The latest private event at the Bistro: Brunch with a Mediterranean theme and a seasonal twist. Within: Quinoa Tabbouleh, Arabic Salad, Greek Salad, Fisherman’s Eggs, and a special dessert.
Dumplings and noodles are the name of the game for the Chinese New Year, due to their symbolism for luck & prosperity (dumplings are shaped similar to silver ingots) and longevity (noodles. long. self explanatory). I was able to celebrate with both at Lao Bei Fang. How was it? Let’s dive in:
Recently a childhood friend and I were catching up after he noticed my trending proliferation with Instagram and blog posts. We got to talking about his own cooking as a stay at home dad in the south, and about what we had planned for on our menus for the day. I was creating a kale salad (surprise!) and he said he’d gotten his chili recipe down to near perfection with the recent introduction of a secret ingredient.
I can’t get over it, I tell you. Winter = Irish season. Leeks. Potatoes. Sausage. It just seems to write. These days are dark, rainy or snowy, and that calls for some comforting food in the belly. Typical ‘comfort food’, though, tends to be quite heavy, but today we’ve got a soup that is light and herbal with a surprising depth of flavor.
I picked up the Irish Pub cookbook shortly before we had our Lord of the Rings Hobbit Food pairing, and the similarities I came across while doing research for it have made it ever more endearing to me. Particularly the essence that food would be simple, seasoned, if at all, with herbs easily grown in the a garden. Nothing exotic, no spices, ext. Just what the land will give you where you are.
So, what has the land given us now? A lovely bunch of sausage, fortunately! The cookbook called for significantly more sausage (plus bacon!), but I have meat very sparingly, so I opted for a reduced about, which still resulted in a significantly delicious soup.
olive oil (or bacon fat!)
2 pork thin sausages
4 onions, sliced
1 leek, including green parts, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 potatoes, russets or golden, cubed
3 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 300F
Heat a little oil in a dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering, then add the sausage and cook, turning as needed, until evenly browned. ~15 min. Remove to cool.
Add onions to oil and sweat until soft, ~7 min.
Slice the sausage into 1″ pieces and add to the pot, along with leeks, herbs, garlic, and potatoes. Season with a generous amount of cracked pepper, then pour in stock.
Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and transfer to the preheated oven and cook until potatoes are soft, ~45 min.
Cod Stew has been a star of my winter kitchen for the past two years, and this will make the third winter that it’s come around, and I’m certain it is a tradition to continue. There is no time more ripe for the robust flavor and comfort from this hearty yet light soup that keeps you coming back for bowl after bowl. Often we can get a large batch of soup to last for a few days around the house because we intersperse bowls of it with salads and other meals, but this one? It’s irresistible.