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Acadiana Table | Soup by George Graham - 6d ago

Tangy, spicy, and full of chicken flavor, my Chicken Tortilla Soup is a Mexican soup classic. It brings maximum flavor with minimum effort.

A spicy bowl of fun—Chicken Tortilla Soup. (All photos credit: George Graham)

For me, soup is a simple dinner meal that delivers flavor and comfort in a bowl. If you’ve spent any time at my Acadiana Table, you no doubt know my love affair with soup.

But, there’s one soup that ups the ante when it comes to both flavor and fun—Chicken Tortilla Soup. This soup celebrates life with its spicy attitude punched with the vibrant colors of a Mexican fiesta.

The South-of-the-border flavors of cumin, chili powder, and lime thickened with a big masa-infused jolt of ground tortilla chips give me reason enough to crack open an ice-cold Dos Equis. Oh yeah, it’s party time.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
 
Prep time
40 mins
Cook time
1 hour
Total time
1 hour 40 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup diced yellow onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced green onion tops
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Bijol seasoning or annatto powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup yellow corn
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups tortilla chips
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup chopped avocado
  • Lime wedges
  • Tortilla strips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in an aluminum foil-lined pan and bake until a meat thermometer registers 175ºF. Remove to a cutting board and slice into bite-size chunks. Reserve for later use.
  3. In a large pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once sizzling, add the onions, celery, green onions, and garlic. Saute just until the onions turn translucent, about five minutes. Season with cumin, chili powder, Bijol, garlic powder, and white pepper. Add the lime juice, tomatoes, corn, and chicken stock, and stir to combine. Lower the heat to a simmer.
  4. In the container of a blender, add the tortilla chips and a cup of water. Blend on high until the chips are pulverized. Add to the pot.
  5. Add the chicken thighs and cover the pot. Simmer for 45 minutes until the chicken is tender. With two forks, shred the thigh meat and add the reserved chopped chicken breast meat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Just before serving, add the cilantro leaves and stir. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped avocado, a lime wedge, and tortilla strips.
Notes
The toppings are up to you: perhaps a bit of grated pepper jack cheese, sliced jalapeños, or a swirl of sour cream; get creative with this one.
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Latin spice infuses this soup.

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Potato soup is friendly and familiar—just like that old high-school BFF that visits once a year. The recipe has become a comfortable (and predictable) interpretation of a thick and creamy bowl of pulverized potatoes loaded up with cheese. And yes, I love it as much as you do. But with my Potato and Brussels Soup recipe, I set out to make friends with a potato-based soup with a fresh approach.

Chunks of potato and Brussels sprouts combine in this broth-based soup. (All photos credit: George Graham)

No stick blender-pulverized, creamy, cheesy, chowder-like soup here. Let’s break this recipe down:  the smokiness of bacon, the herb-infused notes of thyme and rosemary, a pungent punch of Cajun spice, the freshness of Brussels, and it’s all combined with the comforting familiarity of tender potatoes. What’s not to like?

In this soup, the potatoes remain in chunks and the Brussels take on a unique flavor that compliments the bold ingredients. Be sure to save the petals (leaves) that fall off the sprouts when slicing them. When added back to the soup at the end, the bright green leaves wilt in the hot stock for a distinct finish. And the crispy bacon garnish just seals the deal for me.

Give this Potato and Brussels Soup a try and cozy up to your new best friend.

Potato and Brussels Soup
 
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
70 mins
Total time
1 hour 40 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 6 to 8
Ingredients
  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 4 strips smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Cut the woody end off the Brussels sprouts and cut lengthwise in half. Reserve the green leaves that fall off the sprouts for later use.
  3. In a large pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the bacon and sauté until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and add the Brussels sprouts (do not add the loose leaves), and cook until they are browned, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté just until the onions turn translucent and add the thyme, rosemary, garlic, white pepper, onion powder, and Cajun seasoning. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken stock and the potatoes, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes and the Brussels sprouts are tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Add the reserved sprout leaves to the soup and let simmer until the leaves have wilted but are still green, about 15 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and paper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the crispy bacon pieces.
Notes
I like regular russet baking potatoes for this, but you can use the smaller Yukon Gold or new potatoes if you like.
3.5.3217

Comfort in a bowl!

