Love Welcome Serve by Amy Nelson Hannon

Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give by Amy Nelson Hannon has the recipes you need to cook comfort foods for your family but browsing through this beautiful cookbook is comfort for your soul before you even lift the spatula.

"I feed people. . .Why do I feed people? Because I believe with my whole heart that people who are cooked for feel cared for. " says Hannon in the introduction. Hannon shares that her grandmother, Euna Mae Nelson modeled that way of life for her as she was growing up. If you aren't familiar with Hannon, she runs a kitchen boutique and social media platform sharing her love of cooking for others. Love Welcome Serve is a compilation of family friendly recipes that Hannon hopes readers will fix for their loved ones.

Hannon's cookbook is as friendly as her kitchen hospitality. After her warm introduction in Love Welcome Serve, she starts out sharing cooking tips on ingredients and stocking your kitchen with essential cooking tools. There are then seven chapters of recipes with gorgeous illustrations. Love Welcome Serve just gets my tummy growling as I look at the pictures and think about making the recipes. Hannon is from the South so there are a lot of recipes that are Southern culture cuisine. She cooks grits and sweet tea, which we don't make much of in the Midwest. For me, that is what makes it even more fun. If I were going to try grits, I believe Hannon has the recipe I would want to use.

Love Welcome Serve is just a gorgeous book full of comfort food recipes to serve with family and friends. I especially like that she shares a little story about each recipe before the recipe. I like to read cookbooks like I read a novel and this one offers comforting reading as well as recipes. At the top of my list of recipes to try is the white chicken chili, hearty homemade chicken and dumplings, comfort chicken pot pie, roasted honey-balsamic brussels sprouts,  sour cream blueberry streusel muffins, and chocolate peanut butter dream pie. If you like to make down-home comfort foods for your family and friends, this would be a cookbook that would be good to have and I encourage you to get a copy.

Until you get your own copy of Love Welcome Serve, here is the recipe for the White Chicken Chili with Cilantro and Lime complete with Hannon's welcoming words, complete with her Southern drawl, to the recipe:

Oh my word. Y’all, it’s finally Fall! Fall is my favorite! If I had to list all the things I love about Fall in order of what I love best, it’d be nearly impossible. Football, crisp mornings, jeans and boots, apple everything, pumpkin everything, adding more blankets to the beds, and the anticipation of the holiday season! I mean, how’s a girl to choose?!

One other favorite of mine during this season is sturdy soups - a bowl full of earthy, warm goodness that gets at my soul. What’s the difference between regular soup and sturdy soup you might ask? Sturdy soups have girth. They are spoonfuls of hearty bites. And they fill bellies way up. You know, they’re sturdy. They can stand alone served with only a few fixins on top. Have I got a sturdy soup for you!

This recipe is an adaptation of one found in my church cookbook. Y'all know that if you can ever get your hands on a church cookbook, then it's a keeper. Church cookbook recipes are those tried-and-true, time-tested, crowd-pleasing dishes. I know, because I'm a pastor's wife, and I've been feeding people for more than 20 years. So you learn what's good, what people come back for, and what people request recipes for. And this White Chicken Chili meets the criteria for sure! It is so creamy and loaded with flavor, and the texture is divine with hearty bites of tender chicken and white beans. Sturdy. This recipe is the first soup that my family asks for when the weather officially turns cooler and there’s football on TV. Here’s to fall! And here’s to full bellies and full hearts! - Amy Nelson Hannon, author of Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give

{serves 6-8}

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ - 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
3-4 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine like Chardonnay (optional)
1 bay leaf, broken in half
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 cans white beans of your choice, drained
3 jalapeno peppers, minced
3 cups fresh grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Salt to taste
3 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (plus more for topping)
The juice of 3 limes

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (around 5-6qts). Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until they're tender and just starting to get color.  Add the garlic oregano, cumin, and ginger, cooking for one more minute. Stir continuously so the garlic doesn't burn!  Add stock, wine (if using) and bay leaf.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes over medium heat until somewhat reduced.  Add chicken, beans, and jalapenos. Simmer uncovered for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Over low heat add a little cheese at a time, stirring until melted.  Add pepper, and taste for salt; add if needed.  Stir in fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and serve! Garnish with fresh chopped tomatoes, green onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, or sliced avocado.

I received Love Welcome Serve from the publisher, Center Street/Hachette Book Groups. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.


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