Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Especially for Linda:

Pumpkin Soup

The flavour of this soup will vary depending on what kind of pumpkin you use - jap, butternut, golden nugget - so try them all!

Serves 4-6

30g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp favourite spice, like curry powder, coriander or cumin (optional)
750g peeled pumpkin, seeded
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
sea salt & cracked black pepper
cream (optional)
snipped chives & other herbs to garnish

Melt butter in large saucepan & sauté onion & garlic until soft, without colouring.
If adding spice, add now & fry very gently for 1 min or so.
Add pumpkin, stock & water.
Bring slowly to boil & simmer, covered, for about 15 min until pumpkin is tender.
Cool slightly & purée mixture in several batches using food processor or blender (hand blender works well).
Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Add little more stock or water if necessary to make good consistency, depending on pumpkin.
Swirl in little cream, if liked.
Reheat gently & ladle soup into bowls.
Garnish with chives & chopped parsley or coriander leaves, if liked.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Some winter warmers:

Tomato, Chicken & Bean Soup

Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
3 rashers bacon, rind removed, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g macaroni or other small pasta
sea salt & cracked black pepper
2 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
250g green beans, trimmed & sliced
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
chicken stock*
1.5kg whole chicken
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
2.5L water or enough to cover

To make stock, place chicken stock ingredients in large saucepan over high heat.
Bring to boil, cover & reduce heat to low.
Cook for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.
Use large metal spoon to occasionally skim foam from surface.
Remove chicken & allow to cool slightly.
Remove skin & discard.
Shred chicken meat from bones & set aside.
Strain stock, discarding vegetables.
Heat oil in large saucepan over high heat.
Add bacon & chilli & cook for 2-3 min or until browned.
Add strained stock, tomatoes, pasta, shredded chicken, salt & pepper & cook for 8-10 min or until pasta is al dente.
Add cannellini beans & green beans & cook for 1 min.
Top with parmesan to serve.
*Alternatively, use about 600g chicken breast fillets, poached & shredded, & 2L good quality chicken stock (like Campbell's).

Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Pan Pie

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
6 x 150g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed & chopped
250g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 cup single cream
200g feta, chopped
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 200°C.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in ovenproof 24cm frypan* over high heat.
Add chicken & cook for 5 min or until browned & cooked through.
Remove from pan.
Add remaining oil, mushrooms, garlic & rosemary & cook fro 5 min or until browned.
Add cream & chicken & cook for 1-2 min or until thickened slightly.
Stir through feta.
Place pastry over pan & trim edges.
Brush with egg & bake for 20 min or until puffed & golden.
*Alternatively, cook in a non-stick frypan & transfer to a pie dish when adding feta.