Native Cooking

Dale Carson
10/27/04

Someone once said: "The more things change, the more they remain the same."
It is so true, isn't it? Changes are mostly subtle, yet some are
spectacular, like the brilliant fall foliage here in the Northeast. In the
Southwest many pueblo traditions are renewed with feasts and ceremonies.
Harvest and storing food festivals across the Great Plains and into the
Northwest are enjoyed this season. People everywhere are coming together to
help one another celebrate autumn as we have since time began.

Being a busy time of year, the outside chores and other commitments
subtract from a quieter time in history when contemplating the nighttime
sky was a regular delight. Days are getting shorter and a slight chill in
the air is invigorating. Modern life is too urgent, dumb errands, speeding
crazy people with cell phones pressed to their heads. I'm sure you know
what I'm talking about. Whether you open a can, use a crock-pot or stir it
all day in an outside iron or clay pot, soup is definitely a satisfying
meal for this time of the year. Add some crusty bread, a salad, good
company and life is good!

A Hearty Southwest Chicken Soup

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped

2 32-oz. cans chicken broth

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can corn kernels

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoonsalt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Saute onion and pepper in oil and transfer to a soup pot. Put in the
chicken broth, chicken, beans, tomatoes, corn, salt, pepper and cumin.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Spoon
into bowls and garnish, with thin lime slices, tortilla chips, sour cream
and/or cilantro sprigs.

Memorable Onion Soup

6 onions, yellow or sweet, sliced thin

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry

6 cups beef stock

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

4 slices crusty bread, toasted

2 cups Cheddar, Swiss or mozzarella cheese

Use a deep heavy pot. Put the oil and butter in the pot and saute the
onions for about 15 minutes until tender and caramel color. Add the thyme,
sage and sherry. Deglaze the pot and add the stock. Bring to a boil for a
minute. Ladle soup into deep bowls or crocks topped with toasted bread, add
cheese. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn oven up to broil and
move bowls, carefully, under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the
cheese bubbles up.

Butternut & Bean Stew

2 medium onions, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (or substitute)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth, regular or low sodium

3 cups butternut, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 19-oz. can Great Northern white beans, drained

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, not drained

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Saute the onions in the olive oil until transparent. Transfer to a heavy
stock pot or Dutch oven and add all the other ingredients. Cook on medium
heat for about 20 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour and a
half.

Note: You can also put all ingredients in a crock-pot on low for 2 - 3
hours.

Sweet'tart, Sweet'tart Pudding

2 cups of fresh raw cranberries

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1-1/2 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together.
Slowly add the milk, flour and baking powder. Fold in the cranberries and
put all in a greased and floured baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve
with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream.

Notes & Tips

Wild rice makes a great addition to any clear broth or thick and meaty
soup. The flavor is rich and nutty.

Fresh cranberries are abundant at the market now. Their prices are at the
lowest, so buy an extra package or two and freeze. They are one of the few
fruits that freeze beautifully.

Cranberries are also known as bounceberry, atoca, bearberry and craneberry.
They are recognized by the health community as an aid in the relief of
bladder infections.

Sometimes a light bulb breaks off in its socket. Unplug it immediately. Get
a bar of soap and push it into the jagged edges and turn counterclockwise.

Got muddy shoes? Let them dry then brush in downward strokes, not circular.
If there is still mud left, use a bar of soap and a soft cloth. That should
do it.

And, last but not least, a truly happy person is one who can enjoy the
scenery on a detour.

I want to thank all of you who have sent in suggestions and ideas to
NativeCooking@aol.com. I am always learning things. Please let me know what
YOU want to see for recipes in this column.

Dale Carson is the author of three books, "New Native American Cooking,"
(temporarily out of print) "Native New England Cooking" and "A Dreamcatcher
Book."

For ordering information write to Dale Carson, P.O. Box 13, Madison, CT
06443 or e-mail NativeCooking@aol.com.

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