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Old 10-09-2010, 06:30 AM   #1
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Autumn Cooking

This is truly the best time for budget-friendly cooking. It is just cool enough for many of us to start enjoying legume type dishes, hearty stews and soups, where just a good loaf of bread and a salad make a feast! Are any of you doing it?


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Old 10-09-2010, 06:37 AM   #2
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I started this week. A friend gave me two large butternut squashes. I'd just finished one of those grocery store chickens, and tossed the bones, some onion, and garlic into a pot of water. Drained, cleaned and cut the squash into chunks, added a carrot or two, and threw it in the pot. When it was all soft, I used my immersian blender to puree the mix, and used some nutmeg and sherry to finish it. It was very thick, and I added a dollop of sour cream on top when I served it. The sour cream and the sherry were the only expenses, and I made a gallon or more of soup. I have a shut-in friend who loves soup, and my husband could almost live on soup. Everyone loved it so much, I'm thinking of a repeat.

My husband is getting ready to make his annual cassoulet.

Next on my agenda is split pea soup.

Then potato leek.

It's that time of year. What we, in my house, have always called "Peasant Food"!

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Old 10-09-2010, 06:46 AM   #3
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absolutely! ratatouille, beef stew, Irish stew, bean soup, chili, you name it!
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Old 10-09-2010, 07:07 AM   #4
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My fiancee and I are hosts for this month's local dinner club, so we're featuring "Ol' Time Favorites" of Rich Beef Stew, Corn Casserole, Corn Muffins, Candied Pumpkin and Rhubarb Pie.
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Old 10-09-2010, 12:43 PM   #5
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Yesterday I made Butternut squash Ravioli. It felt very autumnish....
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:26 PM   #6
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Hamburger soup tonight, Beef stew later in the week!
Living gluten/dairy/sugar/fat/caffeine-free and loving it!
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:19 PM   #7
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I am trying to get the freezer emptied to make room for all the cheap holiday groceries.Best time of year for stocking up.I got 5 free turkeys last year that I broke down and vaccumed sealed.
Baking goods and canned veggies are their lowest price now too.

I am making turkey soup tomorrow after tonights dinner of braised legs and wings in the slow cooker.

I love butternut squash and brussel sprouts right now too.

On edit:Could you share your split pea soup recipe with us Claire?
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:39 AM   #8
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Sure! I take my smaller of the two stock pots I have (I think it is 8 qts; being 5" deep, 10" diameter). In it I place 2 smoked ham hocks, 1 onion, diced, a couple teaspoons of thyme, and 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped. Fill with water and let it simmer for ... well, hours.

When the ham hocks are falling apart, I retrieve them and add 2 bags of split peas, a chopped carrot or two, and a chopped, large potato to the ham stock.

This simmers for ... again, hours. When the soup starts to thicken, and it will, it must be stirred often. You cook it until the peas completely break down, and as they break down, they will make the soup thicker and thicker.

This is an all day thing. the main thing is that thick soups singe easily. If you have a gas stove, it helps if you have a "flame tamer". Electric, in my experience, are easier to keep at a consistently low temperature.

It can be served many ways. You can pull the meat from the ham hocks and chop them into the soup. You can place the ham hocks on plates and let the eaters dig in. In my case, I have a great butcher I buy them from and they're enormous and very meaty, yet my husband really prefers the soup without meat and one elderly, shut-in lady I bring soups and stews to when I make them is toothless, so I just add the meat to my own bowl.

Oh, salt and pepper to taste.

On occasion, I've tossed in a bag of frozen peas. I like the potato and carrot for texture and color, but they are not necessary.

By-the-way, my recipe is very similar to the one at Anderson's Pea Soup (I lived near there as a teen). Theirs is vegetarian, though (but you can have a number of condiments on the side, including chopped ham or bacon). A ham bone left from a previous meal is a great substitute for the ham hocks.

You can cheat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup, but Mom always thought that was cheating. Low and slow gets you the same results.

One thing I must say is that when it comes to reheating this soup (and you will), the microwave oven is the best thing since sliced bread. It is so easy to burn this soup, and it tastes terrible if you singe the bottom of the pan. Should that happen, immediately take off the burner and pour the soup into a bowl or another pot. DO NOT SCRAPE the bottom of the pot, whatever you do. Then clean the pot, pour the soup back into it, and start over. If you scrape the bottom of the pan once it is burnt, the entire soup will taste awful.

THis is a soup that keeps on giving. Every time you reheat it, it gets thicker. So you add water, salt and pepper and the soup almost can double every time you reheat it.

If you're a vegetarian and still want a smokey flavor, the next time you have the grill going for anything, put on a few veggies brushed with olive oil. Chop and throw them in the the water with the peas, carrots, onion, potato.

This is an old New England winter staple that Mom made. Costs very little to make, and I'm not kidding about it growing with every re-heating. Very nutritious and hearty. It does take all day, but what a better way to warm your kitchen? You don't have to be there every minute, but once it starts to thicken (as the split peas break down), you do need to stir it every 15 minutes or so (depending on how low you can get your burner to go). Oh! Also great in a crock pot! Halve the recipe for a smaller one.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:22 AM   #9
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I did a big boiled dinner last night using corned beef, cabbage, onions, parsnips, carrots. When I came home from work at 11pm there was nothing left. It must have sounded good to the family too. I love when the fall veggies are ready!
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:36 AM   #10
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Yes, its getting to be soup and chili weather!

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