Thursday, February 4, 2010

Inaugural Sunday Bites Supper

Saturday, January 20, 2010
Hosted by: Sarah and Brad
Theme: Soup

This month, our theme was soup, which was perfect for the chilly weather we braved to gather for the first ever meeting of Sunday Bites. Upon entering the kitchen, warm and savory aromas met our noses. Three large pots of bubbling soups sat atop the stove while we anxiously waited for dinner to commence. After the finishing touches were added, we grabbed bowls and began!

Course #1: Curried Carrot Almond Soup

Courtesy of: Sarah & Brad

1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 teaspoons curry powder (preferably Madras)
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups water
2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
4 cilantro sprigs, leaves and stems reserved separately
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

•Cook onion in oil with 1/2 tsp salt in a 4-qt heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add curry powder, red-pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

•Add carrots, water, almond milk, cilantro stems, and 1/2 tsp salt and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

•Blend soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Season with salt.

•Serve sprinkled with cilantro leaves and toasted almonds.

recipe courtesy of

Course #2: Chicken and Bean Taco Soup

Courtesy of: Nicole & Jerel

Chicken Posole (or with beans, Taco Soup!)

8 cups chicken stock, canned or homemade
bouquet garni of 1 bay leaf, 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 3 sprigs fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp chili powder

2 teaspoons olive oil
1-1.5 lbs chicken
2 cans hominy ***

Any or all of the following garnishes:
shredded lettuce
diced tomatoes
diced avocado
diced red onion
lime wedges
tortilla chips
radish, sliced thin

In a large pot or dutch oven, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the bouquet garni and minced garlic. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bouquet garni and add the salt, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and chili powder.

Continue to simmer on the stove top until all of the other ingredients are ready. Taste for seasoning. If bitter, add another teaspoon of salt. If too concentrated, add a cup of water to dilute.

To prepare chicken, pat dry and season on both sides generously with salt and pepper. In a frying pan or stove-top grill pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 minutes until the underside is crispy and golden brown. Flip the chicken and continue to cook another 4-5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove to cutting board and rest until cool enough to handle.

When the chicken is cooking and cooling, prepare the garnishes.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, dice it into bite sized cubes and add to the broth. Drain the hominy into a strainer and rinse under cold water. Add this to the broth.

Bring the soup to a boil and bring everything to the same temperature.

Serve in individual bowls and allow guests to garnish.

*** We used 1 cup of dried beans instead. I cooked them in a crockpot for 4 hours on high, along with some onion, garlic, fresh thyme, celery, and bay leaf. Add the cooked and drained beans to the soup at the same time you would have added the hominy.

Course #3: Moroccan Vegetable Soup

Courtesy of: Matt & Erin

(Note: We changed a few elements of the original recipe- I have written the original, with our substitutions noted in parentheses)

1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
8 oz carrots, chopped
8 oz parsnips, chopped
8 oz pumpkin (instead of pumpkin, we used half white sweet potato and half yam, chopped)
3 3/4 c vegetable or chicken stock
lemon juice, to taste
salt and ground black pepper

For the garnish:
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and cilantro, mixed
a good pinch of paprika

1) Heat oil and butter in a large pan and fry the onion for about 3 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots and parsnips, stir well, cover and cook over low heat for another 5 minutes.

2) Cut the pumpkin into chunks, discarding the skin and pith, and stir into the pan. (Here, we just cut up the potatoes/yams) Cover and cook for another 5 minutes (we cooked ours for about 10), then add the stock and seasoning (NOTE: we added in the cilantro, parsley, paprika, and garlic at this stage too, to let the flavors blend a little more and to give it a more intense flavor), and slowly bring to a boil. Cover and simmer very gently for 35-40 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender (we let ours cook for and hour or so).

3) Let the soup cool slightly, then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth, adding a little extra water if necessary. Pour back into a clean pan and reheat.

4) To make the garnish, heat the oil in a small pan and add the garlic, parsley, and cilantro. Fry over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the paprika and stir well.

5) Adjust the seasoning of the soup and stir in just enough lemon juice to taste.

6) Pour into warmed individual soup bowls. Spoon a little garnish on top and carefully swirl it into the soup. (Note: We threw some toasted almonds in there, left over from Brad & Sarah's soup, which was yummy!)

from "Mediterranean: Food of the Sun" by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow

For our final course, Sarah brought out a delicious fig and cherry dessert, which you can read about on their blog.

Next month, our theme will be Italian, so prepare yourself for continuing deliciousness!