January Recipe of the Month: Almond Raspberry Cornetto

The quintessential Italian breakfast pastry is the cornetto (singular form of the plural cornetti), a pastry similar to its French cousin the croissant. A bit more rustic than a croissant, they are light and airy and a little sweet with a hint of salt. This simple recipe elevates the cornetti for a lovely brunch treat. You can buy the cornetti the day before—traditionally bakeries use their day-old croissants for these—and you can prepare the almond cream and quick raspberry jam before your guests arrive. Then all you need to do before serving is to assemble and pop them in the oven! These twice baked treats are beautiful, especially dusted with powdered sugar and garnished with a few fresh raspberries. This recipe calls for plain cornetti, but chocolate cornetti also work and add another dimension of flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

Serves 4

1/2 cup whole raw almonds

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 egg

3/4 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

4 Macrina Cornetti

1/2 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roast the whole almonds on the baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant. Let cool.

In a food processor, blend the whole almonds, butter, 1/4 cup sugar, egg, vanilla and all-purpose our until smooth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the raspberries and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, dissolving the sugar and releasing the juices from the berries. Combine the water and cornstarch and add the mix to the berries. Once it has thickened, remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl to cool.

Cut each cornetto horizontally, leaving a hinge. On the lined baking sheet, place the 4 open-faced cornetti. Spread half the almond mixture on the bottom half of each cornetto. Save the remainder of the mix for later.

Place in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes to melt the almond mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of the raspberry jam onto the almond mixture and ip the top of each cornetto closed. Spread the remaining almond mixture over the tops of the cornetti and sprinkle with the sliced almonds (the almonds should stick to the almond mixture). Return the baking sheet pan to the oven for 3 more minutes to toast the almonds and warm the cornetti.

Serve them for brunch, or simply with a hot cup of coffee, tea or a frothy cappuccino. Enjoy!

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Winter Pear Crown

Looking for something with delicious flavor to add to your holiday table? Or a showy appetizer? Our Winter Pear Crown will make a gorgeous addition to any meal. Or serve it as an appetizer with Cambozola or your favorite blue cheese.

Made with ripe Washington State pears and spiked with a dash of black pepper, the bread has a natural sweetness and the moist texture of a classic French loaf.

Leslie began making this beautiful hand-formed crown during the holiday season in Macrina’s early days, and it has earned a devoted following. Utilizing the excellent late-season pears—Washington State is the top grower of pears in the country—we dice the plumpest, tender Bartlett pears available and gently mix them into the dough with just enough black pepper to casually announce itself. Phuong Bui, our head baker, and his team then hand-shape each loaf into a crown.

Any leftovers make a luxurious breakfast treat. Warm it and serve slices with butter, or up your game and present it with a ramekin of olive tapenade. The bread is versatile, makes a stunning table centerpiece, and goes with almost anything. Get one while you can. We only make them during the holiday season.

Baking Holiday Cookies with Friends

At Macrina, we love baking and we love community. The annual holiday cookie exchange is a great example of this—each cookie a story, each an act of love. It’s a time to visit your neighbors and share good tidings. Not much tops baking family recipes with friends, but when you don’t have the time, Macrina has you covered. Our collection of 20 holiday cookies, sold in a reusable Panibois wooden baking box, will bring joy to your friends and neighbors. Each of the six delicious types of cookie has a story and a distinct flavor.

Read our blog to hear how one of Macrina’s partners, Michelle Galvin, has rekindled and nurtured dear friendships through an annual holiday cookie baking gathering and to learn more about our Holiday Cookie Box.

A few years after college, newly married and busy establishing a career, finding time to visit with dear friends was a challenge. In high school, Trina, Kerri and I would spend whole days together, talking every day. But now, despite the desire, we barely saw each other.

With Christmas approaching, we made a promise we’d start a new tradition: a holiday cookie party. We all loved baking and revered the neighborly tradition of the cookie exchange. What better way to reconnect than spending an afternoon sharing and baking family recipes together?

At the first gathering, Trina brought a vintage pizzelle maker. The family heirloom looked, uh, well-loved. It was easy to imagine the hundreds or thousands of thin wafer-like cookies it had produced over the years. Making 200 pizzelles alone would be a monotonous task, but the repetitive task of spooning dollop after dollop of dough into the rustic pizzelle iron with friends made it fun.  We laughed a lot and had plenty of time to catch up.

