soup

Roasted Potato Leek and Garlic Soup

by Anne Maxfield on October 8, 2018

Accidental Locavore Roasted Leek and Potato SoupPotato leek soup is good any time of year.

When Frank kept bringing home potatoes and leeks from our CSA, I knew he was serious about me making a batch.

Since it’s fall, I like this version, where the leeks and potatoes are roasted with some garlic, making it heartier than traditional vichyssoise. Serves about 6:

Roasted Potato Leek and Garlic Soup

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise and then in ½” slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
  • 6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1-2 heads roasted garlic (see below)

Accidental Locavore Potatoes and LeeksPreheat the oven to 400°.

Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times, until very tender and lightly golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any roasted bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables and garlic to a food processor or blender, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock in batches and purée. As you finish a batch, pour it into a large pot or Dutch oven. When it’s all in the pot, add the remaining 1- 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, crème fraîche, and salt and pepper as needed. Heat over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Potatoes and Leeks RoastedMy verdict: I’ve never made vichyssoise with crème fraîche before and if there wasn’t some in the fridge, I probably wouldn’t have used it this time either – which would have been a big mistake! It gave this very rich soup a nice depth of flavor that’s sometimes missing. Roasting the potatoes and leeks was a great idea and the next time I do it, I’d just toss some garlic cloves in the mix. If you were doing this in the summer and didn’t want to heat up your oven, grilling them would most likely be great! If you like a finer purée, use a blender, for a chunkier version the food processor is fine.

Accidental Locavore Garlic for Roasted Leek and Potato SoupIn preparation for this I roasted 4 heads of garlic separately (cut 1/2″ off the tops, put in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle a little olive oil, cover with foil and roast at 400 degrees for an hour), not knowing how many I’d need (about 1 1/2 heads) to flavor but not overwhelm the leeks. Frank was wondering about adding bacon which would be fine, but not necessary – maybe as a garnish? This is great hot or cold, so depending on the season…

 

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Greek Egg-Lemon Soup: Avgolemono

by Anne Maxfield on February 23, 2017

Accidental Locavore Egg-Lemon SoupEgg-Lemon Soup is my go-to soup when I’m not feeling well.

To me, it’s more interesting than most chicken noodle soups and if you’re making your own, much quicker.

Egg-lemon soup also has the advantage that you know exactly what’s in it (all five ingredients), unlike canned soups.

So, I pull out that classic from the 1980’s The Silver Palate Cookbook (still available if you never got a copy) and have soup in 30 minutes. Makes 6 cups.

Greek Egg-Lemon Soup:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or more to taste
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Pour the broth into a pot, and bring it to a boil.

Add the rice, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 25 minutes until the rice is just tender.

While the rice is cooking, whisk the egg yolks and the lemon juice together in a small bowl until well combined.

When the rice is done, remove soup from the heat, and slowly ladle 2 cups of hot broth into the lemon/egg mixture. Whisk to combine, and pour back into the pot. Stir.

Return the soup to medium heat, and cook until soup is just steaming. Do not let it reach a boil. Season to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Eggs for Egg-Lemon SoupMy verdict: As I said in the intro, it’s my go-to when I’m sick. You’ve usually got all the ingredients on hand, it’s easy and tastes great!

I often leave the pepper out, but if you’re going to use it, try to use white pepper, it just looks better.

Some chicken diced up would add protein and you often see this made with little lamb meatballs, but that’s beyond my pay-grade when I’m sick.

And if this doesn’t work, there’s always albondigas.

What’s your go-to cold remedy?

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Six Tips For an Easy Thanksgiving

by Anne Maxfield on November 21, 2016

Accidental Locavore Thanksgiving Wild TurkeyYou may find it surprising that Thanksgiving is not the Accidental Locavore’s favorite holiday.

It’s not.

If I can avoid cooking turkey, I do.

How about a slow roast duck instead?

