Saturday, December 12, 2009
More soup, because it is cold outside today. Actually, it is cold inside too.
Apparently Seattle is supposed to get some snow soon, which will be lovely... for anyone who doesn't need to use a car. I know folks from other Northern states who chuckle at the chaos that unfolds in this city when we get even a trace of snow, but they don't seem realize that the whole city is pretty much built on a 90 degree incline. I don't exactly get around in a monster truck, so word of snow puts me a little on edge.
Anyway, dinner tonight is potato leek soup with pancetta served with warm savory english cheddar puffs. Easy, hot and yummy. Exactly what I need.
Not so Humble's Potato Leek Soup with Pancetta:
1 leek, washed and the white portion finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 pound thick sliced pancetta, cubed
2 large boiling potatoes peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups whole milk
In a pot over medium high heat, add olive oil and onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the leek, celery, pancetta and potatoes and saute for another 3 minutes stirring often. Add the three cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a separate pan until bubbly, add the flour and cook over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add the milk and whisk until smooth. Once the sauce thickens, add it to the soup mixing well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
(Just a quick shout out to Mother Humble in London: See Mom! I used that cheese you left behind! You can stop worrying about it going to waste now.)
These are wonderful savory little puffs, packed with cheddar flavor. They make great appetizers and they are also great with tonight's soup.
If you can't find a nice English cheddar, be sure to substitute a sharp cheddar. Milder cheddar cheeses don't pack enough flavor for these puffs, so keep that in mind. This recipe also calls for french fried onions, for which I've provided a recipe at the bottom of the post. If you don't want to go through all the trouble of making your own fried onions, feel free to substitute the store bought variety.
Not so Humble's English Cheddar Puffs:
yields roughly 32 puffs
1/4 cup butter
1 cup plus two tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 2/3 cup packed, grated sharp English cheddar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 cup french fried onions
Preheat your oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small pot, add the butter, salt and one cup of water and bring to a boil. Grab a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to medium and add the flour. Mix with the wooden spoon for about 2-3 minutes until the dough is glossy and has pulled away from the sides of the pan.
Add the dough to your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add the cheddar, thyme and pepper and mix on medium low speed to combine. Then add the french fried onions, mixing until just incorporated.
Add the dough to a pastry bag with a wide round tip and pipe 2 inch blobs onto the parchment, about an inch apart. Alternatively you can just spoon blobs onto the parchment, if you don't want to bother with a pastry bag.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffy and golden. Serve immediately.
French Fried Onions:
1 small yellow onion
1 cup flour
oil for frying
Prep the onion by peeling, halving and then slicing very thin.
Pour a couple inches of oil into a pot, enough to cook your onions without crowding them. Heat the oil to 350°F using your candy/deep frying thermometer. Take the onions, a small handful at a time, and coat them in a bowl with the cup of flour. Shake off the excess and sprinkle them into the hot oil. Let cook until a golden brown color, roughly 3-4 minutes. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining onion, allowing the oil to reheat to 350°F between batches.