Falafel Hummus

Falafel Hummus

I was really hoping I’d invented Falafel Hummus as a concept, which is pretty silly since it seems like everything you can think of has already been done (I like to dream big). A couple Google searches show that this isn’t a completely new concept, but it’s also not all over the place. Well, it should be. I’ve been obsessed with falafel lately. The flavors are so interesting, with the mild, nutty chick peas and the sharp spicy parsley. I have to admit that turning falafel into a dip resulted from my failure to make actual falafel, but I’m not mad at about it even a little. Falafel Hummus is easier to make than falafel, and it has become my new favorite snack.

I started with a recipe from Gourmandelle for Healthy Vegan Falafel, formed the mixture into little patties and tried to fry them (the recipe calls for pan-frying instead of deep-frying), only to end up with squishy, soft, non-fried “falafel.” This is probably a case of my oil not being hot enough, but I can’t say for sure. What I can tell you for sure is that the whole time I was standing at the stove frying, I was eating the falafel “batter” that was still in the bowl. And it was delicious. I’m talking the kind of delicious where the flavors are curious and pleasing in a way where you have to keep tasting it to make sure you’re remembering it properly. And every bite is  better than the last.

I ditched the frying and decided to try the recipe again, but this time with a few additions to turn it into a dip.  During this experiment I left out the almond flour, which turned out to be a huge mistake. The almond flour balances the onion and the parsley in this dip to keep them from tasting bitter. I think almond butter would work as well, if not better, but almond flour worked just fine for me. I added some of the liquid from the can of chick peas and some olive oil to thin it to dip consistency. I also tossed in a couple of dates, which give the whole thing a slight undertone of sweetness, adding another dimension and tying all the flavors together.

I ate way too much of it in a single sitting, dipping warm pita and carrots in it and marveling at how something so similar to a million other versions of hummus could taste so different. It has the added bonus of involving zero frying, so this Falafel Hummus is technically healthier and quicker to make as well. Serve it to your vegan and non-vegan friends alike, or just have it for lunch spread inside a pita with some veggies. It’s perfect to share or to devour on your own when you’re experiencing serious falafel cravings or desperate wanderlust, or in my case, both.

 




5 from 1 vote
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Falafel Hummus

Recipe adapted from Gourmandelle's Healthy Vegan Falafel 

Ingredients

  • 1 can chick peas (drain but keep the water)
  • 2 Tbsp aquafaba (water from the can of chick peas)
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 Tbsps almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 dates
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended but not completely smooth. The dip is better if it's a little chunky. Salt to taste.

    Serve with warm pita, chips, and veggies.

    Note: I mixed mine in my nutri-bullet because I'm obsessed with it, but it definitely was not the very best tool for the job. I recommend using an actual food processor.


Spinach and Artichoke Tarte Soleil

Spinach and Artichoke Tarte Soleil

I try really hard to look at the end of daylight savings as the beginning of those long, glorious, sunny summer days. When you’re losing an hour of precious sleep, it’s hard to remember the bright side. I decided that this year I would stop worrying about the sleep aspect, and celebrate the end of daylight savings with the most appropriate dish I could think of: a Tarte Soleil. It’s made of puff pastry, cut and shaped to look like the most beautiful sunburst, with endless possibilities for fillings – just the thing to help cheer up tired people like us.

Puff pastry works well with all sorts of flavors. I filled mine with creamy, slightly tangy and salty spinach and artichoke dip. I was a little worried that the spinach and artichoke dip would run out of the pastry in the oven and make a huge mess, but it held up quite well. I adapted a recipe from Once Upon a Chef, which uses a Mornay sauce in place of cream cheese/mayo. A Mornay sauce is essentially just a white sauce with shredded cheese, and also a term that I was unaware of until I made my spinach and artichoke dip. You learn something new every day (even a day that’s missing an hour).