Next, Trina taught us her Nonna’s biscotti recipe, the best in all of Montecatini she’d claimed. Her “trick” was to toast the almonds before adding them to the dough. Nothing satisfies the need for crunch like biscotti do, and I loved hearing the stories of Trina’s grandmother.

Since only two baking sheets could fit in the oven at a time, we spent an entire Saturday baking. It was like old times, talking of matters big and small, remembering old stories and sharing new ones. And at the end of it, we each had a large box of cookies to share with our friends, neighbors and family.

We promised we’d do it again the next year. And we did. And the year after that, too. Sometime in the early aughts, one of us showed up with a special holiday cookie edition of Martha Stewart’s Living magazine. We tried making her Chocolate Crackle Cookies. Soon our hands were sticky with chocolate dough. But they were so delicious straight from the oven—chocolate crack-le!—I worried we wouldn’t have enough to give away. Of course, they got added to the yearly event. Even after all these years, Kerri and Trina still debate whether they should be crisp or chewy and how long to bake them. I love them both ways—and both of them—so I sit back and enjoy the playful debate.

 

As we added cookies, we also added kids. Gingerbread cookies with bright white royal frosting and decorated sugar cookies made their way onto our cookie trays. With the many small helping hands, the mess grew exponentially. The number of hands helping clean up did not! But the kids were thrilled to help. Though some of them struggled just a little to part with the cookies, they were all proud to present their teachers with plates of cookies they’d helped make.

Not only did I catch up with my friends, but now we also traded parenting secrets and potty training strategies. Later those stories included the challenges of starting new schools, puberty and middle school, sharing the car keys with new drivers, and college tours.

Not that it was all free of tragedy. At one gathering, midway through the pizzelle making, Trina dropped the heirloom iron and it broke. (Thank goodness, it was her—not me!) We raced out to a fancy kitchen store for a replacement. It sufficed but didn’t make cookies anywhere nearly as good, or as beautiful. So, we took to eBay for a replacement, carefully inspecting images and bidding patiently. Three years later, we had not one but two vintage pizzelle makers—exact replicas—safe cover if the dropsies came over us again.

With more kids and more plates of cookies to assemble, the single oven was a bottleneck. So, we ventured down to the Macrina test kitchen in Kent. The kitchen had so much space and fancy ovens galore. We were like pros in there. In just three hours, we had plates and plates of cookies, and we’d barely broken a sweat! We realized that the point of the gathering wasn’t about speed and efficiency (although the convection oven with rotating racks that baked all our cookies evenly was amazing), but nurturing friendships of more than 40 years. We’re back to the two cookie sheets oven.

Fortunately, it is the exception when time and circumstance doesn’t allow for our annual event. The few times it has happened, all three of us were very grateful that we could count on the fabulous bakers at Macrina. Sure, we missed the time together. But we were still able to bring our friends, family and neighbors lovely gift boxes of homemade holiday cookies we could be proud of.

Macrina Holiday Cookie box is an assortment of 20 cookies bundled in a reusable Panibois wooden baking box. It contains:

2 Gingerbread

3 Chocolate Crinkle

3 Mexican Wedding Balls

4 Cranberry Orange Almond Biscotti

4 Pecan Rosemary Shortbread

4 Rugelach

December Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This lighter variation of our pumpkin pie practically floats. The fluffy texture comes from separating the eggs and folding the stiff whites into the batter. A topping of whipped cream adds to the feeling that you’re lifting an airy pumpkin dream to your mouth. At Macrina, butternut squash is the not-so-secret ingredient in our pumpkin pies. Simply put, we think pumpkin pies taste better with a dollop of roasted butternut squash. In this recipe however, butternut squash can replace the pumpkin altogether. We hope the cloud-like combination of sweetened squash, crystalized ginger and buttery graham cracker crust becomes an annual holiday tradition.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 8-10

6 ounces graham crackers (2 cups), crushed in food processor

1/2 cup coconut our

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 cups roasted butternut squash, puréed (or substitute a 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon + 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons crystalized ginger, medium dice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 packet powdered gelatin (1/4 ounce)

1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

Garnish

1 tablespoon crystalized ginger, thinly sliced

Sugared cranberries or pomegranate seeds

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F and center the oven rack.

