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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Potato Soup, Apple Dumplings chase winter's chill

Thursday, January 20, 2000

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Nothing melts a winter's chill like a bowl of hot soup or the aroma of cinnamon and apples.

Our first recipe, Spicy Potato Soup, fits the bill for anyone who loves the taste and heat of jalapeno peppers. These small but lethal peppers add a heap of hot flavor to this cream-based soup. The recipe calls for six jalapeno peppers - if you're not a hot pepper lover, cut the amount to 2 or 3. This is an eye-catching soup with the bits of green and red pepper. The vegetables blend well with the whipping cream and wine to make this soup extra flavorful.

Our second recipe, Apple Dumplings, is a delicious way to kill the winter blues. You'll notice two recipes for apple dumplings; the only difference is the yield. The first is the original. It makes 30 dumplings; the second makes 10. The dumplings are baked in a mixture of water, sugar and melted butter. Some of the mixture is absorbed - the remaining mixture bakes into a sweet sauce. We served the dumplings with a tablespoon of this sauce along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Stanley Penkova Coraopolis sent this soup recipe for Ruth Lewis of Rostraver.

Spicy Potato Soup

6 slices bacon
6 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced celery
1/4 each red and green pepper, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
11/2 cups water
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups (1 pint), whipping cream
3 cups milk (we used whole)
1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon until crisp, crumble and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from pan. Add chiles, onion, celery, peppers and garlic to the bacon drippings. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft - about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 4- to 5-quart stockpot. Add potatoes, cover, reduce heat and boil gently until fork tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in vegetables, cream, milk, wine and salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat until steaming about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a soup tureen - sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Yield: About 10 cups.

Note: This recipe calls for thin-skinned potatoes. We used Yukon Gold. If you prefer non-alcoholic dishes, try replacing the wine with chicken broth. It's a good idea to use gloves when working with jalapeno peppers - if you don't have gloves, keep your hands away from you face until they're washed thoroughly.

Irene Sinclair of Vestaburg thought our readers might enjoy a quick way to make apple dumplings.

Apple Dumplings

3 tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
15 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and halved
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Flatten biscuits with your hand. Wrap each biscuit around an apple half; place seam side down in two greased 9-by-13-by-2 inch baking dishes. Combine sugar, water, butter and vanilla; pour about 12/3 cups into each pan. Sprinkle cinnamon over dumplings. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until dumplings are golden brown and apples are tender.

Serve immediately. Yield: 30 servings.

Note: Buy medium apples as the recipe suggests - for a good reason. The biscuits are small, and there's not enough biscuit dough to form a dumpling around a large apple. And, instead of flattening the biscuit by hand, we found it easier to use a rolling pin.

Apple Dumplings

1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
10 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and halved
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 to 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Grease a 10-inch deep dish pie plate or tart pan. Follow directions above.

Yield: 10 apple dumplings.


Helen A. Morgan of Zelienople would like a recipe for spaghetti pie.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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