While in Ketchum, Idaho for a little skiing we would from time to time check out the town. We happened onto a restaurant called The Moose Girls Cafe and decided to have lunch. The restaurant was packed, but we were eventually seated. After being seated we noticed, and enjoyed looking at, the wonderful paintings on the walls done by a local artist. And then our waitress appeared. In a funny outgoing way she advised us that this was her third 14 hour day and she could be a little forgetful. We examined the menu and everything looked good. I settled on the Tuscan White Bean and Chicken soup. The soup was absolutely tremendous. We roundtabled what we thought the ingredients might be, and the following recipe is pretty close in appearance and taste.
I do not know how hard the Moose Girls recipe is to make, but I can tell you that my Easy White Bean and Chicken version is easy and will produce a great main dish or starter.
1/2 chicken breast – boneless and skinless
2 – 15oz cans of cannellini beans
1 – 14.5 oz can low sodium chicken broth
3 slices bacon
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp anise seed
1/2 onion diced
1 1/2 celery stock
1/8 C Madeira
3 cloves garlic – smashed
1/2 tsp fresh flat parsley – minced
1 bay leaf
In a large pot bring water to boil, add chicken, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to maintain low boil, and proceeding with the next steps.
In a fry pan cook the bacon making certain to remove it while it is still tender. In the bacon grease saute’ the onion and celery. Add the garlic and the Madeira, simmer briefly and remove from fry pan.
Check the chicken to see if it is cooked (poke it to see if any blood comes out) and if done remove it from the water. Continue boiling the water until it is reduced to a couple inches, and then add the can of chicken broth. Bring to a strong simmer.
Strain out the packing water from one can of beans, adding only the beans to the broth and smash the beans or use a small hand held mixer to break the beans down. Next add the vegetables. Finally add the thyme and anise and simmer the soup.
Cut or tear the chicken into small bite size pieces and add it to the soup. Chop the bacon into small pieces and add it to soup. Cook soup at high simmer for five minutes.
Drain out the packing water from the second can of beans and add beans to the soup (do not smash second can of beans) continue cooking at high simmer until beans are tender. Just prior to serving add the flat leaf parsley.
And just like that you have made a wonderful home made soup that your family or friends will love!
If you ski, you know this year the snow did not arrive at most resorts in time for Christmas. The larger resorts were blowing snow 24/7 to get as much of the mountain open as possible. But, as Christmas, and our first ever family Christmas vacation approached, it looked like our big ski trip would be more sight seeing than ski oriented.
We flew into Boise, and drove the 140 miles or so to Ketchum, read that as Sun Valley. If you have never been to Sun Valley you need to understand that other than a learning area and board park, the ski mountain is in the adjacent town of Ketchum.
We could see some skiers on the Mountain, but the snow was minimal in the city. Since there was no hurry to catch first tracks, or any tracks for that matter, we decided to sightsee the first full day.
That night we hit the computer and TV to get every weather report we could find. The reports were mixed. But it was in our best interest to believe the report that said it would snow for three days, and could bring 15 to 20 inches of snow. And…..just like the movie White Christmas the snow came. The first day the snow turned hard ice runs into much more pleasant runs. And by the third day we were actually skiing un-tracked powder. The best part for us was the mountain was nowhere near capacity, so we could largely ski right up to the lift and go to the top time after time.
We had lucked out, and our trip was perfect. On New Years Day, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I went for our power walk in the morning and caught a wonderful view of para-sails drifting over Bald Mountain. Very nice way to start the near year!
Good Eating and Table Talk,
© Copyright 2012 – Reproduction of the contents of this website without permission, in whole or in part is strictly prohibited