A Tarte Soleil is a wonderful thing to know how to make. I’ll be the first to admit that while puff pastry with spinach and artichoke dip is undeniably delicious, it’s not exactly boundary-pushing. But formed into an intricately twisty sun-shape, and baked to perfect golden crispiness, the combination is not only classic, it becomes irresistible.

I made my puff pastry from scratch. I think people assume puff pastry is difficult to make, because you do have to be a little careful about the temperature of the dough. I find that it’s actually a fairly quick and easy process, if you focus on what you’re doing. I would encourage everyone to try making their own at some point, but store-bought crust will work just as well for this recipe. I actually meant to buy mine this time (I’ve read Pepperidge Farm makes a great version), forgot to get it, and then was too lazy to run to the store when it was time to get cooking. So I just made it instead. I’m nothing if not a problem solver. The fact that I also create my own problems may have something to do with that.

The key to a good Tarte Soleil is cutting the sections of filled pastry uniformly, and then twisting them evenly. This is always a challenge for me, because I’m not as meticulous as I might choose to be. It’s important to twist each section of pastry about three times, and make sure the twists are evenly spaced along the section. My other advice would be to stop twisting and pop the whole thing in the freezer for a few minutes if you find your puff pastry is getting too soft and warm to work with. This solves a lot of frustration when trying to get those perfect twists.

My Spinach and Artichoke Tarte Soleil is exactly what I’d like to snack on at a party, but your taste could be drastically different from mine. Luckily, the filling possibilities for Tarte Soleil are endless. You could do a different savory option, like this feta tapenade from Smitten Kitchen, or even choose a sweet filling – I’ve seen loads of versions stuffed with Nutella. Whatever direction you go, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Even if the crowd is mostly you and your family sitting in your kitchen, eating it straight from the oven. But then, that’s the best sort of crowd, isn’t it?




 

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Spinach and Artichoke Tarte Soleil

Spinach and Artichoke Dip recipe is adapted from Once Upon a Chef's Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip. I changed it to make it gluten-free. 

Puff Pastry is a basic puff pastry from All Recipes - I used a different method for making it. 

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

Puff Pastry

  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tsps salt
  • 2 cups very cold water
  • 2 cups cold unsalted butter (do not soften)

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Filling

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 Tbsps butter, divided use
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 oz frozen spinch
  • 9 oz frozen artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Tarte Soleil

  • flour for rolling
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Make puff pastry, if you are doing it from scratch. Stir together flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Pour in water gradually, while stirring the mixture - add just enough water to get everything combined into a rough dough. You don't want the butter creamed into the flour, you want it to stay in chunks - this is what causes the dough to form those beautiful, flaky layers in the oven.

    2. Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface. Form it into a rectangle, and gently roll out until it's about a half inch thick. Fold the bottom third up into the middle, and fold the top third down on top of that. Turn it 90 degrees, add more flour to prevent sticking, and roll it out again. Repeat this process three more times, adding flour as needed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. You can also freeze it for about 10 minutes before using, if your filling is already made.

    Note: While making this dough, you need to work quickly, with very cold water and butter, to prevent the butter from melting into the dough. 

    3. Make the spinach and artichoke dip. Start with the Mornay sauce. Stir together butter and sour cream in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir together cream and corn starch in a small bowl and add to the pan. Let the sauce come to a boil, stirring constantly. When it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and gradually stir in the shredded cheese, until sauce is smooth. It should be fairly thick. 

    4. In a skillet, cook onion over medium heat until it starts to become translucent. Add spinach, garlic, artichokes, thyme, and salt. Let cook for roughly five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes start to soften. Pour cheese sauce over the vegetables and stir until well combined.

    5. Prepare your Tarte Soleil. Take half of your puff pastry (leave the other half in the fridge)  and roll out into a 12 inch round on a floured surface. Take a round plate slightly smaller in diameter than your baking tray (I used a pizza tray) and place it upside down on the dough. Trace around it with a knife to form a perfect circle for the base of your Tarte. Place the circle on your baking tray (lined with parchment paper).

