Feasting On 50-cent Servings Here Are 50 Ways To Please The Gourmand On The Cheap - From Chutney To Fried Polenta To Souffles.

Posted: May 01, 1991

Too often we elevate a food's status according to its expense, as if the cost of caviar defines its sensual charm or the rarity of a truffle elevates the prestige of the cook who slices it.

But, frequently, the best food is also the cheapest. Budget-priced chuck has more beefy flavor than top-of-the-line filet. A main-course soup fills the belly with heart-warming goodness as it fills your larder with a week's worth of meals. Sausages or meatballs paired with braised vegetables make low-cost stews, and curry or chili powder provides a wealth of flavor with little more than a pot of rice or beans.

To prove our point, we have come up with 50 recipes, which cost us just 50 cents a serving, or less, to prepare. Costs will vary, depending on the time, place of purchase and what you have on hand, and the variable factors of store sales and double-coupon redemption offers.

All recipes yield four entree portions, unless otherwise noted.

CHILI BAKED DRUMSTICKS. Mix 1 tablespoon chili powder with 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon hot paprika, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon

salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix in 1/4 cup boiling water and cool. Mix in 1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon ketchup and 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce. Toss 2 pounds chicken drumsticks in this mixture and marinate at least one hour. Dust with 1 cup bread crumbs. Set aside to dry for 15 minutes. Bake in a lightly oiled baking pan for 45 minutes.

DIRTY RICE. Brown 1/2 pound each finely chopped chicken giblets and livers, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 finely diced bell pepper and 1/2 cup chopped celery in 3 tablespoons oil. Add 1 cup long-grain rice and toss. Add 2 1/2 cups hot chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.

MUSHROOM AND LIVER RISOTTO. Soften 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 1 cup arborio rice and toss with oil. Add 1/2 cup white wine and, stirring with a wooden spoon, cook over moderate heat until the wine has been absorbed. Add 4 1/2 cups chicken broth to the rice, 1/2 cup at a time in the same way that the wine was added, until the rice is al dente and a creamy sauce has developed throughout the rice. Meanwhile saute 1/4 pound sliced mushrooms with 1/2 pound trimmed and quartered chicken livers in 1 tablespoon olive oil, until livers are firm.

Stir into rice along with 2 tablespoons grated imported Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon butter.

STIR-FRIED RICE. Stir-fry 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, 1 diced rib of celery and 1/2 diced red bell pepper in 1 tablespoon peanut oil. Push up the sides of the wok, add another tablespoon of oil in the center and stir-fry 4 ounces diced ham for one minute. Add 3 cups cooked rice and stir-fry with the vegetables and meat until rice grains brown lightly. Add 1 beaten egg, 1 cup bean sprouts, 1/2 cup shredded spinach and 2 chopped scallions.

FRIED POLENTA. Bring 5 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a rapid boil in a large heavy saucepan. Sift in 1 cup cornmeal in a thin stream while you

stir constantly. Continuing to stir, simmer for 20 minutes, until very thick and smooth, and the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Mix in 3 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Pour into half-inch-thick layer on a sheet pan and chill until set. Cut into two-inch squares or diamonds. Dredge in flour, dip into a beaten egg and coat well with 1 cup bread crumbs. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes. Brown the polenta squares in a thin film of olive oil over moderate high heat.

Serve with prepared pasta tomato sauce.

POLENTA WITH GREEN SALSA. Follow the preceding recipe for Fried Polenta substituting 6 ounces farmer's cheese for the Parmesan. Serve green salsa instead of spaghetti sauce.

BUTTERMILK SPOONBREAD WITH GARLIC. Place a 7-inch-by-3-inch souffle dish in a preheated 350-degree oven. Mix 1 cup white cornmeal with 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 1/2 cups boiling water and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until smooth. Mix 1 extra-large egg with 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda and beat into the cornmeal. Remove the souffle dish from the oven and grease with 1/2 tablespoon butter. Pour in the batter and bake for one hour, spooning 2 tablespoons light cream over the top every 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

HOMINY SOUFFLE. Add 3/4 cup quick grits in a thin stream to 3 cups simmering salted water as you stir constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes until thick and light. Season with pepper and stir in 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. While the hominy is cooking, soften 1 cup diced green bell pepper in 2 tablespoons butter with 3 sliced scallions. Add 1/2 cup diced ham and 1/2 cup diced pimento. Beat into the cooked hominy along with 3 egg yolks, a dash of hot sauce and the cheese. Whip 5 egg whites to soft peaks. Fold into the hominy in three additions. Pour into a 7-inch-by- 3-inch greased and crumbed souffle dish, and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 and bake for 20 minutes more. Serve immediately.

