Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Autumn Equinox Soup & Cranberry Cornbread

For my annual First Rainy Day of Fall Soup choice, I selected a recipe from the Gooseberry Patch cookbook through which I am cooking in the coming months. It turned out thicker than I would have preferred and with a bit of an odd undertone, but was still quite tasty. Of course, I cheated and put everything in together at the same time, when the recipe called for me to hold the creamed corn and onion soup mix back until the end of the 2 and a half hour cooking period. I was in a little hurry. Next time, I think I would simply omit the creamed corn and onion soup mix altogether. The dumpling recipe also made far more dumplings than I felt the soup needed, so I ended up throwing  away some of the batter. Next time, I will halve the dumpling part, as I have done here.

The cornbread, from the same cookbook, was delicious but overly delicate, rendering it nearly impossible to eat as anything but crumbs and bits. Further, it overflowed the pan and created quite a mess in my oven, although the pan was the recommended size and shape. I will unquestionably make it again, but probably in a cast iron skillet, rather than a loaf pan. I think using both self-rising cornmeal and self-rising flour, as called for, is probably a little much.

Therefore, here are my versions of these recipes:

2014 Autumn Equinox Soup
1 lb. ground beef (96% lean; can sub turkey or veggie crumbles)
1 onion, chopped
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
5 smallish potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cans Veg-All, drained (you can sub another brand of mixed veggies)
1 can corn, drained
10 oz. frozen lima beans
5 cups chicken or veggie broth (I like the reduced sodium version)
Salt & pepper
A pinch of thyme
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/8 c. self-rising flour
1/8 tsp. salt
Water, as needed (probably about 3/4 c.)

Brown meat & onion in soup pot. Drain any residual fat. Add tomatoes, potatoes, mixed veggies, corn, lima beans, broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1-2 hours. Mix cornmeal, flour, and salt with just enough water to make a stiff batter. Drop by flattened tablespoonfuls into hot soup. Allow to cook until they float to the top, then turn over. Cook a few more minutes. Serves 10-12. 

Cranberry Cornbread
2 c. self-rising cornmeal
1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar (this can be reduced)
1 egg, beaten
2/3 c. dried cranberries (I used the lower sugar kind)
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. vegetable shortening, melted (I would use butter, instead)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all but shortening. Stir in shortening. Pour into greased cast-iron skillet. Place on baking sheet and bake for about an hour, until top is golden brown. 

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