By Kevin Williams
This is the time of year when woodstoves in Amish kitchens stay on longer, the summer kitchens are shut down, and foods reflect the seasonal rhythms: thick soups and chowders begin to show up on menus on the blustery,gray November days….there are apple salads and hot sandwiches, all foods designed for one purpose: comfort. The season is turning in most areas where the Amish live, sunny days are turning to slate gray and cold. Change, even natural, predictable change like the turning seasons are jarring and food provides a comfortable talisman to get through the changes.
Reader Karen shared this easy, delicious soup recipe with me that I thought I’d share, it definitely fits into the comforting category!
Amish Cream of Chicken Soup
Serves 4 hungry (or 6 polite) people
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch dice (Hint: chicken is much easier to cut if partially frozen)
2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes, or two teaspoons granules
In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes. While the chicken mixture is cooking, prepare basic white sauce:
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (may use white pepper if desired)
Melt butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir in the flour, then gradually add half of the milk, stirring or whisking rapidly to remove all lumps. Add remainder of milk, and the salt and pepper. Cook uncovered over medium heat until very hot (do not boil), stirring frequently. When milk is hot, carefully add hot chicken, onion, and celery mixture, including all liquid. Stir well to combine and simmer 15 minutes more. Serve with a salad and French or Italian bread for a hearty meal.
Adapted from “Amish Cooking”, compiled by a committee of Amish women, 1980
MENNONITE EASY POTATO-CHEDDAR CHOWDER
2 cups water
2 cups diced potatoes
1 /2 cup diced carrots
1 /2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 /4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Boil 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile make white sauce (below). Stir white sauce into undrained vegetable mixture. Heat throughout. Makes 6 servings.
1 /4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup cubed ham or fried bacon crumbles
In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and stir until smooth (about 1 minute) Slowly add milk while stirring. Cook until thickened. Add grated cheese and stir until melted. Toss in ham.
Other comforting autumn recipes:
HOMEMADE APPLE FRITTERS
2 cups apple slices
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 /2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, beaten
oil for frying
Combine all ingredients, except apples and stir until smooth. Stir apple slices into batter and drop pieces into hot oil (350 degrees) in a deep skillet. Fry until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Sift powdered sugar over top and serve warm.