KASHA WITH CHICKEN LIVERS. Soften 1/2 cup chopped onion in 2 tablespoons margarine. Add 1 pound trimmed chicken livers and cook until the livers lose their raw look. Set aside. Beat 1 cup whole or coarsely cracked buckwheat groats in a heavy skillet with 1 large egg until all combined. Cook over low heat until the egg cooks and the grains of kasha separate from each other. Add the onions and livers to the pan. Add 2 cups chicken stock, salt and pepper and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon minced dill weed.

KASHA WITH TORTELLINI. Follow the preceding recipe substituting parsley for dill. Delete the livers and toss the cooked kasha with 2 cups cooked cheese or spinach tortellini.

TABOULEH WITH LENTILS. Parboil 1 cup lentils in 1 quart water for 40 minutes. Drain. Wash 3/4 cup medium bulgur wheat in several changes of cold water. Drain and combine with lentils in a large bowl. Bring 1 cup water to a boil with a pinch of ground allspice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Combine with bulgur and lentils. Soak until the liquid is absorbed. Toss with 1 peeled, seeded and diced cucumber, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 cup seeded diced tomato, 4 tablespoons each chopped mint leaves, parsley and scallion, 1/4 cup each lemon juice and olive oil.

BLACK BEAN AND BULGUR SALAD WITH ORANGE AND PEPPERONI. Wash 3/4 cup medium bulgur wheat in several changes of cold water. Drain and cover with 1 cup boiling water, a pinch of ground allspice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Soak until all the liquid is absorbed. Shake out excess moisture and toss with 2 cups cooked black beans, 1/2 finely chopped onion; 1 small seeded, minced chili pepper; 1 peeled, seeded and diced cucumber; 2 ounces finely diced pepperoni and the finely grated zest of 1 large orange. Combine the juice from the orange with 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Salt and pepper to taste, and toss with the salad. Marinate for several hours.

CORN CHILI SALAD. Toss the kernels from 6 ears cooked corn with 1 pound cooked kidney beans, 1 bunch trimmed and sliced scallion and 1 diced, roasted red pepper. Mix 3 tablespoons mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1/3 cup corn or peanut oil and 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce. Toss with salad along with 1 diced avocado and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.

SUCCOTASH SALAD. Toss 2 cups cooked corn kernels with 2 cups cooked lima beans, 2 cups diced ham and 1/4 cup minced sweet pickles. Whisk 6 tablespoons corn oil with 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup, 2 teaspoons brown mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with salad.

GARLICKY PASTA PRIMAVERA. Soften the white parts of 6 scallions in 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat. Add 3 minced garlic cloves, 8 sliced mushrooms and cook until slightly softened. Add 1 cup defrosted frozen baby peas, 1 cup defrosted frozen baby carrots, 1 cup defrosted frozen broccoli florettes and 1 diced roasted red bell pepper. Heat through. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper and toss 12 ounces hot cooked pasta and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.

APPLE AND SMOKED TURKEY TSIMMES. Soak 8 pitted prunes in 1/2 cup boiling water for 20 minutes. Remove the prunes and dissolve 1/4 cup brown sugar in the soaking liquid, along with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar. In a buttered 8- inch-square baking dish, arrange 2 thickly sliced sweet potatoes. Top with 1/4 pound thinly sliced smoked turkey, and top with 1/4 cup each diced carrot, diced parsnip, diced celery, 1/8 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground ginger and a pinch of ground cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Peel, core and quarter 2 large apples. Place a prune in the center of each apple quarter and arrange over vegetables. Pour the soaking liquid over top. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

MIXED GRILLED VEGETABLES WITH HUMMUS. Toss 1 large trimmed red pepper cut into 6 spears; 1 large trimmed yellow pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into 6 spears; 1 zucchini, cut in large chunks; 1 yellow squash, cut in large chunks; 12 large stemmed and trimmed mushrooms; 1 large sweet onion, cut in wedges and 1 large sliced tomato in 1 cup prepared oil and vinegar dressing, and marinate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, process 1 drained 10-ounce can chickpeas, 1 clove garlic, juice of half a lemon, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame butter (tahini), salt and hot pepper sauce to taste until smooth. Grill or broil the vegetables until browned and tender. Serve with sauce garnished with 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds.