    6. Top with a generous layer of filling, leaving about a half inch bare around the outer edge of the circle. You may have some extra filling - don't feel like you need to use all of it, you just want a nice thick, even layer - no gobs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you work with the rest of the puff pastry.

    6. Roll the second half of your pastry dough into a 12 inch round and cut a perfect circle as you did with the first layer. Place this layer on top of the first layer with the filling, so that the filling is sandwiched between the two layers. Place a small bowl or glass in the center of the the dough. This will mark the center of your Tarte, the section that doesn't get cut and twisted. 

    7. Cut away from the glass with a knife, slicing the dough into quarter sections. Cut each quarter section in half, and each of those sections in half again, until you have 16 total sections. You can choose to go a step further, cutting each section in half one more time, to end with 32 total sections coming from the center circle. It mostly depends on how many servings you want to make/how much work you want to do. Be careful not to cut through the parchment paper. 

    8. Twist each section 3-4 times, twisting all of the sections in the same direction. Don't just hold the end of a section and twist, because the dough won't automatically twist the way you want it to. The best way to do this is to try to twist each section once near the center circle, once in the middle of the section, and once closer to the end, so they're evenly spaced. 

    9. When all of the sections are twisted, you should have a beautiful sunburst. Beat egg in a small bowl and brush over the pastry. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before moving to a serving tray, to prevent Tarte from tearing. 


Salsa Bruschetta

Salsa Bruschetta

This recipe is one of my favorite creations thus far. It happened sort of by accident, ending up in a much different place than it started. The original inspiration was the concept of Pan a la Catalana, and then I started researching recipes, and went a completely different way. I was in the kitchen with my tomatoes and garlic and my baguette, and suddenly I was just adding things to a bowl and tasting and adding some more. I seem to do that a lot lately, which makes me both very excited about what I could create, and very concerned that I’m missing a lot of interesting things that might result from me ever following a recipe properly. But, what would be the fun in that?

The Salsa Bruschetta that has resulted from my impatience and possible over-confidence in the kitchen is fresh, bursting with flavor, and a perfect addition to your favorite tapas recipes – I served it alongside my Baked Patatas Bravas. I used tomato and onion as a base, and added garlic and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette, along with basil, lemon, brown sugar, and olive oil. It’s got a lot of the flavor that you would find in Pan a la Catalana, and in traditional bruschetta, with some sweetness and citrus that really lift the onion and the garlic to make them a little brighter. The lemon and onion are what really take this bruschetta recipe into salsa territory, because there isn’t a lot of  salsa-esque heat. I added a pinch of cayenne, but I didn’t want that to overshadow the freshness of the tomatoes and the lemon. If you’re in the mood for something a bit spicier, I’d recommend adding chopped jalapeno to this recipe.

There’s one more element to this particular version of Bruschetta: After I sliced my baguette, I topped the slices with a light drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of Monterey Jack cheese. Next time I may experiment with mozzarella for a caprese-inspired version, but the Monterey Jack worked extraordinarily well with the Salsa Brushetta. It’s the right amount of salty and creamy to pair with the tangy, slightly sweet flavor of the bruschetta. Cheese isn’t typically a part of bruschetta, possibly because that can take it to pizza-bread territory very quickly. I assure you that very little about this Salsa Bruschetta reminds me of pizza. The flavors are much lighter, yet richer and more complex than something you’d find on a pizza. (Unless it’s a very good, very unusual pizza, of course)!

These are definitely best served fresh, when the cheese is still gooey and melted. They do keep in the fridge fairly well overnight, and I have it on good authority that husbands named Bobby find that leftover Salsa Bruschetta makes an excellent afternoon snack. Whether you’re snacking or having your Salsa Bruschetta as part of a meal – perhaps as an interesting starter – this recipe is one you’ll make again and again. It’s very quick to make, and as uncomplicated as something that looks this elegant can get. No one will believe that you knocked the whole thing together in 20 minutes. But they won’t have much time to worry about that, as they’ll be worried about getting another bite before it all disappears.