In a medium bowl, add the crushed graham crackers, coconut flour and melted butter. Mix well with a spoon. Press the mixture into a 9″ pie pan so that the edges and base have a uniform thickness. Bake for 5-10 minutes until edges are golden brown. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the puréed butternut squash (or pumpkin), maple syrup and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Place a medium bowl over a saucepan filled with 2″ of water (or use a double boiler). Add the milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, crystalized ginger, nutmeg and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Add the powdered gelatin and whisk to combine.

Add 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Continue adding the milk mixture in 1/4 cup increments until it’s all added. Return the incorporated mixture to the double boiler over medium heat and whisk for 3 minutes to thicken the custard. Stir in the squash purée and cook for another 3 minutes to evaporate any excess water from the squash.

Transfer the pie filling to a clean bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes, giving it an occasional stir.

Whip the egg whites in a stand mixer until they look foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and whip until the whites are gently firm.

Fold the egg white mixture into the cooled pie filling. Ensure that it’s uniformly combined before pouring the mixture into the prepared graham cracker shell. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream. As the mixture starts to firm up, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.

Top the pie with the sweetened heavy cream. It is best if you chill the pie for another 2 hours before serving to let the whipped cream set up. For a festive presentation, garnish with crystalized ginger and sugared cranberries or pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!

 

Macrina Bakery’s New Cookbook: Seasons

With two beloved cookbooks covering many of our most popular breads and pastries, why did we produce a third? Well, after 25 years of creating impassioned dishes—savory and sweet—for customers at our five Seattle area cafés, we kept hearing, Can I get the recipe for that?

This compilation of customers’ favorite new dishes and desserts from the Macrina kitchen is organized around the many seasonal delicacies of the Puget Sound. The easy-to-follow recipes feature big flavors and beautiful food. Local photographer Jim Henkens spent many days at Leslie Mackie’s farm on Vashon Island capturing the spirit and flair of these well-tested recipes and the rural beauty that serves as Leslie’s inspiration.

Leslie Mackie opened Macrina Bakery in 1993 to share her joy of artisan baking. Her passion shined through the hand-formed breads and pastries, and when she opened the cafe shortly after that, it shined in the soups, sandwiches and other savories.

A decade later, when she moved to a rustic farm on Vashon Island, a short ferry ride away from Seattle, her connection to sustainable farming and seasonal produce deepened. Vashon is a lightly populated island of hills, twisty backwoods roads, forests and sprawling meadows. Free-range eggs, berries and freshly picked produce beckon passersby from roadside self-serve farm stands. Payment is frequently on the honor system. During the growing season, a bustling farmers market in the small town overflows with some of the best food grown in the Pacific Northwest.

Leslie enthusiastically gathers friends around great food. Most of the cookbook recipes first debuted at meals with the farmers, chefs, bakers, teachers and food lovers who make up Leslie’s community. When one of the new dishes hit a particularly high note, Leslie added the recipe to her notebook. After they were refined and tested, they were shared through Macrina’s recipe-of-the-month newsletter.

Macrina Bakery’s Seasons is a compilation of the best. Each recipe is rooted in the distinctive foods of spring, summer, fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest. Leslie designed the recipes for the home cook. Most use easy-to-find ingredients, and for rarer items, she has provided suggestions for substitutions. Except for a few, you should be able to prepare the recipes in less than an hour so that you can spend time with your guests enjoying a taste of the good life.

November Recipe of the Month: Autumn Breakfast Stew

Vegetable stew for breakfast? This flavorful dish will help power you through the day. Chickpeas and lentils meld with fall vegetables in a garlicky za’atar-flavored tomato sauce. A healthy dash of olive oil, fresh avocado and eggs add protein and nourishment. Mama Lil’s peppers add some zip. No wonder this is such a popular brunch item at our cafés. You can adjust the legumes and vegetables as the seasons change. Serve it with a piece of crusty bread and enjoy a healthy start to your day.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

½ medium-sized Delicata squash

1 medium zucchini squash

2 red bell peppers

½ cup olive oil, divided

4 tsp za’atar spice, divided

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 large leek, thinly sliced

2 tsp garlic, finely chopped

2 medium tomatoes, medium dice

1 cup dried lentils

2½ cups water

1 cup chickpeas, canned or precooked

1 cup apple cider

¼ cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

8 eggs

1 avocado, peeled and quartered

16 slices Mama Lil’s Sweet Hot Pickled Peppers

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Remove the stem and base of the Delicata squash, then halve the squash and scoop out the seeds (refrigerate one half to use for another dish). Cut the squash into ¾” squares and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and 2 tsp of za’atar. Spread the seasoned squash on one-third of the prepared baking sheet.

