Saturday, October 12, 2013

German Style Potato and Sausage Stew

It is fall! Time to start eating soup 24/7 and staying in warm clothes and boots for the next 6 months, haha! I whipped this one up last week and could stand to make it again this week. While it isn't the most gorgeous soup ever, it is delightful. Enjoy!

German Style Potato and Sausage Stew

German Style Potato and Sausage Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package chicken sausage
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 bottle lager beer
3 medium carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
5 medium russet potatoes, cubed
3 cups chicken stock, hot
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2-3 teaspoons parsley

1. Heat up a medium-sized dutch oven or pot with olive oil over medium heat. When hot, placed sliced chicken sausage into oil. Allow to brown well, the crunchy bits are delicious. Grind the caraway seeds to a fine powder separately.
2. When sausage is done, add garlic, caraway powder, black pepper. When this starts to smell amazing, add the lager slowly. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to get any of the "burned" parts up, should turn your broth very dark.
3. Add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. I chose not to peel my potatoes, but if you want, go for it.  Carefully add the hot chicken stock to the pot. Stir carefully to incorporate everything together.
4. Allow this to cook on medium-medium low until the potatoes are tender, 40-45 minutes.
5. Mash a few of the potatoes to bring the consistency up to your desired thickness.
6. Just before serving, add the ACV and stir well. Top with parsley. I served mine with fresh French bread that I added a few teaspoons of olive oil, sea salt, chile powder, and garlic powder. Then I toasted the sliced bread up for a few minutes in the oven and it was the perfect accompaniment to this rich soup.

See Ya Later Nasty Backyard!

We bought a foreclosure, a foreclosure in pretty bad shape none the less. In August, we will have been here for 2 years. The first year, we spent all our time and energy getting the inside how we wanted it. This spring, we started with the outside. We hired a painting company to revamp the outside and it made quite the impact. Neither of us really know how to deal with high desert climate and how to start landscaping in that climate. So, instead of landscaping a ton, we have decided to do a paver patio with some major flower beds to increase our privacy from the golf course and make it known that people actually live here now! This backyard project was quite a bit of work and there were many times we just wanted to quit. Now that it is done, it was so worth it!

First, we decided on our space taking into account that we wanted the flower beds to flow seamlessly from the patio. We dug down our area between 6-8 inches depending on how far it needed to be to be level... sort of!

When we finished digging down, we filled the hole back up with 3 inches of sand in order to make a solid base for the pavers.

Then we started laying the pavers. I started at the high side of the space and leveled each paver according to the previous one. I worked out in angles to keep it as level as possible. This was the most time consuming part. Only one person could really work on it at a time to preserve the level-ness.

Once the outside edges were done, we could start with the flower beds. I wanted it to be smooth on top and graduated on the bottom, this way it seems more solid to me. That also meant we needed to dig out a pathway for the bottom row to stay level. We did this same process on the flower bed that the previous owner had done, but they had used large boulders as the retaining wall. We also added in a small veggie garden to grow some tomatoes and jalapeno peppers - guacamole anyone?!
Once the patio was finished, we added 100 lbs of playground sand on top and brushed it in each seam to help with the solidity of the patio. We did this over a few days - brushed it around, sprayed it with the hose, let dry. Repeat. When this was all done, we added a small fire pit to the center, some great Target furnishings with Home Depot cushions and voila! Looks much, MUCH better! Now to let some plants grow, grab some more landscaping base rocks to fill in where we had to dig up and our back yard fits in with the much more prestigious homes in the neighborhood!