Gnocchi and Pesto Soup

Hello hello!

I’m back from my honeymoon to Belize!  It was absolutely fabulous and relaxing in every way possible.  Pictures and posts about that will be up shortly.  In the meantime, I’ve returned to a life of cooking for myself…life is hard.

Which brings me to my next point, this week is SOUP WEEK!

Gnocchi and Pesto Soup...a spin off of the classes potato and vegetable soup

Gnocchi and Pesto Soup…a spin off of the classes potato and vegetable soup

14 bloggers have come together to warm your bellies and your hearts through a week of soup recipes!  I hope you are as excited as I am!  As usual, there is a GIVEAWAY on one of the blogs listed below.  Enter for your chance to win Le Creuset!

When creating this recipe, I wanted to incorporate all of the stick-to-your-ribs goodness that we all crave during the winter months.  I think my body went into major hibernation mode this winter because all I wanted was mac n’ cheese, pizza, and hot mashed potatoes.  The result was an additional 8 pounds (holy hell) that I am still trying to work off.  Damn the winter!

“Winter” is also a relative term.  In California, it means that we will be shaking in our boots in 50 degree weather, but it’s -10 in Minnesota today.  Either way, my body is feasting like a bear in survival mode to live through the chill.  😛

Where was I?  Oh yes, stick-to-your-ribs.  To start, I used my absolute favorite bold garlicky pesto recipe.  This recipe is something my family has been making for years “by feel”, but I finally wrote the ingredients down and posted the recipe here.

Presto Pesto!

Most of the potato soup recipes I’ve used in the past and the ones I’ve seen online are fairly similar.  You start with the mirepoix (fancy term for onion, carrot, and celery), then add potatoes and boil with your liquids.  The twist on this one is the addition of gnocchi and pesto for extra winter tummy-warming heartiness.

Secret ingredients for that extra OOMF!

Secret ingredients for that extra OOMF!

For the soup portion of the recipe, you will need:

  • 4 russet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 package potato gnocchi
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Pesto (store-bought or homemade…please do yourself a favor and make homemade)
  • Shredded parmesan cheese for topping
  1. Make sure the onion, carrot, and celery are all chopped to roughly the same small size.  A uniform size ensures they cook evenly in the pan.

    Mirepoix.  I love saying that.

    Mirepoix. I love saying that.

  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and saute onion, carrots, and celery until slightly softened and starting to brown (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add potatoes and garlic, sautéing for a minute or two.  You just want a little bit of brown on the edges for extra flavor.
  4. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, then add the broth.

    If you don't have a big enough pot (I didn't), just use two!  Also, if you prep your veggies the night before, your potatoes will start to oxidize and turn purple in the fridge.  Don't be like me.

    If you don’t have a big enough pot (I didn’t), just use two! Also, if you prep your veggies the night before (like me), your potatoes will start to oxidize and turn purple in the fridge. Don’t be like me.

  5. Bring to a boil until potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes).
  6. Give the broth a quick taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender in batches), blend the soup until it’s nice and creamy.Blending away!
  8. Add the gnocchi and continue over medium heat until the gnocchi is completely cooked (about 3 minutes).photo
  9. Add the heavy cream and stir until combined.

    BTW, it is incredibly difficult to pour with one hand and get a picture of the pour with your other hand.  That's why this picture is not focused correctly.  I need a soux chef/photographer!

    BTW, it is incredibly difficult to pour with one hand and get a picture of the pour with your other hand. That’s why this picture is not focused correctly. I need a soux chef/photographer!

  10. Do a final taste test to make sure the seasonings are correct.
  11. Pour into your bowl and top with a dollop of pesto and a sprinkling of parmesan!IMG_5320

As far as soups go, this recipe was very easy and the taste was fantastic!  You want to eat this.

What are you making to keep warm this winter?  Did you suffer from the hibernation feed-me-all-the-things feelings this winter?  

-Mads

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Please check out these other bloggers over the course of the week.  These women create some of the tastiest recipes and most entertaining stories on the internet.  (Links to soup posts will become available throughout the week.)

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

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Fall recipes I’m dying to try

Fall always gets me in the mood to bake, roast, and mash all of the best comfort foods.  There’s nothing like curling up with a bowl full of homemade chicken soup or digging into a slice of piping hot apple pie.

