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Celebrate January with bowl of soup

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By Judyrae Kruse, Herald Columnist
January is National Soup Month here and Jan. 29 is National Potato Day in the United Kingdom, so says
And we Forum cooks do love to whomp up a batch of this or that, don't we?
This time of the year here and there, too, a pot of soup and some hearty, really zapped-up sandwiches sound like a great supper to me and hopefully you, too.
The basic recipe, which is gluten free, makes a vegetarian soup, but you can pump up the flavor by using chicken stock.
It serves just two, but there's no reason it can't be doubled or tripled or enlarged even more to make enough for the amount of servings you expect to need. Just use a bigger pan.
Another thing: This would also make a great fancy-dinner starter and, of course, the recipe itself is also the basis for the famous vichyssoise concoction, where the mixture is passed through a sieve after it has been pureed to make it even smoother. It's then chilled and served cold. Yummy on our beastly hot summer days.
Then, to round out this humble but satisfying meal, how about an equally comfy, beloved by all Americans, apple pie.
Yes, it's old beyond belief now, and generations of us have been eating and loving it since the 19th century, when slabs of pie were standard breakfast fare. But never mind, this recipe is not just tried-and-true, a classic, but it's even better now, thanks to Crisco's updated take, which is nicely sparked with orange zest.
Let's see what we think of both:
Potage parmentier (leek and potato soup)
2 medium leeks, white parts only, washed and thinly sliced
1 large potato, peeled and sliced
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt and white pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Fresh chives or parsley to garnish
Place the leeks, potatoes, milk, stock, salt and white pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to simmering point over medium-high heat. Once at a rolling simmer, reduce the heat, cover and continue to cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool, stirring for a couple of minutes. Then either transfer to a blender or puree in the saucepan using a handheld immersion blender.
Once soup is smooth, return to the saucepan, stir in the cream, taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary, then reheat gently without boiling. If desired, thin soup down a little more by adding a little more cream or milk. To serve, transfer to serving bowls and garnish with snipped chives or parsley.
Makes 2 servings.
Orange apple pie
Pastry for a double-crust, 9-inch pie
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
7 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples, about 2 pounds or 7 medium
2 tablespoons butter
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Prepare recipe for double-crust pie, using a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out dough for bottom crust and place in pie plate. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, orange peel, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl. Place apples in the unbaked crust. Sprinkle sugar mixture over apples. Dot with butter and moisten pastry edge with water.
Roll out dough for top crust, place onto filled pie and flute edge. Cut slits in top crust or prick with fork to vent steam.
Bake 35 minutes. Remove pie from oven. Brush with milk. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover edge with foil, if necessary, to prevent overbrowning. Bake 10 minutes or until filling in center is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
If desired, serve topped with vanilla ice cream.
Makes one 9-inch pie.
The next Forum will appear in Friday's comics pages.
Story tags » Cooking

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