Potato Soup

Potato Soup

It’s safe to say that this may be one of my favorite soups. That is saying a lot coming from a person who grew up despising everything soup like. I actually modified this recipe a long time ago to be dairy free for my littlest. The original recipe (for all of you non-paleo readers) will be linked at the bottom. Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Women (if you haven’t heard of her…Go to Netflix now y’all! Even paleos! She’s amazing and have plenty that can be paleofied) is who the recipe is from. Having attempted 3 versions of this soup, I am going to tell you my way, and my husband’s way that he likes it.

Here’s what you’ll need for this awesome soup:

  • 6 Russet Potatoes
  • 2 large carrots (or a handful of baby carrots. I’ve been keeping these around for kiddos)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 large yellow onoin
  • 6-8 Cups Homemade Bone Broth (Seriously…I’m posting this recipe soon. Once you use this, you’ll never want to use anything else.)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Organic 1/2 and 1/2 (for the non-paleo or lacto-paleo version)
  • Cheese (If you tolerate it. I do in moderation.)
  • 1 Package of Bacon (oooo yes…I said it. Bacon y’all! I used about 1 pound.)
  • Cooking fat (or use the bacon grease!)

Does anyone else think of the Mom in My Big Fat Greek Wedding talking about peeling more potatoes? “It’s a lot of people!” She says. So, do just that. Peel and rinse off the potatoes. I usually cut them in half, length wise. Then, lay the flat edge down, and cut about two or three strips length wise (this will depend on the size of your potato). Then cut cross ways to make a small chop. Peel your carrots then chop them into roughly the same size as the potato. Repeat with the celery. One good thing to know about celery is to take the vegetable peeler and make a few runs along the stalk. If you remove some of the stringy bits, it is much more palatable and disappears into the soup much easier.

Now, if you like, start the bacon. I know it may take longer, and if you’re better at multi-tasking start this before veggie prep. I’ve been a little more cautious with cooking bacon and not being able to stand right over it to make sure it doesn’t get to hot. I had a pretty bad burn a while back. Any hoo! I take the whole package of bacon and use some kitchen scissors to cut it into 1 inch pieces. Throw it in a deep soup pot. It cooks much faster when it’s in pieces. Drain on some paper towel when it is finished.

Add your veggies to the bacon grease and get them to cooking. You may have to drain off a little bit, but I save mine in a bowl for future cooking. Use your best judgment here. Let the veggies start cooking for a few minutes. In this step, it really helps if you have everything in a bowl or on a plate, ready to dump in. Prep work is a pain, but really helpful with dishes like this.

Add in the potatoes and let them cook for about 5 minutes. You should see them start to turn from a very opaque white to a milky, less opaque color. Add a generous pinch of salt here.

Pour in 6-8 cups of bone broth. I want to mention here that, if you buy store bought broth, that’s okay. Just make sure to check the label because even my favorite organic stock had a wheat allergy warning on it.

Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are getting close to done.

I plugged my food processor in right beside the stove and carefully ladled a good half of the soup into the bowl. Blend until smooth. Carefully pour it back into the pot. Now, here is where you can decide to keep it paleo, or do my husband’s version.

You can let it simmer away and call it a lovely, chunky, golden potato soup. This is very yummy and my kiddos actually ate this up! Asked for seconds! If I’d let them have thirds… I topped theirs with some cheddar cheese and bacon.

For my husband, I add some of the soup to a smaller pot. Added about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of organic 1/2 and 1/2. This turned the soup a lovely white color and gave it a creamier texture. If you’re looking for something more authentic, this is what I would do if you can tolerate some dairy. It also seems to be better tolerated in my family if I buy a better quality dairy product. He put cheese and bacon on top of his. Now, I may play around with the type of potatoes. Even though I only blended half of the soup he insisted it was still a little mushy…I mean come on…isn’t that what potato soup is? But, you may try a firmer, less starchy potato like yellow golden.

Either way you choose, I hope you enjoy it. I will be making this for Christmas Day. While unconventional, it’ll be a treat since it has been so cold and wet here in Arkansas. If I don’t make it back to the blog before Christmas, I want to wish each and every one of you a happy holiday. Happy Hanukkah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, or hey…Just happy Thursday.

I’m sending warm, comforting bowls of soup from my kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back and see what I’ll come up with next…A hint you ask? Semi-paleo breadsticks (they have cheese), Corned Beef and Cabbage…And I never made it around to my turkey recipe.

