Last night I prepared the following soups for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory fundraiser at the MLCC. These should keep you warm in the upcoming winter. Photos coming soon.
1. Hot and Sour Soup
1 tbsp tree ear fungus soaked 1/2 hour (optional)
6 dried black mushrooms soaked 1/2 hour
24 dried day-lily buds soaked 1 hour
4 c vegetable stock
2 tsps corn starch
2 tsps sesame oil
1 lg egg lightly beaten
1/4 c finely julienned bamboo-shoot strips
4 ozs tofu block (medium) julienned
1/3 tsp salt
2 tbsps white vinegar
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tsps soy sauce (thin)
2 tsps scallion thinly sliced
Soak tree ear fungus and Chinese mushrooms in 1 cup water each for half an hour and the day-lily buds in 1 1/2 cups water for half an hour. Drain the fungus and rinse. Cut off any hard knots. Cut into strips about 1/4-inch wide.
Remove the mushrooms from liquid. Cut off and discard the coarse stems and cut into 1/4-inch wide strips. Remove the day-lily buds from the liquid. Cut off and discard the hard knots at the end.
Remove 1/4 cup of the stock and set the remainder to heat in a 3-quart pot over a medium high heat.
Put the cornstarch into a small bowl. Slowly add the 1/4 cup cold stock and 1 tsp sesame oil. Set aside.
Beat the egg very lightly. Mix in 1 tsp sesame oil and set aside.
The stock should now be boiling. Add the tree ear fungus, mushrooms, day-lily buds, bamboo-shoot strips, tofu strips and salt to it. Bring it to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Now add the vinegar, white pepper and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer. Stir the cornstarch and stock mixture and add it to the pot. Stir and cook until the soup thickens slightly. Turn off the heat. Immediately pour in the beaten egg mixture in a steady stream, covering the surface of the soup with it. Stir gently.
Pour soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle with the sliced scallions and serve hot.
2. Green Mexican Corn Chowder
* 2 tbsp vegetable oil (30ml)
* 1 lb. tomatillos, husked and rinsed (454g)
* 1 x medium white onion, chopped medium dice
* 1 tbsp garlic, minced (15ml)
* 1 x large fresh poblano chili, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped
* 2 x cups corn kernels, defrosted (500ml)
* 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock (875ml)
* 1/2 cup of 35% heavy cream (125ml)
* 1/2 cup fresh Cilantro, washed, leaves only stalks removed, roughly chopped (125ml)
* Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add half of the vegetable oil.
2. Cut the tomatillos in half from top to bottom and lay them cut side down in the hot skillet. Allow them to cook until the tomatillos have a deep golden brown colour, flip and roast on the other side for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and place in a bowl to cool slightly.
3. Set a large saucepan over medium heat, add the remaining oil and allow to heat for 30 seconds. Add the onion, garlic and the poblano pepper. Allow to cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. In a food processor, puree the onion mixture, the tomatillos and 1 cup of the corn. Puree the mixture until all is smooth, add 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the chicken broth slowly to thin out the mixture and help get it smooth.
5. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a large pot. Set the pot over medium heat and stir in the remaining chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the heavy cream, remaining corn and chopped cilantro. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Ladle the warm soup into 6 bowls and serve immediately.
3. Acorn Squash Soup
1 Acorn Squash, seeded and baked
1 leek whites, sliced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup lemon grass, chopped
3-4 cups broth
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sauté leeks in a soup pot until soft. Add ginger and lemon grass. On medium heat, mix in baked squash and add broth. Bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Using an immersion blender or in a food processor, purée soup. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with creme fraiche.
2 cups red lentils
1 medium onion, diced
1 inch ginger, grated
3-4 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbs curry spice blend
2-3 tbs olive or vegetable oil
2-3 tomatoes, diced
1 cup spinach leaves
~ 4-6 cups water
~ 1 cup yoghurt
salt, to taste
optional, 1 tbs brown sugar to round out taste and cut acid
In a larger pot, bring lentils and water to a boil. In a separate pan, heat oil and sauté onion until translucent. Add spice blend and cook until softened. Add ginger and garlic and be careful not to burn. When the water in the lentil pot is boiling, add hot onions and spices to the pot and stir. Simmer and add vegetables. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in yoghurt and test for salt.
For a full protein, serve with rice.
5. Pluma Maus (Plum Soup)
4+ cups seeded plums
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 star anise
4-6 cups water
2 tbs corn starch
2+ cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
In a large pot, bring plums, spices, sugar and water to a boil, reserving one cup cold water and ½ cup sugar.
In a dry cup, mix ½ cup sugar with the corn starch. Whisk in the cold water and lemon juice and set aside until the plums have softened. Stir in to pot and let boil for at least one minute. Simmer and serve hot or cold plain, with vanilla ice cream, a egg white meringue pudding (floating island) or a cream of wheat pudding.