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Authors: Maggie Stuckey

Soup Night (8 page)

BOOK: Soup Night
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Wild Rice Clam Chowder

Recipe from
Albertina’s Restaurant
, Portland, Oregon

Serves 6

It’s amazingly good!

Ingredients
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1
    1

    2
    teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 medium red potatoes, cut into
    1

    2
    -inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3

    4
    cup chopped onion
  • 3 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (6
    1

    2
    -ounce) can minced clams, with juice
  • 1

    4
    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
Instructions
  1. 1.
    Bring the broth, lemon juice, and bay leaves to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the potatoes, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  2. 2.
    While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the onion, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes; do not brown. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, 5 to 10 minutes longer.
  3. 3.
    Add the onion mixture to the broth in the pot, and then add the clams, clam juice, and pepper. Heat through.
  4. 4.
    In a small bowl, whisk the flour with
    1

    2
    cup of the half-and-half to make a smooth paste. Slowly add the flour mixture to the chowder, whisking to avoid lumps.
  5. 5.
    Add the remaining
    1

    2
    cup half-and-half and the rice. Heat to piping hot and serve immediately.

Make ahead?
Cook the wild rice. Complete the recipe through step 3. Refrigerate, reheat, and complete the recipe.

For large crowds:
This is a wonderful soup to expand, for the primary ingredients — canned clams and wild rice — are relatively inexpensive and easy to find year-round.

Profile
Albertina’s Restaurant

Portland, Oregon

In my hometown of Portland, Oregon, there is a most unusual luncheon restaurant. Housed in a beautiful historic building, it is operated almost entirely by volunteers (the only paid employees are the chef and the dishwasher). Also sharing that building are a thrift shop, gift shop, and a wonderful antiques shop.

All the proceeds from the shops and the restaurant — even the servers’ tips — go to support a nonprofit organization (Albertina Kerr Centers) that provides critical services for children, adults, and families with mental health challenges and developmental disabilities.

I was one of the volunteer cooks for about 15 years, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Everything about cooking for 100 people — the process, the equipment, the tools, the careful management of sequencing — was endlessly fascinating, and I learned a great deal about food safety and presentation. Most of all, I learned about life from the other women on my crew. They were all considerably older than me, but full of zest and sass, and taught me a lot about living a good life at that age. I’ll never forget them. (Mary Steerman, my surrogate mother, I miss you every single day.)

The wonderful volunteers who cook and serve lunches are supported by many other volunteers behind the scenes. One critical group creates, tests, tweaks, and retests the recipes, paying particular attention to dishes that are suited to the kitchen’s very limited space.

Over the years many of the favorites have been collected into three cookbooks; the first two are out of print, but the most recent,
Albertina’s Exceptional Recipes
, is now in its fifth printing. You can find it from several online booksellers, or order direct from the restaurant (so they get all the profits). Contact
[email protected]
for current pricing. The wonderful Albertina’s recipes in
this
book, the one you are holding, are some of my personal favorites from
Exceptional Recipes
, reprinted with the board’s kind permission.

And if you ever find yourself in Portland, try to have lunch at Albertina’s; while you’re there ask your server to tell you about Albertina herself. It’s quite a story.

Albertina’s Restaurant

424 NE 22nd Avenue

Portland, OR 97232

503-231-0216

www.albertinakerr.org

(reservations optional)

Creamy Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

Recipe from
Julie Dahlberg
, Grayslake, Illinois

Serves 8–10

Julie says: I usually make a large batch, because this is so popular at Soup Nights. If there’s any left over, it’s lunch the next day, or into the freezer for another night.

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large carrots, cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground celery seed
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (low-fat or nonfat work fine), softened
  • 1 (49.5-ounce) can chicken broth
  • 3 (6-ounce) boxes long-grain and wild rice (such as Uncle Ben’s), prepared according to package directions
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1

    2
    pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
Instructions
  1. 1.
    Melt the butter in a large soup pot, add the carrots and onion, and sauté until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the celery seed, garlic, and cream cheese, and stir constantly until the cream cheese is melted and smooth.
  2. 2.
    Slowly add the broth, stirring to incorporate the cream cheese; stir until all the broth is added and there are no lumps of cream cheese.
  3. 3.
    Add the rice, chicken, and mushrooms. Simmer for 20 minutes to blend the flavors. If the soup seems too thick, add milk or water as desired. Serve hot.

Make ahead?
You can make the rice and cook the chicken as much as one day ahead.

For large crowds:
Julie’s recipe already makes a hefty amount, but doubles easily.

Smoked Chicken Chowder

Recipe from
Suzy and Philip Poll
, Houston, Texas

Serves 6

Suzy and Philip say: A delicious, filling chowder made easy by using a precooked rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.

Ingredients
  • 1

    4
    cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium baking potato, peeled and cut into
    1

    4
    -inch dice
  • 1

    2
    large fresh jalapeño or poblano chile, seeded and minced (see
    page 186
    )
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1
    1

    2
    cups frozen corn
  • 1

    2
    (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (about
    1

    2
    tablespoon)
  • 1 whole smoked chicken, skin and fat removed and meat cut into
    1

    2
    -inch dice
  • 3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about
    3

    4
    cup)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. 1.
    Heat the oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potato and chile and stir to heat through, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. 2.
    Whisk in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the corn, tomatoes, parsley, chipotle, and chicken, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. 3.
    Add cheese and stir to melt. Add the half-and-half and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat until hot enough to serve; do not allow to boil after adding the half-and-half.

Make ahead?
Through step 2, but remove from the heat just before vegetables are tender, so that they don’t overcook during reheating. Refrigerate, reheat, and complete the recipe.

For large crowds:
Suzy’s original recipe is double this amount, for 12 servings.

Profile
Julie and Scott Dahlberg

Grayslake, Illinois

Have you ever noticed how quickly the best ideas get passed around? Julie Dahlberg and her husband Scott read a magazine article about a Soup Night in Brooklyn, and that inspired them to start one in their Illinois neighborhood. And then Julie’s friend
Karen Robbins
(see
page 154
) liked the idea so much she started one in her own neighborhood. About the same time, Julie wrote a magazine article about her experience, which inspired Kate Allen’s Soup Night (see
page 107
). And then Julaine Kammrath (
page 266
) followed Kate’s example in
her
neighborhood. Same thing happened, by the way, with Claudia and Dave Darmofal (
page 222
), who so enjoyed the wonderful event of their Houston friends Suzy and Philip Poll (
page 61
) they started their own Soup Night in their Boston-area neighborhood. And believe me, everyone in this book would be totally thrilled if you copied their ideas when you start your own Soup Night.

There’s something about opening up your home that makes people open up. Our neighbors opened up, and so did we. It was wonderful to see.

Julie tells their story: “We are part of the Covenant Church, and had been trying to get some of our neighbors interested, without much luck. Then I read this article about a woman in Brooklyn who started a Soup Night, who invited people from her different circles and created a cohesive group. And I thought, maybe that’s what we should do. Invest in our neighborhood. That could be our way to fulfill the biblical command to love our neighbors — we’d start by getting to know them!

“We decided to do it once a week, on Thursday evening. We created invitations and the kids helped me hand-deliver them to the neighbors; others, to Scott’s coworkers and other friends, went in the mail. That very first night, I was a nervous wreck. What if nobody comes? What if all 30 families come and we run out of food? What if my soup isn’t good enough?

“But of course I didn’t need to worry. That first night, we had five families, and they all wanted to know where the idea came from. People introduced themselves to each other, conversation was easy, and the soup was a hit.

“We quickly figured out ways to make it manageable. It’s a school night, so we started early — 5.30
pm
. I did all the shopping early in the week, and always kept a loaf of garlic bread in the freezer in case we ran out.

“We set aside one drawer in the kitchen for Soup Night bowls and spoons, which made it easier to organize cleanup. I picked up bowls wherever I could, at discount stores and tag sales, so we had a big assortment of sizes and patterns, plus we kept a supply of plastic bowls and spoons just in case. I made sure the dishwasher was empty by Thursday afternoon, and people would put their dirty bowls in.

“For the children, I checked out videos from our church library. Our own children were great at helping with coats, traffic flow, and house rules.

“Some of our neighbors were hesitant at first; they thought we were trying to convert them. But we were intentionally
not
evangelizing, we didn’t want the church thing to get in the way, and they saw that. They just were so eager to meet their neighbors. Years later they would say to us, ‘I wasn’t too sure about you at first, but now I can’t imagine life without you.’”

You may have noticed that Julie is speaking in the past tense. That’s because after five years the Dahlberg family has put Soup Night on hiatus for a while. “It just got too big,” Julie says. “The house was rocking every week. People started inviting other people, and it became more like a party than our original purpose, which was to get to know our neighbors well enough to know how to love them, the way Jesus wants me to. Plus everybody’s kids got older and were involved in other activities, and it just got harder. I think we may start up again, though.”

And I think she will too, because of one final comment. “When we first started this, our friends were astonished. You mean, you just let all these people come into your house, people you don’t know? What we discovered is that there’s something about opening up your home that makes people open up. Our neighbors opened up, and so did we. It was wonderful to see.”

For a recipe from this group, see:
Corn and Wild Rice Soup with Smoked Sausage

Recipe from
Suzy and Philip Poll
, Houston, Texas

Serves 6

Suzy and Philip say: This lusciously rich soup gets its New Orleans flavor from andouille sausage. It’s a great choice for a Mardi Gras–themed event.

Ingredients
  • 7 ounces andouille or other smoked sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1

    2
    cup diced carrots
  • 1

    2
    cup diced celery
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen corn kernels
  • 2 ounces uncooked wild rice
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3

    4
    cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. 1.
    Slice the andouille lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into
    1

    4
    -inch slices. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the andouille and stir to brown lightly. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. 2.
    Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and corn, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. 3.
    Using an immersion blender, lightly blend the soup to the desired consistency.
  4. 4.
    Add the wild rice, thyme, and bay leaf, and return the andouille to the soup. Simmer until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig.
  5. 5.
    Add the half-and-half and minced parsley and reheat gently. Do not allow the soup to boil after the half-and-half has been added.
  6. 6.
    Taste and add salt as needed. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

Make ahead?
Complete through step 4; or stop at step 3, depending on your time availability. Refrigerate, reheat, and complete the recipe.

For large crowds:
Suzy routinely makes twice this amount, for 12 servings.

BOOK: Soup Night
13.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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