-Ami M. Lee, Potato Soup Loving Convert, Common Sense Cook

P.S. My Friends: Here’s the original link for The Pioneer Woman’s awesome recipe: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/01/perfect-potato-soup/

Chicken Giblet Gravy

As I mentioned in the Julia Child White Wine Poached Chicken, I decided to take the giblets and turn them into a lovely gravy. When I first went paleo, I wondered how in the world I would make any type of gravy without flour…Actually…I wondered how I’d do many things without flour. It’s amazing when you learn certain cooking techniques, how you can go without certain additives. A little work and a little more time, turns up a beautiful golden gravy of epic proportions.

Here’s what you will need to jump on the gravy train:

  • Giblets (liver, giblets, heart, neck…All which come in that little packet in the chicken.)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • White Wine (I used a Cupcake Chardonnay. Best advice? Use something you’ll drink.)
  • 2 Cups of Homemade Chicken Stock (I pulled from the Julia’s Chicken I made and it was awesome!)
  • 1 Cup of water (Depending on how much gravy you want.)
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Basil

If you have most of these things on hand, it makes this extremely affordable and easy to do. I am sure you could add, omit, and make this to your own liking easily. Just as a small reminder, I encourage you to use what you’re comfortable with. Just because I’m paleo and a stay at home mom and have the time to make everything from scratch, doesn’t mean you can’t use box stock, or leave out the wine, or use fresh when I used dried. Make your cooking your own! This is just how I do it. I encourage everyone to follow their own recipe in their heart.

So…that being said. Let’s get started aye?

Chicken Giblet Gravy from Julia's WWPC

Chop your carrots, celery and onions. It doesn’t have to be tiny. Put your giblets in a small bowl and sprinkle the dried seasonings over it liberally. I probably added 1 teaspoon or more of each and then let it sit for a few minutes while I was waiting.

Add olive oil to a reasonably deep pan and start cooking the veggies. You can choose whether or not you want to sieve the gravy and take them out. After the veggies start to cook add in the giblet pieces. We don’t want them to burn, so medium to medium high heat (around 5 on my glass top stove) will suffice. When they’re good and cooked, and you have that lovely treasure building up on the bottom of the pan, deglaze the pan with about a 1/4 cup of white wine. I eyeballed it and added just enough to start pulling the treasure from the bottom. By treasure I mean the brown bits of flavor that tries to stick to the bottom. It should bubble instantly when it hits the pan. Let it simmer away for a few minutes until you notice it is starting to reduce. Add your water, leaving all of the ingredients in, and leave it at a low simmer until you’re ready for it.

Julia's White Wine Poached Chicken

I left all of the ingredients in the sauce and let it reduce by half so it would thicken, and be full of flavor. When I was ready for the gravy, I simply tilted the pan, used a spoon and poured it out over my chicken and mashed potatoes. It turned a lovely golden brown color. All 3 of my kiddos enjoyed it!

I hope you and your family will enjoy this recipe. I think it’s only Common Sense to use everything you receive. I told an instagram follower, Baby steps into organ meat. Yummy, baby steps. Next time you buy a whole chicken, give it a try! I’m sending you yummy sauces from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time to see what this Tiptoeing Towards Offal, Common Sense Cook will come up with next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Julia Child’s Whole Chicken Poached in White Wine

Julia's White Wine Poached Chicken

Yesterday was a tough day. I ended up with a migraine and had to take a long nap that frankly, I didn’t want to wake up from. I’m sure many of you know how that feels. I tried some ginger tea, tried some headache yoga (From Yoga With Adriene on YouTube) and I was just feeling icky. Supper time rolls around and I feel it coming. That time when I normally give in and ask to get something quick. Yes! I’m guilty of the fast food trap. Thankfully, that is something I’ve been thoroughly working on and it’s cut our fast food in take from once every other week, to on rare occasions and I don’t participate. So what to do!? I knew I had seen a recipe where Julia and Jacque put a whole chicken in a pot and boiled it. Off, once again, to YouTube I go!

Ingredients for Whole Chicken Poached in White Wine

Here’s what you’ll need to set this chicken up right:

  • 1 Whole Chicken (I find great deals on Whole, Organic Chickens at Krogers. Simple Truth Brand.)
  • 2 or 3 Carrots, peeled
  • 2 or 3 Pieces Celery
  • 1 Roughly Chopped Onion
  • Herbs (I used some left over sage from Thanksgiving. Rosemary, Basil, and Parsley.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 Bottle of White Wine (Use something you’ll drink! I used Cupcake Chardonnay.)
  • Plenty of water

Whole Chicken Poached in White Wine

Bring out your biggest soup pot. Remove the giblets and plastic from your chicken. Set the giblets aside and look out for my chicken giblet gravy recipe. Throw that baby in your pot. I just set mine on the counter next to my cutting board so I could just throw everything in as I went.

