Creamy Sauerkraut, Potato and Kielbasa Soup


Creamy Sauerkraut, Potato and Kielbasa Soup | Culinary Compost RecipesThis hearty Polish/Ukrainian soup is sooooo damn good. The bacon, Gouda cheese and kielbasa sausage add a wonderful, mellow depth of flavor that complements the briny bite of the kraut. The one thing I’ve found in my years of cooking is that people either love or detest sauerkraut — there is no middle ground. And for those that hate it, I say y’all are crazy. This recipe is perfect for game day or a cold winter afternoon. You can freeze any leftovers; it keeps wonderfully, and it’s better after a day’s rest in the fridge. Enjoy—

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
4 tbs. (1/2 stick) salted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream or whole milk
1 Hillshire Farms® Polska Kielbasa, cubed in 1/2″ chunks
3 large diced red potatoes (scrub clean and leave the skins on)
1 14.5oz. can Frank’s® sauerkraut
1 cup diced Gouda cheese (cube in 1/4″ chunks)
2 tsp. dry parsley
1 dry bay leaf
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. caraway seed, ground in a mortar
Generous amount of fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Dollop of fresh sour cream for garnish

Optional: Bread bowls for serving

Do not add salt until you taste it first.

 

PREPARATION:

Fry the bacon in a heavy skillet until most of the fat has rendered out, but do not let it get crispy. Remove and drain on paper towel.

In a 3-quart heavy soup pot, add the butter and flour and cook over medium-low heat for 12-15 minutes to form a roux. Stir constantly with a spatula so it doesn’t scorch. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Next, increase the heat to medium and add the cubed kielbasa. Saute for ten minutes. Add the heavy cream and chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Add the rendered bacon and dry spices. Stir occasionally. Add the diced potatoes and the kraut. Cook for 1 hour, partially covered, over a very low simmer until the potatoes are tender. During the last 30 minutes, add the Gouda cheese and cook until melted and creamy, stirring often.

Correct the seasoning and add salt if you need to, but keep in mind that the kraut, cheese and sausage are loaded with it.

Serve in bread bowls or heavy crockware soup bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a nice spinach salad.

Serves 4-6
Yields about 2.5 quarts

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Culinary Compost Boycotts Penzeys Spices


Hello fellow foodies. After reading recent commentary from Bill Penzey, the author of Culinary Compost is officially withdrawing all references to Penzeys Spices on this food blog. While I’ve always known that Bill overtly inserts his political opinion in monthly mailings to his customer base, (which, in its own right is wrong on so many levels,) I can no longer stand by and let this man spew his rhetoric of hate to conservatives, and to people who support and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, by labeling them “racist.”

I am not a racist. I never have been. And I resent being called one.

This is extreme-left socialism, and this kind of bigotry has no place in America.  Make no mistake — my observation is not one of Conservatives vs. Liberals. It is simply a stance of the author not supporting an individual who wants to further divide this country through hate by means of his product.

Shown below are a few articles and a link to Penzey’s official Facebook page:

http://truthfeed.com/owner-of-penzeys-spice-co-trashes-trump-supporters-calling-them-racist-and-saying-they-must-be-punished/39315/

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2016/11/21/penzeys-ceo-comments-ignite-backlash-praise-and.html

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/23/bill-penzey-ceo-trump-voters-just-committed-the-bi/

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/bill-penzey-spices-trump/

http://modernfarmer.com/2016/11/penzeys-spices-condemns-trump-attracts-rage/

https://www.facebook.com/Penzeys/?fref=ts

 

You be the judge.  Last time I checked, America was still a free country. And my readers, of course, are still allowed to shop where they want and exercise their right to free speech, which I will always respect. However, pitting people against each other in the guise of “Love” is a ruse by Bill Penzey, who’s only concern is making as much money as he can over a very contentious election.  Funny thing is, he’s pissed off a lot of his customers, and I, for one, will not be coming back.

Invariably, comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke say it best:
https://twitter.com/SheriffClarke/status/800088603422380033
“This typical hate-filled white elitist lefty doesn’t live around black people or have stores in black neighborhoods.”

