Potato Soup That Happens to Have Broccoli In It

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It’s a chilly spring day in Glen Ellen, CA, and nothing sounds better than soup. Here’s the perfect recipe: a broccoli chowder loaded with big flavors and beautiful colors. It’s vegetarian; it’s nutritious; it’s easy. I’ve eliminated the pureeing of the ingredients, which results in an easier, faster clean-up – and I think makes for a more attractive dish. The only caveat – don’t let the broccoli cook too long, or the green beauty of it all is lost….though the great taste remains

Potato Soup That Happens to Have Broccoli In It

  • Servings: 4
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I miss the old Epicurious. This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found at Epicurious online in 2003!

Ingredients

  • 3 small heads broccoli (about 1#)
  • 2 large yellow or red potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 T butter
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (may be omitted; I didn’t have any and the soup was still great
  • 3 c water (or depending upon your food preferences, chicken or vegetable broth)
  • 1 c cream – or half & half
  • 2 c coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 oz)
  • touch of hot sauce or chili powder, optional.

Directions

Separate the broccoli stems from the florets, then chop each into about 1″ pieces. Reserve about 2 c of the broccoli florets to add at the very end.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the broccoli (except the reserved florets), potatoes, onion, bell pepper, carrots, garlic, cumin and mustard in the butter until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Add the 4 cups of water and simmer, partially covered, for about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining broccoli florets, cream and grated cheese, bring back to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cheese melts and the florets are soft but still very green. Taste – and add salt and pepper accordingly and a sprinkling of hot sauce, if you so desire.

Picadillo

Picadillo

  • Servings: 6
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Updated from a Cuban-inspired recipe which I cut out of a magazine probably 30 years ago....maybe Ladies' Home Journal - isn't that where everything came from back then?

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large Yukon Gold or red potato, diced (no need to peel) – about 2 cups after dicing
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced – about 1 1/2 tsp
  • 1/3 c tomato paste
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 c dark raisins
  • 1/2 c sliced pimento-stuffed olives
  • 2 T catsup
  • 1/2 c frozen green peas

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the diced potatoes and cook,  stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, .  Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic and cook just until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes more.  Add the tomato paste and water, stir it all well, and simmer another few minutes.  Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 7 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks.  Add the cumin, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, raisins, olives, catsup, and frozen peas and cook another 5 minutes or so.  Stir in the catsup and frozen green peas, cover the pan slightly and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Serve the picadillo with rice.   Or open a can of black beans (we love Bush’s Cocina Latina Frijoles Cubanos), heat, and serve them along side the picadillo.

Or refrigerate and eat it tomorrow (by the time I’m done cooking even a big little recipe, I’m ready to eat something else for dinner).  It will re-heat nicely in the microwave.  Freeze what’s left in proportions just perfect for you.  Another day use the left-overs to make a taco or burrito.  If you’re really wild and crazy, bake some sweet potatoes, cut them in half, mash them a little in the shell, and then serve them with the picadillo on the top.  Or use the left-over picadillo for breakfast with an egg fried sunny-side up and put over the top.

Here’s the really important stuff:  don’t get stuck on following the recipe exactly.  If you don’t think you’ll like the sweetness of the raisins, leave them out.  You want it a little more liquid-y?  Add another little bit of water till you like the consistency or even some white wine or chicken stock. Lots of picadillo recipes call for more tomato; you could add the rest of the 6 oz can of tomato paste, if that’s what you used.  Or substitute a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes for the tomato paste and catsup.  And we added LOTS more Tabasco.   After all, we lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 26 years.

Recipe provided by Big Little Meals and Andy and Ann

Crawfish by the Pound

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From our Louisiana experience….

So – this is really BIG (i.e., lots and lots of crawfish – 12 pounds to be exact), and maybe you can say the crawfish are a LITTLE-bite size), but this really isn’t a Big Little Meals meal.  We just had to share it with you since it comes from such a fun recent experience.  I HAD to get back to Baton Rouge during crawfish season (spring).  We’d been away too many years.  Plus, we wanted to see our most special 87-year-old neighbor from the old University Hills neighborhood.  How many of you have seen a food truck dealing exclusively in boiled crawfish?  Yup, that’s where we bought them.  The great name of the truck: Crawfish on the Geaux. 🙂  And, FYI, the three of us easily ate all 12 pounds.

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