TURKEY MUSHROOM SLOPPY JOES. Soften 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup diced celery, 1/2 cup diced green pepper and 1 cup diced mushrooms in 3 tablespoons corn oil. Add 1 pound ground turkey and brown lightly. Add 1/4 cup beef broth, 3 tablespoons ketchup and 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce. Simmer one minute and serve on four toasted hamburger buns.

FRESH BUFFALO TURKEY WINGS. Cut 2 turkey wings into sections. Discard the tip joint. Dredge in flour and pan-fry in 1/2 inch of hot oil until browned on both sides, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Toss in a mixture of 4 tablespoons hot melted butter mixed with 4 tablespoons hot pepper sauce.

BRAISED TURKEY LEGS. Brown 2 sectioned turkey legs in 1 tablespoon butter melted with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 chopped onion, 2 minced cloves garlic, 1 chopped rib celery, 1 diced carrot, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of clove and 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, cooking until the vegetables soften. Add 2 tablespoons flour and cook another minute. Add 2 cups chicken stock, stir to mix and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for the last 10 minutes.

TUSCAN CHICKEN LEGS. Soften 1 onion, cut in large chunks; 1 rib of celery, in large chunks; 2 carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks; 1/8 pound ham,

cut in chunks, and 2 minced cloves garlic, in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Remove and reserve. Add 2 pounds chicken legs to the pan and brown. Add 1/2 cup red wine, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until chicken is tender and most of the wine is reduced. Return the vegetables to the pan and adjust seasoning.

TERIYAKI BURGERS. Mix 1/2 pound ground turkey with 1/2 pound ground beef, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste and 2 tablespoons light soy sauce. Form into burgers and grill or pan-fry to desired degree of doneness. As each side is browned, brush with a mixture of 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, cooking each side for another minute after glazing it. Serve on buns with 1/4 cup bean sprouts and four slices of tomato.

MUSHROOM STRUDEL. Soften 1 chopped onion and 2 minced cloves of garlic in 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1 1/2 pounds cleaned and chopped mushrooms, 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, a pinch of rubbed sage and salt and pepper to taste, and cook for five more minutes. Add 1/2 cup white wine and simmer until most has evaporated. Cool. Layer four sheets of defrosted phyllo dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Place half the mushroom mixture on top in a line and roll the dough around the filling. Repeat with four more sheets, butter and filling. Brush both with melted butter and bake on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Cut each strudel in half and serve with tomato sauce.

TUNA STRUDEL. Follow the preceding recipe, reducing the mushrooms to 1/2 pound and using dried dill weed for thyme, and using dried tarragon for sage. Add a drained and crumbled 6.5-ounce can of tuna packed in water once the wine has evaporated.

POTATOES AU GRATIN WITH THREE CHEESES. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Peel and slice 1 1/4 pounds potatoes and 1 small onion. Mix 2 ounces shredded mozzarella, 2 ounces shredded Swiss cheese and 1 ounce grated Parmesan. Place 1/3 of the potato slices in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Top with half the onion and 1/3 of the cheeses. Make another layer of potatoes, seasoning, the remaining onion and another portion of cheese. Finish with the remaining potatoes and cheese. Pour 1 cup milk over top and dot with 2 teaspoons butter. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.

SWEET AND SOUR STUFFED RED CABBAGE. Soften 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 peeled and diced Granny Smith apple and 1 diced celery rib in 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 2 cups cooked rice. Place 1/4 cup of this filling in each of 12 blanched large red cabbage leaves. Fold loosely around the filling and secure the ends with a toothpick. Place closely together in a casserole. Bring 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup honey, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup chicken stock, 1/2 cup apple juice and salt and pepper to taste to a boil. Pour over cabbage, cover and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

CABBAGE STUFFED WITH ORZO AND CHEESE. Soften 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion and 1 tablespoon minced garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, a pinch of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste and 1 1/2 cups cooked orzo. Mix in 3 tablespoons ricotta cheese and 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Divide the filling between eight blanched, large cabbage leaves. Wrap like packages and secure the ends with toothpicks. Place snugly in a baking pan. Pour 1/2 cup white wine, the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 cup water over top, cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

CORNED BEEF STUFFED CABBAGE. Lightly brown 1/2 cup chopped onion in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil with 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves. Mash with 1 cup cooked peeled potatoes. Crumble in 1/2 pound cooked corned beef, and salt and pepper to taste. Fill eight blanched large cabbage leaves with this mixture and wrap as described in the preceding recipe. Place seam-side down in a steaming basket and steam over boiling water for 30 minutes. Serve with mustard.