Bill Penzey can be reached at bill@penzeys.com

#boycottpenzeys

 

In the interest of an open discussion, leave your thoughts below – none will be censured.
—Mike from Culinary Compost

Bill Penzey's Socialist Sea Salt

Penzey’s Spices announces new product.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto


Creamy Mushroom Risotto | Culinary Compost Recipes

Carefully cook the Arborio rice until al dente, so it retains a firm, creamy texture.

This is a comforting, hearty Italian recipe loosely based on several by Mario Batali and Ina Garten. You’ll note that in my version, the process and ingredients are simplified. This recipe makes a wonderful side dish. It can also be served as a main course meal with a nice, crusty Italian bread and butter or XV olive oil for dipping.

You don’t need to constantly stir the risotto in order for it to turn out correctly. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 tbs. XV olive oil
2 large cloves minced garlic
1 small white onion, diced
1 strip bacon, diced
1/2 pound sliced and stemmed crimini mushrooms
1.5 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
48 oz. chicken stock
1/2 stick salted butter
2 tbs. minced flat-leaf Italian parsley, OR  4-6 stalks minced fresh summer chives
2 leaves fresh Italian basil, minced (optional)
Kosher salt to taste, about 1 tsp.
1/2 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh-grated hard Parmesan cheese (plus a bit extra for serving)

 

Directions:

In a heavy saucepan, heat the chicken stock until simmering. In a large, heavy, 5-qt. cast-iron Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the diced bacon. Saute for two minutes until the fat starts to render out. Add 2 tbs. of the butter, the onion, garlic and mushrooms and continue to saute, until the onion is translucent, about five to seven minutes. Do not carmelize the onion or scorch the garlic.

Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat. Continue to stir for two minutes until the rice is very lightly toasted. Reduce heat on the Dutch oven to medium-low. Add the white wine, salt and pepper and continue to cook until reduced. Next add six ounces of the heated chicken stock to the rice and stir occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated. Continue to add stock in six-ounce increments, stirring occasionally, and cook for at least 25 minutes. At this point the rice should be cooked al dente and appear creamy.

Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the remaining butter, parsley or chives, the basil and the 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well to incorporate. Serve immediately in large bowls with more grated Parmesan cheese on top, as a garnish.

Serves 6

Creamy Mushroom Risotto | Culinary Compost Recipes

Adding the Arborio rice to the mushrooms, onion, garlic and bacon.

Sauteing the mushrooms, garlic and onion and bacon.

Sauteing the mushrooms, garlic and onion and bacon.

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash


Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

The final product, after topping with shredded hard Parmesan cheese.

This is a recipe based on one from an Italian friend who uses halved zucchini. After receiving verbal instructions on the preparation, I winged it with an acorn squash I had on hand. Precook the squash in the oven before stuffing it with the sausage and vegetables to ensure it is fork-tender and mellow.  It takes time to set up, but you’ll be impressed by the result. This is an amazing mid-summer garden recipe your whole family will enjoy.

 

Ingredients:

1 large acorn squash – about 8-9″ in length and 6″ in diameter
2 tbs. XV olive oil
2 Johnsonville mild Italian sausage links, casings removed and crumbled
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium-sized green or red bell garden pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium-hot Hungarian wax garden pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium vine-ripe garden tomatoes, diced
2 large, fresh garden basil leaves, minced
Small handful fresh garden Italian oregano leaves, minced
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded hard Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic granules
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°-F. Cut and prep all ingredients so you have them on hand and ready to go.

Wash and pat dry the squash. Using a very sharp chef’s knife and a steady hand, carefully slice the squash in half around the middle, perpendicular to the stem. Use EXTREME CAUTION so you don’t slip and cut yourself. The flesh and outer rind are very tough. Remove the seeds and membrane with a soup spoon. Cut a narrow section off of the base of each half so they sit flat. Place in a medium-sized shallow baking dish with the cupped interior facing up. Brush with 2 tbs. olive oil and season lightly with Kosher salt and black pepper. Bake uncovered in the oven for 15 minutes.

