Thai Red Curry Soup with Shrimp


Thai Red Curry Soup with Shrimp | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a wonderful recipe inspired by some of my favorite Thai cuisine. The red curry paste packs a sucker-punch, so use it sparingly until you know how spicy it is. The addition of turmeric will intensify the color of the dish. If you cannot find lemongrass, don’t worry. The paste already has it. Adding fresh lemongrass will simply provide a more vibrant, complex flavor — remove it before serving as it is tough and will not break down.

Note that the preparation is layered in stages so the tender vegetables go in at the end — this ensures that they don’t overcook.
Enjoy, this is one of my all-time favorites.

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 tbs. peanut oil
20 small shrimp, deveined
2 heaping tbs. red curry paste (or more to taste)
1 medium shallot, minced
1″ chunk of ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass; trim, peel and keep only 8″ of the tender base. Crush with a meat mallet and then cut in half.
4 kaffir lime leaves, minced
1.5 tsp. ground turmeric
4 cups chicken stock
1 13-oz. can coconut milk, shaken
4 Thai birds-eye hot chilies, crushed (to taste)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly-sliced
1 small bunch bok choy, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped (base and greens divided)
1 tbs. brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
2 tbs. fish sauce
3 tbs. dark soy sauce
1/3 of a 14-oz. package of Asian rice vermicelli noodles
Handful of snap peas – about 10
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup bean sprouts

~For Garnish:
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 scallion, trimmed and finely sliced at a bias, with greens
1 cup trimmed cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

 

DIRECTIONS:

Cut, measure and prepare the ingredients prior to cooking so you have everything at hand. Thai cuisine is known for its short cooking time.

Prepare the Asian vermicelli noodles according to package directions. Break them in half and cook until just al dente – about five minutes. Drain and reserve, covered.

While you are preparing the noodles, place a 3.5-quart heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the peanut oil and heat until shimmering. Add the shrimp and saute for two minutes until pink. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Add the red curry paste and minced shallot to the pot. Stir constantly until fragrant; about a minute. Watch closely so it doesn’t scorch. Add the sliced shitake mushrooms and the grated ginger. Continue stirring for two minutes.

Next, add the chicken stock and increase the heat to a rolling boil. Add the turmeric, brown sugar and coconut milk. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, jalapenos and the white part of the bok choy. Reserve the bok choy greens for later. Reduce heat to a low simmer.

Add the lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce and crushed birds-eye chili. Cook for seven to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the basil, snap peas and bean sprouts at the very end. Add the prepared noodles, bok choy greens and shrimp to the pot. Stir and remove from heat. Remove and discard the lemongrass before serving.

Garnish with red onion, scallion and cilantro. Drizzle with fresh lime juice if desired.

 

Serves 4

Thai Red Curry Soup with Shrimp | Culinary Compost Recipes

End-of-Summer Acorn Squash Soup with Fresh Basil


End-of-Summer Acorn Squash Soup with Fresh Basil | Culinary Compost Recipes

 

This is a savory, velvety-smooth soup that’s perfect for cold fall afternoons. You can substitute thinly-sliced scallion greens for the basil. Sour cream adds a richer base of flavor, but you can also use one cup of heavy cream instead. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

3 garden acorn squash, halved and seeded
4 tbs. XV olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tbs. salted butter (room temperature)
1 dry bay leaf
1 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. dry tarragon
4 large cloves roasted garlic
1/2 cup fresh-grated quality hard Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Thinly-sliced fresh garden basil as a garnish

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°-F. Using a very sharp 12” chef knife, carefully halve the acorn squash and core out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Lop off the ends on each piece so they will sit level on a cookie sheet.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place the squash halves on the sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove and set aside for ten minutes to cool.

While the squash is baking, heat a small, heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the garlic cloves. Leave the husks on. Turn occasionally and roast for about ten minutes until slightly charred. Remove, let cool and then peel.

Spoon out the squash and transfer to a blender. Add the chicken stock, roasted garlic, sour cream, salted butter, smoked paprika, tarragon, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.

Transfer to a heavy soup pot. Add the grated Parmesan cheese. Stir well and add the bay leaf. Cook over medium-low heat for about one hour, stirring often, so the flavors have time to incorporate. Serve with chopped fresh basil as a garnish.

Serves 6.

