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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Updated-Tuscan Soup With Parmesan Croutons

Tuscan Soup With Parrmesan Croutons

Tuscan Soup (1)

This soup is one you’ll have to try, it’s my Updated-Tuscan Soup With Homemade Croutons. The heavy cream adds a silkiness to the soup.

Filled with chicken sausage, potatoes, and kale, and topped with homemade croutons. I decided to make a lighter version, instead of pork sausage, I’m using chicken sausage here but, turkey sausage would be just as delicious.

Let’s start with the potatoes.

The one thing I do in advance of making the soup is to par-boil the potatoes. This will remove the starch from the potatoes giving you a clear broth, not one that’s cloudy.

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Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, large mixing bowl, 6-quart stockpot

Ingredients:
1 16-ounce bag kale, pre-washed chopped
6 large red potatoes, sliced thin, then cut into half-moons (as seen above)
1 1/2 pounds chicken sausage (substitute pork or turkey), casings removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package of thawed frozen yellow corn
1 yellow onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2-quarts unsalted chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Prepare the Potatoes:
In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the sliced potatoes. Par-boil sliced potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well, transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking prep all the veggies.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven, over medium heat, add olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and fresh rosemary, cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add diced onions and diced red bell peppers, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook and continue stirring for another 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.

To the pot, add the chicken sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage. Next, add the dried thyme. Cook sausage until brown, about 15 minutes. Chicken sausage is lean so there is no fat to drain.

Still, on medium heat, add the pre-washed chopped Kale in batches. Once the first batch goes into the pot, stir and combine until wilted. Add the second batch and repeat. Add the sliced potatoes, unsalted chicken broth, and corn. Stir all the ingredients together. Cook for 10 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low, add the heavy cream, stir and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Cover to keep hot.

Click the link below for my recipe for Homemade Ciabatta Croutons.

Serve hot.

 

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

 

Zuppa Toscana

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Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta

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Here in Florida, we have a popular restaurant/bar that serves Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta. Every time we go that’s what I order. I just love it so much I needed to recreate it at home. I will say that there’s a good bit of butter that goes into making this dish, but that’s part of the reason it’s so delicious. I think once and a while it’s alright to indulge in a rich and decadent dish!

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Chicken Broth

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diced roma tomatoes

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: cast iron skillet and a deep-sided frying pan, 6-quart saucepot, whisk, large mixing bowl. 1-gallon zip-lock plastic bag

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 pounds (1 1/2 boxes) of linguine
1 pint of white button mushrooms, sliced
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 shallot, finely minced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup of dry white wine
6 tablespoons of olive oil
8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 cup of chicken broth, unsalted
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for garnishing each serving)
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:

Place 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, that’s been patted dry, in a large resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika. Let all the air out of the bag and seal it up. Using your hands, massage the chicken so all the seasoning coats the chicken. Set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet over medium melt 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil. Add the minced shallot, sliced mushrooms, and dried thyme. Cook the mushrooms and shallots for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the mushrooms have released all their water and become brown. Next, add the minced garlic, stirring, continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated. This process should take another 7 to 10 minutes. While the mushrooms are simmering seed and dice 4 plum tomatoes. Transfer the diced tomatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add the sautéed mushrooms and shallot mixture and fresh thyme leaves to the same bowl, mix to combine.

Using the same skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons each of butter olive oil. Let the butter melt moving the butter and oil around in the skillet to coat the entire bottom. Next, place the 4 seasoned chicken breast into the skillet. Cook the chicken breasts for 5 to 7 minutes per side until almost tender. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate. Set aside.

Have a large pot of boiling salted water ready for the pasta. While that’s happening, thinly slice the chicken breasts on the bias. Transfer back to the plate.

In a deep-sided frying pan with a lid, start the sauce. On medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter (this may seem like a large amount of butter, but there is a lot of pasta and it needs to be coated really well with butter) along with 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning and 1 tablespoon sweet paprika. Add 1/2 a cup of unsalted chicken broth. Let this come to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in 1/4 cup of heavy cream, whisk to combine. Add the sliced chicken into the sauce. Over medium-low heat simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Drop the pasta and cook until just al dente.

Once the pasta reaches the al dente stage, using a pair of tongs, transfer the linguine to the deep-sided frying pan with 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Turn the heat off and toss together until all the pasta is coated and the chicken is mixed through. The pasta will quickly absorb the sauce.

