Tuscan White Bean Soup

After a pretty mild winter, we have been hit nonstop with snow in Colorado for the last few days. When the weather changes and snow starts to fall, all we want to do is eat a big bowl of soup and binge Netflix on the couch. We love this recipe for Tuscan White Bean Soup because the recipe is pretty light and super easy to make. Minus the proscuitto and mascarpone, you likely have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator already. It is great as is, but also can be amped up with the Garlic Mascarpone Toast if you want to serve it for a dinner party. The toast is creamy and so decadent. While our directions listed below call for one toast per person, Tuck’s dad encourages you to double it- you’ll want at least two for each bowl of soup.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes      Cooking Time: 20 minutes         Total Time: 35 minutes6

Ingredients for Soup: 

  • 6 oz pancetta, sliced thick and diced
  • 1 large vidallia onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 stalks of celery, grated or diced
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium fresh sprigs of rosemary, left whole
  • 2 medium fresh sprig thyme, left whole
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tbs hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Mascarpone Toasts: 

  • 1 baguette, cut into 4 thick slices 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese 
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves removed. 
  • salt and pepper 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Heat a large soup pot on low heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the fats start to cook out of the pancetta but it doesn’t brown excessively.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for another 4 minutes on medium heat, or until the vegetables start to become translucent and caramelized.
  4. Add the cannellini beans, rosemary, and thyme to the pot. Give the ingredients a big stir, and cook another few minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Make sure to use a spatula to really scrape the bottom if any of the brown bits have started to stick.
  6. Add the chicken stock to the pot and cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat. The broth should stay at a very low simmer and not boil.
  7. While the soup is cooking, make the mascarpone toasts. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, and thyme to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the garlic is toasted brown but not burnt. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir the garlic and thyme oil into the 1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the mascarpone mix over each of the four baguette slices. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to serve. 
  8. Remove the rosemary and thyme from the soup. Add the hot sauce and whisk in the mascarpone to create a creamy texture.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving. Serve each bowl with a slice of mascarpone toast. 

French Onion Soup

We recently went to dinner at a friend’s house to see him after he had spent time abroad in Paris. Having visited Paris last year, it was so great to reminisce about all of our respective Paris memories, and we were quickly reminded that we hadn’t recreated any of our favorite dishes since we returned. Inspired by the French Onion Soup our friend Stryker made, Tuck’s mom set out to create her version of the classic soup. We can’t think of a better way to warm up on a chilly winter day than a bowl of French Onion Soup and insanely cheesy Gruyere toast.

French Onion Soup
Makes: 4 entree servings, 6 appetizer servings
Cooking Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 5 large yellow onions
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette
  • 2 tbs butter
  • Dijon mustard (optional)
  • shredded Gruyere cheese

Directions:

  1. Use a mandolin to slice the onions horizontally into thin slices. BE CAREFUL and always use the hand guard when using your mandolin!!
  2. Heat the 2 tbs of butter and 2 tbs olive oil in a large soup pot. When the butter is melted, add the onions to the pot. Sprinkle them with a bit of salt and toss well to coat them with the oil and butter. Now is the time to be patient. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the onions caramelize- this can take up to 90 minutes. Give the onions a good stir every 10 minutes or so, so that a new layer can reach the heat and start to brown. If the bottom of your pot is getting too brown, reduce the heat as necessary. The onions will be sweet and caramel colored when this step is complete.
  3. Add the Dijon, Worcestershire, and thyme to the pot. Add the flour and give everything a good stir, so that the flour gets incorporated with the onions. Increase the heat to medium and let the flour toast up and brown.
  4. Add the wine to the pot, stirring well until it is absorbed. Once the wine is absorbed, add the stock in batches, stirring between each until the liquid is completely absorbed. When all the stock has been added, increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat and cover.
  5. While you finish cooking the soup, turn your broiler onto high. Cut the baguette into large, thick slices. Lather each with butter, a pinch of salt and pepper, Dijon mustard (optional if you like mustard), and cover with the shredded Gruyere cheese. Place on a cookie sheet and cook under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and browned.
  6. Pour the soup into bowls and place a Gruyere toast on top. Serve immediately.