Peel your carrots and celery. Yes, the celery too. If you can take off one layer of the celery, it’s a little more edible in texture. Cut the onion into a couple pieces. Halves or quarters works fine.

Add your herbs. Use whatever you have on hand. Fresh or dried. I’ll list the video below so you can see what Julia and Jacque did for their herb bundle if you want to follow the original. Make sure and add some salt and pepper.

Pour in your white wine. I just eye balled it; half the bottle…ish. I am never opposed to taking a sip or two so that I know how it tastes. One thing that Julia preaches, is knowing how the food should taste. Also, Gordon Ramsay says, taste, taste, taste! Do you need any more excuses? I could probably think of a few more. 🙂

Bring everything up to a good rolling boil. Turn it down so it doesn’t over flow…It was about Med – 5 on my cook top. This keeps it bubbling, but not over flowing. Do this for 20 minutes then turn it down to Low-Simmer for 45 minutes with a lid on top. The chicken, when fully cooked, should reach 165 degrees. Check out this great resource I found http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html

I peeled some potatoes, boiled them like usual. I have a recipe for Mashed Potatoes two ways that was posted before Thanksgiving. I added some of the chicken broth from the chicken and some grass fed butter. It whipped up just like conventional potatoes! It was so good with the chicken gravy, I may have had a small saucer plate for seconds. Cut up your carrots, celery, and onions on the side and you’re good to go. This was well received well by all 3 of my kiddos!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I was pretty impressed at how easy this was and how simply delicious it turned out. Make sure and come back for that Chicken Giblet Gravy recipe. It is different than the Giblet Gravy recipe already posted and frankly, I like the Chicken one better. If you try it out, feel free to come by the Facebook page and share pictures!

-Ami M. Lee, Julia Child Loving, Cooking with Wine Lover, Common Sense Cook

P.S. Here’s the link to the YouTube video. You can skip to 24:45 in the Video because there are two episodes per video.

P.P.S. Don’t throw away the chicken carcass! Make bone broth! Waste nothing! 🙂

Mushroom Broth

It’s getting so close to fall here in Arkansas. If you live anywhere north of us, it may already feel like fall. It’s time for pumpkins and stews. Oh, I love a good stew. I made a great beef & butternut squash from Autoimmune Paleo last night that was soooo delicious!

However, one day, I was going through my pantry and happened to pick up a box of my “favorite” organic box of chicken stock. I’ve been buying it for years. Ingredients are clean and organic but wait…what the heck is this y’all!? Allergen warning: May contain wheat. -____-
Unfortunately for me, being pretty allergic to gluten, I can’t use it. I was a bit furious at the time because the ingredients didn’t list anything that was a known gluten product, except the “natural flavors” and most companies distinguish between, produced in the same facility as, or produced with an ingredient that may have. So what did I do? I made. Stuff. Up. (Are y’all seeing a theme yet?)

Here is what you’ll need for this gluten free broth:

  • 1 package of portobello mushrooms
  • A lotta water (Enough to fill a big soup pot. Store the extra!)
  • Bay Leaf
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Rosemary

In my DDP Yoga guide they mentioned using mushroom broth but didn’t leave a recipe. This is so easy. It stores beautifully in the fridge for you to pull out whenever you need it.

Simply add everything into a big pot of water. My regular sized soup pot held about 15 cups of water and I ended up saving 2 quarts, plus the 2 cups I used for supper that night. Bring everything to a slow boil and turn the mushrooms every so often. This really shouldn’t take more that 20 to 30 minutes. We’re basically making brown, flavored water. Don’t let it boil over, just let it bubble away until dark brown.
Transfer this dark brown liquid into a storing container and let it cool. If you want a stronger flavor you could leave the mushrooms to sit in the broth over night. Then, pull them out and discard them (or save them for your friends compost pile :)).

I’ve put this in stews, chilli, soups, and even used it with a can of green beans to pull out that canned flavor. My mom even asked if they were fresh green beans! This is a great staple to keep in your fridge. I believe I kept mine for a week or two in the fridge and it worked out fine every time. It’s also a great way to sneak in other veggies into the family diet.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you give a try come on over to the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/commonsensecook) and show me a picture! Really, if you’re a beginner cook, this one is just too easy to mess up. Come back next week to see what this crazy hippie gal Common Sense Cook makes up next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook