Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup

There were a lot of great things at our local farmer’s market this past weekend. I typically buy things that I may or may not know what I am going to use. Maybe that is a challenge, who knows, but the recent visit I bought a bunch of great potatoes, leeks, and garlic, among a few other items. When I was looking at the produce, I figured I would make a big batch of soup. The weather was getting a bit cooler, so I figured this would be a great time for a nice comforting soup. That’s when the idea of a nice creamy potato, leek, and chicken soup came to mind. Heck, I was probably thinking I wanted a loaded bake potato soup, or a leek soup, or chicken noodle soup, so I decided to bring them all together for the most part, and I’m glad I did. This soup rocked and impressed my soup eaters, that for sure.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe
Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 whole leek, thinly sliced, washed
  • 1 whole chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • pickled chili peppers, optional

Start by adding the butter to a stock pot, and melt it on medium heat. Once melted, toss in the sliced leeks. Make sure you wash the leeks after slicing as a bunch of grit typically remains in the leeks.

Cook the leeks for about 5 minutes, or until they are nice and tender. Season with salt and pepper, then add in garlic, cooking another couple of minutes. Add in the cooked potatoes, sprigs of thyme, and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the sprigs of thyme and discard.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe
Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup Recipe

Now you have a couple of options at this point. You can blend this mixture in a food processor or blender, or if you have an immersion blender, use that. Blend until you have a smooth mixture, then return back to the stock pot and cook on low.

Add the shredded chicken, and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Taste and season with any additional salt or pepper.

Now you are ready to serve.

Ladle into a soup bowl, and garnish with pickled chilies if you desire (I prefer).

The end result is nothing but pure comfort. The smoothness you get from the soup is perfectly balanced by the shredded chicken, and if you are using any type of pickled chilies, then it gets even better, not only from the heat, but it cuts through some of that awesomeness. Plus, this soup, as noted, brings out the best of all three soups. I hope you enjoy!

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Recently we went to our aunt’s annual pool party. It’s a blast as usual and our kids love spending all day in their pool, along with eating grilled burgers and hot dogs. Upon leaving their party, I was asked if I wanted a cabbage. I wasn’t about to turn it down, but in all honesty I had no clue what the heck I was going to do with it. So I thanked them for the cabbage, and then thought long and hard what the heck I was going to make with it. That’s when the light went off, and that’s when I decided to make stuffed cabbage rolls. When I mentioned that to my wife, I did not realize how excited one could get over the idea of stuffed cabbage rolls, but low and behold she did.

This was not only a great use of using up a lot of cabbage, but these things were delicious to boot.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This recipe is way too easy to make, plus it is one that is totally hearty, great for a busy work week and one that I was able to use up another batch of my tomato sauce.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole head of green cabbage
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 whole egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • additional salt for boiling cabbage

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Generously season with salt. Once boiling, carefully add in the whole head of cabbage, and cook for about 4 minutes. The goal here is to soften the leaves, leaving them tender for rolling.

Carefully remove the head of cabbage and remove 6 of the outer, larger leaves. Set aside, and then return the cabbage back to the salted boiling water, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove again, and set the cabbage aside.

Next, make your meat mixture. To a mixing bowl, add the ground chuck, salt, pepper, onions, garlic powder, egg, rice, and worchestershire sauce. Mix well.

Now it is time to roll the cabbage rolls. Take one of the reserved cabbage leaves and lay it on your work surface.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

 

Add about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture into the center of the cabbage leaf. Now it’s going to be like rolling a burrito or egg roll.

Fold over the meat mixture, fold in the sides, and continue to roll. Place seam side down onto a place. Repeat with remaining leaves and meat mixture.

Take the remaining cabbage leaves, about 10 or so, and place onto the bottom of your slow cooker. This helps to prevent the cabbage rolls from burning.

Arrange your cabbage rolls in the bottom of the slow cooker, pour over the tomato sauce, place the cover on, and cook for 6-7 hours. This is a perfect way to cook while you head to work.

Serve each cabbage roll on a plate and spoon over any additional tomato sauce.

These cabbage rolls rocked. Not only were they super tender on the inside, but the cabbage lent the perfect vehicle for stuffing. Was my wife still excited? You bet, and she even took one the next day for lunch, they were that good.

If you are looking for an easy meal, and have some cabbage laying around, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade V8 Juice

I don’t know about you, but our vegetable garden is officially in full bloom. We are picking tomatoes, like big bowls of them, every day, along with cucumbers, beans, peppers, chilies, and broccoli, and I love every minute of it. It’s something I like doing after work, and at the end of the week I look at all of the bowls of tomatoes, peppers, and chilies, and think of things to make with them. So on a recent trip to our local farmer’s market, and while as was chatting it up with a couple of the local farmers, a lady approached them and asked to buy a huge basket of tomatoes. Of course I was going to ask this lady what she was going to do with all of those tomatoes, and her response was ‘I batch out large quantities of spicy v8 juice for bloody mary’s for football season’. As one of the farmer’s chimed in regards to the same process, I was intrigued to say the least.