Cure Your Cold Congee

We don’t know about you, but our family has been hit HARD this year with winter illnesses. Tate’s younger brother started daycare and we are battling everything from a cold to hand foot and mouth disease (gross!). To help combat some of these germs, we we have created one of our favorite dishes, congee, with an emphasis on ingredients that benefit the immune system. For those not familiar, congee is a Chinese rice dish that is prepared by essentially overcooking rice until it becomes a porridge. Little pork dumplings are cooked in the rice giving the congee texture, fat and flavor. This dish is warming, filling and super tasty. We have incorporated ginger, garlic, lemongrass and turmeric to help boost our immune systems. We need all the help we can get people!


Cure Your Cold Congee
Makes: 4 bowls
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients For the Congee:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • cilantro & green onions (optional garnish)

Ingredients For the Pork:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemongrass turmeric paste (found here)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the pork ingredients in a bowl and set aside
  2. In a soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and ginger. Sautee for 5 minutes until the garlic and ginger start to soften.
  3. Add the uncooked rice to the pot and stir for 1 minute to toast the rice a little. Add the broth and soy sauce and simmer on medium heat. Keep stirring the rice every 10 minutes or so as the consistency of the congee starts to thicken.
  4. After about 40 minutes of cooking, you will add the pork to the congee in small increments. You can choose to make meatballs if you prefer, but the way we like to do it is by using a teaspoon to scoop up the pork and put it in the pot. Repeat until all of the pork “meatballs” are in the congee. Cook for another 15 minutes until the pork is cooked through. **
  5. Serve hot and top with cilantro and green onions as desired. For those who want spicier, get crazy with the siracha or sambal oelek. It’s your congee – do what you gotta do!

**If at any point the congee becomes too thick, add 1/2 cup of hot water and continue as directed


Chicken Chili Verde

If you are from Colorado, like Tuck & Tate, you love yourself some green chili. It’s a Colorado staple and most restaurants have their own variation on their menu. Over the years we have taken everything we like about different versions and created this recipe. We use chicken for a lighter meal (ie: more room for cheese on top), use tons of tomatillos for an acidic punch, and a bunch of different peppers to spice things up and create a great blend of flavors. We love this recipe on cold nights and make it all winter long.

Chicken Chili Verde
Makes: 4 entree servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes      Cooking Time: at least 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs tomatillos, husks removed
  • 3 anaheim chiles
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (optional if you don’t like spicy, use two if you want to feel the burn)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 package of chicken breasts (3 large)
  • 1 tbs cumin

Topping for the Chili (all optional)

  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, stems removed and chopped
  • tortilla chips
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 avocado, cut into a thick dice
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to high broil.
  2. Put the tomatillos, chiles, poblanos, and jalapeno(s) on a large cookie sheet and toss with 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. If it’s necessary, put them on two cookie sheets and repeat the following step twice.
  3. Put the sheet under the broiler on the second rack from the top for about 20 minutes. Rotate the peppers after 10 minutes, as they start to blacken.
  4. Remove the peppers from the oven and place the chiles and peppers in a paper bag. Close off the top and let them rest; this helps the skin peel off easier.
  5. When the peppers are cool enough to touch, use the backside of a knife to scrape off the skin and to remove the stem and seeds.
  6. In a large stock pot, saute the garlic, onion, and remaining vegetable oil over medium-high heat until they start to caramelize.
  7. Add the chicken breasts and cumin, browning both sides of the breasts. Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes per side to brown, and remove the chicken from the pot.
  8. Add the peeled peppers, tomatillos and their juice, and the chicken stock to the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot well with a wooden spoon to get any of the brown bits on the pan back into the chili. Use an immersion blender to blend the chili to your desired texture.
  9. Add the chicken breasts back to the pot and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken and roughly chop them or shred with two forks. Return the chicken to the pot and cook remaining 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve the chili with any variety of toppings listed above. We like some fresh cilantro, a bunch of shredded cheese, sliced avocado, and crispy tortilla chips to scoop it all up with!