Five ingredients (or less), yes, and no canned cream of celery soup!
So darn easy …
Sometimes less is more. Fewer ingredients to gather and a minimal amount of dishes to wash is appealing, especially after the challenge of holiday cookery.
Ready for some survival cooking?
A list of simple recipes taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet can be as comforting as a silky blanket is to a tired toddler. My inside-the-cupboard list includes dishes with short ingredient lists that don’t sacrifice flavor or appearance.
Here are two recipes that you can add to your post-holiday survival list, they are favorites that I have been making for years.
Take a deep breath. Relax. Help is on the way.
Jacques’ Berry Gratins
Yield: 4 servings
2 cups (about 8 ounces) IQF (individually quick frozen) unsweetened raspberries or blackberries
1 1/2 cups crumbled cookies, either chocolate chip cookies or shortbread cookies; see cook’s notes
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Optional garnish: Sour cream
Cook’s notes: Pepin recommends Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread or Mrs. Fields (individually wrapped) Chocolate Chip Cookies, but advises that homemade cookies or other brands of store-bought cookies will work. The chocolate chip cookies are best crumbled by hand rather than in food processor. The shortbread can be crumbled in food processor or placed in plastic bag and crushed with small skillet or rolling pin.
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Divide frozen berries among 4 (1-cup) shallow gratin dishes or custard cups.
2. Toss crumbled cookies and sugar in small bowl. Divide crumbs among dishes, sprinkling them evenly over berries. Dot with small pieces of butter. Place dishes on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven 16 to 18 minutes, or until nicely browned on top and berries are bubbling. Cool to lukewarm or room temperature. Top with spoonful of sour cream, if desired.
Source: “Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way” by Jacques Pepin (Houghton Mifflin, $30)
It’s no secret that I adore pureed soups. The classic French potage that teams leeks with spuds has an appealingly short ingredient list. When this soup is served cold it is called “vichyssoise.”
There’s nothing tricky about making it and using an immersion blender to puree the mixture eliminates aggravation and additional dishes to wash. For years I resisted buying one. I thought it was silly to buy an additional piece of equipment for blending soups when I own a food processor and blender.
If I had known how much time it would save, I would have bought it decades ago. The gizmo, sometimes dubbed a stick blender, purees in the pot in which the soup is prepared.
Leek and Potato Soup
Yield: 8 servings
6 medium leeks, white and light green portion only
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium-large baking potatoes, such as Russets, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: sliced dark green portion of green onions or chives
Cook’s notes: If desired, garnish each serving with a small spoonful of prepared refrigerated basil pesto (spoon off excess oil before adding).
1. Use only the white and light green portion of the leeks. Trim off roots and cut in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Place in small bowl of water and swirl to remove any grit; drain.
2. In a Dutch oven or 5-quart pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes and broth; bring to simmer on high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of broth; this can be added as needed after adding the cream to attain desired consistency. Sometimes all the broth is needed, but it isn’t consistent. You want a fairly thick, creamy consistency.
3. Puree soup in batches in blender or food processor (cautiously hold down lid with potholder if using blender) or puree it in the pot using an immersion blender. Return puree to pot and heat. Stir in cream and season generously to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with sliced green onions or chives. ***************************************************************************