The blustery days of November have, decidedly, arrived. ‘Tis the season for comfort foods: roasts, casseroles, stews, chili and soups. Nothing warms my belly, heart and soul more than the aroma of big pot of something simmering on the stove on a chilly day. Life being what it is, most of us do not have the time to spend slaving over a hot stove. To some, real homemade soups have become an indulgence rather than simple comforting sustenance. To those time-crunched Long Islanders yearning for the gratifying goodness of homemade soups and chili, Amy Acierno, proprietress of Miss Amy’s Preserves, has done the slaving over the stove for you. Acierno, who has made a successful 20-year career with her artisanal jams, hot pepper spreads, tapenades and mustard has done some cool weather diversification with a line of soups and chili.
“I have thought about it for a long time,” says Acierno, “I just never seemed to have had the time. I produce jam five days a week. It is really hard to add another flavor, nevermind an entirely new product.” Acierno is quick to credit her staff for the impetus to “stick my toe into this new venture.” “For the past two years I have had the absolutely best team working with me. Top notch, mature people who love my company and want to see it do well. I am really blessed,” she says. Her committed crew has taken a bit of the day-to-day pressure off Acierno, freeing her to experiment with some recipes, both new and family favorites.
Miss Amy’s line cool weather savories feature three soups and chili. Her chili, Dottie’s Texas Pot-Roasted Chili, is her mom’s recipe and a legendary favorite of the Acierno family and their Sayville friends. The three soups, Lentil with Roasted Ham, Wild Rice with Mushroom and Creamy Cauliflower, are crafted with the same attention to flavor and freshness as her line of jams.
The soups and chili are made on Thursdays and Fridays, packed into quart-sized glass jars and sold at select outdoor farmers markets on Long Island: Northport, Islip and Westhampton Beach (Saturdays until November 21). Beginning in January, Miss Amy’s soups will also be available at the indoor markets in Long Beach and Commack. If there should be any leftovers (she reports that she has been selling out of everything almost every week), Acierno repackages them in plastic containers, freezes them and sells them for $1 off her usual prices ($12 for the soups and $14 for the chili). Could there be a better go-to mid-week supper on a chilly Long Island evening? We don’t think so.