BELL PEPPERS STUFFED WITH MACARONI AND CHEESE. Prepare the filling from Cabbage Stuffed With Orzo and Cheese, using 3 cups cooked small elbow macaroni for the orzo. Dice 1/4 pound Cheddar cheese. Cut around the stems of 4 bell peppers and remove the stems, seeds and cores. Place a few cheese cubes in each pepper. Fill halfway with the macaroni mixture. Add a few more cheese cubes, more pasta, another cheese cube and top with pasta. Pack upright into a small casserole, pour 1/2 cup chicken broth over top, cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

NO FUSS NO CRUST MACARONI AND CHEESE. Boil 1/2 pound macaroni to al dente. Toss in a casserole with 2 tablespoons butter and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Stir in 1/3 cup milk mixed with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon brown mustard and 1/4 pound shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Add 1/4 pound more shredded Cheddar and mix well. Bake 10 more minutes.

CRUSTY MACARONI AND CHEESE. Cook 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon flour for 1 minute. Add 1 cup milk and simmer until thick. In a casserole, combine mixture with 1/2 pound cooked macaroni, 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, a dash of cayenne pepper, 1/2 pound shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Top with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan mixed with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

STUFFED SHELLS. Mix 2 cups drained ricotta cheese with 1 egg, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Boil 12 jumbo pasta shells until al dente. Fill each with the cheese mixture and place, side by side, in an oiled baking dish. Cover with 2 cups tomato sauce. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

EGGPLANT ROLLATINI. Peel and slice a large eggplant into 16 thin slices. Brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil and grill until tender. Prepare the cheese filling from Stuffed Shells. Place 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of 2 slightly overlapping eggplant slices, and roll the eggplant around it. Place the rolls, side by side, in an oiled baking dish, and cover with 2 cups tomato sauce. Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

HOT DOG AND HAMBURGER KEBABS. Form 3/4 pound ground meat into eight small burgers. Cut each of four hot dogs in half. Skewer two burgers and two hot dog pieces on each of four metal skewers. Brush with 2 tablespoons mustard mixed with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and grill until the burgers reach desired degree of doneness and the hot dogs are brown.

GRILLED SMOKED FRANKFURTER WITH HOT APPLE CHUTNEY Soften 1/3 cup finely chopped onion in 2 tablespoons peanut oil with 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and pinch of ground clove. Add 2 peeled and diced Granny Smith apples, 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste and 1/3 cup raisins. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Grill 8 smoked frankfurters until brown and crisp and serve on hot dog rolls with the warm chutney.

KNOCKWURST SIMMERED IN BEER WITH SAUERKRAUT. Cook 2 chopped slices of bacon until almost crisp. Add 1 sliced onion, 2 pounds washed and drained sauerkraut, 2 teaspoons brown sugar and 1 pint dark beer. Bring to a boil and add 8 knockwurst. Cover and simmer until the knockwurst is plump and most of the beer has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

CHICKEN FRANKS WITH SALSA. Process 2 tomatoes with 1/2 medium onion, 1/4 teaspoon chopped hot pepper and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves. Adjust seasoning. Grill 8 chicken frankfurters until plump. Brush 3 tablespoons olive oil over the interiors of 8 hot dog rolls and toast lightly. Serve the franks in the rolls with the salsa.

HOT DOGS GRILLED WITH BACON AND HONEY MUSTARD. Slit 8 kosher hot dogs lengthwise. Brush with 3 tablespoons honey mustard and wrap each hot dog with a slice of bacon. Grill until bacon is crisp and hot dogs are plump. Serve on warm hot dog rolls.

HOT DOG GOUGERE. Slit 8 hot dogs lengthwise and place 1/2 ounce strip of Cheddar in each. Set aside. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil with a pinch of

salt and cayenne pepper, and 4 tablespoons butter. Dump in 1/2 cup flour and beat vigorously until a dough forms in the center of the pan. Remove from heat and beat in 4 eggs, one at a time and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Dip hot dogs in the batter and deep-fry in 375-degree oil until brown and puffed all over. Blot the surface and serve with mustard.

SWEET AND SOUR HOT SAUSAGE POTATO SALAD. Brown 1/2 pound sliced hot sausage. Add 5 tablespoons cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons sugar, and heat until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a salad bowl and add 1 finely chopped small onion, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon ketchup and 3 tablespoons mayonnaise. Boil 1 1/2 pounds peeled red bliss potatoes in salt water, drain and quarter. Add to the salad bowl along with 2 diced celery ribs and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Toss well.

