July 19, 2012

Do I Hear Jingle Bells?

Saying goodbye to Whimsey...the last picture I took of my favorite Kennebunkport store!

Oh....My.....Goodness!! This weekend is the Christmas in July extravaganza!! All year long, Miss Judy and I wait for these two days of glorious holiday shopping! I do mean glorious! The phone lines are burning with our calls back and forth as we have those visions of a snowy evening, illuminated with twinkling lights and Santa holding a little candle in the window! We jot down item numbers and narrow down our wish list to a few must have decorations to add to our ever growing collection of Santa's, Snowmen and Angels! This is serious shopping loveys! While Darling is playing golf, Estelle will dreaming of a white Christmas.........STOP!!!! What was I thinking? We're not in New England anymore Dorothy......we went over the rainbow and landed in Texas! There's no place like home........

When cold winter days do roll around, Estelle's is sure to have a hot pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove! Let the holiday shopping begin!! Joy to the World, Ya'll!

 The Soup
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 large carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 black peppercorns
Kosher salt
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 medium onion, diced
Olive oil
6 links organic chicken-apple sausage
1 egg
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 handful fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini, store bought
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup
Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, half the garlic, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer while you work on meatballs and tortellini.

For the meatballs
Caramelize the diced onion in a saute pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, egg, onion, thyme, parsley, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they all come together. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil until just smoking. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop meatballs onto skillet. Cook, turning, until golden brown.

Drop tortellini straight from freezer into soup. Cook until they float. Once meatballs are browned, add to pot of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of Parmesan, olive oil, and parsley.

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