While the squash halves are baking, fry up the Italian sausage over medium heat in a heavy cast-iron skillet, breaking it apart as it browns with a spatula. Drain off the fat. Add the chopped onion. Stir until just translucent, about 7 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tsp. garlic granules. Add the cayenne pepper. Add the diced bell and Hungarian pepper. Continue stirring until slightly softened. Remove and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano and Mozzarella cheese. Fold in lightly to combine.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°-F.  Using thick oven mitts, carefully remove the baking tray from the oven. Spoon in the mixture, dividing between the two squash halves.

Place the baking dish back in the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes at 375°-F.

Remove again and carefully top each half with the shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake again uncovered for ten minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Remove, let stand for ten minutes and serve.

Serves 2

NOTE: When perfectly done, the texture of the squash should not be mushy or soupy. It should easily peel away from the outer rind with a spoon, but still have some firmness.

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pre-baking the squash at 400°-F with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

Preparing the Italian sausage mixture in a mixing bowl.

Roasted and Stuffed Italian Acorn Squash | Culinary Compost Recipes

The sausage mixture after roasting in the squash for one-half hour at 375°-F.

Crowd-Control Sloppy Mikes


Here’s a larger, crowd-pleasing version of my southwest winning Sloppy Joe recipe, made with five pounds of ground chuck. This recipe will serve 4-6 sandwiches per pound. I’ve tweaked the recipe to include a few ingredients I had on hand for a social get-together at work this week.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

5 pounds lean ground chuck
5 10.75 oz. cans tomato soup
4 full cans hot water (use one of the soup cans for this purpose)
2 large Spanish onions, peeled and diced
4 ribs celery, with greens, diced
2 dashes Worchestershire sauce, (about 1 tbs.)
1/2 heaping cup of chili sauce
2 tsp. salt, to taste
4 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)
4 tsp. whole cumin seed, toasted, then ground by hand in a mortar
2 tbs. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground dry mustard
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
2 tsp. dry basil

6 tbs. ground pure chili powder comprised of:
-1 tbs. medium-hot Chimayo chili
-2 tbs. Ancho chili
-3 tbs. smoked paprika

1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 large sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

 

Preparation:

Dice the onion, bell pepper and celery and set aside. Using two large heavy skillets (preferrably cast-iron) brown the ground beef in batches until no longer pink, over medium-high heat. Drain of fat and place back in the pans with the onion and celery. Reduce heat to medium and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the onions and celery are softened. Remove and place in a six-quart Nesco covered roaster with the tomato soup and water. Stir to incorporate and keep covered over medium heat.

Add the Worchester sauce, chili sauce and dry spices. Mix well. Bring to a rolling boil and let simmer for two to three hours until reduced and thickened. Stir occasionally. Add the red bell pepper during the last hour. Reduce heat and cover until ready to serve.

Serve on buns with pickle chips and sliced Colby cheese.

 

Serves 20-25 individual sandwiches with plenty of second helpings.

Texas-Style BBQ Ham Sandwiches


Texas-Style Sliced BBQ Ham Sandwiches | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is a simple and economical way to use up leftover ham, whether it be a bone-in or boneless. Minimal fuss elevates this utilitarian sandwich into a very satisfying family favorite. For this recipe, be sure to sear the ham in a heavy pot over medium heat to bring out the flavor. Don’t worry — It will be super-moist and tender.  Serve on classic thick-cut white bread with cheese, red onion, slaw or sliced pickles.  It’s even great leftover and cold. Hot-damn, this is good eats!!

 

Ingredients:

1/4 lb. thinly-sliced leftover ham, per person
1 small white onion, sliced roughly, lengthwise
1 tbs. butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup Stubb’s Original BBQ Sauce
Thick-cut sandwich bread, buttered
Sliced white American or Colby cheese
Thinly sliced red onion
Coleslaw (optional)
sliced dill pickle chips

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the ham and set aside. Using a large, heavy cast-iron pot or chicken fryer, heat the butter over medium until melted. Working in batches if needed, add the ham and spread evenly over the bottom of the cooking surface. Increase heat slightly, and brown the ham slices on both sides until there is a nice sear. Reduce heat to low and add the sliced white onion. Stir with a wooden spatula to incorporate. Heat for five minutes, then add the BBQ sauce and mix. Cover with a heavy lid and gently heat for 15-30 minutes, stirring once.

