Readers share favorite fall comfort foods

Easy Tuscan soup made by  Harriet House.

Easy Tuscan soup made by Harriet House.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Lawrence Journal World

Easy Tuscan soup made by Harriet House.


Lawrence Journal World

Five hour stew made by Harriet House.


Lawrence Journal World

Harriet House presents her 5-Hour Stew.


Special to the Journal-World

A photo of a batch of banana muffins made by Linda Martin.

When fall chills the air around her rural Lawrence home, Harriet House knows just what to cook to warm body and soul.

“It’s called Five-Hour Stew,” she says. “It was given to me by my mother-in-law, Rose Mary House. She was a marvelous cook. You bake it at 250 degrees for five hours in a covered casserole. When it starts baking, you can smell it all over your house. It’s a comfort food.”

Journal-World readers are soothed and sated in the colder months by all kinds of sweet and savory fare. Luckily for us, they are more than willing to share the culinary love.

Five-Hour Stew from Harriet House

1 1/2 pounds. beef stew meat cut up

3 carrots sliced

3 potatoes quartered

1 large onion, cut in wedges

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 can tomatoes (2 cups diced)

1 cup water

1 1/2 tablespoon tapioca

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste


1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup red cooking wine

Brown meat. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Layer meat and vegetables in a covered casserole. Pour tomatoes with other ingredients over vegetables and meat. Add extra salt and pepper. Cook covered at 250 degrees for five hours.

Linda Martin of Baldwin says her banana muffins, adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook she received as a wedding present, have been a favorite with her family and friends for almost 40 years.

“I followed the recipe for several years using unbleached wheat flour for making a coffee cake-like bread and for muffins,” Martin says. “When my husband had to change his diet because of gluten intolerance, I modified the recipe to use rice flour so he could continue to eat one of his favorite comfort foods.”

Banana Muffins from Linda Martin

1 1/4 cups unbleached wheat flour (or rice flour)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup banana, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. Combine sugar, oil and beaten eggs and then stir in banana. Add flour mix to the banana mix and stir until just moistened.

Use non-stick spray to grease muffin pans. Fill muffin pans about 2/3 full, approximately _ cup batter each. Bake about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to remove from muffin pan. Makes 12 muffins.

Note: Best when very ripe (mostly black) bananas are used. Can use one 8-by-8 square or round pan instead of muffin pan. Refrigerate any leftovers — the muffins are good cold or can be warmed in the microwave. Use rice flour for a gluten-free recipe.

Kathy Pryor of Lawrence claims she typically doesn’t cook.

“I am literally surrounded by excellent chefs, including (her stepson) master chef T.K. Peterson (banquet chef at The Oread),” she says. “Zucchini pie is about the only thing he and other family members will ask me for, besides desserts. I gave T.K. the recipe about two weeks ago. I think he gave up on depending on me for it.”

Zucchini Pie from Kathy Pryor

4 cups thinly sliced zucchini

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves

2 beaten eggs

8 ounces shredded mozzarella

8-ounce can crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Separate rolls into 8 triangles and press into 10-inch pie pan to form crust. Brush with yellow mustard. Cook and stir zucchini and onion in melted butter for 10 minutes. Stir in herbs and cook until zucchini is transparent.

Beat together with eggs and cheese; add to cooking vegetable mixture and mix well. Pour into crust. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until firm. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Paula Flannery, Lawrence, says her family takes out the chill with a hearty bowl of steak soup, made from “A Taste of Kansas City” by the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired.

“We love it on cold nights,” Flannery says. “It’s more spicy than Putsch’s classic recipe. I use Rotel for both cans of tomatoes, because we like it spicier!”

Steak Soup from Paula Flannery

1/4 pound butter

1/2 cup flour

4 10-ounce cans beef consommé

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 baking potato, half-inch dice

1 14-ounce can zesty diced tomatoes

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1-1/2 teaspoons browning sauce

2 teaspoons beef granules

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 shakes garlic powder

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 10-ounce package frozen vegetables

2 pounds lean ground beef, browned and drained well

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add flour to the melted butter. Stir to form a paste. After mixture is smooth, cook over medium heat for three minutes. Stir frequently. Slowly add consommé. Stir until slightly thickened. Then bring to a full boil. Add fresh vegetables, tomatoes and seasonings. Bring soup back to full boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add frozen vegetables and meat; simmer an additional 15 minutes. Serves 12.

Nancy Longhurst of Lawrence says this is her go-to potage in late autumn.

“I love cooking it on cold fall nights,” she says.

Curry Butternut Squash Soup from Nancy Longhurst

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (2 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste

2 tablespoons honey

4 teaspoons plain low-fat yogurt, for garnish

Heat oil over medium heat in a 6-quart stockpot. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft but not brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the butternut squash, broth, curry powder and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat stir in honey and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.

Ladle into serving bowls and add a dollop of yogurt. Serves 5.