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You might approach your first spoonful of this Carrot Ginger Soup with a bit of culinary doubt, but trust me. When the flavors explode on your tongue, you’ll be back for a second, third, fourth, well, you get the message. And you’ll be getting compliments galore from family and friends.

Sweet and spicy, a tasty combination. (All photos credit: George Graham)

And I call it 24-Carrot Puréed Gold. Well, maybe not twenty-four, but two pounds, for sure. This easy Carrot Ginger Soup sets the gold standard for taste, and with the combination of carrot and ginger as the base, you’re in for a wealth of bold flavor.

Shortcuts abound in this tasty soup. First, I don’t peel the carrots; the peel has flavor and nutrition and will purée along with everything else. Next, instead of peeling and chopping ginger, I use the squeezable pureed ginger that I keep in my fridge. I use it often and am hard-pressed to tell the difference. Finally, if you don’t already own a stick blender, buy one immediately. The ease and convenience of “plug and pulverize” as well as the simple clean up are worth the minimal investment.

I get an Asian vibe here; I guess the ginger hints at a familiar Thai flavor profile, but the combination is much more than that. With its sweet and spicy notes, my Carrot Ginger Soup delivers a unique taste explosion.

24-Carrot Puréed Gold: Carrot Ginger Soup
 
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
47 mins
Total time
1 hour 17 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds carrots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Cut the ends off the carrots and cut in 1-inch pieces. If applicable, reserve some of the leaves from the stems for later use as garnish.
  2. In a large pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and white pepper. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 40 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), pulverize the carrots until puréed with no lumps. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Ladle into bowls and add a sprinkle of grated lemon zest. Garnish with a carrot leaf, if applicable.
Notes
Don't leave out the lemon zest; it finishes the dish with a bright flavor boost. I substitute the squeezable ginger paste and get delicious results. Don't get heavy handed with the spice, but rather, let the flavor of the carrot and ginger shine.
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A taste explosion!

YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE:  If you like this cooking story and recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page.  It’s quick, painless, and FREE.  You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new cooking stories and recipes are added.  Thanks, George.

The post 24-Carrot Puréed Gold: Carrot Ginger Soup appeared first on Acadiana Table.

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Acadiana Table | Soup by George Graham - 3M ago

With its creamy depth of seafood flavor accented by white wine and the rich flavor of artichoke hearts, my Seafood Bisque is a rich and decadent Louisiana dish that is as historical as it is delicious.

A Creole classic: Seafood Bisque. (All photos credit: George Graham)

This Seafood Bisque is what I like to call “Haute Creole.” It’s a classic, time-honored, New Orleans specialty served in the finest white-tablecloth eateries in the city. I obsess over this dish and order it most anytime I see it.

I suspect the New Orleans Creole cooks of the 1800s were influenced by the European taste for cream, butter, and wine (ingredients seldom seen in black Creole culture of the time), and the inclusion of artichoke came from the Sicilian migration of the period. All along the Louisiana coast, a bountiful supply of fresh Gulf shrimp and blue crab was readily available, and the dish was embraced widely by the aristocratic society of of the region.

Meanwhile, over in Acadiana, the farm-to-table diet of Cajun families was more attuned to meats (mostly pork and wild game) and the coastal seafood catch, which was cooked simply and without the flair and flavors of the city. Artichokes were non-existent at the time, and it would be years later that Italians began to influence the Southwest Louisiana region. Even to this day, you rarely see this cream-based Seafood Bisque on Acadiana kitchen tables, and only occasionally in restaurants.

For me, this beloved dish is a special treat, and with this simple recipe, you can easily bring my Seafood Bisque to your table, too.

