Saturday, February 1, 2014

Soup Series #1: German Potato Soup with Sausage

We like soup. It tastes great, it fills you up and baby, it warms you up. I like soup because it's one of the few things which everyone in our family eats. HRH aka Father in-law loves soups, Pater Familias aka my huz loves soups and both the kidlets love most of the soups, it's a win win for me in a family with spoiled brats of all ages.

The soup cooks quickly and without much effort so go ahead, try it today!

German Potato Soup with Sausage

This will feed 5-6 people

5 medium large potatoes peeled and cut into cubes of about 1/2" to 3/4" . You need about 4 cups of potatoes.
3 large carrots, peeled or scrubbed and cut into pieces slighter smaller than the potatoes
2 stalks celery, washed and chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 large leek (cut into rings, washed and drained)*
1 small garlic, pressed
1-2 tsp. dried marjoram
3 cups Chicken stock**
3 cups water**
Salt, Pepper to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 Whole Kielbasa cut lengthwise in half, and then into pieces (we get the light version Hillshire Brand)
2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
Optional 1 cup frozen green beans

On medium heat, heat the oil in a large pot and add the onion and celery (and leek if using). Cook until the onion softens and then add the garlic and marjoram. Stir about for a few moments and then add the cut up potato and carrots. Sauté for two minutes and then add the stock and water. 

Bring the soup to a simmer and cover. Meanwhile sauté the sausage in a pan and keep aside. Once the vegetables are done, remove about two cups worth of the vegetables and mash them. Return to the pot along with the sautéed sausage and frozen green beans if using.  Make sure you include the pan drippings. Bring to a slow simmer, cook for 7 minutes, and season to taste with pepper and salt (or stock paste, if you have***).

Before serving sprinkle with the fresh parsley.

Serve with a crusty, rustic bread.

* Leeks can be expensive and I usually avoid them.
** You may want to add more or less, depending on how chunky or liquidy you'd like your final product.
*** Best stuff EVER!

Spinach Mushroom Puffs

Sometimes good stuff happens because of mistakes. Like these Spinach puffs. I had bought the wrong frozen spinach and couldn't figure out what to do with it. And then I thought of Spanakopita, the lovely Greek mezze which tastes so very good. And because it has so much spinach you could almost convince yourself that it's actually good for you. From that the thought evolved. Let's see, I had spinach, mushrooms, and puff pastry. Something could surely be made with that. And oh dear did it taste wonderful. So very yummy. Healthy? I wouldn't go that far, but with all that spinach, something is good about it, surely.

Spinach-Mushroom Puffs

1 sheet of refrigerator thawed puff pastry.
I box frozen chopped spinach
1 cup chopped mushroom (button or baby bella)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp. finely chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried dill
pinch of nutmeg
2 eggs
1 tsp. lemon juice

Thaw the frozen chopped spinach and squeeze as dry as you can. Put in a bowl. Heat oven to 400F. Sauté the chopped mushrooms in some evoo and set aside to cool. Roll out the dough and cut into 9-12 squares. Place the squares into prepared muffin tins making sure there is enough to cover the top a little bit after being filled with the spinach mix. Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl with ONE of the eggs (slightly beaten) and stir to mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture among the pastry lined muffin tins. Fold over the corners of the pastry squares and paint the tops with the remaining egg beaten with 1 tbsp very cold water.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

This recipe is one of those which could easily be customized. Exchange the mushrooms for roasted pine or walnuts, or even bacon.