Soup De Doo!

Everyone I’ve talked to in the last week or so has at least one person in their house who’s sneezing, coughing, hacking, and otherwise feeling miserable.  Both of the Sis sisters have been plagued as well. In my house, all four of us fell to this school born scourge.  And so, while appetites have not been hearty around here lately, we do seem to agree on the goodness of soup.  All soup, any soup, warm wonderful soup.  The fact that we had our first TRUE cold weather of the season only made the call for soup more compelling.

I’m assuming we are not the only coughers and hackers out there, so I thought I’d pause for a moment to do a bit of a soup tour.  But why, you might wonder, why worry so much about soup  recipes when there is nearly an entire aisle full of prepared soups waiting for me at the grocery store? There are many reasons why we prefer homemade to “factory” soup (my nephew’s designation). Canned soup is extremely high in sodium, when the label says low sodium, it means it’s lower than the salt lick next to it.  Canned soup also contains MSG (a good one to avoid according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest) even when it says it doesn’t, apparently.  Canned soup contains a plethora of unnecessary preservatives and unusual ingredients (like monster carrots and celery) that are in that can solely because it is a highly, and violently processed, canned food.  Finally, canned soup is expensive.  No, it’s not the most expensive thing you can buy, but compared to homemade soup, which can be one of the most frugal meal choices you can make, it costs a fortune.

So for all you coughers and hackers, all you frugal home cooks, all you folks who are feeling the first signs of winter, I bring you Soup De Doo!

Soups for Healing

   

1. Cold Kickin’ Soup –  My go to choice for headcolds and other respiratory yuck.

2. Shweet Potato Stew – Super soothing anti-inflammatory sweet potatoes with fantastic flavors.

3. Lentil, Mushroom and Sweet Potato Soup – Warming broth with healing mushrooms and anti-inflammatory sweet potatoes.  Greens for added nutrish and power protein lentils.

Crock Pot Wonders

 

 1. Slow Cooker Vegetable, Bean and Barley Stew – So easy, so delish.

2. Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup (DF) – You know you miss that tomato soup – you don’t have to.

3. Slow Cooker Creamed Lentil Soup – A surprising and simple slow cooker soup.

Twisted Classics

1. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup – Roasting the veggies brings out their sweetness.

2. Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup – Wild rice is so great in soup – never mushy.

3. Bellywarming American Black Bean Soup – We always think of Southwest flavors for black bean soup – this twist reminds us that black beans are very versatile.

Ready for a great big bowl of soup? I know I am (sniffle, hack, cough).  Be well, and get better before the gathering extravaganza begins!

Souped Up – We Double Dare You

So I’m talking to Big Sis on the phone (yes, that could have been just about any day and we like it that way – so glad these babies are cordless) and inevitably the “Whatcha havin’ for dinner?” part of the conversation arose.  I told her I was making bread and chopping veg for soup, a Deborah Madison soup incidentally.  And in another mystery of nature vs. nurture, it turned out Big Sis was also in the process of making soup from her beloved Deborah Madison cookbook.  “Sounds like it’s time for a soup post.”  I’m not sure which one of us said it, but I’m pretty sure it hardly matters.  And so you are the unwitting beneficiaries of our non-coincidentally parallel lives.  There’s a sign post up ahead… Insert Twilight Zone music here 😉  (Bigg Sis here – no italics)  Oh and Little Sis gave me the big fat Deborah Madison book as an impromptu gift.  Made me feel as warm as soup!

My most recent Deborah Madison experiment was a blatant attempt to capitalize on my picky daughter’s relative willingness to eat lentil dishes.  I wanted soup; she likes lentils; the answer was self-evident.  I whipped up some bread to insure my dinnertime victory (carbs are the answer to my daughter’s every question) and checked out the pantry to see what kind of lentil soup would make the most sense.  After a fruitful pantry dive, I consulted my favorite chef and settled on Lentil Minestrone.  Heck, I knew it would make ME happy.

Lentil Minestrone – Adapted from Deborah Madison in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

  • olive oil for the pan
  • 1.5 c chopped onion
  • 2 T tomato paste (I freeze mine in a big blob on wax paper after I open a can and cut off what I need from the frozen blob)
  • 2 T chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots cut small
  • 1 c celery cut small
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 c lentils (I used green)
  • 2 bay leaves, several branches parsley and a few thyme sprigs,  (or dried herbs to taste)
  • 9 c water or vegetable stock (I went halfsies)
  • Bragg’s or soy sauce to taste
  • 1 bunch greens, chopped (I used chard from the garden)
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (we used leftover homemade green pasta)

Warm olive oil in a large pot.  Saute onion for about 10 minutes until soft and starting to brown.  Add tomato paste through the celery and the salt.  Cook for a few more minutes.  Add the lentils, the herbs, and water/broth.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about a half an hour. Taste and add salt and or pepper.  If the soup tastes flat, add soy for richness.  Cook the pasta in a separate pot and drain.  When the soup is ready, spoon pasta and raw greens into bowl and ladle soup on top.  Add parm if that works for you.  We just dipped sunflower cheese bread instead. Delish.

That sounds really good.  I think we’ll be swapping soups here over the next couple of days.

My Deborah Madison recipe took advantage of the fact that my son will eat chickpeas – and many other things he objects to – if in soup.  For your slurping from a big spoon pleasure – I give you:

Potato and Chickpea Stew.  from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, p. 252

Ingredients:
1 pound Yellow Finn, fingerling, or red potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced (I diced, but not so finely as is my sloppy way)
2 generous pinches of saffron
2 Large red bell peppers, finely diced… (again – I’m a chunky dicer, not a fine dicer)
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into strips  (now you’re talking!)
2 large garlic cloves, minced (I’m a masher, not a mincer)
1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika (I used regular paprika – is there a difference?)
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup medium dry sherry
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, plus their juices (I used diced)
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 15 oz. cans rinsed
3 cups chickpea-cooking broth or water – I used vegetable broth here – bean cooking water is pretty gas-forming
salt and freshly milled pepper
Picada on top:
1/2 cup peeled (can you guess?  I didn’t peel), toasted almonds (350 degrees for 8-10 minutes)
2 slices white country bread (I used the whole grain I had) fried up to crisp in 2 Tbsp olive oil – both sides
2 – 4 cloves garlic.
Deborah Madison tosses these 3 ingredients in a food processor.  I added the garlic (mashed) to the saute pan with the bread, chopped the almonds in a chopper, broke the bread into bits and was done.  My food processor was dirty and I prefer sauteed garlic.

Luckily I gave birth to a little free help in the kitchen 11 years ago. Ain’t he somethin’?

Warm oil in a large pot and add onion, saffron, peppers, garlic and potatoes, over medium-low, stirring occasionally until potatoes are softening but firm – about 25 minutes.

Beautiful fragrant saffron

Add paprika, parsley and pepper flakes and cook 3-4 minutes

Add the sherry and cook until juices are thick and syrup-y, about 12 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth to cover. And 1 1/2 tsp salt and plenty of pepper.  Cover and cook over low heat until potatoes are very tender.  She uses the picada as a thickener, I used it as a crunchy topper.

She also adds a Romesco sauce.  I did not do this and thought it was fabulous and it was not hard – but not easy either, so I was done and sampling said it was done as well.  Everyone liked this a lot.

So there you have it!  Little Sis and I are in the soup, all souped up, and will be boiling something tasty up tonight as well!  I hope there’s some soup in your future, it sure is fine!

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