Seafood Bisque
 
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
1 hour
Total time
1 hour 30 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • ½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 (14.50-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered and packed in water, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon diced green onion tops
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
  • Kosher salt
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1 pound medium (41/50 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ pound lump crabmeat
Instructions
  1. In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, add the butter and onion, and cook until the onions turn translucent about 5 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, garlic, green onions, and parsley. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with a straight-edge spatula to prevent burning. Add the wine to deglaze and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine reduces to just a tablespoon or two, about 5 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and stir it into the mixture. Cook to the blond roux stage or just until the raw taste of the flour is gone, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream, and stir the mixture to combine. Let the mixture come to a boil and then immediately lower the heat to simmer.
  3. Add the lemon slices, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and a dash or two of hot sauce. Let the mixture thicken—about 10 minutes—and add kosher salt to taste.
  4. This base can now be held until you are ready to serve; it can also be made the day before and refrigerated.
  5. For serving, bring the mixture back to a simmer, and add the shrimp and crabmeat. Simmer for 15 minutes and serve piping hot in bowls with more hot sauce on the table.
Notes
I like the combination of shrimp and crab, but feel free to use just one. Claw crabmeat (it's cheaper} works great in this creamy dish, but feel free to break the bank with jumbo lump. This bisque should be a thick, chowder-like consistency; if too thick, add a bit of water. I like serving this simply with toasted baguette croutons, but traditional dinner rolls or mini-croissants would be an elegant touch. If you have leftover soup, I recommend you create a pasta dish by serving it over linguine noodles.
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An elegant starter or a complete entree, this Seafood Bisque is a hearty dish.

YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE:  If you like this Cajun cooking story and Cajun recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page.  It’s quick and painless.  You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new Cajun cooking stories and Cajun recipes are added.  Thanks, George.

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Acadiana Table | Soup by George Graham - 4M ago

The delicate flavor of asparagus makes a bold statement when cooked down into a soul-satisfying bowl of Asparagus Soup. It’s a fresh taste of spring in a bowl.

Springtime in a bowl—fresh Asparagus Soup. (All photos credit: George Graham)

Asparagus is a mainstay in my kitchen, and I use it in so many creative ways. Roasted, grilled, and steamed are obvious, but when we stumbled upon the stacks of thick stalks at the farmers market, I had soup on my mind.

Rox and Lauren stalking the perfect spears.

This is a healthy recipe as my version does not have cream like so many I’ve tasted. I let the chicken stock infuse flavor, and my handy stick blender brings out the thick texture we crave. With a dollop of sour cream to gild the lily, the richness of this elegant dish is not to be understated. As a main dish or as a first course, this Asparagus Soup is a crowd pleaser.

Asparagus Soup
 
Prep time
20 mins
Cook time
63 mins
Total time
1 hour 23 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 24 asparagus spears
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup diced green onion tops
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream
Instructions
  1. Remove the woody ends of the asparagus stalks. Cut the tips off the ends of the stalks and reserve. Chop the rest of the asparagus into pieces and reserve.
  2. In a large pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the oil and the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, onion tops, oregano, and thyme and sauté for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the asparagus pieces and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover cooking for 45 minutes or until the asparagus pieces are tender.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or blender), pureé the soup until smooth. Add more stock (or water) if too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the asparagus tips to the mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the asparagus tips are tender.
  6. Ladle into bowls and top with a spoonful of sour cream.
Notes
No need to peel the asparagus since the blender will pulverize everything. I like chicken stock in this, but feel free to use vegetable stock for a vegan version. Some folks add butter at the end of cooking for added richness, but i find that this recipe doesn't need it. I would not advise adding hot sauce or excessive spice that will mask the freshness of the asparagus; this is a delicate dish.
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Soup is served.

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Acadiana Table | Soup by George Graham - 4M ago

Winter isn’t over yet, and the first spoonful from a steaming bowl of my 5-Bean Kale Soup is enough to warm you up. With the smokiness of ham and bacon as the backdrop for the herbs and spices, these beans are packed with soul-satisfying flavor.

This 5-Bean Kale Soup delivers a wallop of flavor. (All photos credit: George Graham)

Winter weather in South Louisiana is synonymous with gumbo, bisque, sauce piquante and so many other spicy one-pot classics. But when the windy March chill sets in and the temperature gauge signals the peak of another Deep South winter, I pull out a Graham family classic—a simple-yet-glorious bean soup. Yep, bean soup. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

I was born and raised in Louisiana, but there’s a Yankee connection here. I’m going out on a limb with this recipe as I trace the history of my family tree that spreads all the way back to Detroit, Michigan circa 1941. My father and mother met in an airplane factory during WW II and helped win the war building warplanes.

