Soups and stews are in season

Outside the window of the Blue Heron Trading Company last Thursday, rain was pouring down and a chill was in the air. The smell of the fall cooking class "Warm Kitchen Soups and Stews" lingered in the Canal Park business. To sooth the fall chill,...

Outside the window of the Blue Heron Trading Company last Thursday, rain was pouring down and a chill was in the air.

The smell of the fall cooking class "Warm Kitchen Soups and Stews" lingered in the Canal Park business.

To sooth the fall chill, a hot cup of soup or stew may take someone away from the Northland's sporadic weather.

"(A soup or stew) is like a baked potato," said Kay Turk, an instructor for the Blue Heron cooking classes. "It's a canvas."

Turk, who was once a personal chef, said soup and stew recipes are never set in stone. People should make them the way they want.


"I hate following directions," Turk said.

Another important part of cooking soups and stews utilized by Turk was the food processor.

Turk said she received a food processor as a gift 26 years ago for her wedding. Since opening that present, she has become an addict.

"If they ever stopped making (food processors), I wouldn't be able to cook," said Turk, also a registered nurse.

Many of the soups and stews that she prepares are based on her ethnic style of cooking. One example of this is her use of quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).

Quinoa is a type of grain, used by the ancient Incas, that has more protein than any other type of grain, according to Food Network's online encyclopedia.

"It is the only complete grain," Turk said.

Using ingredients such as these for recipes did not come from any formal


culinary training. In fact, she is a self-trained chef.

Even though she has not been classically trained like some chefs, that doesn't hinder her cooking talent.

"I have cooked for millionaires," Turk said.

About the cooking classes

Cooking classes are currently being scheduled through Nov. 15. at the Blue Heron Trading Company in Canal Park's Dewitt-Seitz Marketplace. After a break, they will begin again in February.

According to Mary Carlson, an employee of the Blue Heron Trading Company, all of the classes fill up right away.

To get on the waiting list for future classes call 722-8799. Classes cost $25.

Now, on with the recipes: (Turk said her favorite was the Navajo Stew).


Chili Verde with Fresh Tomato Salsa


2 cups chopped chicken breast

14 ounces chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup salsa

15 ounce can of cannelloni or great northern beans, rinsed

1 cup green salsa

9 ounces frozen shoepeg white corn, thawed*

Sour cream for topping


Fresh Tomato salsa: Mix together 1 cup chopped tomato, 2 tablespoons green onion, 1 jalapeno chili seeded and chopped fine, 1/4 teaspoon lime peel grated and 2 tablespoons lime juice.

Stew directions: Mix all ingredients except cilantro and salsa in saucepan. Heat to boiling, reduce and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Serve with salsa and sour cream. Serves four.

*Can be boughten at Cub Foods.

Navajo Stew


2 medium sweet potatoes

1 large onion

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1-15 ounce can of tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped cilantro


2 red or green bell peppers

4 garlic cloves minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon canned chipotles in adobo sauce

1-15 ounce can butter beans/black beans drained

plain yogurt or sour cream


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Stem and seed peppers and cut into 1 inch pieces. Peel onion and wedge. In a bowl, toss the vegetables with garlic, oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Stir and continue to roast for 10 to 15 minutes more until potatoes are tender. While vegetables roast, puree tomatoes, chipotles and cilantro. When vegetables are tender, put in a dish and stir in tomato sauce and beans. Return to oven and heat about 10 minutes. Top stew with yogurt or sour cream. Serve with warm pitabread.

Green Vegetable and Quinoa Soup


1/2 cup quinoa*

1 cup water

1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large leek, halved and sliced thin

1 large onion coarsely chopped

1 cup chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped and peeled cucumber

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups frozen peas

1 cup grated zucchini


Put quinoa, water and 1/8 teaspoon salt into pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until grains uncoil. In a large pan, heat oil and saute leek, onion, celery and garlic until tender. Add cucumber, thyme, rosemary, pepper and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir. Lower heat, cover and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add broth and cooked quinoa. Cover and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Stir in peas and zucchini. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes longer or until peas are heated through and the zucchini is tender. It makes about 10 cups.

*Can be boughten at Cub Foods

Spicy Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder


1 teaspoon olive oil

1 large onion coarsely chopped

2 ribs chopped celery

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 pound sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks

10 ounce package frozen corn

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup medium-heat salsa, plus extra for topping

1/2 ripe avocado peeled and chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1 red bell pepper coarsely chopped


In a large pan, heat oil and add onion, bell pepper, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring often for 10 minutes or until soft. Stir in cumin and oregano. Add the sweet potato, corn and broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 12 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in salsa and heat through. Ladle into two bowls and top with avocado, cilantro and salsa. Makes 9 cups.

Maple Squash Soup with Apple


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped coarsely

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

12 ounces frozen winter squash, thawed**

2 large Granny Smith apples chopped and peeled

3/4 cup milk***

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup chopped apple for garnish


Heat oil in a large pan and add onion and apples, cook stirring until tender. Stir in cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper. Add squash and broth. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender. Return to saucepan and stir in the milk and maple syrup. Heat through. Serve topped with chopped apples. Makes 6 cups. **One can use fresh winter squash such as pumpkin, acorn, butternut or hubbard instead of frozen. ***Can substitute heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2 for milk.

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