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Salsa Bruschetta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/4 small/medium white onion
  • 1 french baguette
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1 dash cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 dash cayenne
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack

Instructions

  1. Dice tomatoes and mince garlic, stir together. Chop onions in a smaller dice than the tomatoes and add to the bowl. 

    2. Slice baguette into thin slices, about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle olive oil lightly over each. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 4 minutes. You want the bread crisp on the edges, but still a little soft.

    3. Add remaining ingredients to the salsa mixture, except the cheese. Stir until well combined. Salt to taste - add more cayenne for a spicier salsa. 

    4. When baguette slices are done, remove from oven, top each with a little less than 1/2 Tbsp of Monterey Jack, and return to the oven for 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 

    5. Top each baguette with the salsa mixture. Try not to eat the whole batch by yourself. 



Baked Patatas Bravas

Baked Patatas Bravas

I think it’s only appropriate to begin this post by saying that I’ve never been to Spain. If you’d like to take me there, I can be packed and ready in an hour, but until then, my experience with authentic Spanish tapas will remain limited. That said, I have plenty of experience with tapas restaurants in the states – they’re possibly my favorite kind of restaurant. Sitting down with friends to experience not just a dish or two, but instead a wide variety, is how all meals would be served in my ideal world.

One of the best and simplest tapas out there is Patatas Bravas. How could anyone not get excited about golden brown potatoes that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, drizzled with a spicy tomato sauce and a creamy garlic aioli? There are a million recipes out there for Patatas Bravas – my intention was to replicate the ones I like best. All the tapas restaurants in my area seem to serve an almost identical version, so hopefully I’ve done it justice!

The spicy tomato sauce is actually very similar to my Tomato Basil Bisque recipe, with a few key flavor alterations. The aioli is a fairly standard lemon garlic aioli. Patatas Bravas are typically fried potatoes, but I chose to bake mine to make them slightly healthier, and for general ease. Deep frying at home is quite a process, compared to throwing a tray in the oven.

Baked fries/chunks of potato are a little difficult to get perfectly crispy in the oven, but the technique I used cooked them just the way I wanted. You start by putting your chopped potatoes in a pot of cold water and bringing it to a boil. Once the pot reaches a boil, you remove your potatoes from the heat, toss them in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and flour, and bake them on a tray at very high heat in the oven. I haven’t tried this method for fries but you better believe I intend to. This technique could also be something that experienced chefs have known about for years, and here I am just discovering it. The more I learn about cooking, the more I find that I will never know enough about cooking.

I served my Patatas Bravas with a cheese board, some salsa bruschetta (a recipe that I will be posting here soon!), and of course some sangria. Can’t forget the sangria. Bobby (my husband) and I basically gobbled it down, sitting on the floor of our apartment (we do have furniture – we’re just weird). I prefer to imagine that we sat on a balcony in Spain, in the warm glow of the last of the day’s sunlight, glasses of cold, fizzy, white sangria in hand, reaching for another helping of everything. Food can transport me the same way a good book does – or maybe I’m just delusional? You be the judge. I’ll be busy eating Patatas Bravas on my “balcony.”

 




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Baked Patatas Bravas

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

Potatas

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps white flour

Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 1/4 medium yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup diced canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme

Lemon Garlic Aioli

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/16 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Peel and dice potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Place in a pot with enough cold water to submerge them completely. Cook over high heat, just until the water reaches a boil. Drain, keeping the potatoes in the same pot. Add olive oil and flour to the potatoes and shake the pot until they're well coated - this is much easier than stirring to get them evenly coated. 

    2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spread potatoes on the tray in a single layer, and cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven after 15 minutes, and flip the potatoes to ensure they brown on all sides. When they're golden brown and the outsides are all crispy, they're done. 

