SOUP OF THE EVENING, BEAUTIFUL SOUP


HOT CUCUMBER SOUP

According to  the weather forecast,  the meteorological treats the skies have in store for the Mid-Atlantic region are rain, sleet and snow–in other words, brr weather. This calls for  for extraordinary measures, namely, hearty meals that will neither  wreck the household  budget nor  add pounds to the householder’s figure. Hot cucumber soup made with whole milk, cucumbers, potatoes, peas, queso blanco and mozzarella is  a spin off of a Brazilian dish. The original calls for West Indian gherkins and fresh pinto beans, both unavailable at local supermarkets.

HOT CUCUMBER SOUP
Serves four

FOR THE ROUX
One tablespoon butter
One tablespoon flour
Half a cup Half and Half
FOR THE SOUP

Two cups whole milk
One teaspoon salt
One large potato, peeled and cubed
One cup fresh or frozen peas
Two pickling cucumbers, peeled and cubed
Two ounces quesso blanco, cubed
Two ounces mozzarella, cubed
Freshly grated black pepper to taste
Half a cup cilantro minced
One  tablespoon chives, minced

Make roux. Place milk and salt in soup pot  and bring mix to a boil. Add potatoes. Simmer for ten minutes. Add peas and simmer until brely cooked–approximately three minutes. Add cucumbers, cheese  and roux. Turn of heat and allow soup to rest for ten minutes. Add pepper, cilantro and chives. Serve with toasted sesame batard slices.

ALMOST BRAZILIAN BEEF AND NOODLE SOUP

In Brazil, beef soup sometimes is made with leftovers from the large midday meal–beef, rice, potatoes and noodles.  Made from scratch, it begins with cubed beef, shallots, garlic, black pepper, green peppers, and tomatoes. Although these ingredients are fairly constant, there is no fixed recipe since many Brazilians prefer to whatever is in season.  My  version uses  uses lean ground beef, onions, garlic carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and noodles as well as a spice that is not part of the Brazilian culinary vernacular–smoked Spanish paprika.

ALMOST BRAZILIAN BEEF AND NOODLE SOUP
Serves six

 FOR THE SOUP
Six carrots, diced
Two onions, minced
Three cloves garlic
Two  tablespoons olive oil
Half a cup minced cilantro
THE VEGGIE MIX
Heat olive oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until transparent. Add carrots. Cook for three minutes.
FOR THE MEATBALLS
Two slices bread soaked in water
One pound lean ground beef

One egg
Two teaspoons salt
Two onions, minced
Three cloves of garlic, minced
Half a cup cilantro, minced
Four cups beef broth seasoned with one teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
Two  cups sliced mushrooms
Two potatoes, diced
 Mix all the ingredients and use a melon baller to shape into small meatballs.  Cook the meatballs in beef broth for ten minutes. add potatoes and cook until tender. Add noodles and cook for five minutes.  Add carrot and onion mix and simmer until noodles are al dente.. Add mushrooms and turn off heat. Wait  five minutes before adding cilantro.
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