Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mushroom & Andouille Sausage Soup

For our retail pork offering, we had some sausage processed as "andouille", which is used a lot in spicy southern cooking, especially Cajun/Creole. We wanted to try some of it ourselves, so went searching for recipes calling for andouille sausage.

This recipe comes from this link for Southern Food and made a great "chilly, rainy night" supper for us.

This is a delicious creamy mushroom soup with a little cheese and chunks of andouille sausage. Feel free to use another variety of smoked sausage in this recipe.

      1 tablespoons vegetable oil
      12 to 16 ounces andouille sausage, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced
      16 ounces sliced mushrooms
      4 tablespoons butter
      4 green onions, thinly sliced
      1 clove garlic, mashed and finely minced
      1/2 cup flour
      3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
      1 cup heavy cream
      8 ounces shredded mild Cheddar cheese
      dash ground nutmeg
      1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
      salt, to taste
      chives, parsley, or sliced green onion tops, for garnish

In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute the sliced sausage in the oil over medium heat. Transfer sausage to a plate and add mushrooms to the drippings left in the pot. If needed, add a little more oil. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned. Add the green onions and garlic; saute for 1 minute longer. Pour mushroom mixture, with any liquids, into a bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in the same pot. Stir in flour until blended and bubbly. Stir in the broth and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add the cream and cheese, stirring until melted. Add the sausage and mushroom mixture back to the pot. Stir and add nutmeg and pepper. Taste and add salt, as needed. Heat through.
Serve with more green onion, snipped chives, or chopped parsley for garnish.
Serves 6.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pickled Asparagus - YUM!

Last night I pickled 6 pints of asparagus spears - the season is coming to an end and I wanted to get some done before, suddenly, there's not enough to work with. We've been using a recipe we found online at AllRecipes.com, but have made some alterations to suit ourselves.

First, and probably most importantly, there does not seem to be enough vinegar called for - it asks for 1 2/3 cups to put up two pints. I tripled the recipe for 6 pints and ran short of pickling liquid, so I made a note to increase the vinegar for 2 pints to 2 full cups.

Second, we found another reference to putting a clove of garlic into each jar, which works out great.

And finally, the 2/3 cup of sugar made our first batch (two or three years ago) a little too sweet, so I have a notation on the recipe to use 1/3 cup per 2 pints. You can be the judge of how sweet you want it.

The red pepper flakes make it fairly spicy, so you can judge your own usage - on a scale of 1 "mild" to 10 "hot", I'd put this at about a 4 or 5.

These make a great snack, and a jar of pickled asparagus is a great Christmas gift to someone!