If your New Years Eve plan includes throwing a party, why not have a soup bar? Prepare a pot or two, provide a range of accessories, and invite your guests to get creative.
Karen Lamberton has relaunched her annual Christmas gift exchange after a year-long hiatus. From yummy / malicious gag gifts to tantalizing bowls of his famous tortilla soup, it was a great night out.
She gladly shared her recipe with her typical: “Oh, that’s easy. I just put it together and let it cook. It’s simple and his version of this former favorite is a winner.
“A little of this, a little of that and it’s ready,” she said, then gave me her recipe in a way I love. With a few exceptions, it’s to taste – my favorite amounts. Tailor it to your palate and that of your guests, and no one will go hungry.
Also on my list for New Years Eve buffet soups is a somewhat spicy butternut squash that my son-in-law Robert Pearigen recently whipped up – another dish that can easily slip into your soup buffet. Thick slices of English muffin bread (his daughter Wendy’s “Wooden Spoon” recipe from February 4) are the perfect accompaniment.
Finally, if you’re planning a party with bubbles, here’s a tip:
Opening a well-corked bottle of champagne or sparkling wine will make it easier for you. Remove the foil and wire, grab the cap or plug it in firmly with one hand, and twist the bottle with the other. This method is easier and less messy than trying to twist and remove a cork or force it with your thumb. Celebration toasts just got simpler, and you’ll look like a pro.
By the way, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy (and healthy) 2022. Both will be here before we know it.
Now put on the soup pot, heat up your slow cooker, sit back and enjoy your own party.
First up, here’s Karen’s soup recipe. As stated, the amounts are up to you; Karen’s pot served just under 20 hungry diners with very little to spare. Starters, wine and dessert came from the attendees, and the evening was full of food, friends and fun.
1 or 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs
2 cans (32 ounces) low salt chicken broth
1 can (10 ounces) Rotel diced tomatoes and green peppers
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans (vegetarian)
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, place it in a pot with the onions, garlic, chicken broth and Rotel. Mix well and cook until the chicken is tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lime juice, broth and cumin. Add refried beans, stir to combine. Transfer to a slow cooker to serve with any or all of the following foods: cilantro, tortilla chips (Karen served multi-colored chips), grated Mexican cheese mixture, chopped avocado, sour cream, minced raw onions, etc.
“I often make homemade corn muffins,” she said, and added with a chuckle, “but not this time.”
ROBERT’S BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
2 medium butternut squash
2 tablespoons of avocado oil
1 can (14 ounces) light coconut milk
2 pinches salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can (32 ounces) vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
Peel, seed and cut the squash into pieces. Using a large saucepan, brown the garlic and onions in the oil. Cook until tender. Add the squash with half the curry and cinnamon. Cook until the squash softens. Mix, taste and add more seasonings if necessary. Stir in half the coconut milk, maple syrup and broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender or regular blender to achieve the desired consistency. Add more broth and coconut milk if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, optional.
NOTE: Both soups can be made the night before, refrigerated and reheated in a slow cooker.
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Family, new friends, great food, kids, fun and games, our afternoon had it all. And it ended with the prospect of a new recipe or two.