Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Ann Sather's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Cookbook" & "The Marshall Field's Cookbook" - Swedish Meatballs and Wild Rice Soup

Date I made these recipes: May 17, 2009

Ann Sather’s Restaurant – A Chicago Tradition – 50th Anniversary Cookbook by Ann Sather’s Restaurant
No publisher, no ISBN; © 1995
Recipe: Swedish Meatballs – p. 28

The Marshall Field’s Cookbook – Classic Recipes and Fresh Takes from the Field’s Culinary Council by Steve Siegelman
Published by: Book Kitchen
ISBN: 0977989003 © 2006
Recipe: Boundary Waters Wild Rice Soup – p. 24

I mentioned in my last blog post that my husband and I went to Chicago a couple weeks ago for a weekend getaway. Although we usually have great meals in the Windy City, this time around, our two dinners were underwhelming. Bummer, that. (But breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s is a MUST! - . We also stopped by Superdawg on our way out of town and that was great fun as well - )

At any rate, a couple days after returning to the Minneapple (as our city is sometimes called) we decided to get turkey dinner takeout from our version of Lou Mitchell’s – Keys Café to make up for our dining disappointment in Chicago. As we were leaving, my husband, Andy, said “I wish we could figure out what’s comparable to Keys in Chicago” and in a minute, I had it – Ann Sather! . Lucky for me, I bought her cookbook!

Ann Sather’s is billed as a Swedish diner but years ago we bypassed Swedish meatballs in favor of their version of a turkey dinner and we were in love—and very, very full!

So cooking from Ann Sather’s cookbook was a must (and here I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have any more “Chicago” cookbooks in my collection – duh!). But then I realized that the shelf directly above my computer contained The Marshall Field’s Cookbook, published a few years ago by the Marshall Fields Department Store.

Now in department store land, there existed three venerable chains (at least in this region). One was Dayton’s Department Store, started in 1902 in Minneapolis by the Dayton Family. Another was Marshall Fields in Chicago. The third was Hudson’s, primarily located in Michigan that was eventually acquired by Dayton’s to become Dayton-Hudson. All three department stores were the place to shop and drop and sold everything from haute couture to furniture.

But then, as they are wont to do, things changed. And so Dayton-Hudson and Marshall Fields joined forces and the whole “chain” was renamed Marshall Fields. Although this didn’t go over well at first, we eventually came around because Fields (as Chicago friends refer to it) was a high-end as our Dayton’s. In fact, despite the name change, many people, me included, continued to refer to it as Dayton’s (and still do—who cares what it’s currently called?!). (By the way, if you want to read another story on another day, Google “Frango Mints” and read about the debacle that happened when Fields sent their signature (chocolate) mint production offsite to another state -- talk about meltdowns!)

Anyway people, a few years back all hell broke loose when Target stores (a Dayton’s spin-off that eventually took over Dayton’s operations) sold the lot to Macy’s.

You have never seen such outrage. Emails were flying, letters to the editor were printed—it was retail Armageddon! It wasn’t that Macy’s is bad – it is what it is – but it isn’t as good as it could be. They have never been known as high-end (and don’t want to be) and they cut out several well-known brands, made plenty of sweeping changes and, if you ask me, cut out the heart and soul of the regional, well-loved store, and made it like every other store on the planet. In other words – boring! I honestly have to say that my purchases in that store have decreased significantly since they took over – this from the woman whose credit card used to be on fire! But oh well, it’s here to stay until the day when it’s not. Retail is a fickle environment.

So back to Marshall Fields…prior to the latest sale, they produced this cookbook of recipes that came from both the Dayton’s (and Hudson’s) and Fields stores and one of them is Dayton’s famous Chicken Wild Rice Soup. I love this soup. My version wasn’t quite as good as theirs but no matter. It brings me back to the days when I could finally afford something from the Oval Room, Dayton’s haute couture store (at sale prices, naturally) while buying a cup of this soup in the Food Court downstairs while waiting for my shoes to be repaired. These things are all still there but it’s just not the same and I’m willing to bet the Fields and Hudson people feel the same way. So hooray for soup that remains constant even in the face of great retail change! And hat’s off to Ann Sather’s for continuing to produce meals that give us comfort in these tough times.

Swedish Meatballs – makes 25 meatballs
2 ½ pounds ground chuck
1 ½ cup (8 slices) white bread, dampened with water
3 eggs
½ cup onion, grated
¼ tsp. nutmeg, ground
½ tsp. allspice, ground
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 T. beef stock
½ tsp. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl except for the meat. Add the meat and mix well. Roll the mixture into 1” meatballs and bake them uncovered in a lightly greased baking pan at 300F for 45 minutes. Serve the hot meatballs with brown gravy.

Note: I served these with mashed potatoes. You could also use egg noodles if you wanted. As to the gravy, you can purchase already made gravy or make it yourself following the directions on the back of a broth container (like Swanson’s).

Boundary Waters Wild Rice Soup – serves 6
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 small leek, halved lengthwise, rinse well, the thinly sliced
1 ½ cups sliced button mushrooms
¾ cup diced carrots
½ cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups cooked wild rice
½ roasted chicken, meat chopped (1 to 1 ½ cups)
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted, for garnish (optional)
NOTE: I bought a roasted chicken from my grocery store instead of roasting my own and/or just cooking chicken breasts; it turned out to be cheaper to buy a pre-cooked roast than raw chicken – go figure!

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the leek, mushrooms and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. (Note: I cooked it for 15 and the veggies were still a little too crisp for my taste. I definitely think more than 5 minutes is in order.)

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the rice, chicken meat, cream, sherry, salt, pepper, parsley and thyme and cook for 5 minutes, until warmed through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Garnish with the almonds and serve hot. To store, allow the soup to cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

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