    3. While the potatoes cook, make your sauces. For the aioli, add all five ingredients to a small bowl and stir until well combined. For the tomato sauce, chop onion and add to a small pot with 1 Tbsp of butter. Let cook until the onion is soft and starting to become transparent. 

    4. Mince 1 clove of garlic and add it to the pot, with the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Let it come to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. After lowering the heat, add the remaining ingredients, and stir frequently.

    5. Remove sauce from heat and pour into a blender (I used my NutriBullet, as always). Blend until smooth. 

    6. Remove potatoes from the oven, pour into your serving dish and drizzle with both sauces. Enjoy!


Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

I was roaming the internet, looking for inspiration, when I came across this cranberry and goat cheese flatbread. It clearly has made the rounds on Pinterest, and for good reason – it’s quite pretty. Having posted a flatbread recipe recently, I figured this would be a great time to try out some interesting new toppings. Although to be fair, you could put just about anything on flatbread and I’d try it. Not to turn this post into an ode to flatbread or anything.

I love the goat cheese and cranberry combination, but I wanted to give the dish another dimension, and make it more filling. With the tart, yet sweet cranberry sauce already in mind, I knew spicy, smoky pulled pork would be the perfect addition. The cranberry sauce is reminiscent of a barbecue sauce on the pulled pork, but with a different, fruitier flavor profile. The goat cheese is a perfect element to mellow some of the spice from the pork, and keep the tang of the cranberry sauce from being overwhelming.

Cranberry sauce seems to get attention only around the holidays, and I think that’s kind of a tragedy. It’s delicious with so many other things besides turkey and stuffing. That said, finding fresh or even frozen cranberries after January 1st is like trying to find truly good gluten-free pizza crust: may exist, but hard to locate. My cranberry sauce calls for part dried cranberries and part canned whole cranberry sauce, so it can (and should!) be made between the months of January and October. My recipe for this is adapted from a Food Network version.

The pulled pork in this recipe is done in the slow cooker, with a rub from Kevin and Amanda. Their recipe has a lot more to it, brining, and cooking in the oven, etc., but I just took the rub, coated my pork, tossed it in the slow cooker with a little water, and let it go, and it’s some of the best pulled pork I’ve ever eaten. Every bite is extremely flavorful and a little spicy, without being overpowering. The goat cheese I used is “La Bonne Vie Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese”- I just got it from my local grocery store, but you could honestly use any decent herb goat cheese. Trader Joe’s has a great, inexpensive one.

Since I’ve essentially given you a rundown of how wonderful all the components of this dish are on their own, you can imagine how I reacted when I tried them together. There was a lot of swooning, and uncivilized devouring, and general elation.




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Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

Pulled pork recipe is adapted from Kevin and Amanda's Perfect Pulled Pork.  

Cranberry sauce recipe is adapted from Gourmet Magazine's Savory Dried Cranberry Sauce - Recipe found through foodnetwork.com

Servings 3 flatbreads

Ingredients

Pulled Pork

  • 1 4-8 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp balsamic vingar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
  • 1/2 cup canned whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/8 tsp rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp tarragon

Other Ingredients

  • 3 large flatbreads
  • 8-12 oz herb goat cheese (2-3 small logs), depending on how much you like goat cheese - I used 12oz.
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme or parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slow cook the pork: mix together all dry ingredients to create a rub. Roughly chop yellow onion, and place in slow cooker with the 1/2 cup of water. 

    2. Pat pork shoulder dry with paper towel, and coat generously with the dry rub on all sides. Massage it into the meat with your hands to make sure it really sticks. 

    3. Place pork in the slow cooker, on top of the onions. Cover and let cook on high 4-6 hours, or on low 8-10 hours, until pork is falling off the bone and tender. Remove bone from the pot, and shred the meat with two forks. 

    Note: this pulled pork recipe yields much more pork than you'll need to use for your flatbreads. Extra meat can be frozen to use later.

