Baby It’s Cold Outside

At least in Canada it is. It’s a blustery, third day of snow squall warnings, -11 Celsius (wind chill of -19). Wind is from the north, north-west at 20km/hr. There’s 46 cm of snow on the ground where it hasn’t drifted into a frozen version of a sand desert. Dawn banishes the night, a transition from black to grey. The world is a study of muted monochrome, like a Victorian pen and ink sketch. Still the snow falls. Periodically I hear it patter against the gable windows.

I check my cup for tea, find it empty. Just the dregs of tea leaves and honey. The cats share my disgust of that finding and seek refuge a floor below, snuggling into the down duvet of our bed. Wiser they than I who sit shivering in my loft office. I take a moment to adjust the heat and wrap into an old burgundy cardigan. The Reel of Tullochgorum plays from iTunes.

Having checked email, studied Twitter and Facebook, LSI morning sales report, my thoughts turn to dinner plans — what else at 7:50 a.m?

And so, for all my fellow Canadians, whether writer, publisher, reader or otherwise occupied, a new recipe from Stonehouse Kitchen I’ve been working on these past two weeks I think you will find comforting on a cold winter’s night.

Potato and Bacon Soup
1 pound bacon (pancetta’s even better, or whatever bacony kind of thing you want to use)
1 large onion chopped finely
3 stalks celery chopped finely (but you don’t need it if you don’t have it)
6 large mushrooms chopped coarsely (cremini are best, but you can use white)
4 large potatoes, diced into bite—sized cubes (I prefer Yukon Gold, which were developed at University of Guelph)
1 bulb garlic minced finely (I like garlic, so adjust to your taste)
1 chili pepper crushed
1 large can lentils (or you can use dried lentils – brown lentils are better than red in this case, but use what you have)
1 box beef broth (or your own if you have it)
Olive oil

Sauté bacon, onion, chili pepper and garlic in soup pot until a little colour develops. Add celery and mushrooms and sauté another five minutes. Add potatoes and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 40 minutes. Very delicious. Freezes very well. Serves six to eight depending whether you’re using this for a dinner or lunch.