Happy New Year...some of us have reached the age where the years are flying by so fast it really will be Christmas again before we know it. I had a big case of that this Christmas. By the time I wrapped my mind around the fact that it was here again it was gone. So yes, I'm ringing in a new year and squeezing a few last days out of Christmas inside my house. I know most can't wait to get it all down and put away. I'm never in a hurry to do that until the morning I start. I'm still trying to figure out a way to just keep it all up all year. So far there are a few snags in my plan. Like Halloween. I go all crazy on the decorations for that too. I'm thinking I need a couple of houses. One could be the Christmas House. We will live there from November 25th. til January 2. Then we will move to the Not Christmas/Halloween House and stay there until October 1st when we will move to the Scary House. We can just stay put til time to move to Christmas House. Wonderman is beyond thrilled with my plan. I don't really see the problem with it beyond the fact that it will take gobs of money.
Today is New Years Day and I always look forward to a day of just hanging out and reflecting on the year gone by and the exciting one ahead. And soup. So happy we had a week of beautiful weather with a little cold snap overnight. Soup is just a little bit better when it is chilly outside. I know we are all supposed to be thinking about working out and hitting the gym to work off all the Christmas goodies we've been enjoying but you have to have your greens and peas today for luck and wealth. I like to make ours into a soup. It's fairly healthy - just a little bacon juice to add flavor...I thought I'd write it down and pass it on before I forget what I did. Kind of like my tequila soup - promised that recipe a few blogs back. Been so long not sure what I threw into the pot (blaming it on the tequila) cause that is usually how I make soup. Just dump whatever is available into chicken stock/broth and it is usually delicious. I also made a really great beef stew last week from a Rachel Ray recipe and I'll pass it on too. Might as well post several favorites - we are all going to become gym rats soon so lets feast and store some energy for these future workouts.
New Year's Day Health & Wealth Soup
5 slices of bacon
1 bag of frozen turnip greens or mustard greens - for wealth in the new year
1 bag of frozen black eyed peas - for luck, good fortune and health in new year
1 carton of vegetable stock
1 carton of chicken stock
1 can of Rotel
salt, pepper, garlic, cumin to taste
Brown bacon in soup pot. Remove bacon and all but about 1-2 tablespoons of drippings. Eat bacon. Chop up andouille sausage and add to drippings - brown on ends. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil for about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy :) tastes better if all items are purchased in advance. That way you can wake up - put the soup on - and enjoy in your jammies while watching football/chick flicks. Remember to share with any friends that stop by.
Here is the Beef Stew Recipe - Thanks Rachel Ray!!
2 bulbs garlic
EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
1/4 to 1/3 pound bacon (not too smoky in flavor), cut into lardons (fat matchsticks)
1 stick butter, divided
2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
Flour, for dredging plus 2 tablespoons
3 carrots, sliced in 2-inch chunks on an angle
2 apples, such as Honeycrisp, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
2 to 2 1/2 cups cloudy organic apple cider
2 cans beef consommé
Herb bouquet, a few sprigs each of thyme, parsley and sage tied together with kitchen string
2 1/2 pounds (about 5 potatoes) russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 to 3 large parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar, shredded
1 cup whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut ends of garlic bulbs to expose cloves. Drizzle with EVOO, season with salt and pepper, wrap in foil and roast to tender, 40-45 minutes. Remove garlic and reduce heat to 350°F. This part does take preplanning but it is so good!! Roasted garlic is much sweeter and you can use this in other recipes. It is also fantastic smeared on bread with olive oil...
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of EVOO and bacon. Brown and crisp bacon then remove and reserve. Pour off some of the fat out of the pan and add a couple of tablespoons butter. OMG - bacon juice and BUTTER!!
Pat meat dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour and add to hot pot in batches. Cook to crispy and deep brown. Add more butter as needed, 2 tablespoons at a time. Reserve browned meat with the bacon.
Add carrot, apple, celery, onion, bay, salt and pepper to the pot and partially cover. Cook to soften vegetables for a few minutes then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour. Stir a minute then add cider, consommé, the roasted garlic cloves and stir to combine. Add reserved beef, bacon and herb bouquet to pan, bring to a boil then cover and transfer to oven *. Braise meat for 2 hours, until very tender and the sauce has thickened. Let stand 20 minutes while you cook potatoes.
Boil potatoes and parsnips in salted water until tender. Drain and return to hot pot; mash with 2 tablespoons butter, cheese and milk. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; stir in chives.
Serve stew in shallow bowls with potatoes alongside. Got to admit this one is more complicated than the one I made up but it is worth the effort. *I also added some red wine to the meat after I brought it all to a boil. During the making of this stew we had a game plan change that involved a movie and dinner out - no worries, we just put it in the fridge and had a great dinner ready the next night. It just got better everytime we reheated it over the next week. Just add more beef stock as needed to keep it going. We actually never even bothered with the potatoes either. Just soup in a bowl = yum! I do want to try the potatoes soon.
All this talk about food is making me hungry - time for more soup! Check back in a day or two for a delicious breakfast casserole that is super easy and really good.
Hate to run but - the soup is on!!!