This fall, I’ve decided to commit to a new approach.  I’m going to make recipes that I’ve never attempted before.  This could result in epic failures, but I have a feeling it will be more delicious than anything else.

Here’s what I’m committed to making this fall:

Miss InsideNanaBread’s Head’s POSOLE!  NanaBread is on a vacation from blogging, but I promise she is worth checking out when she comes back.

Mexican-style stew with hominy

Pam’s pie crust for apple pie (featured on The Pioneer Woman).  I have never made my own crust (shhhh), but I am determined to try this flaky goodness.  I have also never ventured into baked fruit pies, but apple pie is in the game plan.

101 Cookbook’s Easy Little Bread.  My track record with bread is not stellar.  Usually I end up with a cement lump or a dough ball of goo.  This no-knead bread promises that it will be easy and totally doable for a baking beginner like me.  101 Cookbook is a great blog with BEE-U-TI-FUL food photography.

Comfortably Domestic’s Mediterranean Inspired Chicken Wraps with Dill Cucumber Sauce.  Jonathan and I have been on a Mediterranean kick and anything by Comfortably Domestic is sure to be a win.

Kitchen-tested and children-approved

(Click on any of the pics above to find the original recipes.  These pictures are all from the bloggers linked in the text.)

Hopefully I remember to post my adventures in these dishes here, but let’s face it, I frequently forget who I am and what I’m doing.

Are you trying out any new recipes this fall?  What’s your favorite blog source for recipes?

-Mads

Dad’s Badass Chili

Well folks, it’s half-past time I posted another family favorite recipe.  This recipe is a huge crowd pleaser and doesn’t take too much effort on your part.  But it does involve some beer drinking, so make sure your party hat is on before you start the cooking.

I frequently get asked for the recipe, so here it is for all my lovely readers.

This chili always gives me warm fuzzies of snowy weekends in Minneapolis, breaking up the monotony of Thanksgiving leftovers, and helping my dad taste test in the kitchen.  The recipe pulls on my heartstrings.

It will pull on yours too.  I mean, it’s called “Dad’s Badass Chili” for goodness sakes!

As a note, I have never actually measured any of these ingredients.  Make sure you do many taste tests throughout to make sure it isn’t too sweet or salty or spicy.  In fact, my batch last night was too sweet, so I added salt, garlic powder, and a little more chili powder.

Do what tastes right.

You will need:
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
4 oz. tomato paste
14 oz. tomato sauce
1 can light red kidney beans (drained)
1 can dark red kidney beans (drained)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 lb. chorizo or hot Italian sausage
1 lb. ground beef
2 cans beer (1 for the chili and 1 for you!) — I used Heineken, but you can get creative.  I would steer clear from overly hoppy beers, but that might just be my personal preference.
1-2 cups diced carrots
1-2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup brown sugar to taste
1/4 cup ketchup (or a few big squirts)
1 tsp brown gravy base (I used the packet of dried mix from the store.  You can also substitute this for liquid smoke, but I have no idea where my dad finds that.)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3-4-8 Tbsp chili powder (This is the most important ingredient, but each batch seems to widely vary on how much it needs.  Again, taste testing along the way is key here.)
Optional sides:
-sharp cheddar cheese
-sour cream or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
-hot dogs

This is where a sous-chef comes in handy…force them to open the billion canned ingredients 🙂

-Brown the sausage and beef in a big pot.  Drain and set meat aside on paper towels to soak up any remaining grease.

-Saute the onions and celery in the olive oil and butter until slightly opaque.

-Then add the carrots to the mix until the whole batch is sizzling.

-Return the meat to the big pot and add all of the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Stir regularly to prevent burning on bottom.

Don’t forget the main ingredient:

Or the secret ingredient:

-At this point you might want to add some water to get the chili to your preferred consistency.

You can try Ancho chili powder for a different taste, but don’t use “hot chili powder”.  You will be sad with the results and your friends will disown you.  Things like cayenne pepper and hot red pepper will make this too spicy!  Maybe it’s just ’cause we’re from Minnesota, but it has not gone over well in the past.

-Get your sides ready.

And enjoy!

-Mads

p.s. Eating leftovers on top of hot dogs is a really good idea.  This stuff also freezes very well.

p.p.s. When referring to this recipe in the future, feel free to call it “Mads’ Dad’s Badass Chili”