Cut the zucchini into ¾” squares and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and the final 2 tsp of za’atar. Place on the middle third of the baking sheet.

On the final third of the baking sheet, place the 2 red bell peppers. Brush the exterior with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and season with salt.

Roast the squash, zucchini and bell peppers for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden brown. Allow the vegetables to cool for 20 minutes, then peel the bell peppers. Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds, then coarsely dice them. Set aside

In a large saucepan, place the final 2 Tbsp of olive oil and sauté the leeks over medium-high heat. Cover to sweat the leeks. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes and garlic, simmer for another 3 minutes. Add the lentils, water and ½ tsp salt. Simmer for 30 minutes to cook the lentils.

Add the roasted peppers, delicata squash, zucchini, chickpeas and apple cider to the large saucepan. Simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes to marry the flavors. Add the Italian parsley and stir to combine.

Divide the stew between 4 plates and start preparing the eggs.

Warm a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and crack 2 eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook to your doneness preference. Top the stew with the eggs and any extra olive oil in the pan. Garnish the plate with a quarter of the sliced avocado and 4 slices of Mama Lil’s Peppers. Repeat for the other 3 plates. The eggs cook quickly, and the stew holds its heat, so all 4 plates will come out warm.

Serve with a slice of Macrina’s Skagit Sourdough toast (our preference), or another hearty loaf.

Meet James Stanton: Cartoonist

This Sunday, art and football intersect in the Seahawks Gameday Poster created by our Sodo café’s very own James Stanton.

The Seattle Seahawks partnered with the legendary local graphic designers Ames Bros to curate a series of posters with unique artwork to commemorate this season’s home games. Barry Ament and Coby Schwartz, the creative force behind Ames Bros, invited James Stanton to be one of the eight accomplished Seattle artists to produce a poster.

James, who has worked part-time at Macrina’s Sodo café for nearly five years, is a cartoonist and illustrator who has been publishing his small-press comic Gnartoons since 2005. He’s also done comics and illustrations for Thrasher, The Atlantic, The Stranger, The Nib, Adventure Time and other publications.

“It’s such an honor to work with the Ames Bros on a Seahawks poster,” James says. “Coby and Barry know my stuff. They pointed out what in my portfolio they thought would work well, which mostly wound up being comic book covers. I ended up thinking about the poster as a comic book cover more than I did as a print.”

Assigned the November 3 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, James created a serpentine-like hawk rising from the sea and swamping a pirate ship with shredded sails. Majestic Doug firs tower in the background. The 18” x 24” posters are screen printed and can be ordered online and picked up at CenturyLink Field on game day or at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop during designated hours. The Seahawks are also producing 12 “platinum” posters on special paper with enhanced printing techniques. Those will be sold on the Seahawks’ Auction Website the day after each game and shipped to winners.

Buying a poster will not only serve as a unique art piece on your wall, but it helps fund arts education for kids. The Seahawks are donating all proceeds from sales of the posters to The Creative Advantage, an arts education equity program for Seattle Public Schools.

In addition to some cash, posters, and the prestige, James gets tickets to the game and a field pass. It’ll be his first live Seahawks game. “The Seahawks are a much bigger stage than I’m used to working on,” James says. “This was fun because they gave me a lot of freedom to draw whatever I wanted to, within certain parameters, of course.”

James moved to Seattle specifically because it’s a hotspot for independent comics and to help publish a free comics newspaper called The Intruder. He immediately found a room to rent in a Beacon Hill house already occupied by a few other comics artists. More than seven years later, that’s still the case. “When someone moves out, we find another cartoonist to take their place,” says James.

