Monday, October 25, 2010

Week 43: Fungi Soup

... okay, I'm not sure if I'm even translating this correctly, because "fungi" combined with something you eat just sounds completely WRONG to me! Yet to a Dane "Mushroom soup" sounds totally wrong, because here mushrooms is a specific... eh... thingie ;) and not used in the broader sense. I'll be using "fungi" in the following, and hope that doesn't sound too much like I'm working with toadstools or organisms that should definitely not be found on your bathroom floor (or the floor of any other room in your house, for that matter!).

The Recipe (Makes 2 bowls)
250g mixed fungi (I used brown mushrooms, shit-take and oyster mushrooms)
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp flour
1/3 litre (1.5 cup) chicken or vegetable bouillon
3 tbsp white wine
3 tbsp cream
salt, pepper, oregano
75g bacon

Cook bacon on a pan until crisp. Transfer to plate and blot with paper towels.

Chop onion and garlic finely. Melt butter in a pot and cook onion and garlic until soft. Add flour and cook briefly, stirring frequently. Add bouillon a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add chopped fungi and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and let simmer under a lid for 15 minutes or until the fungi are done. Transfer to a blender or food processor to puree the soup (or do as I do and use a hand/immersion blender). Return soup to pot and add cream and wine. Add salt, pepper and oregano according to taste. Heat through until just below boiling.

The Verdict
I have to admit, I was VERY sceptical about this while cooking it. The simmering fungi... did not smell all that nice. However, I figured I might as well go through with it, and fortunately discovered that it tasted a LOT better than it smelled! Probably not something I'll be in a hurry to make again, as it was too much of a hassle when compared to the results, but it was definitely edible.

If I do ever make it again, I think I'll try with some other fungi. Chanterelles, perhaps.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Week 42: Maltese Chicken

The Recipe
300g chicken breast, cut in stripes
2 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
1 tbsp oil
3dl dry red wine (just over 1 cup)
2 heaped tbsp honey
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat; add chicken and garlic. Cook until almost done. Add bell pepper for the last few minutes of cooking. Once tender, remove chicken and bell pepper from the skillet. Add the wine and honey; simmer until sauce is reduced, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes at high heat). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return chicken and bell pepper to skillet, and stir to coat.
Serve with roasted potatoes.

The Verdict
I'm usually not too fond of red-wine sauces, but this was YUMMY! I think it must have been the honey. It needed more salt than I added, but otherwise it was really, really good. I'll definitely be making this again!

Week 41: Chicken Stir-Fry

The Recipe
400g chicken breast
1 tsp ginger
1 tbsp dry sherry or red wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup oil
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper in bite-sized pieces
1 green bell pepper in bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp chilli sauce
2 tsp corn flour.

Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and marinate it in ginger, sherry and soy sauce for at least 30 minutes.
Roast chilli and peanuts in hot oil for about a minute. Remove from the wok. Stir-fry onion and bell peppers for 1 minute. Remove from wok or push to the side. Stir-fry the meat for 2 minutes or until it's done.
Add chicken stock, chilli sauce and corn flour. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.
Return vegetables, peanuts and chilli to the wok and warm through. Serve with rice.

The Verdict
1/2 cup of oil? Are they nuts??? Even half that would be too much. The peanuts weren't roasted, they were deep-fried! And everything else started boiling rather than stir-frying.
Surprisingly dull, considering I've made similar dishes with great success. If I'm ever to make this again (highly unlikely at this point) I'll definitely be using less oil and more chilli.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 40: Loaded Potato Soup

The Recipe
2 large peeled, cubed potatoes
1 cup water
8 bacon strips
2 large chopped onions
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted (400g)
1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook potatoes in water until tender. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain. In the same skillet, saute onion in drippings until tender. Add to undrained potatoes. Stir in soup, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until heated through (do not boil). Sprinkle each bowl with crumbled bacon.

I couldn't find chicken soup so I used chicken-mushroom soup instead, but I doubt that made any huge difference.

The Verdict
I love potato soups and I love chicken soups, so I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately I didn't care much for it at all. It tasted okay, but was much, much, MUCH too rich for me (foie gras rich). I think it may have been the chicken soup and it would probably have been fine if I'd used stock instead.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week 39: Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

The Recipe
4 cups water
2 drumsticks
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup canned sweet corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 tablespoon chopped jalapeño peppers
1/2 tablespoon fajita seasoning mix
1 clove garlic, minced
chili powder
tortilla chips

In a medium pot boil water, drumsticks and salt for 1 hour. Remove drumsticks from stock (don't throw away the stock, you'll need it for later!) and peel the meat from the bones. Discard bones and skin.
In a medium pot sprayed with non-stick spray, onion, garlic, seasoning, and spices over medium heat until onions soften. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn and diced tomatoes, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken and jalapeño. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes to thoroughly blend flavors.

Once ready to serve, top each serving with crushed chips and, if desired, cilantro, sour cream and/or cheese.

The Verdict
Very similar to my recipe for a Mexican soup (only with chicken rather than bacon), but that's not a bad thing, as I looove that soup. It's quite spicy, so if you don't like the heat you may want to leave out the jalapeños and substitute paprika for chilli. I like spicy food though, so thought it was great! :)

It wasn't all that chicken-y though. Either the stock ended up being too weak, or the tomatoes overpowered the taste (or both!). I wonder how it would have been if I'd added some bouillon.