November 8, 2013

MMmmmm Soups!

Colder months bring comfort food, and for me hearty soups are a favorite. There is just something about a hot bowl of savory smelling goodness! Mmmm!! 
They are a great make ahead meal, that can be easily frozen for later. They are easy to make, and usually quite budget friendly. Here we have rounded up some really tasty recipes to share with you.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (1 pound) loaf processed cheese food, cubed
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup water


In a stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until softened. Stir in broccoli, and cover with chicken broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Reduce heat, and stir in cheese cubes until melted. Mix in milk and garlic powder.
In a small bowl, stir cornstarch into water until dissolved. Stir into soup; cook, stirring frequently, until thick.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon

1 (3 pound) butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 strips bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored, and cubed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg(optional)
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Place squash in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil; mix to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread squash into a single layer on a baking pan. Roast the squash in the preheated oven, turning once, until fork-tender and caramelized; 30 to 40 minutes.

Place the bacon in a Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon slices to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the drippings in the pan.

Place the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, curry powder, thyme, and salt and pepper in the Dutch oven; cook in reserved bacon drippings until the carrots and celery are soft. Mix in the apples and cooked squash and cook another 5 minutes. Stir the garlic into the mixture and cook another 1 minute. Pour the apple cider over the mixture; reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer; allow to reduce to about half its original volume. Stir in the chicken stock; simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in small batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender. If using a blender, don't fill the blender more than half-way. Always remove the center lid piece of a stand blender when blending hot liquids so the steam can escape. Cover the hole with a dish towel while blending. Stir the nutmeg into the soup. Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon of sour cream and some of the bacon pieces to serve.

Hamburg Soup
1 lb of ground beef (lean)
1 onion (chopped)
1/2 red pepper (chopped)
1/2 yellow pepper (chopped)
3 carrots (sliced)
2 zuchini (sliced)
3 celery sticks (sliced)
2 cups baby spinach (fresh)
1/2 cup brown rice
1 can beef consomme soup (beef broth)
2 cans of water
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp cumin
pepper to taste

Cook and drain ground beef. Slightly sauté onion & peppers. Combine with other ingredients in stock pot and let simmer 1-2 hours.

Note: You can replace fresh spinach for frozen, thaw, but don't drain off excess water, simply add 1/2 cup less of water

Optional other ingredients to throw in: Canned baby corn, canned diced tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes or pasta (instead of rice), barley and lentils.

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus more for serving (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Cook garlic and chili powder until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes (with juice), beans, broth, corn, and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper.
Bring soup to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Add tortilla chips; cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice, and season with salt and pepper. Serve soup with lime wedges and, if desired, more chips.

French Onion Soup

1/4 cup butter
3 white onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups beef broth
1 French baguette
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
A few sprigs of parsley

Combine butter, onions and sugar in a sauce pan. Cook over low to medium heat for 15-20 minutes . You must cook them slow for the flavor to be right. You should look for them to be translucent first, and then as they just start to turn golden, that's when they are ready. Next stir in flour and balsamic vinegar until well blended with the onions and pan juices. Add water and beef broth and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover soup, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While the soup simmers, cut 1 inch thick slices from the baguette and toast the slices until browned. Place oven safe bowls on cookie sheet, and ladle out the soup into the bowls (leaving enough room for bread on top). Place 1 slice of the toasted baguette on top of the soup in each bowl. Liberally sprinkle cheese over top. To finish, add a small sprig of parsley (stem removed) on top of the cheese. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes, or just until cheese is melted.

Smoky corn chowder with bacon

6  slices bacon, chopped
1  leek (white part only), finely chopped
1 russet potato, finely chopped
2 cups frozen or canned corn kernels
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
398 ml can creamed corn
1 sprig of thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf

Heat a large pot over medium. Add bacon and cook just until crisp, 4 min. Discard all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat. Add leek and sauté until tender, 1 min. Then add potato, corn, broth, milk, creamed corn, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 20 min. Remove thyme and bay leaf before serving. Season with fresh pepper. Soup will keep well in refrigerator up to 2 days, or in freezer, in a covered container, up to a month.
Creamed corn adds richness to this soup without adding a lot of fat.

Sausage, Lentil, and Kale Soup
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 celery stalks (with leafy tops), thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
1/2 cup dried lentils
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) kale, preferably Tuscan, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add celery and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, broth, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer, partially cover, and cook until lentils and vegetables are tender, 25 minutes.
Add kale and season with salt. Return soup to a rapid simmer, cover, and cook until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Carrot Ginger Soup
3 cloves of garlic
1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
2 tbsp of butter
6-7 large carrots
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, and add garlic and onion.Stir often until soft, (approx 5 min). Meanwhile, grate ginger, peel carrots and slice, then add all to onion mixture. Sprinkle with cumin, salt and nutmeg, stir in water and undiluted chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are very tender, (approx 30 minutes).
When finished cooking, use an immersion blender to puree soup. I'm told you can also use a food processor, but then you have to let the soup cool, it's messy, it's more work... Just my opinion. I'd suggest an immersion blender, but hey, it's your choice!!

Pizza Soup
Chef Michael Smith
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can whole, crushed or chopped tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon dried oregano
8 ounces pepperoni, thinly sliced
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices whole grain bread
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Sauté the onions and garlic in a large stockpot with the olive oil until the onions are lightly browned and your kitchen smells amazing.
Add the canned tomatoes. (If you use whole tomatoes crush them with the back of a wooden spoon.) Add the chicken broth, carrots and oregano. Simmer for 15 minutes or so until the carrots are tender.
Add the pepperoni and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the broiler in your oven.
Ladle the hot soup into 4 onion soup bowls or 4 large ovenproof soup cups. Cut the bread into large circles and cover the top of each soup bowl. Sprinkle on 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella onto the top of each bread slice and then place bowls under the broiler in your oven. Cook until the cheese is golden and bubbling, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Herbed Chicken And Potato Soup

Readers Digest
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 strips bacon, trimmed of visible fat and finely chopped
1 chicken thigh (on the bone, if possible), about 140 g, skinned
2 onions, finely chopped
500 g potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
pepper to taste
1 1⁄4 cups low-fat milk
chopped parsley, or a mixture of chopped parsley and fresh thyme, to garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the bacon, chicken and onions, and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Increase the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring the ingredients occasionally and turning the chicken once, until the chicken is pale golden-brown in colour.
Add the potatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the stock, then add the thyme and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. Remove and chop the meat and discard the bone, if necessary. Return the chicken meat to the soup. Stir in the milk and reheat the soup gently without boiling.
Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with chopped parsley or parsley and thyme and serve.
Hope you enjoy these recipes!

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