Home Cooking: You’ll ski faster if you come home to these apres-ski soup and sandwich combos
Today’s column was inspired by a sandwich that Wally and Maggie Ducayet brought us from the Amazing Grace restaurant in Breckenridge. Pat Hoogheem was having her annual Christmas cookie sale at St. John’s during the first week of December, and I was helping out, mainly by sitting in a chair, knitting and not bothering the shoppers.
By late afternoon we were all hungry, so Wally and Maggie went across the street to Amazing Grace for Maggie’s favorite sandwich, a turkey and avocado sandwich on lightly toasted bread. That sandwich is one of the best I’ve had in forever. It was not only delicious, but it brought back the sort of happy memories of meals your mother or grandmother made for you when you were a kid.
I know we’re all thinking of healthy foods on economical budgets. But we also want to eat well. For my first food column of the new year, here are two soup-and-sandwich meals which are hearty enough to enjoy for lunch or dinner and full of whole-food goodness. They’re full of fresh vegetables, but not exotic, pricey ones. They’re ready quickly and suitable for beginner cooks. The soups are perfect for meal-prep, so you can take it for lunch during the week.
4-5 onions sliced into thin rings
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 quart beef stock
1/3 cup red wine
Scraping of fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
Hearty bread lightly toasted and torn into 1-inch pieces
Swiss (or Gruyere or Emmental) cheese grated
In the bottom of a Dutch oven, melt the butter, sliced onions and sugar. On medium heat, stirring frequently, sauté the onions until golden, about 30 minutes. Stir in the red wine and scrape the brown caramelized goodness from the bottom of the pan. Pour in the beef stock. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Allow to cook down for 15 minutes to concentrate the flavors.
Add torn bread pieces into individual oven-safe soup bowls. Ladle in the soup and top all of it with Swiss cheese. Place under a broiler until the cheese is melted.
Brie with Fig Spread Grilled Cheese Sandwich
For each sandwich
2 slices hearty bread
4 slices Brie
Butter the outside of each piece of bread. Spread a thin layer of fig spread on the inside of each slice. Add thick slices of Brie in between the slices of bread. Fry the bread slices until golden on each side and the Brie is softened and beginning to melt over the sides.
Slow Cooker Vegetable and Bean Soup
2 cloves garlic
1.5 quarts chicken stock
1 can chickpeas
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can cannellini beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch kale
Salt, pepper, Italian herb blend
Put stock and diced vegetables in slow cooker, set on low, cook for five hours. Add beans, kale, turn on high and cook for an additional 30 minutes until the beans are heated and kale is softened. Taste, season and serve.
Over the Top Turkey, Avocado, BLT Sandwiches
Blue cheese crumbles
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly toasted English muffin bread
Lightly toast the bread. Slather the inside with mayo and freshly ground black pepper. Build your sandwich with layers of sliced turkey, crispy fried bacon, slices of avocado, a dollop of mayonnaise, blue cheese crumbles, iceberg lettuce, tomato slices, salt and pepper to taste. Honestly, this is a crowd pleaser! If you have vegetarians in the crowd, leave out the turkey and bacon — the blue cheese will provide delicious flavor.
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