So as I went back home, I decided to give my take on a v8 style juice, and man oh man was it ever good, and fresh to boot.

Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

    Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

This recipe, as it may not be the prettiest of juices, is not only easy to make, put it has just the right amount of spice (in my opinion) and you know that you put all of that fresh produce into it.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden)
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 whole red onion, quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds if you do not want it too spicy)
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of water, divided

To a medium sized saucepan, add 1 cup of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, covered.

Remove the cover, add in the remaining cup of water, give a good stir, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Homemade V8 Juice Recipe
Homemade V8 Juice Recipe

Add the mixture to a blender, and blend until you think everything is nicely pureed.

Next you will need to strain the mixture. I use a chinois but if you do not have that then try and use a fine-mesh sieve, and place in a large mason jar. Discard or compost the remaining solids.

Chill the juice in the refrigerator, and when you are ready to serve, pour over some ice or a virgin bloody mary, or add a bit of vodka if you are making a cocktail.

The result is really, really good. I typically have to add stuff to my v8 drink to make it a bit spicy, but this combination was perfect. So if you are looking to use up some of those vegetables from your garden, or better yet supporting your local farmers, then give this one a shot. It’s well worth it. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade V8 Juice
Author: 
Recipe type: Juice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of tomatoes (I used a variety from my garden)
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ whole red onion, quartered
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped (remove seeds if you do not want it too spicy)
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • generous pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups of water, divided
Instructions
  1. To a medium sized saucepan, add 1 cup of water and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, covered.
  2. Remove the cover, add in the remaining cup of water, give a good stir, then remove from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the mixture to a blender, and blend until you think everything is nicely pureed.
  4. Next you will need to strain the mixture. I use a chinois but if you do not have that then try and use a fine-mesh sieve, and place in a large mason jar. Discard or compost the remaining solids.
  5. Chill the juice in the refrigerator, and when you are ready to serve, pour over some ice or a virgin bloody mary, or add a bit of vodka if you are making a cocktail.
  6. The result is really, really good. I typically have to add stuff to my v8 drink to make it a bit spicy, but this combination was perfect.

 

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup

These past few weeks, our farmer’s market has yielded some pretty great stuff, in particular strawberries (which actually taste like awesome strawberries), rhubarb, all sorts of herbs and onions, and one of my favorites this time of year, garlic scape. I buy garlic scape every time I see it at the market, and I make a variety of things with it, but this year I decided to make a roasted garlic scape soup. If you are not familiar with garlic scapes, it is essentially the flower bud from garlic, and have the taste of a mix between a mild garlic and onion flavor. That’s right up my alley.

This roasted garlic scape soup is not only easy to make, but it’s super comforting, loaded with great flavor, and has the texture of a nice bisque. Not the prettiest of soups, but one that you will want to make again.

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • generous pinch of salt, and more to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 small to medium sized shallots
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 whole russet potato, peeled, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup of half and half
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, stem removed

I like to roast my scapes, garlic, and shallots (both skin on) over some charcoal, but you could place yours in the oven on high heat if you prefer. It’s summertime so I make every attempt not to heat up the kitchen. So start by rubbing the olive oil all over the garlic scapes, garlic, and shallots, and season with some salt, and place onto your hot grill, turning along the way. You want some nice charred marks on the scapes, as well as to soften the shallots and garlic. So once they are slightly charred, remove them from the grill and set aside.

Chop up the garlic scapes and carefully remove the skins from the garlic and shallots.

Next, get a pot onto the stove and pour in the chicken stock. Add in the cubed potatoes, and the garlic scapes, garlic, and shallots, and cook for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup Recipe

Once they are fork tender, this is when you want to bust out your immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, I highly recommend you purchase one, then you can carefully ladle, in batches, the soup mixture into a blender, making sure you cover the top and place pressure down onto it. Hot stuff in blenders without putting a towel over the top, once covered, can lead to a mess. Trust me.

So whichever route you take (I used an immersion blender), blend until you have a nice smooth puree.

Keep the pot on medium to low heat, and continue to cook. Add the half and half, black pepper, red chili flakes, and fresh thyme. Stir, cook for a few minutes, and taste. If more salt is needed, add a bit more.

Now you are ready to serve. Ladle some into a small soup bowl, garnish with fresh parsley if desired, and dig in. This roasted garlic scape soup is super smooth, and you get the taste of everything you put in there. It’s comforting, easy, and delicious, and granted soup season has somewhat past us here in Wisconsin, it is still worth making.

So if your market has scapes, get a bunch of them and give them a try. It’s a must if you love garlic. Hope you enjoy!