Bits of Everything Soup; Beans, Rice and Sausage

by formerchef on January 31, 2016

Bean Rice Sausage Soup003

Beans Rice and Sausage Soup

When is a recipe not a recipe? When you know how to make something so well you intuitively know the ratios of ingredients and you don’t have to measure. Soup is one of those things for me. Early on in my professional cooking career I spent a solid year making the “soup of the day” for the restaurant where I was working. I don’t think I repeated the soup once. I figure I made over 200 soups that year.

Today in Southern California it’s an El Nino day which means we are getting a ton of wind and dumping rain. We’ve got a fire going in the fireplace and it’s the perfect day for soup. But what kind to make? Answer, the kind you have. This was a day to use up bits and pieces of what I had in the refrigerator and pantry; vegetables, proteins and starches. Today that meant, the standard mirepoix (the basis for many soups and stews is a mirepoix; a mix of diced onions, carrots and celery which is why I always try to have these on hand), plus some ready to be used mushrooms, chicken sausage, about a cup of dried 15 bean soup mix and half a cup of rice in jars that had been sitting on my counter for months. Fortunately, I had some home made chicken stock I’d made last weekend and hadn’t yet bothered to freeze.

This soup is a base, make it your own by changing up the beans, rice, vegetables and proteins and stocks. The “recipe” below is loose and not very specific for that reason. Add herbs if you want. Use diced chicken. Use pasta instead of rice and beans. Once you know how to make soup, you can feed yourself in an unlimited number of ways with an ever-changing list of ingredients.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Cooking the soup

Cooking the soup

Bits of Everything Soup; Beans, Rice and Sausage

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 2-3 carrots, diced small
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced small
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed or minced
  • 6 oz mushrooms, halved and then sliced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 chicken sausages, sliced on the diagonal
  • about .5 cup rice
  • about 1 cup beans
  • about 10 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, season to taste

Instructions

  1. Dice all the vegetables as described above.
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed soup pot (about 12 qts) and add the olive oil.
  3. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and the garlic and cook until the mushrooms get soft and begin to color (I had already saurteed mushrooms in the photo)
  4. Add the sausage and saute for a minute or two with the vegetables.
  5. Add in the beans and the rice. Stir.
  6. Cover with the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the beans and rice are tender. You may need to add more stock or water in order to keep it covered. It should take a couple of hours.
  7. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
http://www.formerchef.com/2016/01/31/bits-of-everything-soup-beans-rice-and-sausage/

The photos for this post were taken with my cell phone, so if they are not fabulous, oh well. But I think they get the point across and since I gave myself permission to be imperfect last year (oddly enough in another soup post), I’m trying.

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The SoCal Sour, a Bourbon Cocktail

by formerchef on January 27, 2016

Post image for The SoCal Sour, a Bourbon Cocktail

Do you know the difference between Whiskey and Bourbon? I’ll admit, I had to look it up.

Bourbon has not always been my drink of choice, but I’m developing an appreciation. In the past I’ve posted cocktails with tequilagin, and even pisco, but bourbon is new for me. And please don’t ask me for anything with vodka. It’s been more than 25 years and an unfortunate incident with vodka and orange juice in my freshman year of college has turned me off the stuff forever (though my Bloody Mary Mix is one of my all time most popular posts).

Here’s the thing to remember about bourbon; all bourbon is a whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon. Bourbon whiskey is untique to the United states and 99% of it comes from the state of Kentucky. Bourbon is made from at least 51% corn (usually more) and aged for at least two years in charred oak barrels. Whiskey can be a blend of grains and is also made in Scotland (called “Scotch” whisky (with no “e”), Ireland, Canada, and Japan. To complicate matters more, some American whiskies are not bourbon (like Jack Daniels) because it is made using sour mash. Confused yet? Don’t worry. For the purposes of this cocktail, you can use any kind of American whiskey. I wouldn’t necessarily make it with Scotch because the typical smoky and peaty flavor of single malt Scotch might overwhelm the drink.

