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Friday, August 19, 2011

Morgan's Cream of Cauliflower Soup

This soup received an enthusiastic seal of approval from my stepdaughter Morgan.  I used homemade smoked chicken stock (made with the carcass of a chicken my hubby smoked) and Penzey's toasted, granulated onion powder, which gave the soup a smoky, toasty flavor and a golden brown color.  Store-bought chicken stock and onion powder would make a really good soup too.  Just use the best ingredients you have available.

This recipe makes enough soup for a starter course for 4 people.

Morgan's Cream of Cauliflower Soup

1 head of cauliflower
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 cup half-and-half
big splash of sherry (optional)

Cut the cauliflower into quarters.  Trim and remove the leaves and core (don't forget to toss them into a freezer bag for making veggie broth).  Roughly dice the cauliflower quarters into chunks.  Boil the cauliflower chunks in lightly salted water in a saucepot until very tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Drain.

Meanwhile, as the cauliflower is boiling, melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan.  Add the flour and cook and whisk for several minutes to cook the flour.  Whisk in the chicken stock, several grinds of black pepper, and onion powder.  Stir in the cauliflower.  Simmer 5 minutes to marry the flavors. 

Carefully puree the soup using an immersion (stick) blender.  Alternatively, you can cool the soup for a while and puree it in a blender, then return it to the saucepan.

Add half-and-half and sherry and simmer another 5 minutes, then serve.

Chicken with Asiago, Prosciutto, and Sage

This recipe is slightly adapted from this recipe from the blog Dinners for a Year and Beyond.

Chicken with Asiago, Prosciutto, and Sage

serves 4-6

2 pounds of chicken breast tenders, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 pound asiago cheese (shredded or sliced into thin strips)
1/2 pound thin prosciutto slices
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
whole sage leaves (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

First sprinkle chicken all over very lightly with salt and set aside for a few minutes while you measure and prepare the other ingredients.

Sprinkle salted chicken with pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with the olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken breasts and saute until brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Lay the chicken pieces in a rimmed baking sheet and set the saute pan aside; you'll be using the pan with any remaining drippings for the sauce.

Sprinkle or place most of the cheese over the chicken pieces, then drape prosciutto slices over each chicken piece, and finally top with the remainder of the cheese.  Bake until the cheese melts and the prosciutto gets slightly crisp, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile add wine, minced sage, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter to skillet.  Boil until sauce is reduced by half, scraping up brown bits.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Transfer chicken pieces to serving platter.  Top each with a sage leaf, drizzle pan sauce over, and serve.