POTATO AND TUNA VINAIGRETTE. Boil 1 1/2 pounds peeled red bliss potatoes in

salt water, drain, quarter and keep warm. Bring 2 minced cloves garlic, 1/2 cup white wine and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to a boil. Reduce to 2 tablespoons. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed, 2 tablespoons chopped olives and 1 drained 6.5-ounce can of tuna packed in water. Toss with the potatoes and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

BACON AND POTATO SOUFFLE. Bake 1 1/4 pounds potatoes until tender. Skin and mash. Brown 6 slices bacon, remove and crumble. Soften 1 cup chopped onion in the hot fat. Add the potatoes and mix 1 1/2 cups heated milk into the potatoes, 1/2 cup at a time. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and a pinch each of cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Add 6 egg yolks, one at a time, 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese and cool to room temperature. Beat 6 egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar to a soft peak and fold into the potatoes in 3 additions. Turn into a greased and floured two-quart souffle dish and bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350 and bake another 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes six servings.

CHEDDAR CORN SOUFFLE. Soften 1 cup onion, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 diced celery rib and 1/2 cup diced bell pepper in 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1 cup cornmeal and 1/2 cup boiling water and 1 cup milk. Cook until the mixture is smooth and thick. Season with 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, a pinch of nutmeg,

salt and pepper, and 2/3 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Add 6 egg yolks, one at a time and cool to room temperature. Beat 6 egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar to a soft peak, and fold into the mixture in three additions. Turn into a greased and floured two-quart souffle dish and bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350 and bake another 20 to 25 minutes. Makes six servings.

BACON AND SAUSAGE OATMEAL. In a heavy saucepan bring 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Slowly add 1 cup Irish steel-cut oatmeal while you

stir constantly. Do not allow the water to stop boiling. Cook the oatmeal briskly until the water starts to cloud. Turn down to a bare simmer, partially cover the pan and simmer for 30 more minutes, stirring briefly every 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook a strip of bacon until crisp. Remove and crumble and brown 1/4 pound sliced sausage in the fat. Stir in to the finished oatmeal.

MUSHROOM CHOWDER. Soften 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 peeled and diced carrot, 1 peeled and diced celery rib, 1 peeled and diced potato, 1/4 diced red pepper and 4 ounces diced smoked turkey breast in 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each dried marjoram and rosemary and 1 bay leaf. Cook for two minutes. Add 2 cups chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 20 minutes. Dissolve 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/2 cup milk. Stir into the soup and simmer for 2 minutes.

LAMB AND MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP. Brown 1/2 pound lamb stew meat in 2 tablespoons oil with 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms, 2 peeled and sliced carrots, 2 peeled and sliced ribs of celery and 1 diced onion. Add 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon crumbled rosemary and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Mix and add 2 cups water, 4 cups beef broth, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 cup pearl barley and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Simmer for 1 hour. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley.

SPICY BLACK BEAN SOUP. Soak 2 cups black beans. Drain. Cook 4 minced slices of bacon until crisp. Add 2 minced cloves garlic, and 2 stemmed, seeded and chopped fresh chili peppers. Add 6 cups chicken stock and the beans. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, soften 1 cup chopped onion, 2 diced carrots and 2 diced celery ribs in 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1/2 finely diced red pepper and 2 tablespoons grated orange zest and cook another two minutes. Add to the soup. Makes six to eight servings.

BARLEY AND SAUSAGE SOUP. Brown 2 cups chopped onion in 4 tablespoons butter. Add 1 cup pearl barley and toss to coat. Add 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 cup chopped tomato, 2 tablespoons each dill weed and parsley and 1/2 pound each sliced smoked sausage. Add 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup sour cream and serve.

POTATO FENNEL VICHYSSOISE. Soften 1 finely chopped onion, the chopped white part of 1 large leek, 1/2 diced fennel bulb and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel seed in 3 tablespoons butter. Add 1 1/2 pounds peeled and diced russet potatoes and toss to coat. Add 3 cups chicken stock, 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Run through a food mill. Chill and thin with 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup half-and-half. Garnish with 4 tablespoons chopped chives.

YAM, LEEK AND BACON SOUP. Brown 1/4 pound diced rindless slab bacon. Remove and blot off fat. Soften 1 finely chopped onion and the chopped white part of 3 leeks in the hot fat. Add 2 pounds peeled and diced sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Add 4 cups chicken stock, 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Run through a food mill. Return the bacon to the soup and thin with 1 cup milk. Heat through.

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