Saturday, October 16, 2010


I am ready for fall which makes me think of soup. I got an email from Cuisine at Home with this soup recipe and decided to try it. I made it over 2 nights because I had a busy week and it worked beautifully.

I think you have to sign up with Cuisine at Home to get the recipes so here's the link if you're interested.

Spinach Artichoke Soup my way

1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 dry white wine
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
1 cup skim milk
5 ounces fresh spinach, washed and stems removed
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Saute leeks and garlic in olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Add chicken and artichokes and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in flour and continue cooking for about 1 minute.

Add white wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock, half and half and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and and add spinach and cheese. Stir until spinach wilts. Add more stock if it too thick. Using a hand held blender chop up some of the spinach and other ingredients slightly. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.

This is a wonderful 1 pot meal. You could round it out with some crusty bread and fruit and a nice glass of wine. My current favorite is White 4 by Vina Robles in Paso Robles. It's a blend of Viognier, Verdelho,Vermentio and Sauvignon Blanc. Amazing!

If you are going to make it over 2 nights do not add the chicken, spinach or Parmesan cheese the 1st night. Add those ingredients the 2nd night by bringing the soup to a simmer, then adding the chicken, spinach and cheese. Thin with more stock if necessary and blend slightly with a hand held blender. If you don't have one the original recipe did not call for this step. If you would like your soup creamier you could put the soup in a blender or food processor or chop the spinach and chicken finely before cooking. Either way the flavors are delicious and warming.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Saffron, Pasta and Chicken oh my!

I have been struggling with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia lately which makes cooking after working difficult. The things I have cooked have not been blog worthy until tonight. Tonight we had a dish from Bon Appetit that I have been lusting after. I love saffron! It is from the September 2010 issue and is called Paccheri Pasta with Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream. Here's the link:

I started it last night because it takes almost 2 hours from beginning to end and I got home too late last night to make it and eat it. It was delicious as the flavors came together beautifully so don't hesitate to start a day ahead.

Pasta with Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream my way

4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
2 cups dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
2 cups (or more) chicken broth
1/2 pound pappardelle
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and cook until golden, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Add onions and garlic to drippings in skillet; sauté until onions are slightly softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add wine and saffron to skillet; bring to boil. Continue to boil until liquid is thickened and reduced by less than half, about 8 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken broth to skillet. Return chicken to skillet; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer gently until chicken is very tender (adjust heat to prevent boiling and turn chicken over after 30 minutes), about 1 hour total. At this point you can cool the chicken and refrigerate overnight or transfer chicken to plate and cool.

If you refrigerate overnight, remove chicken and sauce from refrigerator, discard any fat on the surface and slowly re-heat. Reserve skillet with juices. Remove bones from chicken and discard. Tear chicken meat into bite-size pieces and reserve.

Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return to pot.

Meanwhile, spoon off fat from juices in skillet; discard fat. Add half and half to juices in skillet and boil until sauce is reduced and is thick enough to coat spoon, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in vinegar, then chicken pieces. Stir over medium heat until heated through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin sauce as needed and adding more vinegar by teaspoonfuls, if desired, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta to chicken mixture and toss to coat. Transfer pasta to plates.

This is heart warming, comfort food. Enjoy!