Chicken & Barley Soup with Greens

chicken soup

As the weather turns chilly, cold season is creeping up -it seems everyone is coming down with something, or has a cough or a case of the sniffles. Chicken soup is a generations-old remedy used around the world to fight colds and flus and generally make those who are under the weather feel better – and taken care of. Making a pot of soup from scratch is not difficult – a good thing if you’re the one who’s coming down with something.

When we do roast chicken for dinner (even one from the deli), we like to leave some meat on the bones for a meaty stock that’s easily turned into a hearty soup; and around the holidays, there’s almost always chopped roasted turkey in the freezer to add to soups like this one.

This is a slightly heartier version of a classic chicken noodle soup; using barley instead of noodles boosts fibre and other nutrients, but you could swap regular egg noodles too. They’ll take less time to cook – about ten minutes. The addition of greens makes it even more nutrient-dense and rich in vitamin C – a good thing when you’re trying to beat the sniffles.

Chicken & Barley Soup with Greens

canola oil, for cooking
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3-4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped, or 1-2 cups leftover roast chicken, chopped
1 L chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup pearl or pot barley
1 sprig thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
a handful of fresh or frozen baby spinach or torn kale

In a large saucepan or small Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, carrot and celery for a few minutes, until soft; add the chicken and cook for a few minutes, until it turns opaque.

Add the stock, barley, thyme and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer; cook for 30 minutes, or until the barley is tender. Remove the sprig of thyme, season with salt and pepper as needed, and add a handful of baby spinach or torn kale to the pot and stir until it wilts. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Christmas in November

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We’re coming up on the last day of this year’s Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, and are sad to see it end! This year the three of us (Julie, Sue and Elizabeth) were invited to present together for the first time. I’ve been a presenter here for the past 14 (!!) years, and both Sue and Elizabeth have attended as guests, but this was the first time we were all together, chatting about food and demoing some Best of Bridge recipes to a crowd that’s mostly from Alberta, and who grew up eating and cooking from Best of Bridge.

CIN 2015It’s a gorgeous place, if you’ve never been – 200+ cabins including the main lodge, on a 700 acre property wrapping around the stunning Lac Beauvert. The charming village of cedar chalets are connected by picturesque paths, populated by friendly wildlife and the occasional and when a little snow falls, it’s even more picturesque.

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And of course, the guests are fantastic. We do sessions every day, along with seasoned presenters like Michael and Anna Olson and Elizabeth Baird and Emily Richards, along with new faces including Massimo Capra, Christine Cushing and Roger Mooking. We even had a kitchen party (or three), where Michael grilled a mountain of pork chops and Anna made a bacon-heavy Caesar salad and sticky toffee pudding.

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Of course the food is amazing, the champagne and cocktails always flowing, and the stone fireplaces always lit. We’ve become far too accustomed to cocktail hour by the fire – which is even more of a blast when we get to catch up with our food writer friends from Toronto, or meet and get to know guests who return from year to year.

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(Iconic food writer, past Canadian Living food editor and Order of Canada recipient – and all around amazing lady – Elizabeth Baird came up to congratulate Elizabeth on her new Best of Bridge gig, and it was the best moment of her life.)

CIN treats

We’ve learned plenty of great new recipes for the upcoming holiday season – and are heading home inspired! Keep an eye here and on our Facebook page and Instagram and Twitter feeds for some Christmas yumminess. ‘Tis the season!

– Julie

Easy Pot Roast With Rich Tomato Gravy

There’s no substitute for an old-fashioned pot roast. Its appetizing aromas, wafting through the house, are every bit as good as the meal itself. This easy-to make version using a slow cooker, features a can of tomato soup which creates a sumptuous gravy. Serve it with plenty of creamy mashed potatoes to soak up the sumptuous sauce. Imagine coming home after a long day at work to this comforting and perfect pot roast….bliss

