What a wonderful time it is for fantastic passion-filled cookbooks! So many incredible, drool-worthy books on the shelves right now, it is such a great time for us food lovers! I can tell you, this self-proclaimed cookbook junkie is in heaven, currently. You should see the many packages and envelopes that have been showing up here over the last month or two, each one filled with another stunning book that is exuding the incredible passion of the dedicated creator.
Today, I am excited to bring you another book that I have been highly anticipating. The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table recipes for the Traditional Food Lifestyle, from the ever so talented, Jenny McGruther, is a book that I have been waiting to have in my very own kitchen, since the minute I heard that it was in production. I have followed Jenny’s blog, The Nourished Kitchen for many years now and she has always been an inspiration to me, how I cook and how I eat. Jenny’s blog was one of the first I found when I initially changed my diet.
For me, there is nothing more inspiring than flipping through the pages of a cookbook that I know was created with much love and passion. Regardless of the content of a cookbook, there is something so special about the ones where you can feel the author’s devotion to their craft and the immense amount of love and care that they put into every single dish that they created to share with us, the readers. The Nourished Kitchen is a fine example of this. Jenny’s words illustrate the profound love and joy she has for cooking and with each paragraph I read, I get more excited to get into my kitchen to start creating something beautiful. Although Jenny and this cookbook are not exclusively gluten-free, she and I share so many very similar views on food and eating. As the Jenny puts it:
“a fad-free approach to cooking and eating that emphasizes nutrient-dense, real food, and values quality environment, and community over the convenience of processed, additive-laden products that are the norm on grocery store shelves”
I couldn’t have said it better myself, really. For those of you that have followed Tasty Yummies over the 4 years I have been writing it, you know that I have chosen to not put any labels on my diet. Besides eating gluten-free, I choose to focus my efforts on a real food diet rich in nourishing whole foods that feed both my body and my soul. I eat intuitively, always listening to my body and feeding it with fresh, unprocessed, seasonal and whenever possible, local foods that are not just delicious and good for me, but that also fills me with happiness and joy.
You also probably know that despite my mostly plant-based diet, I do consume some meat. I consider myself a conscientious omnivore who prefers to only eat meat and other animal products, when I am given the opportunity to purchase it locally, from a farmer whom I can trust. This is something that has become increasingly more difficult for me, since we’ve moved to California last year. The cost of raising livestock on pasture and sustainably seems to considerably more expensive here, than it obviously is in New York. So, I have to say, I am very envious of Jenny’s amazing resources, living in the central mountains of Colorado.
With each recipe and every section in this beautiful book, you can see the incredible advantages of Jenny’s location, which provides her access to amazing traditional foods throughout the year. The Nourished Kitchen contains more than 160 recipes, inspired by the seasons, land and waters around her. Whether you are gluten-free or dairy-free, or you have other restrictions on your diet, there are still plenty of recipes in this cookbook for you and the best part is, because of the simple and traditional preparations and the approachable ingredients (many of which you can grow in your very own garden) – many of the recipes are easily adaptable to fit your own way of eating.
With over 160 whole foods recipes with emphasis on grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, heirloom vegetables, healthy fats, fermented foods, properly prepared grains and beans, raw dairy and naturally fermented foods – this cookbook really has it all. Plus, besides all that goodness, The Nourished Kitchen is also a cookbook of place and philosophy, providing information on how to source foods, and how to build connections in your community to foster a vibrant foodshed. It’s about connecting with farmers, or growing your own, and bringing that connection back to the plat through wholesome recipes, beautiful photographs and a culinary traditions from the past. You can read even more about this beautiful book, here.
Today, I am sharing one of my favorite recipes from the book, a dish that immediately jumped out at me from the pages as I was thumbing through when it first showed up. I made this incredible soup a few nights ago and I was blown away at the incredible layers of flavor and how simple it was to prepare. Below, along with the original recipe for this Potato and Spinach Soup with Jalapeño, you will find Jenny’s words from the book introducing the recipes and my thoughts, as well. I found, since this book and more specifically this recipe, celebrates cooking with what you have access to – that I could make a few simple changes with what I had in my pantry and from my garden and it was still an absolutely perfect recipe.
Additionally, below the recipes – I am giving away a copy of The Nourished Kitchen, to one lucky winner, so be sure to enter at the bottom of this post, for your chance to win!
