Welcome to week 14 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Vermont, who joined the union on March 4, 1791.
I have to say, I like Vermont. It has some cool facts about it. Like it is named for the French Verd Mont, which means Green Mountain. Its capital, Montpelier, is the only state capital without a McDonalds. It was the last state in the US to have a Walmart. And the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company gives their food waste to local pig farmers. The hogs seem to like it, except the Mint Oreo flavor.
They are the largest producer of maple syrup in the US. And they have more cows than people. And all those cows make milk, which then becomes delicious Vermont Cheddar.
So it is no surprise that this week focused on maple syrup and Vermont cheddar. Fortunately, I knew better than try to combine these things! I once again have two dishes for you, and both of them came out great.
The first is Vermont Cheddar Soup. This creamy, hardy dish is full of flavor, and the use of mustard and Worcestershire sauce add some nice zing to the background. My son has developed a pretty sophisticated palette over the years, and he spotted the small amount of beer almost immediately. He is not a fan of alcohol in food, so this one was a no go for him. If I had left the beer out, I bet he would have liked it. It is only a ½ cup, so if you decide to remove it, I would just add a little bit more chicken stock. I also used my evaporated milk trick in this recipe to guarantee it didn’t curdle. The original recipe calls for whole milk, but using a can of evaporated milk will give you the same creaminess, but it won’t curdle.
Here is the first recipe:
Vermont Cheddar Cheese Soup
Adapted from alexandracooks.com
¼ cup small-diced pancetta (about 2 oz.)
½ T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced (to yield about a ½ cup)
2 ribs celery, diced (to yield about a ½ cup)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (to yield about a ½ cup)
1 T. fresh thyme
½ large red potato, peeled and diced
3 cups chicken stock
6 oz. beer such as Nut Brown Ale
1- 12 oz can evaporated milk
½ c. whole milk
1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
2 dashes Worcestershire
2 dashes (or more) hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
freshly ground pepper
2 cups grated Vermont sharp cheddar cheese (about a ½ pound)
1/3 cup flour
fresh Italian parsley, optional
- In a large soup pot, sauté pancetta in olive oil until crisp and brown. Remove pancetta with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
- In the rendered fat, sweat the onions, carrots, celery and pepper over medium heat for 15 minutes until soft.
- Add thyme, potato and chicken broth and simmer until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Add beer.
- Heat the evaporated milk and whole milk in a separate pot until it just barely boils. Meanwhile, grate the cheese on the large-holed side of a grater and place it in a large Ziploc bag. Shake with the 1/3 cup flour. Add this cheese-flour mixture to the hot milk and whisk until the cheese has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly.
- Add the milk mixture to the pot with veggies and stock. Add mustard, sauces and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk for a few minutes to avoid curdling.
- When serving, sprinkle some reserved pancetta in each bowl. Add more hot sauce to taste.
The other dish was Vermont Maple Cookies. These are a fairly simple sugar cookie, with the addition of pure maple syrup and nuts. The original recipe called for walnuts, but I like pecans better so I used them instead. These are really soft and sweet, and the nuts add just the little crunch it needed. These were a hit with everyone in the house. If I make these again, I might swap out the vanilla for maple extract to try to bump up the maple flavor even more.
Vermont Maple Cookies
3/4 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt, and add to creamed mixture alternately with maple syrup. Blend well and fold in nuts.
- Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of dough with a spoon and drop it on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Top each cookie with a pecan half.
- Bake 8-10 minutes at 400°F.
Both dishes get solid A’s from me. The soup only got a B from Josh, but he is more than happy to polish off the cookies in trade!
Have a Happy New Year everyone, and see you in Kentucky next week!