Basque Garlic Soup

This recipe comes from the January 2019 edition of Food & Wine Magazine, and it meets both my requirements: easy and incredibly flavorful. So, here you go!

4 oz. high-quality baquette

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

1 garlic head (about 12 cloves), peeled and finely chopped

1 heaping Tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika

8 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth

2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar (I used Champagne vinegar)

3 large eggs, beaten


1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place baguette on a baking sheet, and toast in preheated oven until very browned and almost burnt. 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool. Break or slice bread into 2-inch pieces.

2.  Heat 7 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bread pieces, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning often to allow bread to toast and soak up oil, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove bread, and set aside. Wipe pot clean.

3. Add garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until garlic is golden brown. 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in paprika. Add broth and salt; bring to a boil.

4. Add bread to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and maintain a simmer. Add vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up bread until flavors meld, about 25 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.

5. When ready to serve, bring soup to a simmer over medium-high. Stirring constantly, slowly pour beaten eggs into hot soup. Serve hot

Greens and Beans with Fried Bread

This originally was a recipe from the April Bon Appetit, but I altered it. Where I have spinach, they had kale. I also cut down considerably on the amount of olive oil used, and where this dish, when finished, is sprinkled with white wine vinegar and olive oil, I sprinkled with white wine vinegar and topped with olive oil pearls. The original recipe also did not call for the clams, but I added some steamers. Without the clams this dish is vegetarian and one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever made! Enjoy!  Serves 2

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tsp. finely chopped oregano

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1  6 oz. bag spinach

1 15.5 oz. can white cannellini beans, rinsed

4 Tbsp. olive oil

4 1″ thick slices crusty bread, cut the baguette diagonally

White wine vinegar and olive oil pearls (for serving)

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Fry pieces of bread on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. You can keep them warm in a low oven. (I did not)
  2. Bring wine, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper flakes and 1/4 cup water to boil in a large skillet. Add spinach, cover pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted. Mix in beans and 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and cook uncovered, until beans are warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  3. To serve, place 2 pieces of fried bread on each plate and spoon spinach/bean mixture and sauce over, dividing evenly. Drizzle with white wine vinegar and top with a few olive oil pearls.

Soupy Rice with Chicken and Vegetables

This recipe comes from the 2018 February edition of Food and Wine magazine, and instead of giving you my review, which was going to include a rave about the pimiento-stuffed olives being included in this dish, I’m going to quote the paragraph that came with the recipe. “Overcooking your rice a bit creates the creamy body for this chicken and vegetable stew. Johnson loves finishing the pot with briny, pimiento-stuffed olives-just like his Puerto-Rican grandma used to do”  Serves 10 ( Except for the OO and bay leaf, I cut the recipe in half)

5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 Ib. skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 tsp. adobo seasoning

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

1 onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth

2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes

2 cups water

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 1/2 cups medium-grain rice

1 cup thawed frozen peas (I used petite frozen peas)

1 cup small pimiento-stuffed olives (plenty left over for your martini)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  1. In a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 3 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Season the chicken with the adobo and black pepper. Brown the chicken in 2 or 3 batches over moderately high heat, 6-8 minutes per batch turning each halfway through. Transfer the browned chicken thighs to a plate.
  2. In the pot, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic to the pot, and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it turns brick red, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and their juices, water, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Return the chicken to the pot, stir in the rice, and cook covered, over moderately low heat until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the peas and olives, and let stand until heated through, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Sweet Corn Madeleines

This afternoon I made a French chicken stew (chicken thighs, whatever veggies I had in the fridge, broth, white wine, butter, fresh rosemary and bay leaves) for lunch and decided to try this new recipe Sandy found in the August 2017 edition of Sunset Magazine. I wanted a little something to serve with the stew and this was it. They don’t take much effort, and certainly are awesome in the flavor department, and you have to admit… anything coming out of the madeleine pan is impressive. So, give them a try and enjoy! Also…you’ll see they list powdered sugar for dusting. That’s the only part of the recipe I negated.

Makes 12-15 madeleines or mini muffins

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. each baking powder and kosher salt

1 large egg plus 1 large egg white

1/3 cup granulated sugar

About 6 1/2 tbsp. melted salted butter, divided

1/2 cup raw corn kernels (I put in about twice that amount)

About 1 tsp. powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, vigorously whisk egg, egg white, and granulated sugar until blended. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Whisk in 6 tbsp. butter and the corn kernels.
  2. Generously butter a 12 compartment madeleine pan or mini-muffin pan (2-tbsp. size) with remaining 1/2 tbsp. butter. Spoon batter evenly into cups (they’ll be full).
  3. Bake madeleines until they’re light golden and spring back when lightly pressed in center, 12-15 minutes. Loosen from pan with knife and lift out to a plate.
  4. Serve madeleines warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.

Broccoli Bolognese with Orecchitte

  Serves 4

1 large head of broccoli (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lb.), cut into florets. Stalk peeled and coarsely chopped. (I just bought a package of florets)

Kosher salt

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

4 garlic cloves, smashed

12 oz. fresh sweet Italian sausage (about 3 links) casings removed

Crushed red pepper flakes

16 oz. orecchiette

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 1/2 cups Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving if desired

Cook broccoli in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a colander and let cool (save pot of water for cooking pasta). Chop broccoli into small pieces, set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, shaking skillet occasionally, until it starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add sausage and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and break meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up sausage until it’s browned and cooked, 6-8 minutes.

Bring reserved pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until barely al dente, about 9 minutes (set a timer for 3 minutes less than the package instructions. It will cook more in the skillet.)

Meanwhile, ladle about 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid from pot into skillet with sausage and add blanched broccoli. Keep mixture at a low simmer, stirring often and mashing with spoon to break up sausage even more, until pasta is finished cooking.

Using a spider or slotted spoon transfer pasta to skillet, then ladle in 1/2 cup pasta water. Cook, stirring, until pasta absorbs most of the liquid and is just al dente, about 4 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Gradually add Parmesan, tossing constantly until you have a glossy, emulsified sauce.

Chicken Fricassee with Spring Vegetables

This recipe is from the March edition of Southern Living Magazine, and as with all other dishes prepared for this blog, it would not appear here if it wasn’t packed full of flavor and reasonably easy to make. (I have to confess that Sandy cut all the vegetables and prepared everything for me so that I just had to cook. Very wonderful indeed.) So…give it a chance. Although it calls for eight thighs, I cooked five, and kept the sauce and vegetables volume true to the recipe. I think it worked out for the better. Enjoy!

8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cremini mushrooms, quartered

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices (about 2 cups)

1 cup coarsely chopped leek (from 1 medium leek)

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup heavy cream

8 oz. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

Hot cooked egg noodles

Chopped fresh chives

  1. Pat chicken dry, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Place flour in a large ziplock plastic freezer bag; add chicken to bag. Seal bag, and toss to coat with flour. Heat oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Remove chicken from bag, reserving flour in bag. Shake excess flour mixture from chicken, and place, bone side up, in skillet. Cook chicken until deep golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm.
  2. Add mushrooms to hot drippings in skillet; cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add carrots and leek; cook about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved flour; cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and wine; cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens slightly, about 6 minutes. Stir in cream and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add chicken, bone side down, nestling chicken into sauce mixture.
  3. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until sauce has thickened slightly and chicken is almost cooked through, about 15 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with asparagus, Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and asparagus is tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve chicken, vegetables and sauce over hot cooked noodles, and garnish with chives.