They survived four icy winters with countless simmering pots of bean soup. It was warm and filling, hearty and comforting, and best of all, cheap. Rationing was a mandatory part of life during those years, and most everything was in short supply, well, except beans. My family learned to love this dish and brought it back to Louisiana in 1945, and the recipe still remains a family tradition.

My 5-Bean Kale Soup is intense with smoky flavor and packed with warmth; just one bowl wraps you up like a three-layered patchwork quilt. Give it a try, and you just might warm up to this recipe, too.

5-Bean Kale Soup
 
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
128 mins
Total time
2 hours 38 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 6 to 8
Ingredients
  • 2 strips smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped kale, thick stems removed
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • ½ pound dried white lima beans
  • ½ pound dried garbanzo beans
  • ½ pound dried pinto beans
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans red kidney beans
  • 1 (12-ounce) can black beans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the bacon and fry until browned. Into the rendered grease, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, garlic, and kale, and cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock along with the dried beans. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the ham hocks, bay leaves, and the spices and herbs. Cover the pot and let simmer until the beans are tender, about 90 minutes.
  3. Add the canned beans and cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty French bread.
Notes
Use any combination of dried or canned beans you like. Chicken stock has salt, so add salt to your taste at the end of cooking. Feel free to spice this up with a shake or two of hot sauce. Like a gumbo, put this soup to bed in the fridge overnight and you will taste the difference as the beans have time to soak up the juice and develop a rounder, deeper flavor.
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Warm up to a bowl of this flavor-filled 5-Bean Kale Soup.

YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE:  If you like this cooking story and recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page.  It’s quick and painless.  You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new cooking stories and recipes are added.  Thanks, George.

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This Potato and Broccoli Soup is easy, cheesy, creamy, dreamy, and just about the most delicious bowl around.

Comforting and cozy—Potato and Broccoli Soup. (All photos credit: George Graham)

If you’ve ever made mashed potatoes, you’re half way to one of the tastiest soups. All we’re doing here is adding aromatics, spices, chicken stock, and cream, oh, and broccoli. Yeah, it’s the fresh florets of broccoli that up the ante, and push this potato soup over the top. I like the contrasts of texture, taste, and color as the green vegetable floats on a creamy sea of potatoes. Oh, this one is calling your name.

If you’re like me, you’ll ladle up a small cup of this soup as a taste sample. And another. And another. Until you’ve finished half a pot. Yes, it is addictive and satisfying, not to mention one of the most flavor-filled combinations in your recipe arsenal.

Simmer a pot of this soup on your back burner tonight and watch your family cozy up to the stovetop time and again.

Potato and Broccoli Soup
 
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
1 hour
Total time
1 hour 30 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 pounds broccoli florets
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 teaspoons chopped chives
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  2. In a large pot with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the butter and sauté the onion, celery, and bell pepper just until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, white pepper, and onion powder along with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes.
  3. With an immersion blender (or food processor), puree the potato mixture just until creamy with some chunks still remaining. It should be a chowder-like consistency.
  4. Add the broccoli to the soup along with the cream. Stir together, cover, and let simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese and chives.
Notes
I buy the florets of broccoli pre-packaged, but if you use the whole broccoli, be sure to separate the florets and discard the tough stem end. Chicken stock has salt, so taste before you add additional salt at the end.
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Add the broccoli at the end for freshness and flavor.

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For days after you’ve had this dish, your memory of it will not fade. In vivid detail, you will recall it all: the sweetness of the onions; the rich beef stock; the notes of rosemary and thyme in the pot; the chunks of tender beef short rib that add hearty flavor: the velvet cloak of melted gruyère. This Short Rib Onion Soup is about as perfect a recipe as you might ever taste.

Rich beef stock cooks down with sweet onions and meaty short ribs in this tasty soup. (All photos credit: George Graham)

Here at Acadiana Table, I like to spin personal stories around the culturally significant dishes that I love so much. But sometimes–and this is one of those times–there’s just not much of a story to tell. It’s just soup, but what a spectacular soup it is.