Accidental Locavore Thanksgivng DuckHowever, someone usually counts on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are my six tips for an easy Thanksgiving:

  1. Buy an instant read thermometer. You’ll never worry about cooking a big piece of meat, again. It’s a must-have. They’re inexpensive, under $10 and worth every penny. You don’t want to ruin the main course, do you? Accidental Locavore Thanksgiving Instant Read Thermometer
  2. Delegate. Everyone brings something. If you don’t trust their cooking skills, rolls, wine, soda, ice cream or salad are options that are hard to mess up. And there are very few people (although I’m probably related to all of them) who will turn up their noses at canned cranberry sauce. This is a great strategy if you’ve got vegetarians, or fussy eaters, ask them to bring their favorite dish. Just make a list of what you’ve assigned so you know where you have to fill in. I’ve actually given dinner parties where I haven’t cooked anything, but please don’t tell anyone!
  3. Forget the appetizers and serve soup as a first course. No one needs to fill up on finger food before the main event. I bet they won’t even notice it’s not there (and if they do, they’d better be too polite to mention it). The reason everyone tells you to drink a lot of water when you’re on a diet, is because it fills you up. Soup does the same thing. Here’s a recipe for winter squash soup that’s not too sweet. It’s easy, you can do it ahead of time and it’s inexpensive. While there’s a little cream in it, it’s only ¼ cup added in at the end to give it richness. If you want to make it vegan, use vegetable stock and olive oil and forget the croutons.Accidental Locavore Squash Soup
  4. My mother insists on creamed onions or it’s not Thanksgiving. However, she’s the only one who likes them. I have a great recipe for Brussels sprouts and pearl onions with a horseradish sauce that everyone loves and the veggies can be cooked ahead, then tossed in the sauce until warmed through. Think about other vegetables you can combine so you’re not cooking 400 side dishes.
  5. Stick to one, max two, desserts. No one has room for multiple pies. Add ice cream if you want but keep it simple. And without a lot of leftover desserts, you won’t be tempted to nibble every time you walk by them.
  6. Give everyone some leftovers to take home. If it’s not around, you won’t eat it. Use the turkey carcass to make soup. When you’re tired of sandwiches, how about a shepherd’s pie using the leftover turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes?

What are your best holiday tips?

Happy Thanksgiving! Since I’m going to be cooking something, no post on Thursday.

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The Best Burger in America

by Anne Maxfield on October 24, 2016

accidental-locavore-best-burgerYou know you’d better watch it before you start tossing out superlatives like “the best burger in America.”

But, according to Forbes (and reaching my desk via Rural Intelligence) the best burger in America is in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Kismet.

The Accidental Locavore was heading there for lunch with a friend who is always interested in a good burger, so we quickly changed plans and met at Camp Fire.

Everyone has their own criteria for best burger – well, best anything.

A best burger to me has to have great fries.

There are a lot of good burgers out there that would be great with better fries.

And both the fries and the burger have to be hot.

There needs to be good pickles.

A toasted bun.

That’s my line in the sand(wich).

As for condiments, lettuce, tomato, even cheese–a really good burger should just be enhanced by them, not need them.

Back to Camp Fire and the best burger in America.

It’s a big open farm/rural looking restaurant. Nothing fancy, just clean looking with a lot of hard surfaces.

There’s a lot of interesting looking stuff on the menu, but we were there on a mission.

We got distracted.

By the mushroom soup.

A rich blend of wild mushrooms with a small dollop of sour cream and just enough truffle oil, it was the perfect starter on a raw afternoon.

accidental-locavore-best-burger-soupThen, the burgers.

Because we were afraid it would be too much food after the soup, we both opted for the Mini Meat, a quarter pound burger (the regular one is a half-pound) which comes on a potato roll with cheddar, pickles, aioli and fries

The verdict?

Great fries! Twice-fried (always a good thing), hand-cut and good-sized, piping hot, maybe a slight hint of rosemary.

I think I ate half of them before turning to the burger.

The burger was good.

Not the best burger in America.

What I didn’t like about it was that it was a thin patty that didn’t seem to have been hand-made. It was cooked the way I like it (rare) but it wasn’t very juicy.

The pickles were good, but the cheese and the aioli didn’t have a lot of flavor. The bun was fine, warm and I don’t remember whether it was toasted or not.

Here’s why I think Camp Fire could still have the best burger in America.

We ordered the wrong one.

Our waitress told us that both versions (mini and regular) were the “best burger” but everything that I was finding fault with may have just been because it was the mini version.

So, we’ll have to go back.

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