What is a “sour” when it comes to cocktails? A drink with sour in the name typically has lemon juice and simple syrup. The addition of egg white (as in a Pisco Sour) is optional.

SoCal Sour, a bourbon cocktail with orange and rosemary.

SoCal Sour, a bourbon cocktail with orange and rosemary.

Did you make the orange syrup I posted about in the Verdugo Sunset cocktail? If so, great! We’re going to give it another use here. Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere is citrus season, so now is the time to make a big batch of this syrup to use in cocktails and mix with soda water.

I named this a SoCal Sour because both rosemary and oranges grow in abundance in Southern California and this is what I have available to me right now. Feel free to adapt to what ever works for you and let me know how it comes out.

So Cal Sour, a Bourbon Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 fl oz bourbon
  • .5 fl oz lemon juice
  • 1 fl oz orange syrup (see notes at bottom of post)
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Orange peel

Instructions

  1. Pinch off a few leaves of rosemary off the sprig (5-7 pieces) and put them in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the lemon juice, and orange syrup and crush the leaves briefly with a muddler. Add the bourbon.
  2. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice about half full. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds to chill the drink.
  3. Pour into an Old Fashioned glass with a large cube of ice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a curl of orange peel.
http://www.formerchef.com/2016/01/27/the-socal-sour-a-bourbon-cocktail/

Some tips: The orange syrup used in this cocktail is the exact same recipe as the grapefruit syrup used in my Pisco cocktail, the Sacred Valley, just substitute 5 large oranges for the 3 grapefruit in the recipe. If you don’t want to make it, you can substitute fresh orange juice and simple syrup, but it won’t be quite the same.

If you can, use a large ice cube for the ice in the glass. The ice melts more slowly so the drink doesn’t get diluted as fast. I use an inexpensive silicone ice tray like this one; large cube silicone ice tray. Regular ice is fine (and preferred) in the shaker.

For this drink you’ll need a cocktail shaker and a jigger for measuring. They don’t have to be fancy or expensive (the ones I have are just like these in the links) but I do prefer using them. I like the consistency and extra coldness of a shaken drink and the precision of using the jigger for measuring.

I finally got myself a muddler as well, but if you don’t have one, you can use the end of a long wooden spoon. (Some of the links above are amazon affiliate links; you don’t have to buy, they’re there for example, but if you do shop, it helps support this blog and the cost is the same, regardless)

SoCal Sour, a bourbon cocktail with orange and rosemary.

SoCal Sour, a bourbon cocktail with orange and rosemary.

{ 4 comments }

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Cooked in Red Wine)

December 1, 2015
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It’s December, and in the northern hemisphere, that means it’s time for rich, hearty foods that make you feel all warm and toasty inside. I can’t think of a meal which better represents this than a slow simmered beef stew. Don’t let the French name intimidate you. Yes, Boeuf Bourguignon is the classic French dish, […]

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“I wish I knew how to quit you…” I said, looking longingly at my faithful, but now dead, computer. The hard drive of my four year old computer had simply ceased functioning one day a few weeks ago. I was working on it, walked out of the room, returned, and poof! Gone. In its place was the dreaded DOS […]

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Pears Poached in Red Wine with Orange Cardamom Sabayon

October 2, 2015
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It doesn’t feel like autumn yet here in Southern California, but pears are in the markets and pumpkin spice is everywhere (gah!). In a previous post I wrote about cooking with wine and liquor and this elegant dessert doubles your fun with wine; the pears are poached in it and the sweet custard sauce is made […]

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Cold Soba Noodles with Grilled Tofu

September 7, 2015
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In 2011, after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I was honored to contribute a recipe to a cookbook sold to raise money for disaster relief in Japan. While I posted about the book here, I did not post the recipe. Now, the book is no longer available and it’s time to share the recipe. The […]

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