    4. If you're making your flatbread, do it when the pork is about an hour and a half from being done. You can easily use pre-made flatbread if you prefer. You can find my flatbread recipe linked in the post above.  Instead of splitting the dough into eight pieces like I typically do, I split it into three, to make larger flatbreads. The method for cooking them is the same. 

    5. When your pork is about a half hour from done, make the cranberry sauce. Stir together brown sugar and cornstarch in a small sauce pan. Add white wine and chicken broth and set over low heat. Stir until well combined. Add vinegar, dried cranberries and canned cranberry sauce, rosemary, tarragon, and cinnamon. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be quite thick. Remove from heat. Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least a week. 

    6: Assemble Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbreads: spread each flatbread with a generous amount of goat cheese, saving 2-4 oz aside. Top with a layer of pulled pork- you can add as much or as little as you like here. Drizzle with cranberry sauce (again, quantities are up to you).  I used all of my sauce between three flatbreads. Top with small crumbles of the remaining goat cheese. Bake flatbreads in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, until the cheese gets soft and the flatbreads are warm and a just little crispy on the bottoms. Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley. 




Tomato Basil Bisque

Tomato Basil Bisque

I should really save myself some time and just re-name this blog “Stuff I Like to Eat.” If you were wondering how I decide what I’m going to post next, it’s generally a combination of what I’ve been craving, and what recipes I’ve already done some work and testing on. This Tomato Basil Bisque is exactly what I’ve been wanting lately, despite the fact that I live on the east coast and we’re currently experiencing some full-on early spring. It’s not exactly creamy tomato soup weather, but who says it really has to be? It’s February, and that’s good enough for me!

This Tomato Basil Bisque is, like most of my recipes, a conglomeration of several others, with some of my own additions. The main inspirations for this soup were this recipe, and this one. I took my favorite parts of those, and went from there. My version of Tomato Basil Bisque is thick and creamy, deeply flavorful, and it’s got a little kick that’s balanced by the cream in the recipe. It’s not too spicy in any sense of the word, but it’s most certainly not bland.

This recipe calls for butternut squash, which I think adds a lot of body and a nice, almost nutty flavor that blends really well with the tomato. I wish I could say that was my own idea, but I got it from the second recipe linked above. The first time I worked with this soup, I tried it with sweet potato instead, to see if I could cut the (already small) amount of added sugar, but it was mostly a failure. Recipe testing is so fun – until it doesn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, and then you’re left with half a gallon of weird failure soup.

I paired my Tomato Basil Bisque with an upgraded grilled cheese, made on sourdough with cheddar and mozzarella, and a thin layer of mayo (try it, it’s a game changer). I’m sitting here writing this and wondering what else people serve with tomato soup – will begin that research soon!

The process for making this soup is pretty easy, and not too time-consuming. The whole thing spends roughly an hour on the stove, but you don’t have to watch it constantly. The only prep work is chopping some garlic and onion and measuring out spices, so it doesn’t become too tedious, either. You could get a batch of Stuffed Corn Bubbles filled with cheese rising/baking in the oven while making this soup, and then die of happiness when you eat them together. The southwestern flavors in both recipes would make them a brilliant pairing! I guess I just answered my own question about what else you serve with tomato soup!




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Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 14.5 oz cans Hunt's fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 oz tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsps dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop onions and mince garlic. Add to a large pot with 2 Tbsps of butter. Let cook until onions and garlic begin to brown.

    2. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, butternut squash (make sure the squash chunks aren't too large, so they won't take forever to cook), salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, brown sugar, cayenne, and chili powder to the pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally while soup is simmering.

    3. Test butternut squash to see if it's fork-tender. When it is, remove soup from heat, and blend until smooth. I used my NutriBullet, but any blender would do.

    4. Return soup to the pot over low heat and stir in cream, milk, and onion powder, Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with a grilled cheese, or by itself!