Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bonfire Bangers and Beans

Dear Jess,

My morning sickness is slowly abating, which means I have been able to cook more often with less gagging (yay!) I have been taking advantage of this - much to Jason's stomach's joy - by getting out all my cook books and creating comforting, warm, yummy-in-my-tummy food! This recipe is one such meal.

Long story short: I was craving perogies. When I lived with the Robinsons in Toronto, Kathy made the best perogies and sausages. It was always my favourite meal... well... it was a close call between perogies and sausage; or homemade pizza Saturday nights. But I digress. I was craving perogies, thus wanted a good recipe for sausages. I looked in all my cookbooks to no avail. I finally revisited BBC Good Food online, and tah-dah!

Bonfire Bangers and Beans
adapted from

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, shopped
1 celery
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 796mL can of diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp thyme (or one fresh thyme sprig)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can navy beans
5 turkey sausages

1. Heat oil in a large fry pan. Add onion and celery. Cook for 5-10 minutes until softened. Turn up the heat and add the tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, honey, mustard, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and 200mL water. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over a low heat for 15 minutes. Add the beans, and simmer for 15 minutes more, topping up with a little boiling water if needed.

2.  Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350F. Toss the sausages with 1 Tbsp olive oil and spread out on a casserole dish. Cook for 30 minutes until browned all over, turning occasionally. Pour the beans around the sausages, then cover and place the pan in the oven. Cook for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and serve with baked potatoes. (Or in my case: perogies!)

I seasoned my perogies with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and a dash of chili powder; and fried them with chopped scallions. They were served with sour cream and salsa.

Dinner is served!

I hope you're feeling well!! I miss you and love you (as always!)


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Comforting Chicken Soup

Dear Jess,

Wham. Bam. Thank you Tana Ramsay.

This. Soup.



Make this soup! The fragrance, the ease, the yumminess! This is by far, the best chicken soup I have ever tasted, made, laid eyes upon... I was nearing the end of making it, and in walks Jason from running errands. "Ooooooooooooo... Sally!' were his exact words after inhaling the aromas of this soup. It's so good that even though I made it on Saturday, right this minute I have another pot of it in the works.

For a while now, I have wanted to make a chicken soup where you cook the entire chicken in the soup. Two of my friends had mentioned that they had tried it and will never go back. I searched for a recipe on the Internet, and didn't really find anything that peaked my interest, or met my expectations. I had given up all hope, and turned to Tana Ramsay's book Home Made. I knew I would find a delicious soup recipe there, even if it wasn't the one I was looking for. Little did I know that fortune was about to shine it's big, beautiful, bright face upon me. Low and behold, on page 6, there is a delightful recipe called Comforting Chicken Soup. And guess what... you cook the whole chicken in it!

I made a few alterations, though I feel I stayed true to her vision.

Comforting Chicken Soup
adapted from Tana Ramsay's Comforting Chicken Soup, Home Made, Page 6

1 Chicken weighing about 2 3/4 lb
2 sticks of celery
2 carrots
2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
1 sprig tarragon
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup spelt flour
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1. In a large stock pot, with lid, Put the chicken into the center of the pot and surround with HALF your celery, HALF your carrots, HALF your leeks, and HALF your onions. Throw in the bay leaf, peppercorns, tarragon and a generous pinch of salt and pour over enough water almost to cover the bird, leaving the top of the breast clear. It will poach in the steam. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Put on the lid and cook very gently for 1 1/2 hours.

2. When the time is up, remove from the heat and allow to cool for as long as it takes to remove the chicken safely. Put the chicken to one side.

3. Pour the cooking broth through a fine sieve into a clean container (I use a large measuring cup) and discard all the vegetables and seasonings.

4. Meanwhile, in a clean pan, add oil, remaining onion, celery, carrots and leeks. Fry until soft, but not coloured. Add the flour and stir well to make a smooth paste around the vegetables. Fry for a couple of minutes, then gradually stir in the broth. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the times. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then liquidize in batched with a blender (and return to pot), or take your immersion blender to it.

5. Add red wine vinegar.

6. Using your hands, remove the breast meat from the chicken carcass, discarding the skin. (I put the dark meat away for another soup.)

Shred the meat into very small pieces and add to the soup. Season with salt to taste and serve in warm bowls.

A perfect soup, for a Canadian winter.