Remove from heat and serve on buttered white bread with sliced cheese, red onion or slaw, and sliced dill pickle chips.

Texas-Style Sliced BBQ Ham Sandwiches | Culinary Compost Recipes

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Pizza


Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

Burnt, but not forgotten….

This is a recipe loosely based on one presented by Geoffrey Zakarian of Food Network. His recipe was great, but I wanted more toppings to properly fill a 12″ cast-iron skillet. My version is in between a thin-crust and deep dish pizza with a wonderful gouda-stuffed crust.

On my first attempt, the kitchen smoke alarm went off six times, the cat hid in the basement, and the crust was slightly burnt. Lesson learned. Every oven cooks differently — and knowing how blistering hot cast-iron gets, my next attempt will be at 475°F for 20 minutes, with no preheat on the crust. I’ll update ya’ll on my progress. Overall, it had great flavor, and an intense, rich, smokey undertone from the gouda cheese. I stressed over making pizza dough from scratch for the first time, but it was easy.

This is a winning recipe. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the Dough:
2 cups bread flour
1.5 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. breadmaker yeast
3/4 cup warm water + 2 tbs. (115°F)
1 tsp. honey
1 tbs. XV olive oil

For the Pizza Sauce:
2 tbs. XV olive oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne chili pepper flakes, to taste
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 can 8 oz. Contadina® tomato sauce
4-5 chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt, and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

For the Crust:
4 tbs. XV olive oil
White flour, for flouring the dough surface
4 oz. premium smoked Gouda cheese, cut into 2″ x 1/2″ slices
Cornmeal for dusting the pan
Kosher salt

Pizza Toppings:
1/4 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
1 Johnsonville® mild Italian sausage, casing removed, fried until no longer pink, crumbled and drained of fat
Premium Volpi® pepperoni sausage slices – 12-14, enough to cover the pizza
2-4 oz. premium smoked Gouda cheese, 1/4″ cubed, as preferred
1/4 cup black olives, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 sliced red bell pepper
6-10 fresh basil leaves rough-chopped
3 large Crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced and sauteed in 2 tbs. XV olive oil for five minutes
4 oz. shredded hard Parmesan cheese

 

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the pizza dough by adding 2 cups bread flour, kosher salt, yeast, honey and olive oil to a food processor with a dough blade.
Turn on the processor and gradually add the warm water until the dough pulls away from the sides of the work bowl. In my Breville Sous Chef processor, it only takes one minute.

Remove the dough and place on a sheet of nonstick baker’s parchment paper that has been sprinkled lightly with flour. Knead gently for one minute. Place in a greased mixing bowl covered with a damp, warm towel, and let stand for one hour. I prefer to let the dough rise in my oven with the oven light on. This is a great technique when temperatures are cooler in the winter.

Preparing the Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the chili flakes and minced garlic. Saute for five minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t scorch. Add the tomato puree and basil. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Shut off the heat.

Preparing the Pizza Crust: Preheat oven to 475 or 500°F. Grease a heavy, 12″ cast-iron pan with 2 tbs. XV olive oil. Dust the bottom of the pan with a bit of cornmeal to prevent the crust from sticking. When the pizza dough has doubled in size, punch down, then roll out on parchment paper or a floured counter top into a 14″ circle. Carefully place in the cast-iron pan. Press the dough into the corners of the pan to prevent air pockets from forming. Add sliced Gouda cheese around the perimeter of the dough, and then fold and crimp the dough over the cheese, forming a rolled crust. Brush the rim of the crust with the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil. Sprinkle the rim very lightly with kosher salt.

Add the prepared pizza sauce to the center of the dough and spread out evenly with a large spoon. DO NOT over sauce, or the crust will be soggy. Layer the toppings, finishing off with the remaining Gouda and grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake as instructed, 475-500°F, for 20 minutes, watching the crust carefully. Remove from heat, let stand for ten minutes in the pan, and then cut and serve.

Serves 2-4.

 

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

 

3/12/16  UPDATE: Made a second pie and cooked it at 475°F for 20 minutes. Crust came out PERFECT. Results shown below. Experiment and have fun!

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost