Seasonal Sprouts is a column dedicated to exploring new and local ingredients, testing new recipes, and highlighting the culinary side of Friedman!
by Kelly Dumke
Happy New Year Friedman! A New Year has begun and with it comes new resolutions, new goals, and a little something New Englanders like to call winter. Showcasing the best fresh, preserved, and warm winter ingredients the Northeast has to offer, this month’s Seasonal Sprouts is serving up soup. On the menu: a twist on your classic tomato soup and grilled cheese; a roasted sweet potato soup sure to use up all your root veggies, and a white bean chili with a classic cornbread. These soups will help use up your winter CSAs, keep you fueled for those resolutions, and warm you up during that little thing called winter…no worries, soup’s on!
Creamy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese
Remember those tomatoes you canned (Slow Food members….anyone?) or maybe those canned tomatoes you bought? Well now is the perfect time to pop the top and heat up some summer flavor this winter. This twist on your classic tomato soup combines those preserved tomatoes with white wine, garlic, and a creamy flare from feta, goat, or ricotta cheese. The dipper sidekick is a mini-version of your favorite grilled cheese, sliced thin on a crusty baguette. Stir in a bit of your preserved summer pesto at the end or simply dip with your trusty grilled cheese and enjoy a bowl of warm summer flavor this winter!
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
1, 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1, 6 ounce can tomato paste
3/4 cup white wine (the alcohol burns off and just adds flavor, but you can substitute with vegetable stock).
About 2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper (at least 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper)
1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled feta, goat cheese, or ricotta (pick your favorite!)
Dollop of pesto (if you have it)
1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and let sauté about 1 minute. Add garlic and carrots and season with some salt and pepper. Sauté for about 3 minutes, until fragrant and starts to brown.
3. Add the white wine, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and vegetable stock. Stir together and add a bit more salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer the soup in batches into a food processor or blender and blend till smooth. On the last batch to puree, add the cheese and blend in until creamy. Combine the soup back together in a big pot. Stir in your preserved pesto if you have it here.
5. To serve, ladle bowls full of soup and serve up with some mini grilled cheese dippers on the side.
For the Mini Grilled Cheese
There are so many ways to jazz-up grilled cheese…here are just a few ideas.
*Slice a baguette on a diagonal. Spread slices with pesto and add some slice onions and goat cheese in between the two slices. Brush with olive oil and grill in a skillet, panini press, or George Foreman grill.
*Slice a baguette on a diagonal. Spread slices with pesto and add a slice of brie and a piece of tomato on top. Top with another slice of bread spread with pesto, brush with olive oil, and grill.
Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Apple-Cheddar Tartines
This recipe works great with any and all root vegetables. Roast your veggies before adding them to the warm soup stock to add a nice depth of flavor. Feel free to use this recipe with your favorite winter CSA root vegetables (e.g., beets, squash, potatoes). The sidekick dippers for the sweet potato variety are apple-cheddar tartines – basically a fancy name for open-faced sandwiches. Pick a tart apple and extra-sharp cheese to complement the sweet creaminess of the soup.
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small-medium, sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth.
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional, but it gives a nice depth stirred in at the end)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss carrots, onion, garlic, sweet potato, salt and pepper with olive oil and spread on a cookie sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want vegetables to be soft and slightly caramelized.
2. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat 5 cups of broth. Add roasted vegetables and cook together for about 10 minutes. Note: if you like a chunkier soup, leave some of the roasted vegetables out of the soup pot and add back after puree. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer warm soup mixture in small batches to a blender or food processor. Puree until creamy. Add soup back to pot and any remaining vegetables if you reserved some. Stir in the balsamic and ladle up warm bowlfuls!
For the Apple-Cheddar Tartines
Brush a slice of your favorite bread (crusty baguette, ciabatta, sourdough) with olive oil and season with a dash of salt and pepper. Toast at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Slice a tart apple, such as granny smith, very thin and layer on top of the toast. Top with 3 thin slices of a tangy, extra sharp cheddar cheese. Place back in the oven at 350 degrees for another 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve alongside the sweet potato soup!
Winter White Bean Chili & Cornbread
This warm chili combines simple canned ingredients with fresh flavors of cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Top with creamy salsa verde and serve with a slice of warm cornbread. This winter white bean chili is sure to warm you up!
1, 16oz. can white cannellini beans
1, 16oz. can white navy beans
1, 8oz. can diced green chilies
1 medium onion diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Cloves crushed garlic
2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder (or more if you like it spicy)
1/2 cup white wine
3 to 4 cups vegetable broth (depending on how thick you like it)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 Bunch chopped cilantro
3/4 cup salsa verde (fresh or jarred)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1. In a large pot, heat oil and add onion. Sauté about 3 minutes and add the garlic. Sauté over medium heat 2 more minutes.
2. Add garlic, chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
3. Add the white wine, lime juice, and salsa verde.
4. Drain and add the cannellini beans.
5. Drain the navy beans and add half of the navy beans to the pot. In a separate bowl, mash up the other half of the navy beans with a fork until it makes a paste. Add to chili pot (this will thicken the chili).
6. Add the stock and half the cilantro.
7. Stir to combine and simmer over medium heat about 20 minutes.
8. When ready to serve, garnish with additional cilantro and taste for seasoning.
For the Cornbread
In a bowl, mix 1 cup corn meal, 1 cup flour, ¼ cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, 1 can corn (drained). Stir until just combined and pour into a buttered 8-inch round pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until lightly golden-brown.
For the Creamy Salsa Verde
Take some of your own preserved or jarred salsa verde, toss it in the food processor with a handful of cilantro, squirt of lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and some feta cheese. Blend for a creamy salsa topping to the chili.
Kelly Dumke is a second year nutrition communication student and aspiring chef at heart.