Friday, 18 January 2013

Ertwen -Green pea- soup - (Gluten free)

Wil's family is from Holland, and they make a Dutch green pea soup, while I am French Canadian, and make yellow pea soup - in fact I still LOVE the canned 'Habitant Pea Soup' that my dad used to buy.  Here is a variation of Wil's soup, Ertwen is the Dutch name.

What you need: about 3 litres of water; a leftover ham bone*, with lots of meat on it, and all the pan drippings from the ham; 1 medium onion; 2 carrots; 1 rib of celery; 3 bags of dried split green peas; about a kg of Farmers sausage - or any cooked sausage you like; salt and pepper to taste; 1 tbs garlic powder, 1 tsp celery seed; 1/2 tsp ground marjoram; and 1-2 tbs dried chervil  or parsley leaves.
* If you use a ham which has been glazed with a sugar mix, your soup will have a sweet/salty taste. I usually use a ham baked without sweet glaze - as Wil is not fond of sweet sauces on meat. It can have cloves or garlic mustard sauce.

What you do: Put the ham bone, along with any pan drippings from the baked ham, into a large soup kettle and cover with water, bring to a boil and let simmer for an hour or so. Remove the bone, and add the peas to the water. Let cook 2 - 3 hours. Meanwhile cut all the meat - usually about 500 gr- from the bone and chop into small pieces. Add to the kettle. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and shred the carrots. Finely slice, or dice, the celery stalk. Add all the veggies with all the seasonings to the soup, and keep simmering until the peas are completely dissolved. Takes at least 8 hours or can be left on lowest heat overnight. Chop the sausage and add to the soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Let simmer for one more hour before serving.

Serve hot with fresh baked biscuits or thick slices of fresh bread. Enjoy.

This usually makes a really thick soup, which is solid when cooled. If you like your soup more runny, just use 2 bags of dried peas.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Dad's Cornbread (with a gluten free option)

Since I just made some cornbread, and it brings back memories of my childhood, I thought I would add this one to the blog. It is not an original recipe of mine, as my Dad used to bake this for breakast. It wan't until I was an adult that he told me he would bake cornbread for breakfast when he got up in the morning and realized that we were out of bread!! We kids used to think it was a special treat. I usually double this recipe.

What you need: 1 cup cornmeal; 3/4 cup flour, ( I use 1/2 c whole wheat and 1/4 c all purpose, but you can use all of either); 2 tbs sugar; 4 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp salt; 1 egg; 1 cup milk; and 2 tbs melted fat or oil. (If I use melted butter I omit the salt).

What you do:  pre-heat the oven to 425* F. grease a small baking pan, 8x8 or 5x9 inch. Use flour or cornmeal to coat the greased pan.  In a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl beat the egg, then add milk and liquid fat. Add all at once to the dry ingredients, then stir until well blended. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Add 5 minutes if recipe is doubled. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then cut into 2x3 inch pieces to serve.
How we ate it when I was a child - still do, too - Place on a small plate and cut in half across the width, open pieces and spread with butter then top with corn syrup.   Enjoy.

To make this gluten free, replace the flour with a gluten free baking flour. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Chicken Cacciatore

This is an updated version of this old favourite. This is actually the very first thing I ever made for Wil when we started dating.  I made a few changes to make it a little leaner, using boneless breast meat instead of legs, and using whole wheat pasta in place of regular. You can make it gluten free, by using a different thickener for the sauce, and gluten free pasta.

What you need: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces; ; 1 can 796 gr of crushed tomatoes; 1/2 small onion, finely chopped; 3 cloves of garlic, minced;  1 cup of chopped sweet peppers, any colour, or combination you like;1 tbs Italian seasoning; 1/2 cup water; 1 tbs flour; 1 tsp to 1 tbs of sambal oelek, or other spice to add some heat; salt and pepper;1 375 gr box of whole wheat spaghetti; 2 tsp oil for cooking.

What you do: heat oil in a skillet, on medium high heat, and add chicken. Cook several minutes to brown the chicken on all sides. Add onion, garlic and peppers, and allow to cook a few minutes before adding tomatoes.  Add seasonings. Whisk the water and flour together, and stir into the sauce. Lower the heat to medium low and allow sauce to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour. Stir every 5 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Serve sauce over pasta with grated Parmesan cheese.

A baked version is easy to do for something different. After draining the pasta, add all the sauce and stir to mix well. Place into a casserole dish and top with grated mozzarella cheese, then bake 20 minutes in a 350 *F oven.

Can be served with a green or Ceasar salad, and garlic bread if desired.

This serves 4-6 people, unless Luc is there, then serves 3.

As always - enjoy.