10 March 2018

Weekend Cooking: 2 Recipes to Beat the Winter Blues

2 recipes to beat the winter bluesDo you remember the old saying "March comes in like a lion . . ."? Boy it sure has, and winter has made a big comeback! The other half of the saying is ". . . and goes out like a lamb." Here's hoping!

In the meantime, it's still cold enough to encourage soup dinners, baking, and hot chocolate. I'm featuring two of these today. The soup and bread were among this week's winning recipes, and they come from magazines I have turned to time and again over the years.

Note: the photos are my own.

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, and I caught the fever early and baked Irish soda bread. I tried a new recipe from the latest issue of Eating Well, and it was so good, I doubt I'll ever make another version.

Irish Soda Bread with Dried Fruit & Caraway
Eating Well magazine, March-April 2018

  • Irish Soda Bread from Beth Fish Reads1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup currants (I used dark raisins)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2.25 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425F.

Warm a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and add butter, swirling to coat the bottom and sides.

Combine flour, currants, raisins, caraway seeds, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add the buttermilk, stirring just until the flour is fully incorporated. Do not overmix. The dough should be sticky and a little shaggy.

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, using a spatula to spread it evenly. It's OK if it doesn't reach all the way to the sides. Use a sharp knife to score a deep X in the top of the loaf.

Bake until cooked through and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

The original recipe for this delicious bean soup was written for the slow cooker, so if you don't have a pressure cooker, click the link and follow the directions. I made a few other changes, most notably, I had some chorizos to use up, so I used them instead of pancetta. Also, I didn't feel like chopping the rosemary, so I just dropped the sprigs in whole. I made this in an electric pressure cooker, but you could use a stovetop cooker.

Tuscan White Bean Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2018
  • Tuscan white bean soup from Beth Fish Reads1 pound dried cannellini beans
  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 links smoked chorizos
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can unsalted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (2-in.) piece Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Place beans in a heatproof bowl. Pour in enough boiling water to cover. Cover tightly with foil and let sit at least 1 hour to soak. Drain beans, rinse, and drain well.

Place all ingredients, except the vinegar, in a pressure cooker. Lock the lid, bring to full pressure, and let cook 27 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure.

Taste the beans to make sure they’re cooked. Adjust the seasoning, remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprigs. If the beans aren't cooked, either bring the cooker up to pressure again for a few minutes, or use the saute function to let them boil until tender. Stir in the vinegar right before serving.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

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rhapsodyinbooks 3/10/18, 6:04 AM  

I love Irish brown bread - not the soda bread because I don't like currents, raisins, OR caraway seeds! I use King Arthur's recipe but there is also a great-looking one today in the Washington Post I want to try. But really, for me, it's all just a way to have a base for butter....

Mae Travels 3/10/18, 7:05 AM  

That's a delicious selection of ingredients in the soup! Looks like you could easily adapt it to slow cooker, pressure cooker, or stovetop. Is that black stuff between the beans kale? I can always do without kale.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

bermudaonion 3/10/18, 7:12 AM  

That soup looks fabulous!

Tina 3/10/18, 7:44 AM  

Homemade bread and soup is perfect for the weather March has brought us. I know you have it way worse up north but right this minute it’s 34 F in north Florida so I have also been making comfort foods!
I didn’t know there was such a thing as white whole wheat flour.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 3/10/18, 7:53 AM  

Sold! I've planned to bring soup and bread out to my dad's house today, so let's see where your inspiration takes me.


jama 3/10/18, 8:10 AM  

Yum! Homemade bread and soup! What could be better? Both recipes look delicious. Thanks for sharing. :)

Jackie McGuinness 3/10/18, 8:51 AM  

A quiet first week at home for us. I did buy a corned beef this week for St. Patrick's Day.

My mother made great Irish soda bread but I've never quite managed a good one. Will try again this week.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 3/10/18, 9:21 AM  

Irish soda bread sounds perfect to eat with that delicious looking soup.

Karen White 3/10/18, 9:56 AM  

I have a recipe for Tuscan White Bean soup that's very similar to this, but uses pancetta instead of sausage and spinach instead of kale. It's a favorite that comes together easily. And I love using parmesan rinds in soup - when I use up the parmesan I put the rind in a baggie in the freezer and then I always have one to pop in a soup.

Deb in Hawaii 3/10/18, 10:54 AM  

Both the bread and soup look and sound delicious. Nothing beats a good bean soup and I like the caraway in the bread--it's one of my favorite spices and it sounds like an excellent pairing with the fruit.

sherry fundin 3/10/18, 1:14 PM  

There are so many kinds of bean soup. I love the Senate Bean Soup at McGuire's in Pensacola. Mmm Mmm Good.
sherry @ fundinmental

Vicki 3/10/18, 1:58 PM  

I love soup and that looks really good!

Unknown 3/10/18, 6:37 PM  

Both recipes look great!

Les in Oregon 3/10/18, 7:39 PM  

Even though spring is almost here, I'm still in the mood for soups. I made a lasagna soup (from Skinny Taste) a week ago and it was a huge hit! I'm hoping to get it posted on my blog tomorrow so I can share it here. That Tuscan Bean Soup looks delicious. Adding the recipe to my stack of printed recipes (which is almost as big as my TBR stack of books!).

Esme 3/11/18, 12:07 AM  

The bread recipe sounds delicious. Bread is such a comfort food especially when loaded with fruits and nuts.

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