In fact, to call this a bowl of soup doesn’t do it justice. It is more in the league of a hearty braised beef and onion stew if not for the soupy broth that defines the dish. French onion soup is what comes to mind first, and some might scoff at this seemingly Parisian classic showing up on a Southern cooking blog. But once you peel back the layers, it’s just about as down-home, Deep South as a recipe can get. The beauty of this little recipe is that it takes a laid-back casual approach to an otherwise stuffy, laced up classic.

Meaty short ribs and Vidalia onions are the focus of this recipe.

In my experience, every good recipe starts with one key ingredient that becomes a catalyst for exploring flavor, but in this recipe, there are two—short ribs and onions. So here’s the deal: These short ribs slow-cook on the bone for eight hours—enough time to break down the collagen and render them fall-off-the-bone tender. And the onions, well they’re the sweetest of all, direct from Vidalia, Georgia.

This dish walks the line between bashful and brawny. With each bite of my Short Rib Onion Soup, you search for the right word to describe it–beefy, sweet, rich, or velvety—none fully defines the essence of this amazing dish, but who cares, it is simply the best soup on the planet.

As your spoon slides through the melted gruyère and you scoop your first bite of tender beef and onions swimming in the dark broth, you just know this is gonna be good. But after tasting your first spoonful of this Short Rib Onion Soup, you never dreamed it just might redefine soup for you. It’s just that good.

Short Rib Onion Soup
 
Prep time
45 mins
Cook time
9 hours
Total time
9 hours 45 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 (2 to 3 pounds) bone-in, English-cut short ribs, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 8 Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 packet powdered unflavored gelatin
  • 4 thickly sliced French bread rounds
  • 2 cups shredded gruyère cheese
Instructions
  1. The day before: Add the short ribs, beef stock, and soy sauce along with the rosemary, parsley, and bay leaves to the ceramic vessel of a slow cooker set to low. Cook for 8 hours or overnight until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Discard the bones, bay leaves, and rosemary stems. Inspect the meat and remove any excess fat. Break the meat into bite-size pieces. Strain the stock. Refrigerate the meat and stock. Once chilled, remove any fat cap from the top of the stock. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the onions and sauté until wilted, but not browned. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the meat and beef stock to the pot and let come to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer.
  4. To hydrate the gelatin, add the powder to a small bowl filled with 1 cup of cold water and let it bloom. Then add to the hot liquid in the pot and continue to simmer on the stovetop until the onions are fully cooked, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 450ºF.
  6. In 4 individual, oven-proof ramekins, fill with soup. Place a French bread round on top of each and layer with shredded cheese. Place on a baking tray and bake until the soup is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes
Short ribs tend to be fatty (remember, fat equals flavor), so be sure to chill the stock and remove any remaining fat cap before adding the stock to the soup. Vidalia onions bring a surprising level of sweetness, so look for them or the Texas Sweet variety. The packet of unflavored gelatin is a neat trick I use when I don’t have a super-gelatinous bone broth; it gives the same mouth-feel without any added taste. Gruyère is classic in this dish for good reason: It has rich flavor and creamy texture when melted; look for a Swiss brand that has been aged for at least 6 months. This is not the dish for adding Cajun spice or hot sauce; you want the subtle sweetness and beefy flavors to shine. This soup can be made a couple of days before serving; it only gets better.
3.5.3217

The best soup you’ll ever taste!

YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE:  If you like this cooking story and recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page.  It’s quick, painless, and FREE.  You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new cooking stories and recipes are added.  Thanks, George.

The post Short Rib Onion Soup: The Best Soup on Earth? appeared first on Acadiana Table.

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Acadiana Table | Soup by George Graham - 6M ago

The bold flavors of wild duck and smoked pork sausage overwhelm your taste buds when you dive into this soul-satisfying bowl of dark Cajun roux-infused Wild Duck Gumbo—a South Louisiana specialty.

Wild Duck Gumbo—a duck camp favorite. (All photos credit: George Graham)

I’ve heard statistics that support my contention that in Louisiana, more men cook per capita than anywhere else in the country. And that’s not just macho bravado speaking, it is the bonafide, Southern-fried, countrified truth. Give a Cajun man a black pot and a wooden spoon, and step back and wait for the magic to happen.