[print_this]Potato and Spinach Soup with Jalapeño
What Jenny Says:
This soup came together by accident, a sort of desperate effort to throw lunch together out of a nearly empty pantry and refrigerator. Not wanting to pick up my market basket and walk through the snow to the little health food store a few blocks away, I simply threw a few things together in the pot and hoped for the best. The result was a lovely pale green soup with a kick of jalapeño that softened under the soothing texture of pureed potatoes.
What Beth Says:
It was hard to choose just one recipe from The Nourished Kitchen to make and feature here on the site, but this soup really jumped out at me, for a variety of reasons. First off, the color is just beautiful, that gorgeous green hue is so unique and just screamed “spring” to me. Secondly, I basically had everything I needed for this recipe already in my kitchen. I did make a few minor adjustments (which you can read about in my notes at the bottom) with what I had on hand from my own garden, but this seemed especially fitting for this recipe and this book that celebrates .
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter*
- 4 ounces bacon, finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped*
- 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 8 cups Chicken Bone Broth (see below)*
- 8 ounces spinach, tough stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
- Finely ground unrefined sea salt
- Optional: Sour cream, to serve
Melt the butter in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Toss in the chopped bacon and allow it to render its fat and become crisp, about 6 minutes. Stir in the onion and fry it until it softens and releases its fragrance, about 3 minutes. Stir in the jalapeño and continue frying for 1 to 2 minutes, until the chile is fragrant.
Toss the potatoes into the pot and pour in the broth. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes fall apart when pressed with the tines of a fork. Stir in the spinach, cover the pot once more, and turn off the heat. Let stand until the spinach wilts in the heat of the soup, about 8 minutes.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender* until perfectly smooth, with no lumps remaining. Season with salt and serve the soup, topping each bowl with a spoonful of sour cream.
***Beth’s Notes: I happened to have a bunch of beautiful leeks on hand that I had just pulled from our garden, so I swapped those in for the red onion and they were perfect! The leeks matched the flavor profile of this soup, perfectly. I also had just finished off the last of my own homemade chicken bone broth, so I had to use a homemade vegetable broth and it was amazing. We aren’t sour cream eaters over here so we left that off, but I am sure it would be an amazing way to complete this soup.
I don’t have an immersion blender so I pureed this soup in batches in my blender. Be sure not to blend too much soup at once and put a towel over the lid when you are blending so the hot soup doesn’t explode out.
Vegans/Vegetarians: you could easily swap your favorite olive oil for the butter, use vegetable broth as I did and leave out the bacon and I guarantee this would still be insanely amazing. [/print_this]
[print_this]Chicken Bone Broth
Makes about 4 quarts
What Jenny Says:
I slow-roast a chicken every Sunday for my family, and I always reserve the chicken’s spent carcass to make a simple savory broth that will nourish us throughout the week. Simmered in water and wine with fragrant herbs, the chicken carcass releases the flavor of its bones and marrow into the pot, and the minerals of its bones dissolve into the smooth yellow liquid. With prolonged cooking, the bones will break away and crumble when pressed between your thumb and forefinger, and then you know the broth is finished, for the bones yielded everything they could.
A good broth will solidify and gel when chilled because the prolonged simmering in water made slightly acidic by wine helps to release amino acids and collagen from cartilage-rich joints. This gelatin-rich broth aids with digestion while also yielding beautiful body to any soups or sauces made from the broth. I often drink broth in the morning with a clove of minced garlic and a bit of parsley and sea salt.
What Beth Says:
I almost always have my own homemade chicken bone broth on hand in the fridge or in the freezer, made from the whole chickens we get from our farmer. Sadly, I just finished the last of my homemade broth from the freezer when we both were fighting colds last week, so I had to use a homemade vegetable broth, that I had on hand, instead. This soup was incredible with the veggie stock, so I can only imagine how great it would be with this homemade chicken bone stock.
- Carcass of 1 roasted chicken
- 2 yellow onions, 1 chopped and 1 quartered
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 6 to 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 4 to 6 quarts cold water, plus more as needed
Combine the chicken carcass, onions, celery, carrots, peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves in a large, heavy stockpot. Pour in the wine, then cover the chicken and vegetables with the cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 12 to 14 hours, adding water as necessary to keep the bones submerged. From time to time, skim away any scum that might rise to the surface. The foamy scum isn’t harmful, but it can leave the broth with a very faintly acrid or dirty flavor.
Strain the broth, discarding the solids, then pour it into jars, cover, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months. As the broth cools, a bit of fat might float to the surface and then harden with chilling. You can scrape it away and discard it, or use it as you would any other cooking fat. [/print_this]
Recipes reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen written and photographed by Jennifer McGruther (Ten Speed Press, © 2014).
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