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Con­tin­u­ing in the fresh veg­etable vein, this week, what with the fall har­vest still un­der­way, we’ll start with a hearty veg­etable soup, and then we’ll work on an old favourite of mine, chicken breast with ap­ple and cider. Now, let’s get cook­ing!

Old-Fash­ioned Mine­strone

Here’s a recipe that comes from an old mag­a­zine clip­ping in He­len’s recipe box. We usu­ally make this soup once or twice in late sum­mer or early fall when there is an abun­dance of fresh veg­eta­bles avail­able. The grated parme­san cheese top­ping gives the soup an Ital­ian flavour. Don’t leave it out. Now, let’s get cook­ing! In­gre­di­ents 1/ 2 cup olive oil, or just enough to cover the bot­tom of your soup pot 1 large onion, diced 2 large car­rots, diced 2 medium pota­toes, peeled and diced 1/ 2 pound green beans, cut into one- inch pieces 4 cups wa­ter 1/ 2 small head cab­bage, shred­ded 1/ 2 10-ounce bag spinach, coarsely shred­ded

6 medium toma­toes, peeled and chopped 2 medium zuc­chini, diced 4 beef-or chicken-flavour bouil­lon cubes 1 tsp. salt, and pep­per to taste 1 19-oz. can white kid­ney beans, drained

1 19-oz. can red kid­ney beans, drained

Grated parme­san cheese Pour oil into an 8quart soup pot or Dutch oven. Heat on medium. When oil is hot cook onion, car­rots, cel­ery, pota­toes and green beans un­til veg­eta­bles are lightly browned, about 20 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Add wa­ter, cab­bage, spinach, zuc­chini, bouil­lon, salt and pep­per. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Re­duce heat to low; cover; sim­mer 40 min­utes or un­til veg­eta­bles are very ten­der, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Stir in white and red kid­ney beans; cook 15 min­utes longer or un­til soup is slightly thick­ened. Re­move soup from heat and al­low to cool and set for 10 to 15 min­utes. Serve by the bowl­ful, with parme­san cheese to sprin­kle on top, and crusty bread. It makes a meal.

Chicken Breasts with Ap­ples and Cider

This is an­other recipe from He­len’s col­lec­tion. She likes to make it and l like to eat it. So I sug­gest it when­ever we’re hav­ing com­pany and she’s do­ing the cook­ing. I sub­mit­ted this recipe to Se­away News Cook­ing Tymes back in 1996 and it took first place in the main course cat­e­gory. In­gre­di­ents 2 Tbsp. but­ter 2 cook­ing ap­ples; peeled, cored and cut into rings 4 skin­less, bone­less chicken breasts 1/ 4 cup all-pur­pose flour salt and ground pep­per 1 Tbsp. oil 2 shal­lots, finely chopped 1/ 2 cup ap­ple cider or white wine 1/ 2 cup chicken stock 1/ 3 to 1/ 2 cup heavy cream 1 Tbsp. Di­jon mus­tard

2 Tbsp. finely chopped pars­ley or chives

In a large heavy pan, melt one ta­ble­spoon but­ter and sauté ap­ple slices un­til lightly browned, about three min­utes. Re­move from fry pan and set aside. Dredge chicken in flour sea­soned with salt and pep­per; shake off ex­cess. Add re­main­ing but­ter and oil to fry­pan and heat over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on both sides un­til just cooked through. Re­move from pan and keep warm.

Add shal­lots; sauté un­til limp. Add the ap­ple cider and chicken stock; let boil down to half the orig­i­nal vol­ume, stir­ring to scrape up bits on bot­tom of pan. Add cream; boil un­til thick­ened. Whisk in mus­tard and sea­son sauce with salt and pep­per. Add chicken breasts to fry pan and heat through. Place chicken breasts on heated serv­ing plates along with the sauce; gar­nish with ap­ple slices and pars­ley. Serves four. Now, let’s get cook­ing! tombutkovich@ co­geco. ca

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