Denise and Diane talk comfort food. Read down for their recipes!
Women Beyond a Certain Age is a weekly podcast by Denise Vivaldo and Diane Worthington. They bring their own lively, humorous, and experienced viewpoints to the topics they discuss. The podcast covers wide-ranging subjects of importance to older women.
Diane Worthington, host and producer. Diane’s books on Amazon.
Denise Vivaldo, host and producer. Denise’s books on Amazon.
All other hats worn by Cindie Flannigan. See Cindie’s work here.
Denise’s Spaghetti Sauce
Makes 6 servings
1 lb ground turkey or beef
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (28-ounce) San Marzano whole or diced tomatoes
2 cups dry red wine
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Sauté turkey or beef in a large skillet over high heat until browned. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, discard any fat left in the skillet.
2. Place olive oil the same skillet over medium high heat, add onion and oregano, sauté 5-7 minutes until golden, add garlic, sauté 1 minute more.
3. Break up tomatoes with your hands (if using whole), add to onion mixture; add wine. Return turkey or beef to skillet, stirring to combine.
4. Let cook 2-2½ hours.
5. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Diane’s Chicken and Leek Soup with Matzo Balls
Serves 6 to 8
Feeling like a cold or flu may be coming your way? Try this magical potion that some consider to be better than medicine. This is the dish to have on days when you just need a cup of comfort. Serve it as a main dish for lunch or dinner.
The soup is made in two stages: some of the vegetables are used to prepare the chicken broth and then strained out; fresh vegetables are added to the stock and simmered until just cooked through. The two-step process both flavors the soup and results in vegetables that are perfectly cooked. The leeks add an usual and pleasing addition. You can purchase schmaltz in the freezer section of the supermarket or make it yourself, or substitute vegetable oil.
1 4- to 5-pound roasting chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 cups chicken broth
8 cups water
2 medium onions, finely chopped
8 carrots, peeled, 4 cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; 4 cut into 3-by-1/2-inch-thick strips
3 parsnips, peeled, 1 cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; 2 cut into 3-by-1/2-inch-thick strips
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 bunch fresh dill, leaves plucked and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and left whole
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) or vegetable oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup matzo meal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup seltzer or other sparkling water
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Place the chicken in a large soup pot, add the broth and water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim the soup. Add the onions, sliced carrots, and parsnip, celery, and dill. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked and the soup is full flavored, skim periodically. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Strain the soup through a large strainer into another pot. Remove the chicken and discard the cooked vegetables. Remove the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin and any cartilage, and tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cover and refrigerate.
3. Add the leeks and the remaining carrots and parsnips to the soup, adjust the seasoning, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the leeks are tender. Add the parsley and reserved chicken. Let cool then refrigerate, covered, for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
4. About 1 hour before serving, make the matzo balls: In a medium bowl, whisk together the schmaltz or oil and eggs. In another small bowl, mix the matzo meal and salt together. Add the matzo meal to the eggs and mix well. Add the seltzer and mix until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, and drop matzo balls approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter into the barely simmering water. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the matzo balls are cooked through. With a slotted spoon, transfer the matzo balls to a bowl.
6. To serve, remove the fat layer from the soup and reheat the soup over medium heat until hot. Add the matzo balls and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or just until heated through.
7. Ladle the soup and matzo balls into large bowls, and garnish with the parsley.
Advance Preparation: The soup may be made up to 2 days ahead. The matzo balls can be made up to 4 hours ahead, covered, and left at room temperature.