This coming spring, a hardbound collection of James’ collected work, titled Gnartoons, will be released by the Bay Area publisher Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club. And on Saturday, November 9, you will find James at Short Run, the one-day annual comics and arts festival that takes place at the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, with his newest comic, Swamp Mythos,—and copies of the Seahawks poster.

See more of James’ work on his website  or on Instagram and other social media apps at  @gnartoons.

 

Salumi: The Best Cured Meats in the Country?

Meat lovers speak of Salumi in hushed, reverent tones as though they’re in church, or maybe just worried an eavesdropper will beat them to the Pioneer Square deli and get the last culatello.  

And it’s been this way for 20 years now! 

That kind of hype is beyond incredible in an industry that favors the hot new thing. Just this month Tan Vinh, of the Seattle Times, included Salumi’s porchetta sandwich (juicy, slow-roasted pork laced with fennel stuffed into a Macrina Giuseppe Roll) in his list of the four best sandwiches in Seattle. And this comes on top of just about every major food writer in the country having written in ecstatic tones about Salumi’s meats and sandwiches over the years. 

Of Salumi, the late Anthony Bourdain said, “That is a holy place for me.” In 2005, Ruth Reichl, tasting Salumi’s mole salami, said, “(I taste) cinnamon, clove, a lot of clove. And that faint edge of chocolate. God, it’s so good. It’s such a surprise. It makes the pork seem so sweet. Oh, my god, it’s like he’s invented something new here.” She went on to suggest that Salumi’s mole salami would sweep the nation.  

But salami is not an entirely easy thing to make. It takes a lot of skill, equipment and specialized curing rooms. Despite enlarging their production space, Salumi could never meet demand. This is why Gina and Brian Batali, who took over operations when Armandino, the founder and Gina’s father, retired, sold Salumi in October 2017 to Clara Veniard and Martinique Grigg. 

Clara and Martinique were food lovers with Harvard MBAs and plenty of leadership experience looking to invest in a local business together. “Both Martinique and I were long-time lovers of Salumi,” Clara says. “We’d travel to visit relatives carrying sticks of Salumi’s meats.” Gina and Brian were at a point in their lives where they felt Salumi could take a step to the next level, and they weren’t at a stage in their lives where they wanted to do that. A mutual acquaintance bridged a connection, and after a few coffees at Grand Central, both parties felt they’d found the perfect fit.  

Clara and Martinique donned hairnets and spent the first year apprenticing, listening and learning. “We wanted to learn from as many voices as we could what makes Salumi a really special place,” Clara says. “So many people came together to make Salumi what it is today, Armandino and Marilyn, Gina and Brian, the people that work there, and the customers. We worked in all parts of the organization, including arriving at five in the morning to make salami.” 

In November of 2018, they made their first big change: moving the restaurant from its sliver of a space to the former location of Rain Shadow Meats at 404 Occidental Ave. “We hadn’t planned to move, but it was just perfect for us—only two blocks away from our old location—and as a former butcher shop, it had everything we needed. We reused everything that was already in place,” Clara says. 

Spacious and filled with light, the new Salumi retains the filled-with-good-smells charm of the old space. Beloved features remain, like the private dining room and communal tables, but now there is more seating and a line that moves three times as fast. 

Next up: a state-of-the-art production facility in South Seattle. Clara says, “Last December, we got to the point where we literally couldn’t fill most orders. I remember selling the last salami stick. It was a customer who came to the back door. We had one stick to offer them. My sisters and parents-in-law were shocked at Christmas that I didn’t bring them any salami.” Now Salumi will have the capacity to be able to meet customer’s needs. New flavors and new product lines are also in the works.  

To find the best meats, Salumi is going straight to the farms. “We’re taking a hard look at the farms we source from, and how they treat their animals,” Clara says. “Everything will be all-natural.” 

Through the changes, what makes Salumi Salumi are the same recipes and the same crew. “Culture is number one for us,” Clara says. “We have people who’ve been here since the very beginning. The first person who Armandino hired still works for us. It amazes me the level of care that I see from everybody on the team. They take great pride in what we’re doing here.” As Salumi grows, there will be more leadership roles and room for people to grow with the organization.  