Easy Pot Roast with Rich Tomato Gravy
SLOW COOKER RECIPE
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Ingredients
  1. 1 boneless beef pot roast, chuck, 1
  2. blade or cross rib (3 to 4 lbs/
  3. 1.5 to 2 kg)
  4. 1 tbsp vegetable oil 15 ml
  5. 2 onions, thinly sliced 2
  6. 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced 3
  7. 3 large carrots, cut into chunks 3
  8. 2 cloves garlic, minced 2
  9. 1 tsp dry mustard 5 ml
  10. 1⁄2 tsp dried thyme 2 ml
  11. 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 ml
  12. 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 30 ml
  13. 1 can (10 oz/284 ml) condensed 1
  14. tomato soup
  15. 1⁄2 cup Hearty Beef Stock (page 43) or 125 ml
  16. ready-to-use beef broth
  17. 2 tbsp packed brown sugar (optional) 30 ml
  18. 2 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar 30 ml
  19. (optional)
  20. 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 15 ml
Instructions
  1. Pat roast dry with paper towel. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add roast and cook, turning, until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large (minimum 5-quart) slow cooker. Reduce stovetop heat to medium. Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, mustard, thyme and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour and stir. Add tomato soup and broth and cook, stirring, until thickened. Pour mixture over roast, cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until meat is very tender. Remove roast from slow cooker and place on serving platter. Stir brown sugar (if using), vinegar (if using) and Worcestershire sauce into pan juices. Pour sauce over roast or serve in a separate sauceboat. Serve piping hot.
  2. Serves 6 to 8.
Notes
  1. Tip: There is no added salt in this recipe because the tomato soup is fairly high in sodium. Taste the sauce once it is assembled and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste
The Best of Bridge https://www.bestofbridge.com/

Apple Blondies With Brown Sugar Frosting

Both the frosting and the blondie are scrumptious. You’ll have a tough time deciding which you like best so why not have more of both?

Apple Blondies with Brown Sugar Frosting
Apple Blondies with Brown Sugar Frosting
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Ingredients
  1. Blondie
  2. 2⁄3 cup butter, softened 150 ml
  3. 2 cups packed brown sugar 500 ml
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract 5 ml
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour 500 ml
  7. 2 tsp baking powder 10 ml
  8. 1⁄4 tsp salt 1 ml
  9. 1 cup chopped peeled apples 250 ml
  10. 3⁄4 cup chopped walnuts 175 ml
  11. Brown Sugar Frosting
  12. 1⁄2 cup butter 125 ml
  13. 1 cup packed brown sugar 250 ml
  14. 1⁄4 cup milk or cream 60 ml
  15. 2 cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar, 500 ml sifted
Instructions
  1. Blondie: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
  2. Grease a 13- by 9-inch (33 by 23 cm) baking pan. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture on low speed, mixing until blended. Stir in apples and nuts, mixing well. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake until set and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  3. Brown Sugar Frosting: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring mixture just to a boil then remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Stir in confectioners’ sugar, mixing until smooth. Spread evenly over bar. Let stand until frosting is firm enough to cut. Cut into bars or squares.
Notes
  1. MAKES 20 TO 54 BARS OR SQUARES
  2. Tip: This frosting is very soft when first mixed, which makes it very nice to spread. It firms up on cooling.
  3. Tip: Choose apples that are crisp, tart and not too moist. Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Spartans are good choices for this recipe.
  4. Variation: Omit the frosting if you prefer a plain apple walnut blondie.
  5. Variation: If you’re not a fan of nuts, omit the walnuts.
The Best of Bridge https://www.bestofbridge.com/

Kale and Brussels Sprout Slaw

 

Kale and Brussels Sprout Slaw
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. Dressing
  2. 1⁄4 cup olive oil 60 ml
  3. 2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice 30 ml
  4. 2 TBSP cider vinegar 30 ml
  5. 1 TBSP grainy or Dijon mustard 15 ml
  6. 1 TBSP liquid honey 15 ml
  7. Salad
  8. 5 cups loosely packed kale 1.25 L
  9. 8 large Brussels sprouts ends trimmed
  10. 1 small apple diced
  11. 1⁄3 cup crumbled feta cheese 75 ml
  12. 1⁄3 cup chopped pecans, toasted 75 ml
  13. (see tip, below)
Instructions
  1. Dressing: In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and honey.
  2. Salad: Pull the kale leaves off the stalks and discard the stalks. Stack and thinly slice the leaves. Halve the Brussels sprouts lengthwise and thinly slice. In a large bowl, combine kale, Brussels sprouts, apple and feta. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with pecans.
Notes
  1. Tip: Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until pale golden and fragrant. Let cool before adding to your salad.
The Best of Bridge https://www.bestofbridge.com/

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

Tired of steamed cauliflower? Try roasting it!

Spiced Roasted Cauliflower
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Ingredients
  1. 1 head cauliflower 1
  2. 2 tbsp vegetable oil 30 ml
  3. 2 tsp chili powder 10 ml
  4. 1 tsp ground cumin 5 ml
  5. 1⁄2 tsp salt 2 ml
  6. 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 ml
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Separate cauliflower into florets. Toss with oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and golden.
  2. Serves 4 to 6.
The Best of Bridge https://www.bestofbridge.com/