What to serve for dinner on a cold, dark night
by Joanne Henning Tedesco —
Soup can be an easy answer to that “what-to-serve” problem on a cold, dark night. After you have put on your heaviest sweater and hunkered down to prepare a meal that is simple, filling and will warm your heart and soul, nothing fits the bill better than a hearty soup.
Soup summons up a vision of steam rising from a bowl, exchanging heat for the cold in your fingers and toes. A bowl of soup is modestly beautiful and very healthy when prepared with lots of vegetables. Remember to visit your local farmers’ market for a wonderful selection of organic fruits and vegetables to add some new flavors into your meal rotation.
Stracciatella with Spinach Soup
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1-1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, parsley, nutmeg and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of grated cheese. In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over moderately high heat. Vigorously whisk in the eggs; then stir in the spinach. Cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until the egg and spinach are cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Ladle into small bowls and serve with more cheese. Yield: 8 servings.
Cauliflower Soup with Cashews and Apples
- 1 head cauliflower (2-1/4 pounds)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small Pink Lady apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- Chopped roasted cashews, for garnish
Trim and chop the cauliflower into large pieces. In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients except salt, almond milk and garnish. Add enough water to cover the vegetables, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until very tender, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a clean pot and stir in the almond milk. Rewarm over moderate heat, adding more water or milk for a thinner consistency, if desired. Season with salt, to taste. Garnish with cashews and serve. Yield: 6 servings.
Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Coconut
- 2 tablespoons coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 4 cups fresh roasted pumpkin (or two 15-ounce cans pure pumpkin purée)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- One 15-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Sauté the onion over medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin, stock, coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the soup coats the back of a spoon. Purée using an immersion or stand blender until smooth. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the coconut over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Garnish with the toasted coconut and serve. Yield: 4 servings.
Caribbean Quinoa-Coconut Milk Soup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 small hot chile, sliced into rings
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the coconut oil and heat until melted. Add the onion and chile, stirring occasionally, until onion is fairly soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ground allspice and stir; then add the stock and quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and lime juice; then stir. (Do not let the coconut milk boil or it will separate.) Season with salt, to taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Yield: 4 servings.
Sources: bonappetit.com, gourmet.com and Joanne’s recipe box.
Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 35, Number 1, February/March 2016.