Soups and Breads

It’s been a long time since I entered anything here. Mainly, this is because I have been working on a new soup and bread cookbook that will be published by Rodale sometime in the next year. But now, I’m getting caught up and here’s a version of one of the recipes in the book.

I got the idea for this several years ago when at Panera. I had soup served in a bread bowl – well, they still do it. Then, last winter we had lunch in Osseo, Wisconsin at the Norske Nook. Fun place, if you ever end up around either Osseo or Rice Lake. Kinda Norwegian kitch.

Potato Chowder in a Bread Bowl

Bacon adds a nice, smoky flavor to this simple to make soup. If you wish, you can substitute butter.

Makes 4 servings
3 cups water
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 thick slices of bacon, diced or 3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef broth
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons celery or bacon salt to taste
1 cup sour cream

1. Pour the water into a saucepan and add the potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

2. While potatoes cook, cook the bacon in a heavy soup pot over medium heat until crisp. Measure 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat and discard the rest. Remove the bacon crisps and drain on paper towels.

3. Stir the flour into the bacon drippings (or butter if you prefer), and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping up the brownings from the bottom of the pan. Slowly whisk in the broth and milk and cook until it bubbles and thickens. Add the celery salt (or bacon salt) and the cooked potatoes, cooking liquid and all. Stir until hot throughout. Whisk in the sour cream. Garnish with the cooked bacon, green onion, and chopped parsley.

Reuben Potato Soup: Instead of bacon, add 1/2 cup shredded or diced corned beef, a cup of well drained sauerkraut, and a cup of shredded Swiss cheese to the soup. Garnish with green onion and chopped fresh parsley.

Onion Caraway Rye Bread Bowls
Bread bowls are great fun to make and to serve. Here’s one that holds any kind of soup you’d like. While you can use all-purpose flour here, you’ll find that bread flour makes the dough rise higher. You can make the bread bowls days ahead and freeze them if you wish. To thaw, simply remove from the freezer an hour or two before serving, or, you can reheat them in a 300*F. oven for about 10 minutes.

Makes four bread bowls.

1 package or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water 105 to 115*F.
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1/2 cup stone ground rye flour
3 cups bread flour

1. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the molasses and set aside for 10 minutes until mixture is foamy.

2. Add salt, oil, caraway seeds, onion, rye flour, and 1 cup bread flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Mix in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with mixer at medium speed after each addition.

3. When the dough has formed, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

4. Punch dough down, and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 4 inch round loaf. Place loaves on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until almost doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes. Brush loaves with water.

5. Preheat oven to 400*F. Place into the oven and spray or brush the loaves again with water. Bake for 15 minutes until golden. Cool on wire racks.

6. To make bowls: Cut a 1/2 inch thick slice from top of each loaf; scoop out centers, leaving 3/4-inch-thick shells. (Use the interior of the loaves for another purpose.) If desired, toast the cut side of the bowl “lid” and brush with soft butter. Fill bread bowls with hot soup, top with the lid and serve.

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