 

 

Sunday Chicken Soup


Sunday chicken soup

I threw this recipe together about fifteen years ago, as a way to use up leftover chicken meat. I’ve made it so often for the kids — who still rave about it as young adults — that I realized I’ve never recorded it here on Culinary Compost.  Serve with a nice crusty bread and butter, and a tossed salad.  Great for a Sunday lunch or dinner. Leftovers keep wonderfully.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

4 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced with greens, finely chopped (the greens add a wonderful depth of flavor)
1/2 sweet red bell pepper – diced
4 tbs. salted butter
1 tbs. XV olive oil
2 tbs. flour
Leftover chicken meat – breasts or thighs, shredded
48 oz. chicken stock
1 10.75-oz. can of Campbell’s® Cream of Chicken soup
1 tbs. chicken base
1 small 4-oz. can Pennsylvania Dutchman mushrooms, stems & pieces, with liquid
1 15.8-oz. can Great Northern beans, with liquid
Small handful of angel-hair pasta, broken into thirds
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1 large bay leaf
2 tbs. dry parsley
3 tbs. dry chopped chives
2 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)

 

Directions:

Using a large, heavy, 6-quart stock pot, add the diced carrots, onion, pepper and celery to 4 tbs. butter. Heat over medium until softened, about ten minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden or silicone spatula. Add the olive oil and the flour. Reduce the heat slightly, and stir continuously for about five minutes to make a roux.  Add the chicken stock. Cover the pot and allow to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a very low simmer.

Prepare the chicken meat by removing from the bone, then shredding into bite-sized pieces with a fork. Add to the pot. Add the dry spices and stir occasionally. Add the mushrooms (with the liquid from the can). Add the cream of chicken soup. Stir to incorporate and let simmer for at least a half hour, until the carrots and celery are just undercooked and still a bit crunchy. The volume should be reduced by a third.

Add the beans (with the liquid from the can) and angel-hair pasta, and cook for an additional 15 minutes over very low heat until ready. At this point the vegetables will be perfectly done.  Add water if necessary and go easy on the salt – the beans are loaded with it.

Makes just over two quarts.
Serves 6.

 

 

Mike’s Note:
When preparing in a 3-quart soup pot, use 1-3/4 quarts water, and 8 tsp. chicken base. Do not add salt.

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Beef Tips with Gravy


This easy-to-prepare meal is an excellent dish that is very economical to make. It’s a perfect example of great-tasting home cooking tailored for busy families that don’t have a lot of time to prepare gourmet meals.  I received the instructions for this recipe from my cousin. I have no idea where she got it from, but it’s been a family favorite for many years.

 

Ingredients:

3 pounds cubed beef stew meat
2 10.75-oz. cans Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
2 10.75-oz. cans Campbell’s beefy mushroom soup
1 package Lipton onion soup mix
1.5 cups of water

 

Directions:

Mix everything together and bake covered at 300 degrees for 4 ~ 4-1/2 hours. You can also prepare it in a slow cooker on medium-low heat for 6-8 hours. The meat will be done when it easily shreds with two forks.  Serve over egg noodles, or shred and serve on buns with Provolone cheese and the gravy.

Serves 6

Mike’s Kachina Canyon Stew


Mike’s Kachina Canyon Stew | Culinary Compost

I’ve fiddled with the ingredients and preparation for this original southwest recipe over the course of six months. I’ve got it down to a science. This stew, made with hot Mexican Chorizo or Longaniza sausage, is satisfying and fairly spicy, with an incredible depth of flavor. The small amount of rendered fat from the sausage creates a really rich base for the broth. Enjoy with cornbread, a side of tortillas cooked on a griddle, chopped cilantro, scallion and a spoonful of sour cream.

Ingredients:

2 tbs. XV olive oil
8 oz. bulk spicy ground Chorizo or Longaniza sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, with greens if possible, trimmed and fine chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, diced
2 small “new” red potatoes, scrubbed well and diced with skins on
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
Juice from 1/4 fresh lime
1 cup frozen kernel corn
1 fired and peeled fresh poblano – diced, or one 4 oz. can chopped green chili
1 15.8 oz. can great northern or pinto beans, rinsed
2 dry bay leaves
Salt (about 1/2 tsp., to taste)
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
6 dried chiltepin peppers, crushed (optional, for heat)
1 tsp. whole cumin seed, toasted and ground in a mortar
1 tsp. dry Mexican oregano leaf
1/4 cup washed and trimmed cilantro leaves, fine chopped

Sour cream – 1 tbs. per bowl, optional
Scallion, thin-sliced as a garnish, optional
Tortillas, browned on a comal (griddle) with olive oil, and then cut into 1″ x 3″ strips

 

Directions:

In a heavy 3.5 quart cast-iron or enameled cast-iron soup pot, heat 1 tbs. of olive oil until shimmering and brown the chorizo sausage over medium heat. Remove from the pot and place on paper towel to drain off the fat.