Cooking with my friend Jay Owen.

My friend Jay Owen is a world-class hunter and a member of Ducks Unlimited where he serves on the national board of directors. I cook with him often, and whenever he stops by and delivers a treasure trove of wild ducks to my doorstep, it’s time to bring out the cast iron.

With the end of duck season at hand, you’re sure to find a friend with a few wild ducks to throw in your gumbo pot. If not, feel free to use a domestic duck, but understand that there will be more fat on a farm-raised duck. Be sure to trim any excess fat and skim the surface of the gumbo. And the differences in taste and texture of wild versus domestic are far-ranging. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

This Wild Duck Gumbo may just be the perfect expression of duck camp cooking. And best of all, it’s easy when you follow my time-tested recipe.

Wild Duck Gumbo
 
Prep time
1 hour
Cook time
135 mins
Total time
3 hours 15 mins
 
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 8 to 10
Ingredients
Duck Stock (makes about 2 gallons)
  • 12 teal, cleaned
  • Water
  • 4 medium yellow onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery

Gumbo
  • 4 pounds wild duck breast, cleaned and blood removed
  • 2 pounds par-cooked teal breast meat, from stock
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2 cups diced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • 3 pounds sliced smoked pork sausage
  • 2 gallons duck stock or dark chicken stock, plus more if needed, see recipe
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) dark Cajun roux, such as Rox's Roux
  • 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 8 cups cooked long-grain white rice (such as Supreme), for serving
  • 2 cups diced green onion tops, for garnish
  • Hot sauce, for serving
Instructions
Duck Stock
  1. Rinse teal in cold water until all blood is removed.
  2. In a stockpot over high heat, add teal and cover with water. Simmer for 20 minutes until par-cooked.
  3. Pour off the water and rinse the ducks in cold water. Once cooled, remove the breast meat from the birds and reserve.
  4. Return the carcasses to the stockpot over high heat along with the onions, carrots, and celery, and cover with 2 gallons water. Simmer for 3 hours, skimming the surface along the way.
  5. Strain the stock, skim the fat, and let cool.

Gumbo
  1. Cut the duck breasts into chunks and reserve. Also, reserve the partially cooked teal breast meat.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat, add the oil along with the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, parsley, and rosemary and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
  4. Add duck meat and sausage. Add stock and roux. Add seasoning and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Uncover and skim excess oil from the surface. Cover and continue simmering for another 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve over rice with green onions.
Notes
Cooking time does not include making stock. For 1 cup of dark Cajun roux, combine 1 cup vegetable oil and 1 cup all-purpose flour in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture constantly with a wire whisk until it turns dark brown. You can order Rox’s Roux, my jarred dark Cajun roux, at AcadianaTable.com.
3.5.3217

Rich and flavorful, this gumbo features wild duck and smoked pork sausage.

YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE:  If you like this Cajun cooking story and Cajun recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page.  It’s quick and painless.  You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new Cajun cooking stories and Cajun recipes are added.  Thanks, George.

The post Wild Duck Gumbo appeared first on Acadiana Table.

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Acadiana Table | Soup by George Graham - 6M ago

This is one of my most popular Christmas recipes, and I’ve had numerous requests for it this season. And try as I might, I cannot quell my passion for quail.  I crave it this time of year especially, and no holiday would be complete without a quail gumbo.  Let me explain the source of my lifelong obsession for this tasty flight of fancy.

Boudin is the magic flavor ingredient in this stuffed quail gumbo–a classic Cajun recipe. (All photos credit: George Graham)

It all began when I was a kid growing up in small-town Louisiana and my Uncle Jerry–the closest thing I had to a grandfather. My uncle was an extraordinary fisherman and hunter who never hesitated in taking me along for an adventure. We fished trotlines along the Pearl River and loaded the boat with catfish on many occasions. But it was his quail-hunting skills that captured the family’s attention each and every holiday season.

