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Soup and Tosi's Chili

Soup and Tosi's Chili

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January is Soup Month and this January soup seems more than appropriate. To celebrate soup and the end of January, below are some great recipes to take the chill off.

Oh and speaking of chill, er..chili, my daughter Nia and I stopped at Caffe Tosi’s in downtown St. Joseph last week for her favorite lunch of the Georgia Reuben and minestrone. While we were waiting for our food, I went back to look at their take-out section and saw brightly colored rubber wristbands which read “Remembering Kelly Kuball.”

Kelly was the chef at Caffe Tosi’s forever as well as the fiancé of Anne Reitz, the owner of the caffe. Kelly was a really nice guy and when I heard that he had died unexpectedly last year, I was very sad. Now in order to make something good out of something horrible, Anne has started a culinary scholarship in his name and the wristbands, which cost a $1, are one way of contributing.

But Anne, who has always been a go-getter, isn’t stopping there. She sent me an email saying the winning team of the St Joseph High School chili cook off held at LMC College earlier this year will be making and serving their chili at her restaurant during this year’s 2nd Annual Downtown St. Joseph Chili Tour, Friday, January 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. The team name is, fittingly enough, Baby it's Chili Outside, and members are Andrea Summers, Sarah Hartwell, Taylor Randall and Tara Randall.

“My kids and I have created a Spread the Love Fund at the Berrien Community Foundation in Kelly's name with the purpose of the fund being that we will sprinkle Kelly's love throughout our community for causes that Kelly felt strongly about or things that were dear to Kelly's heart,” she said. “We want the fund to be a tribute to Kelly and a constant reminder to others of the many great things that Kelly stood for. Anyone coming in to taste our team's chili receives a gift from the Kelly Kuball Spread the Love Fund.”

Cheddar and Guinness Soup with Bacon and Croutons

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

½ cup unsalted butter

½ yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 ribs celery, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup Guinness beer or another stout, plus more for drinking

6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp

2 cups Garlic Croutons (see recipe below)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, taking great care not to let it burn. Add the butter and when it melts, stir in the onion and celery and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stir well, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the beer and bring to a simmer. Scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the stock, cream, and dry mustard and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to insure a smooth soup. When the soup is smooth and simmering steadily, whisk in the cheese until melted. Stir in the Worcestershire.

Ladle the soup into 4 soup bowls and garnish with the bacon and croutons. Serve with cold Guinness.

Garlic Croutons

Makes about 4 cups

1½ cups olive oil

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese

½ clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Leaves from 6-inch sprig rosemary, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½-pound loaf focaccia or any crusty bread, cut into ½-inch cubes

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the olive oil, Parmesan, and garlic. Add the thyme and rosemary and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the bread cubes and toss gently to coat. Spread the bread cubes in a baking dish, leaving a little space between the cubes. Bake, stirring several times to insure even browning, for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Transfer the croutons to a cool plate or pan and let cool to room temperature. Store in a tightly lidded container at room.

From Steak with Friends: At Home with Rick Tramonto (Andrews McMeel Publishing; $35)

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Grilled Shrimp

8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

4 cups chopped roasted red peppers

1 cup low-fat milk

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat a stovetop grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Combine the shrimp and olive oil in a large bowl and toss to coat the shrimp with the oil. Season the shrimp with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the shrimp on the hot pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until opaque and cooked through. Combine the broth and red peppers in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, decrease the heat to medium, and stir in the milk. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the grilled shrimp and basil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper before serving.

From Robin Takes 5: 500 Recipes, 5 Ingredients or Less, 500 Calories or Less, for 5 Nights/Week at 5:00 PM (Andrews McMeel Publishing; $29.99)


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