Sunday, September 10, 2006

Soup & Stew Season is Here

The weather is starting to cool down some here in Ohio, so I have started making soups. I made creamy potato cheese soup for my grandparents the other night. We had some fabulous rye bread from Big Sky bakery in Centerville and a delicious cantaloupe from the local farm stand. Then, Friday afternoon, I threw some beef stew in the crockpot & we had that with Italian bread & salad. It was perfect for a cool Friday evening at home.

Creamy Potato-Cheese Soup
3 tbsp. butter
2 c. chopped onions
1 lg. clove garlic, minced
5 medium potatoes, peeled & coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped (or a handful of baby carrots, quartered)
3 c. chicken or veggie stock
1 tsp. dill
4 oz. cream cheese, diced
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. grated cheddar (I am partial to Cabot's extra-sharp or Tillamook)
Salt & pepper, as needed

In a large soup pot, sauté onions & garlic in butter until onions are translucent. Add potatoes & carrots & sauté 5-10 minutes. Add stock and dill. Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Purée the vegetables with the cream cheese and milk in a blender. Return to the pot. Adjust seasonings. Add cheddar & reheat gently. If you don't have a blender handy, as I didn't in my grandmom's kitchen, the soup turns out nicely with the veggies just mashed with a standard potato masher.

Beef Stew
2 pounds bottom round, in 2" pieces
1 c. flour
1/3 c. olive oil
2 large onions, diced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 c. dry red wine (I used merlot)
1 lb. potatoes, in 2" pieces
1/2 lb. baby carrots (I halved mine, but you don't really need to)
2 c. beef stock
1 tbsp. kosher salt
Pepper, to taste
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1 c. frozen peas, thawed

Coat beef in flour. Heat a few tbsp. olive oil in a skillet on medium-high. Brown the meat. Put in crockpot. Cook the onions in same skillet until tender. Add tomato paste & stir to thoroughly coat onions. Put in crockpot. Deglaze the skillet with the wine, pouring everything in it into the crockpot. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the peas. Cook on low 7 1/2 hours or on high 4. Add peas & heat through.

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