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Lyn Nichols column: What's Cookin': Autumn inspires cravings for soup, homemade bread

There is a chill in the morning air that boldly suggests that autumn leaves are turning red and gold and warns that winter is only a month away. This is one of my favorite times of the year. Autumn -- a beautiful word and sound -- brings falling ...

There is a chill in the morning air that boldly suggests that autumn leaves are turning red and gold and warns that winter is only a month away.

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Autumn -- a beautiful word and sound -- brings falling leaves, chilly days and the craving for homemade soups and warm bread.

Just in time for this craving of homemade soup, Doug Kenyon sent this interesting soup recipe to me. He and his wife, Mary Jo, recommend using Kielbasa in the soup because it increases the depth of flavor in an already delicious soup.

"We highly recommend the Kielbasa for the flavor. Cut into ¼-inch to C,-inch slices and lightly sautéed, Kielbasa adds another flavor to the soup. It keeps well in the refrigerator and, like other soups, seems enhanced with every reheating" Doug wrote.

Elm River Potato Soup

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Enough chicken broth to cover 3 medium potatoes (russets recommended but not essential)

¼ cup chopped celery

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

4 cups milk or half and half

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

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¼ teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon caraway seed

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

12 ounces thinly sliced and lightly sautéed Kielbasa, ham or smoked sausage; or a few slices of crumbled bacon

1. Place potatoes in a soup pot, cover with chicken broth. Add onions and celery and cook until potatoes are tender. Do not drain. Mash potatoes to preferred consistency.

2. Melt butter over low heat in medium saucepan. Remove from heat, add flour, mix evenly.

3. Stir milk or half and half mixture into the saucepan. (Note: Some half and half or cream gives a richer texture and flavor, proportion is your option) Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened.

4. Combine all ingredients and heat to proper temperature.

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If you like a warm muffin loaded with corn and green onions with your soup, try this recipe.

Corn Muffins

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed, drained

1 cup chopped green onions

½ cup grated or shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 12 (Zc-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.

2. Combine first 7 ingredients in large bowl and mix lightly. Whisk sour cream, eggs and melted butter in another bowl and add the sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Season with cayenne (see note below), if using, or stir in peppers, if using. Fold in corn kernels, green onions and cheese.

3. Divide batter equally among muffin cups. Bake until golden and tester inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool on rack. (Can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

Note: A dash of cayenne or ¼ cup diced jalapeño may be added to the recipe if desired.

Lyn Nichols hosts "What's Cookin'?" weekdays on WDAY-TV. Her column appears Sundays in The Forum. She can be reached at PO Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108, or e-mail, lyn@i29.net

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