In Good Taste – January 2021

Soup & Salads
By Vera Stewart | Photos by Amy J. Owen
Silver courtesy of Angevine’s in Surrey Center

Winter brings in the cold weather but enhances the aromas in the kitchen with soups simmering and ingredients for salads that tempt your appetite. Nothing says comfort food more vividly than a good ole fashioned Vegetable Soup.  For most, it doesn’t matter whose recipe, we are always up to try a new one.  I highly recommend my new favorite from Madison, WI and the head demonstration chef for SubZero/Wolf/Cove.  In spending time at the SZWC headquarters, Joel Chesebro and I have developed a great relationship and are now sharing recipes back and forth.  This one is now a staple in my freezer.  My choice for salad to pair with this soup is one that was a favorite in our catering division: Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Sour Cream Dressing, a recipe that will be featured in Vera’s next cookbook. 

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon-Mustard Dressing

1 (10 oz) bag baby spinach leaves
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 strips crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
10 oz Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
2 strips crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place spinach into a large serving bowl, top with hard-cooked eggs, mushrooms, 4 crumbled strips of bacon, Swiss cheese, and almonds.
  2. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in shallots and garlic, and cook until softened and translucent, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and 2 crumbled strips of bacon; season to taste with salt and pepper, then cook until hot.
  3. Pour hot dressing over spinach and toss to coat.



Chowder is always good but probably more widely associated with the colder months.  This Chicken and Corn Chowder is a favorite in our home and a true rendition of several recipes that have aligned themselves to make a dynamite winter supper.  We like to use chicken thighs but breast meat will work well, too.  I like the lighter broth which allows either a sandwich or salad as an accompaniment.  Keep in mind that other vegetables could be added to make it yours.  I think it’s perfect alongside an Arugula Salad with pears, candied pecans and a bottled dressing from The Fresh Market: Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette. 


Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: Approx. 45 minutes

3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
½ cup all-purpose flour
1-quart chicken bone broth
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup small potatoes, diced
2 cups half and half
1 bag frozen corn
6 slices bacon, chopped


  1. Cook bacon until crisp. Set aside.
  2. To large sauce pot, add celery, onions, cayenne and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until almost tender.
  3. Add flour and cook one additional minute, stirring.
  4. Slowly stir in broth. Heat on high until simmering.
  5. Add chicken and potatoes and cook for 12-15 minutes; until chicken is no longer pink and potatoes are tender.
  6. Stir in half and half, corn and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook additional 3 minutes or until corn is done.
  7. Garnish with bacon bits.



Arugula, Pear and Fennel Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6 people

2 c arugula
1 pear of choice, peeled and sliced
1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Candied pecans
1/2 cup parmesan, grated or shaved
Bottle of Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (we used The Fresh Market)

In a large serving bowl, combine arugula, pear and fennel.
Drizzle Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette and toss to combine.
Top with pecans and grated parmesan.
Serve immediately.




Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: Approx. 1.5 hour


6 cup chicken broth
1 lb. ham bone with some meat
1 garlic clove minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup small potatoes
1 can diced stewed tomatoes
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
½ cup cabbage, chopped
½ cup canned green beans
½ cup corn (frozen, bagged)
¼ cup finely broken spaghetti
¼ cup rice
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon beef bouillon


  1. Add all ingredients to large sauce pot.
  2. Boil for 30 minutes, then simmer for an hour.
  3. Adjust flavor, as needed.

Appears in the January 2021 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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