Kristina’s Bookshelf

 
Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering Volume 2
by Joanna Gaines and Marah Stets
(William Morrow Cookbooks, 2020)
 
For now, cooking for gatherings means preparing meals for families or other groups with whom we’re sheltering in place. Judging from sales data showing U.S. sales of cheese, eggs, milk all significantly higher than this time last year, the meals we’re cooking up might be a little richer than usual.
 
If it’s satisfying comfort foods you’re after right now, you might want to check out Joanna Gaines’ new cookbook, Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering. In this latest volume in her series, Gaines shares 145 recipes covering breads, casseroles, pizzas, cakes, and other sweet and savory dishes. Each dish is an ode to some combination of cheese, bacon, butter, sugar, milk, and cream.
 
My favorite recipes were Prize Pig biscuit (aptly named, as it’s made with peppered bacon, three sticks of butter, eggs, buttermilk, and cheddar cheese); a rich, creamy chicken poblano soup topped with fresh radishes and cilantro; and some gooey, cinnamon-y, pull-apart blueberry sweet rolls with a lemon glaze. For the latter, I used blueberries frozen earlier in the season and a lone late-season lemon from my bush outside (though grocery store blueberries should work just fine). All dishes confirmed that fat pretty much always delivers on flavor.

It’s early for gardens to be producing, but as the spring and summer wear on, you’ll find the recipes can easily accommodate vegetables and herbs.

Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers. 

 
CREAMY CHICKEN POBLANO SOUP

From Magnolia Table, Volume 2 by Joanna Gaines. Copyright © 2020 by Joanna Gaines. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 1 hour 10 minutes
COOL: none

I’ve heard it said that food with a story tastes different. For Chip and me, this soup always takes us back to one of our first dates. We went to a restaurant in Dallas and both ordered the chicken poblano soup—not because it was familiar to either of us, but because we had heard that it was the dish the restaurant was known for. Honestly, it was the best soup either of us had ever had. That restaurant and soup became a favorite go-to, and even though the restaurant has since closed, Chip and I still talk about those early days and that chicken poblano soup. This recipe is a nod to the memories of our first dates.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups small-diced onion (about 1 large)
4 celery stalks, cut into medium dice
3 carrots, cut into medium dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium poblano peppers, seeded and cut into medium dice
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
8 cups (2 quarts) chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (home roasted or rotisserie chicken)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Tortilla strips and sliced radishes, for garnish 

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and poblanos and sauté, stirring often, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and thyme and sauté until caramelized and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes longer. 

Add the broth and cream, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes to meld the flavors. 

Use an immersion blender to carefully blend the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, let cool slightly and, working in batches as necessary, process in a stand blender until smooth, filling the blender no more than half full and removing the lid slowly after blending. Pour the soup back into the pot.) 

Add the chicken and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes to meld the flavors to your liking. Stir in the cilantro.

Serve warm, garnished with tortilla strips and sliced radishes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.