Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Olive oil
1/2 cup finely sliced leek (milder than onion)
1 lb (500 g) mushrooms, sliced or quartered

1/2 cup dried assorted mushrooms, rehydrated for 1/2 with hot water (Optional but Oh So Good!) *
1 litre (4-cups) vegetable stock or pareve chicken stock or pareve stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre water
1 thinly sliced carrot (or cut into tiny cubes) - optional but it is very pretty!
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Cayenne pepper
Freshly cracked pepper and salt, to taste

1/3 cup olive oil or butter or margarine plus 1/3 cup flour  (to make a roux)
1 litre milk (4 cups) (or non-flavoured milk substitute)

*When using re-hydrated dried mushrooms, it is essential that you rinse them a few times after soaking as they may have a bit of grit left in them.  Dicard the soaking water.

In a large pot, add about 4 Tbsp Olive oil (half can be butter or margarine) and place over medium heat.  Sautee the sliced leeks until transluscent - about 5 minutes.  Add fresh mushrooms and sautee until they are just tender - about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add stock to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Add the well-rehydrated and rinsed dried mushrooms, if desired. Add the thinly sliced carrot.  Add thyme, nutmeg, bay leaf, cayenne and cracked pepper.  If you used broth cubes for the stock, be careful when adding salt.  Add mushroom and leek mixture and allow this all to simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat.  The liquid will probably reduce by half.  That's a good thing :)In a medium, heavy bottomed pan, pour in 1/3 cup oil, butter or margarine (or a mix of these) into a pan and allow to melt over medium heat.  Add the same amount of flour to the pan and stir(I use a fork)  until smooth and bubbly.  Slowly pour in milk, or milk substitute, stirring continually as the milk is added and soon it will thicken.  Allow to boil, on medium heat, for one minute.  This standard sauce takes about 6 minutes of attention.  You will end up with a perfect Béchamel that will help thicken the soup.

*Note - this is the first sauce I was ever taught to make on my own as a young child.  It is easy and so versatile as nearly anything can be added to make different dishes.  I would suggest keeping this recipe.  If I remember correctly, I memorised it from the 1954 Edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook!

Slowly stir this Béchamel into the broth and vegetable mixture.  Allow to simmer and combine, stirring gently, for about five minutes.  During this time, adjust seasoning.

Pour into warmed soup bowls and garnish the tops with a bit of paprika and fresh parsley or whatever you have on hand that is pretty.  As you can see in the steamy photo, I only had some assorted greens on hand.  No matter.  A glass of wine later and I didn't even care!

K (D) unless you use a milk substitute

Serve with a nice salad and good quality bread

Butternut Pumpkin (winter squash) Soup


1 whole butternut pumpkin, cut into big chunks, skin on - other winter squash may be used
Drizzle of olive oil

Olive oil
1/4 cup (50g)  finely chopped leek - it is more mellow than onion, although that will work too
1 clove garlic, pressed 1 tsp finely minced ginger
1 litre stock or water + pareve chicken stock cubes (1 litre = 4 cups)
cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cream for the finish (canned milk, unflavoured milk substitute, etc.)


Place pumpkin, skin side up, in a heatproof baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt.  This makes peeling easier after baking.
Bake pumpkin in a 170C/350F oven until tender - a knife or fork will go through a thick piece.
Set aside to cool.

In a heavy bottomed pot, add about 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (margarine or butter can be used)  Set over medium heat.  When the oil is heated, add the minced leek and cook for about 5 minutes - stirring often - until translucent.  Add the pressed garlic, and the ginger.  Cook for about one more minute and then pour the stock into the pot.  Keep on medium heat.

Next, take a spoon and scoop pumpkin from the skin and add this to the pot.  Be careful not to get any skin in the soup.

Cook for a bit and then using a potato masher or stick mixer, blend the pumpkin into the soup until it is well incorporated.

Add about 1/2 - 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 (more or less) cayenne pepper and some freshly ground black pepper.  Cook until it gets thick enough - This will not take very long.

Taste and adjust seasoning!  If you need to add more seasoning, cook a few minutes longer, adding a bit of water if it gets too thick.

When serving, drizzle a bit of cream, yoghurt, or a milk substitute on the top of each bowl of soup.  Garnish with a bit of chopped parsley, coriander or even a bit of finely shredded carrot!Serve with salad and good bread.  Yum!

K (P) unless you use a Dairy topping

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients (serves 6-8 ish...)

  • 2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 kg (~3 lbs) beef (tri tip/brisket/chuck), trimmed, cut into 5cm pieces - (My butcher does this for me) or see link below for additional cuts of meat that are kosher. *
  • 1 large brown onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 cups red wine (500 mls)
  • 2 cups brown beef stock (500mls)  I usually use half and add more if necessary toward the end.
  • Herbs of choice - I used 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped and a bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 16 small pickling onions, peeled (see tip)
  • sliced carrots or better yet, baby carrots if you can get them
  • 400g (~ 3/4 lb) small button mushrooms - Sautéed lightly in olive oil
  • Green beans and garlic mashed potatoes (or pasta) to serve

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy-based casserole dish over medium-high heat. Dry the beef cubes or they will not brown well.  Cook beef, in batches, for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl.  If you cook too many of the beef cubes at once, they will not brown nicely.  Take your time with this!
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining oil in dish. Add minced onion. Cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until onion has softened. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute.  Garlic burns easily so watch it carefully.
  3. Return beef and juices to pan. Add wine. Bring to the boil. Add stock until the meat is covered and then stir in tomato paste. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add pickling onions, sliced carrots and lightly Sautéed mushrooms. Check to see that there is enough liquid left.  If necessary, add the rest of the stock.  Cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until meat and onions are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

 Kosher Beef Cuts  <---Link to Kosher cuts of beef

Tip: Leave a little root attached to each pickling onion to prevent them falling apart during cooking.

If you wish for a thicker gravy, then you can combine 1-2 Tbsp cornstarch/cornflour to 1/4 cup cold water and add this and cook until the sauce becomes clear again. Omit this step during Passover.

Serve with green beans and mashed potatoes - I make garlic mash to go with this dish. 
I also make a good basic french bread/baguette to help with sopping up the gravy.

This makes a great hamin/cholent, too!  Just make the meat ahead of time and add the veggies and put it on a blech just before candle lighting.  Yum!

K (F)