I met a truly wonderful master craftsman of culinary arts…SILVER DOLLAR CITY’S Culinary and Craft School expert instructor DEBBIE DANCE UHRIG.
A true teacher, Debbie has a Master’s Degree in Education, with a straight A average in her Master’s program. But she got more involved with food…and ventured into Private Cooking classes, demonstrating for cooking stores , newspapers, magazines and television. She makes her millions of readers happy each week with her cooking column “The Covered Dish” in a local magazine. You can enjoy/purchase her cookbook “Simply Yours” via website
In the state-of-the-art kitchen showroom, Debbie demonstrated 2 “really-yumm” soup recipes, Potato Leek Soup and the creamy tomato soup Ozarks Red Gold Bisque. Usual creamy soup ingredients like milk, heavy cream, half and half and grated cheddar cheese were listed…but this one ingredient is interestingly unfamiliar to Filipino homecooks, Bacon Grease…a what…so I asked Debbie via email to expound on bacon grease.
“Bacon Grease is gold…so don’t throw it away! I know it sound gross, but I simply call it “extra virgin bacon oil, and then it doesn’t sound yuck/yikes anymore. And a little bacon grease goes a long long way…try it, it works magic to home-made popcorn (really makes the best popcorn), sauteed brussel sprouts/cabbage/collard green, fried rice, soups and chowders, home fries. How you store this fresh hot liquid grease? Two ways: put into a glass jar (a plastic containers will melt) and place a lid on it and stick it in your refrigerator or cool in a glass bowl and then transfer to a quart-size freezer bag and sit it upright in freezer to freeze into a “log” (so you can then just slice when you just need a teaspoon or two). Again just use sparingly for that extra flavor, and yes, I’m for the flavor and not horribly concerned about calories.”
Today’s Class: Silver Dollar City’s Potato Leek Soup
1 teaspoon bacon grease
1 1/4 cups onion, diced
1 1/4 cups celery, diced
3/4 cup leeks, diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 quart plus 2 cups water (6 cups)
2 tablespoons vegetable base
2 tablespoons chicken base
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
8 red skinned potatoes, 1/2 inch diced
1 quart whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with additional 1/4 cup water
Heat the bacon grease in a large stockpot. Add onion, leek, celery and garlic, cooking until tender. To the cooked vegetables add the water, vegetable base, chicken base, white pepper and salt. Stir until soup bases are combined.
Add the diced potatoes to the water and vegetable mixture, cooking for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
While the vegetables are cooking, start another saucepan with milk and heavy cream, warming over medium heat. This process can also be accomplished in the microwave. Once the milk mixture is heater thoroughly, combine the dairy and vegetables together.
To thicken the soup, mix the water and cornstarch and add it to the soup. This will not be a super thick soup; if you want it thicker, simply repeat the process (mix 4 teaspoons cornstarch with water). If you do not care for the translucency of the cornstarch blend, feel free to switch to a flour slurry or roux. At Silver Dollar City, the cornstarch thickening is used.
For garnish, top with chopped scallions, shredded cheddar cheese, or fresh bacon bits.
Here is the exterior shot of the Silver Dollar city’s Culinary & Craft School…
Really I must say that nothing can compare to a great escape to the SILVER DOLLAR CITY in Branson, Missouri! When you just have enough of the “not-so-good” daily news and day-to-day uncertainties and struggles and you want a getaway…simply follow where the “real fun” is…SILVER DOLLAR CITY it is…yes way! If thrill rides and themed-park attractions gives you the “highs and smiles”, if over 40 magic/Chinese acrobats/musical daily live shows brightens up your day, if demonstrating craftsmen (blown glass, jewelry, blacksmith, etc) inspires you to be at your best, if award-winning restaurants and good ol’ country eats is your fancy, if fun and entertaining culinary demos to you is a treat…you’ve got to be in SILVER DOLLAR CITY.
(My special thanks to the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB. And really hats off to Lynn Berry, Director of Public Relations, she is simply the best!)
It is SILVER DOLLAR CITY…a 50 acre world-class themed park and internationally-acclaimed performing arts hall rolled into one…so my 3-inch heels and 50 acres didn’t really go well together. Glad we made it to the Chinese acrobatic show featuring Balancing Monks, complete with “jaw-dropping” plate spinning, body contortions, high flying and the incredible “standing on your head on someone else’s head” acts…bravo! More walks (oh no, lotsa hills and slopes). We stopped from time to time and interacted with shop owners/craftsmen.
Next post is Silver Dollar City’s Famous Ginger Cookies… really really “thumbs-up” cookies.