Zuppa Toscana, Tuscan soup

zuppa_toscana

When one thinks of Italian food pasta, pizza, and antipasto most readily come to mind. But Italian cuisine also includes an interesting array of soups. One such soup is the Zuppa Toscana.

As the name suggests, Zuppa Toscana is soup indigenous to the Italian region of Tuscany. To make this soup you will need 1 package smoked sausage, 2 potatoes, cut into small slices, 3/4 cup chopped onion, 6 slices bacon, 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 cups kale– shredded, 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder, 1 quart water, and 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream.

To prepare first preheat an oven to 300 degrees F, place the sausage on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Cut each in half, lengthwise.

Cook the onions and bacon in a large skillet over a medium flame until the onions are translucent. Crumble to bacon and add the garlic, to the onions and cook for another minute. Add the chicken base and water, potatoes, and simmer for around 15 minutes. Add the bacon, sausage, kale, and cream and cook for a further 4 minutes. Serve when hot.

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Roesti, potatoes with a twist

roesti

Roesti (read other things about roesti) or Swiss hash browns, is a traditional Swiss dish which is mainly made of potatoes and was once eaten mostly in Bern but is now served all overSwitzerland. It often is used to accompany spinach and fried eggs.

To make you will need 1 pound large baking potatoes, 1 tablespoon salt, 3 1/2 ounces smoked bacon, thinly sliced, vertically, 3 1/2 ounces onion, diced, 1 sprig thyme, 3 1/2 ounces mushrooms, diced, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 ouncesbutter, and 6 slices Gruyere.

To prepare boil the potatoes in their skins for 20 minutes, drain, and cool and peel. Use a cheese grater to grate them into a large mixing bowl and add salt. In a frying pan, sauté the bacon and onions, add the thyme leaves and mushrooms and cook until soft. Combine with the potatoes and mix being careful not to mash them too much.

Heat oil in a frying pan and add 3 or 4 spoonfuls of the mixture then use a spatula to flatten. Brown it over a high heat. When the bottom side is cooked flip it over. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. Place 1/2 tablespoon of butter and a slice of Gruyere on both sides and melt under a hot grill.

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Portuguese soup, ethnic warmth

portuguese_soup
Soup isn’t always just soup. In Portugal it is a tradition that is passed on from generation to generation.

The traditional Portuguese soup recipe calls for 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 cups chopped onion, 2 bay leaves, 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced, 1 medium head cabbage, chopped, 6 potatoes, peeled and cubed, 2 cans kidney beans, 1 can beef consommé, 2 2/3 quarts water, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and diced, 3 tablespoons butter, and warm crusty bread.

To prepare, place a large pot over medium flame and cook onions and potatoes, until tender, then add sausage and cook for 5 minutes. Next add water, bay leaves, cabbage, beans, consommé, garlic, powder, pepper, and salt and bring to a boil. Lower flame and simmer for between 30 and 45 minutes.

Add vinegar and more continue to simmer for an hour. Serve soup with warm bread.

This recipe can be used with kale instead of cabbage, garbanzo beans or chick peas instead of kidney beans, and chourico instead of smoked sausage.

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Chicken pot pie, one pot delight

chicken_pot_pie

pot pie is baked savoury dish encased in a flaky pastry and baked in a pie tin to ensure it maintains its shape. There are several varieties including an Australian meat pie and various British regional types. In America, the pot pie can be filled with various types of meat including beefchicken, or turkey as well as vegetables such as carrotspotatoes, and green peas.

The chicken pot pie may be the most popular and is simple to make. The ingredients are 1 poundskinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed, 1 cupsliced carrots, 1 cupgreen peas,1/2 cupsliced celery,1/3 cupbutter,1/3 cuponion chopped, 1/3 cupall-purpose flour,1/2 teaspoonsalt,1/4 teaspoonblack pepper,1 3/4 cupschicken broth, and 2/3 cupmilk.