Serve my Homemade Cajun Chicken Pasta in a porcelain pasta bowl. Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley and another sprinkling of the Parmesan cheese. If the dish is not being served immediately cover with a lid.

 

 

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Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin

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This dish comes to me from a recipe I saw on a cooking show, Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin. I do love pork of any kind, but this particular cut is perfect to stuff and with endless choices of ingredients you can use. Two reasons I say this, one, is because of the finished dish and how delicious it is, and two, and even better is, it can be made ahead of time. I’m making a few changes of my own and I’ll tell you about those in a minute. Let me start with the filling that’s going to go into the center of my pork loin.

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If there is extra filling and you’re not sure how to prepare the fennel and onion mixture that’s leftover. Place the extra filling in a small oven-safe baking dish. Top with a little more of the Panko and grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and bake at 375-degrees F. for 20 minutes. Place the leftover filling in the oven during the final 20 minutes of cooking time for the stuffed pork loin.

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Now when I went to my grocery store and found this beautiful cut of pork loin, I spoke to the butcher at my local grocery store and had him/her butterfly this one for me. Of course, you can do this yourself but why? If the butcher will do it for you then I say go right ahead! 

I also made some cheesy, buttery French bread to go alongside. Everyone loves bread!

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Prep Time: 20
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yields 4 servings:
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans aluminum foil, 12-inch sauté pan, 3-quart sauce pot, mixing bowl

Ingredients For Filling:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Pernod (substitute white wine)

Ingredients:
3 to 4-pound pork loin,, butterflied
1 red onion, quartered
2 to 4 large red potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth
butcher’s twine
3 tablespoons of Kosher salt (1 for the inside of the pork and 1 for the outside, 1 for potatoes)
3 teaspoons of fresh ground black pepper (1 for the inside of the pork and 1 for the outside, 1 for potatoes)
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Ingredients For Gravy:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of flour
3 cups of unsalted chicken broth
2 dashes of  Kitchen Bouquet browning seasoning sauce (this just gives a bit more flavor and a darker brown color to the gravy)
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients For Bread:
1 loaf of French baguette bread
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons of dried parsley flakes
1 large piece of foil

Directions For Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin:
Preheat oven to 425 -degrees F.
For the stuffing, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a large sautépan. Add the onions and fennel with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the onions and fennel are tender and lightly browned add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and thyme and cook for 1 minute more. Add the Pernod to deglaze the pan, by using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before adding the binder.

Once the fennel and onion mixture has cooled add the breadcrumbs, stir to combine.  Lay the pork on a board fat side down, sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Spread the stuffing evenly on the pork and roll up lengthwise, ending with the fat on top of the roll. Tie the pork loin up using 5 pieces of kitchen twine, rub with olive oil and sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper all over the outside of the pork loin.

Now at this point, you can put the stuffed pork loin in the frig wrapped really well in plastic wrap the night before or even 2 days before. You don’t want season the outside of the pork loin until it’s ready to go into the oven. The onions and potatoes are only to be prepped right before they’re ready for the oven.

On a rimmed baking sheet, lay out the quartered potatoes and onions in one even layer. Add the olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to coat. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the sheet pan to prevent the potatoes from burning or sticking. This liquid will eventually evaporate during the cooking process.

Place the rolled pork loin on top of the potatoes. Roast at 425-degrees F. for 30 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350-degrees F. and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 137-degrees F. Note: If the thermometer hits the stuffing it will read at a higher temperature, test the meat in a few different places. Remove from the oven, cover tightly with foil.

Turn the oven up to 450 degrees F. Once preheated, return the potatoes to the oven for another 20 minutes while the pork is resting. The onions will be sweet and tender, and potatoes will be golden brown on the outside and fork tender on the inside. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Allow the pork loin to rest for 20 minutes.

I like to serve this dish family style with the Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin and my roasted potatoes on a large platter then drizzled with light brown gravy.

Directions For Bread:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
In a mixing bowl add the butter, mayonnaise, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Kosher salt, and black pepper, mix to combine. Slice the French bread in half then again lengthwise. Slather the butter mixture on both halves of the bread. Place the tops on, wrap tightly in foil. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and slice. Serve hot.

Direction For Gravy:
In a saucepot over medium heat melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until the raw flour is cooked, paste-like, and golden blonde in color about 2-3 minutes. Add unsalted chicken broth, Kitchen Bouquet, dried thyme, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Switch to a wooden spoon, adjust the heat to medium-high, bring up to a boil stirring continuously until gravy thickens. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes.

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