That unexpected and pleasant short spell of warm weather last week has now given way to much more winter-like temperatures and a stiff breeze.
With the thermometer down to the single digits, and even lower, now is the time to get out all our soup and comfort foods recipes.
Over the years, I’ve collected dozens and dozens, which I’ve added to my traditional and family and friends’ favorites. Many have become mine, as well.
Nothing smells quite as good as a simmering soup or stew on a cold, blustery winter day.
Nearly every soup or stew recipe can be paired with hot biscuits or muffins, or if we’re really ambitious, some warm yeast bread. Creating a homemade soup or stew requires just a few basic ingredients – vegetables, meat or some other protein, such as dry beans or cheese, stock, and a few herbs.
Whenever I roast a chicken or turkey, I always make several pints or quarts of stock, and freeze it. Then, I’m ready whenever I decide to make a soup or stew.
Here are three more warm and comforting dishes, perfect for these frigid January days.
Mulligan Stew can be made from a huge variety of ingredients. I suppose lamb was the original, but my mother always made it with hamburger. That’s the way I make it today. As simple as it is, it’s one of my very favorite winter comfort foods.
Mom’s Mulligan Stew (6-7 servings)
4 or 5 peeled and diced carrots
one-half rutabaga, peeled and diced, or one small turnip, peeled and diced
1 or 2 onions, chopped
4 or 5 potatoes, peeled or not, and diced
1 pound hamburger
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
Brown hamburg in a little vegetable oil. Drain. Stir in prepared vegetables, then just barely cover with water. Stir in salt and pepper. Bring quickly to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 and a half hours.
This next soup is thick and hearty. It doesn’t freeze well, so eat it up quickly!
Potato-Cheese Supper Soup (4-5 servings)
3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, or make your own
1 and one-half cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups milk
three-quarters teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or 3 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons butter or butter substitute
1 or 2 cups cooked vegetables (this is a good recipe for using leftovers)
1 cup or so of chopped, cooked chicken or turkey
Mix potatoes and stock in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low. Cover, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Blend a little of the milk with the cornstarch and mix until smooth. Combine with the remaining milk and salt and stir into the potato mixture. Heat to just boiling, then stir until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add the cheese, parsley, and butter. Stir until cheese is melted, then add the vegetables and meat and heat through. Serve with a sprinkling of paprika atop each bowlful.
And finally, dry beans of nearly any variety are great sources of protein and fiber. This recipe uses a pound of mixed dried beans. Any variety would work just as well.
Winter’s Day Bean Soup (8-10 servings)
1 pound mixed dry beans
2 and one-half quarts water or stock
one-half cup chopped celery
one-half cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, pressed
4 beef, chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes (or use stock in place of the water, above)
1 16-ounce can of tomatoes, chopped with juice
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of dill weed
one-quarter chopped green pepper
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup small pasta
In a large pot, soak beans overnight, then drain. Add 2 and one-half cups water or stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 3 hours with all ingredients except the green pepper, tomato paste and pasta. During the last 30 minutes, add those last three ingredients. This recipe may be frozen for future lunches or unexpected company.
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