For added flavor consider topping the soup with avocado, limes, crumbled cheese and don’t forget those yummy Tortilla Crisps!

As an alternative, you can also make this soup in the microwave. Just be sure your casserole dish has a cover and reduce cooking time by a third.

Calories 220, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 45 mg, Carbs 21 g, Protein 21 g, Sodium 830mg, Fiber 4 g.



Taco Soup

Taco soup is a zesty thick authentic Mexican dish from the southwest. Fast and easy make it in one pot or take a few extra minutes in the morning to put it in the slow cooker. Packed with tasty savory spices, it satisfies the hungriest eater so double the pot. The fresh blends will heat your bones on a chilly day and brighten the mood on a rainy night. Use any variety of beans or a combination of any seven.

Get the soup started. You will need:

7 cups water (it will reduce to juice as it simmers)

Package taco seasoning (or use a taco-seasoning blend of your own spices)

3 ounces salt pork cut into small dime size cubes

Fill up the pot with seven cups of tap water. Add the taco-seasoning stir vigorously with a wire whisk to incorporate with the water. Drop in the salt pork and stir to distribute evenly as it will lie flat on the bottom of the pot’s surface until it becomes warm and floats to the top. Heat on medium until the soup comes to a high rolling boil and then reduces the heat to simmer. Discard the salt pork or leave it in for the long run.

Next, add your vegetables:

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced (do not sauté)

2 (15 oz) cans crushed tomatoes (or large #303 can)

Turn up the heat. Add the onion and tomatoes to the pot. Stir and bring to a slow boil. The onions will float to the edges as it cooks. Cover the pot and sweat the onions until done.

The next ingredients add some texture to your soup:

1 (15 oz) can of golden hominy (drained)

1 (15 oz) can of black beans (drained and rinsed)

Stir the soup and add hominy and black beans to the pot. Return to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer. Check seasonings after for 20 minutes and it is ready to eat. Put extra house condiments on the table for those who want to kick up the heat. Load up the soup bowls and let them set for a few minutes before you pass them round the table.

If you prefer to change the hominy and black beans, use kernel corn and pinto beans. Use small pasta stars instead of the hominy or corn. You can serve taco soup with fresh tostadas chips, fried cornbread or baked cornbread with a crusty top. For sides, try a hot roasted red pepper and cauliflower dish and guacamole salad. For a variation to the taco soup, you can also make a salsa style soup and serve it with cheddar-filled quesadillas.

Fresh cantaloupe and rainbow sherbet make a good dessert after a spicy meal. Thin crispy Sopapillas with brown sugar and cinnamon are also favorites. As a refreshing beverage for a taco soup meal, try limeade or lime punch.




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