At Macrina, we’re thrilled to be a part of Salumi’s growth and are impressed at the seamless way Clara and Martinique have taken the best parts of a sacred Seattle treasure and made them even better. Ruth Reichl’s prediction that Salumi’s cured meats will sweep the nation just may come to pass.  

Meet Diana Yelton: GM at the Aloha Café

Ultimately, it was Macrina’s Greek Olive Loaf that led Diana to our café. A recent transplant to Seattle in 2016, Diana was looking for a job when her boyfriend showed up with a loaf of his new favorite bread—the Greek Olive Loaf. He casually mentioned that he’d noticed a sign saying Macrina was hiring. 

Diana and her boyfriend had moved to Seattle from New York City where Diana had worked in independent film production. Out of college, she had considered a career as a teacher, but student teaching had talked her out of that. Her job requirements were only that she didn’t want to be cooped up in an office. “I’m an extrovert,” Diana says. “Being around people gives me energy. I loved Macrina’s bread and it seemed like a fun place to work so I interviewed.”  

Customers and coworkers alike were quickly impressed with her hard work, kindness and spirited personality. When the Aloha café opened in September 2018, Diana was an instrumental part the opening crew. When the tightly knit community of North Capitol Hill filtered in to check us out, Diana’s product knowledge and bright, lively personality helped introduce Macrina to everyone.  Everyone who has ever opened a new retail business knows just how challenging it is. There’s hardly been a quiet moment since we opened the doors, so strong customer service skills and a good work ethic have been bench tested. “We have so many regulars already,” Diana says. “You know their favorite pastry before you know their name. Seeing familiar faces in line is definitely a great part of the job.” 

When the General Manager position opened up in June 2019 it was clear Diana had earned the nod. “I was honored to be offered the job,” Diana says. “I worked my way up and feel like they saw something in me. Scott and Leslie are at the Aloha café frequently and both are very open and supportive. When I’m hiring it helps to be able to say very honestly that the company culture is really good, and there are many opportunities for growth.” 

 

 

 

October Recipe of the Month: Creamy Mushroom & Chicken Bread Soup

It’s high time to bring this retro favorite back into style! Our Mini Macrina Casera Loaf is the perfect size for making bread bowls and is crusty enough to contain the soup. The lovely texture of this creamy chicken and mushroom soup is created by puréeing the broth with some of the bread you remove to make the bowls. Homemade stock makes this crowd-pleaser even more flavorful.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

4 Mini Macrina Casera loaves (8 ounces each)

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

4 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped, divided

8 ounces chicken breast

3/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup carrots, peeled and finely chopped

3/4 cup celery, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine

8 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup (2 ounces) Gruyère cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

Cut a 1″ deep circle, about 4″ to 5″ in diameter, across the top of each Mini Macrina Casera loaf. Then cut beneath each circle to create a lid for the soup bowls. Using your fingers or a spoon, carve out the center of the loaves, leaving the edges about 1/2″ thick. Measure out 1-1/2 cups of the bread you’ve removed, and reserve it for adding to the soup. Brush approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside each bread bowl and on the underside of the lids. Set the bowls aside.

In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of thyme. Brown the mushrooms then remove and set aside. In this same pan over medium-high heat, brown the chicken breast on each side for 2 minutes and then set aside. It will finish cooking in the soup base, so the browning here is just to develop flavor.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Cover the pan and sweat the vegetables for 2-4 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, rosemary and remaining teaspoon of thyme. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the white wine and simmer until the wine is reduced by half. Add the chicken breast, chicken stock and the reserved bread. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken breast and let cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

Pour the soup mixture into a food processor. Do not fill it higher than the top of the blade. Secure the lid and purée the soup. Repeat in batches until you’ve puréed all the soup. Alternatively, if you have an immersion blender that works as well.

Over medium heat, return the soup to the saucepan and add the heavy cream.

Coarsely chop the chicken breast and sautéed mushrooms. Add them to the soup and let cook for another 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the oiled bread bowls and lids on the prepared baking pan and bake for 5 minutes.

Fill the bowls with soup and top with Gruyère. Carefully return the baking sheet to the oven for 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve each bread soup bowl topped with its lid. The crispy lid makes for a great soup dipper and don’t forget to enjoy the bowl itself once you’ve spooned out all the soup. It’s delicious!

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