My uncle hosted a Christmas Eve dinner every year that brought all the Grahams together at the dinner table to feast on a magnificent quail dinner with all the trimmings. My aunt Lucy would fry up the quail and then smother them down into a stew infused with the holy trinity of seasonings along with smoked sausage and wild mushrooms. I recall the ensuing family feeding frenzy interrupted only by the occasional discovery of birdshot against tooth which always got a chuckle from Uncle Jerry. “No store-bought quail here, this is fresh-killed,” he’d proudly shout to everyone within earshot.

My dear uncle lived to see almost 90 holiday seasons, but like most family traditions, our quail dinners finally ended. Oh, we tried to relive the revelry on a couple of occasions but with no hunter in the family and a dozen frozen birds, it never quite lived up to the memory.

Flash forward a bunch of years.

Now, our Christmas Eve tradition is quail gumbo after church services, and I can say that the memories made with family and friends are just as warm as I remember growing up. We’ve always kept it simple with a Cajun recipe classic Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, but this year I intend to change that with quail gumbo.

On my quest for a quail gumbo, I found that boudin-stuffed quail literally falls apart in the roux-infused broth to create a thick and ricey bowl of wild deliciousness. I experimented with different combinations and settled on smoked boudin as just the right base for my stuffing mixture.

Quail is back on the Graham’s Acadiana table and should be on yours as well with this Cajun recipe classic—Boudin-Stuffed Quail Gumbo.

A combination of flavors creates a tasty stuffing for this Cajun recipe for quail gumbo.

Boudin-Stuffed Quail Gumbo
 
Prep time
45 mins
Cook time
2 hours
Total time
2 hours 45 mins
 
Smoked Cajun boudin sausage adds flavor impact to this dish, but feel free to use regular boudin or a quality ground pork-based raw sausage.
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Stuffed Quail
  • 4 whole quail, cleaned and partially deboned
  • 2 pounds boudin (smoked or regular) or pork sausage
  • 1 cup cooked Louisiana long-grain white rice, such as Supreme
  • ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • ½ cup diced green onion tops
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Gumbo
  • 4 strips smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 cups diced green bell pepper
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups dark roux, such as Rox's Roux
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1 cup diced green onion tops
  • Filé powder
Instructions
Stuffed Quail
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Rinse and dry the quail being careful not to tear the flesh.
  3. Remove the boudin from the casing and mix with the rice. Add the onions, green onion tops, parsley, garlic, and rosemary and mix to combine thoroughly. Stuff the boudin mixture into the cavity of the quail, packing it full. Bring the two legs of the quail together and secure by tying with kitchen twine or with strips of aluminum foil.
  4. Place the quail on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes and uncover. Bake for another 10 minutes until the quail begin to brown on top. Remove the stuffed quail from the oven and remove the string. Keep warm until serving.

Gumbo
  1. In a large cast-iron pot over medium heat, add the bacon pieces. Cook until browned and remove to a platter for later use. Turn up the heat on the remaining bacon grease and once sizzling hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and parsley, and sauté until combined.
  2. Add the chicken stock and once it comes to a boil, add the roux. Reduce the heat to a simmer and season with cayenne pepper. Cover the pot and let cook for 1 hour.
  3. After 1 hour, lift the lid and skim the surface of any excess oil. Sample the gumbo and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.
  4. For serving, place a stuffed quail in the center of a large bowl and ladle the gumbo around it. Garnish with diced green onion tops. Have filé powder and hot sauce on the table for adding extra seasoning. Serve with hot French bread.
Notes
Buy your boudin already prepared (and smoked, if possible) at a variety of South Louisiana retail sources or buy it online at Cajungrocer.com. Or you can follow my recipe for boudin here and make your own. While there is already rice and vegetables in the boudin, adding more will create a mixture of stuffing consistency. The quantity of this gumbo base liquid should accommodate another 4 quail so feel free to scale this recipe up depending on the number of guests.
3.5.3217

 

The bird and stuffing inside fall apart in the roux-infused stock of this quail gumbo.

YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE: If you like this Cajun cooking story and Cajun recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page.  It’s quick and painless.  You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new Cajun cooking stories and Cajun recipes are added.
Thanks, George.

The post Quail Gumbo appeared first on Acadiana Table.

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