First preheat an oven to 425 degrees F. Then in a saucepan combine the carrots, chicken, peas, and celery, add water and cook for 15 minute then drain.

In a separate pan over a medium flame cook onions and butter add flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the broth and milk and cook until thick. Put the mixture in a pie crust then cover with the liquid, add the top pie crust and make a few slits in the top. Bake for between 30 and 35 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

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Tiella, Italian pie

tiella
Italian cuisine is more than just pasta and pizza. There are many recipes you can try. Tiella is a layered vegetable dish which often contains tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, baked in an earthenware dish. It is most popular in the Italian south.

Eggplant, onions, red peppers, mushroom slices, sauteed greens, and sliced winter squash can be added. For the dough use 2 teaspoons dry yeast, ¼ cup warm water, 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1½ cups semolina flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ cup cool water, and 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

For the filling use 2 pounds escarole, 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1½ tablespoons chopped garlic, ⅓ cup capers, drained, ⅓ cup Gaeta olives, pitted, ½ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, and salt. To prepare trim the base of the escarole rinse, drain the leaves and chop into shreds.

Pour ¼ cup of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add garlic. Cook for a minute then add the escarole, capers and olives, add salt and peperoncino. Steam for 5 minutes.

To make the dough, dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water and leave for several minutes to and start to bubble. Put flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and run for a few seconds to blend the dry ingredients. Stir the yeast with the cool water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour the liquid into the flour and continue processing for 30 seconds.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead to form a smooth round. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. When filling is prepared, heat the oven to 375°. Place a rack in the centre of the oven. Brush the bottom of the baking pan with olive oil.

Knead the dough to form a round and cut off 1/3 for the top crust of the tiella. The larger piece from the bottom. Put the round in the baking pan then scrape add escarole filling in the bottom crust and spread evenly. Fold the rest of the dough over the crust making indentations with the fingertips to seal. With a knife, pierce the top crust all over, brush extra-virgin olive oil and bake for about 45 minutes. 

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Beef Pot Roast, taste in a pot

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When we think “roast” we often think “oven” but one of the tastiest roast meals is pot roast beef which can be done simply and easily on the stove top.

Pot Roast is an excellent meal to serve for an evening entertaining friends for a dinner party. It can be served with baked potatoes and gravy and a side salad of lettuce and tomatoes.

The ingredients required are 2 teaspoons olive oil, 4 pounds boneless chuck roast,1 onion, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Meat should be seasoned and left to marinade prior to cooking.

First preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a Dutch oven on top of the stove over a medium high heat. Then add meat and sear for around 4 minutes, searing all sides for 3 to 4 minutes each. Remove from the pan and sprinkle salt and pepper, add garlic, and 1 bay leaf. Replace meat in the pan and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and cook for a further 1 ½ hours. Garnish with onions and gravy.

A variation on this dish involves searing the meat. Once browned, add water, and boil until tender over a low flame. 

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Shepherd’s Pie, hearty filling food

shepherds_pie
Whether you call it a Shepherd’s Pie or a Cottage Pie, if a down-home hearty meal is what you’re searching for then this dish is the tasty, filling, traditional choice.

Shepherd’s Pie is an English or Irish dish traditionally made with mashed potatoes, mutton or lamb but is now most often made with minced beef. It can be topped with cheddar cheese for an extra zingy flavour.

The ingredients include two pounds of potatoes, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, garlic, salt, grounded pepper, dried thyme, ¼ all-purpose flour, 2 pounds ground beef, 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup of whole milk, 1 large onion chopped, tomato paste, ½ cup peas, and 6 carrots diced.

To prepare first preheat the oven to 450. Boil potatoes until tender; Drain and crush with milk. In a separate saucepan, heat vegetable oil, add ground beef, flour, onion, carrots, thyme, garlic, peas, and tomato paste. Cook beef until browned.

In a casserole, pour beef and carrot filling. Add the potato topping using a spatula to spread over beef. Add grated cheese and bake in an oven for 20 minutes or until topping is browned. Let sit five minutes before serving.

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