Wednesday, November 10, 2010
For some reason people always ask about ideas to make alongside a big pot of soup and with all of the soups and stews I've made recently (and with more to come), I've found that the best sides include a nice, green salad and bread of some sort. Determining what type of salad and/or bread to make to accompany your soup will depend a lot on the ingredients and flavors your soup will have. Playing up the flavors of your salad and the texture of the bread can really help to complement the soup itself.
To give you an idea, the Squash Bisque I made recently was paired with a salad of romaine, sliced pears, Gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries, candied pecans and a cider vinaigrette. Alongside it, was a fresh loaf of French bread, perfect for dipping! In this case, you could easily add some grilled chicken to the salad to boost up your protein, but I found the soup hearty enough that it wasn't necessary. This combination provided the perfect Autumn meal while utilizing fresh, in-season ingredients and still rather figure-friendly.
If it's a nice hearty Chili, for instance, I usually opt for a simple green salad with a few fresh veggies and a nice vinaigrette. To have a little fun and play up the spicy flavors of the chili, I might make a salad utilizing fresh tomatoes, red onion and a cilantro lime vinaigrette (a little Mexican cheese would be great on top as well). For bread pairings, you can never go wrong with a good old-fashion Southern cornbread! Mexican cornbread is great as well as is this recipe for Cheddar & Jalapeno Muffins!
I actually made these recently to go alongside a large pot of Chili and it was a nice contrast to the normal cornbread we usually have. Personally, I thought they could've used a tad more salt than what the recipe called for and next time, I'll definitely add more jalapeno. But all in all, I really liked them...the only trouble we really ran into was getting them out of the cupcake liners! I thought I had bought decent liners; they were made by Wilton after all, but to our surprise they stuck terribly to the popovers, making it rather difficult to peel away. So, unfortunately, remnants of the popovers went to waste but we still managed to work with the best part: the middle! I guess lesson learned...don't buy Wilton cupcake liners again!
Cheddar & Jalapeno Muffins
1 1/4 cups Milk
1 1/4 Flour
1/2 Tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted
2 Jalapenos, minced
3/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake/muffin liners.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Gradually add in the milk, beating at low speed. Add in the flour and salt; beat until smooth. Mix in the butter.
Fill each cup half-full with the batter. Sprinkle evenly with the cheese and jalapenos and top with more batter, filling the cups up.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until brown. Let cool for 1 minute and serve warm.
Note: The ingredient list above reflects the changes I would make to the recipe, including adding more salt and jalapenos. The original recipe calls for 1/4 Tsp. of salt and does not include jalapenos.
Yield: 8 Muffins
Source: Adapted from Grand Temptations