Next, add 1 tbs. olive oil, the onion, celery, and garlic and saute until the onion is semi-translucent, but not carmelized, over medium-low heat. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the chorizo sausage back to the pot. Add the diced tomatoes and chicken stock and bring up to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer.

Add the kernel corn, chopped red bell pepper, lime juice, carrot, the diced poblano or small can of green chili, the Mexican oregano, cumin and black pepper. Add the bay leaves. *Salt to taste. Simmer partially covered for about 20-30 minutes. Add the potato and simmer for 20 more minutes or until tender. Rinse the beans in a colander with hot water and drain well.  Add the beans to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat until heated through. Add the cilantro, shut off the heat, let stand for five minutes and serve with sour cream, scallion and browned tortillas.

*Go easy on the salt — the sausage and canned beans are loaded with it. I would not add any until you taste, and then correct the seasoning if needed.

Serves 4-6

Note: this recipe can be doubled easily with the same results.

Roasting poblano peppers with a propane torch | Culinary Compost

Roasting poblano peppers with a propane torch. The tough outer skin is unpalatable and should be removed before baking.

Kapusta Cabbage Soup


“Kapusta” is Slavic for cabbage. The origin for this recipe is Polish / Ukrainian / Russian. There are many variations; some made with stock simmered from spare rib bones, others with pork chops. It is traditionally served over Christmas or Easter. I’ve had it in a local restaurant and it remains one of my favorite soups. The tangy, smokey flavor is unbeatable. Simmer it very low to allow the flavors to incorporate. Great for long winter nights – this recipe defines comfort food. Even better reheated the second day.

Ingredients:

1 head of red or white cabbage, washed cored and chopped
1 28 oz. jar Frank’s® sauerkraut, drained
1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 Hillshire Farms® Polska Kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2″ chunks
4 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
2 ribs celery, sliced fine
2 tbs. pearl barley
1 generous dollop of sour cream (about 1/4 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the cubed bacon in a large, heavy stock pot. Heat to medium-high and cook until partially browned. Add the onion. Stir and cook until lightly carmelized. Add the cubed sausage. Stir and cook until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium. Add the kraut, diced cabbage and crushed whole tomatoes. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a very low simmer.

Add the mashed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Watch the amount of salt because the kraut already has plenty. Add the pearl barley. Partially cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.

After an hour, add the sliced celery and sour cream. Stir well and simmer for another hour, adding water as necessary. The consistency should not be thick.
If you need to thicken it up, you may form a roux by taking a cup of stock from the pot and combine it with two tbs. flour. Mix well and add back to the pot, ensuring you don’t have lumps.

Serve with a nice crusty bread and salad.

Note: This recipe is NOT intended for a slow cooker.
Due to the acidity of the kraut and tomatoes, it will wreak havoc on the finish of cast-iron pots. For this reason they are not recommended.

Serves: 6

Classic Chicken Booyah


This is a regional recipe you will not find anywhere outside of Northeast Wisconsin. It hails from Belgian settlers who traditionally cooked it in large quantities over an outdoor fire. Here is a much more manageable version for home use. Enjoy – slow and low are key to achieving the best flavor.

Ingredients:

1 pound beef or pork stew meat, cubed in 1″ squares
2 large spanish onions, chopped
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 tsp. dry thyme
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 large stewing chicken (6 lbs), cut up (you can also use rotisserie chicken)
5 ribs celery, chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 pound cabbage, shredded
3 cups frozen or fresh green beans, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes (or fresh, if you’ve got ’em)
2 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped with skins on
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs. soy sauce
2-4 chicken flavored bouillon cubes (optional)

Oyster crackers

Directions:

Place beef in very large stock pot with some of the onion, a few bay leaves, the thyme, poultry seasoning, garlic powder and the salt and pepper. Add enough cold water to fill the pot 1/3 full. Bring to simmer, skim surface as needed and cook 1/2 hour. Add chicken parts, more water (to cover all the meat) and a little more salt. Continue to simmer 1-2 hours, partially covered.

Prep the vegetables.

When meats are tender, lift them out of the broth. While meat is cooling, add the prepared vegetables, including the remaining onion.

Remove bones and skin from cooled chicken and beef. Chop the meats and add back to the pot after all the veggies have been added. Simmer the soup at least two hours, partially covered. Best when simmered for at least six hours. If simmering this long, add the potatoes later so they don’t get too soft. Water may be added during the cooking process if necessary. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve with oyster crackers.

Serves 6-8