I LOVE SOUP. I love it in the Fall, Winter, Spring and even in the Summer. It can be a hearty meal, or a delicate first course. Hot soups or cold soups hit the spot. Soups are nutritious and can be incredibly diverse in it's combinations of vegetables, beans, pastas, and spices. Super smooth or super chunky. Ethnic in ingredients or plain ol' home cooked comfort food. Nothing soothes one more than a hot bowl of soup when you're down-in-the-dumps, have a bad cold, or just want to feel cozy and pampered. Soup is a simply "Soup-er"....
**Enjoy your soup with***
*Soup with croutons
*Soup & Sandwich
*Soup and Salad
*Soup with a slice of hearty bread
*Soup with a main course
*Soup as dessert
Post your favorite soup recipes here. Those you've made and those you have on your list... Give and take to this ongoing soup recipe exchange.
Inspired by The Low-Carb Gourmet, by Karen Barnaby (Rodale Press, 2004).
The heavenly texture of this good-for-you soup comes from cauliflower (which also offers cancer-fighting cruciferous benefits), instead of high-fat cream, and the flavonoids in spinach promote better heart-health and may guard against cancer, as well. Popeye would approve of this spinach-rich, velvety soup.
1. Remove green leaves from cauliflower, peel the stem, and chop it and the florets coarsely. Chop spinach coarsely as well.
2. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil and add the garlic, cooking for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the cauliflower, stock, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add spinach and cook another 5 minutes, until the spinach is well-wilted and the cauliflower is very tender. Mix in the mustard and thyme and allow soup to cool slightly.
3. Using a hand-held immersion blender, or working in batches in a blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Add pepper and additional salt to taste, and thin with additional stock or water if too thick.
4. Serve warm.
(I haven't made this soup, but it's high up on my list...)
Minestrone is an Italian staple and is often known as “the big soup.” Most minestrone’s I’ve had in the past are thick, tomato-based soups. It’s more of a brothy soup, with lots of vegetables and incredible flavors. Perfect for a stormy afternoon…of which we’ve been having quite a few of around here lately.
This recipe is from the Culinary Institute of America’s The New Book of Soups.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/4 cups sliced carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 qt. Vegetable Broth
1/2 cup peeled, diced potato
1 piece Parmesan cheese rind (about 3 inches, square)
3/4 cup spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped plum tomatoes (peeled and seeded) or canned
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)
3/4 cup kidney beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
1/3 cup Pesto
1/2 tsp. salt, or as needed
1/2 tsp. pepper, or as needed
Freshly ground Parmesan cheese to garnish
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not allow pancetta to burn. Add the cabbage, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the broth, potatoes, and Parmesan cheese rind. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Don’t overcook. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a small bot of boiling water until tender. Drain. When the vegetables in the soup are tender, add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, chickpeas, and kidney beans. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Season the soup to taste with the pesto, salt, and pepper. Serve in heated bowls sprinkled with cheese.
This is my friend Carla's 'out-of-this-world' recipe. Simple, cheap, and oh so good...
Escarole and Cannellini Bean Soup
1 medium onion chopped
1 large (red) potato cubed
1 15 oz.Cannellini Beans (Progresso)
2 heads escarole
half pound Acini (tiny tube) Pasta (or any other small pasta)
half a cube of Knorr vegetable bouillon
6 cloves of garlic
6 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
* Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and brown.
(No need to press or chop the garlic, just peel and flatten well with side off knife.)
* Add can of Cannelloni beans with liquid
*Add 6 cups of water and bouillon. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer.
* Wash escarole, cut off ends, chop leaves in half and add to pot. Cook a few minutes until wilted.
* Add cubed potato and cook for 15 minutes
* Add pasta ( this recipe is 'heavy' on the pasta, add less pasta if you want it more 'soupy'.)
* Continue cooking for 12 - 15 minutes
* Add more water if needed
* Salt and pepper to taste
*** Serve with salad, garlic bread, or bread sticks
Black beans are a great low-budget staple; ask anyone from southern Mexico or Brazil. They are loaded with anthocyanins, the phytonutrients found in blue and dark red foods (such as blueberries, red grapes, and red cabbage) that are being studied for their antioxidant properties. This is a simplified version of a black bean soup from the Veracruz region of Mexico. If you want spice, use the chipotle or serrano chile, but the dish is tasty with or without the extra heat.
1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half of the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, and add two of the garlic cloves. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, and add the beans and the water. Discard any of the beans that float, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours until the beans are tender.
2. While the beans are simmering, combine the remaining onion, drained tomatoes, cumin, chile and remaining garlic in a blender, and blend until smooth. Heat the remaining oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot enough for a drop of the puree to sizzle upon contact. Add the puree, and cook, stirring, for five to 10 minutes until the mixture is thick and leaves a canal when you run a spoon or spatula down the center of the pan. Stir in a cup of liquid from the beans, and simmer over medium heat for five to 10 minutes until thick and fragrant. Scrape into the beans with a rubber spatula. Season the beans with salt, and simmer another 15 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
3. Blend the soup coarsely using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender (cover the top with a towel to avoid hot splashes) or a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Return to the pot, and heat through, stirring. Serve with warm corn tortillas.
Yield: Serves four.
Advance preparation: The soup will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.
I just tried a recipe for asparagus soup from my friend Kathy Conry, and felt like sharing the recipe along with my personal tweaks.
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 cup green onions, diced small
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 2 bunches of asparagus, ends removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
* 4 cups vegetable stock
* 1/8 cup havarti with dill
Warm olive oil in a stock pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add asparagus and stock, simmer until tender (around 20-25 minutes). Shred the havarti and dill. In batches, ladle asparagus, cheese and stock into blender and blend until smooth. Adjust stock to consistency and cheese to taste. Float a thin slice of havarti and the head of an asparagus stalk on the soup for a garnish.
Optional: Stir in a tiny dash of Dave’s Insanity Sauce to the entire batch to add a mild kick.
Serves 4-6 >>> Bon appétit!
(The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of crème fraiche, but I substituted with the cheese.)
1 large onion
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic
4 oz split red lentils
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 pt unsalted stock
hot pepper sauce
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp dried basil
fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs lemon juice
Finely chop onion and fry in olive oil until soft and transparent. Add chopped garlic, and fry for another minute or two. Stir in the lentils and allow to coat in the oil. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to boil. Half cover the pan, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Add a few drops of the hot pepper sauce, according to taste, and the dried herbs (grind the herbs in a pestle and mortar to release their flavour first). Liquidise the mixture in a blender, or with a blender wand, and return to the heat. Season with salt and pepper, and add the lemon juice. Serve immediately, or freeze when cool.
Not quite ready to give up hot soup in the spring, but definitely want an “enlightened” change from the hearty ones of winter. To test the quality of snap peas, snap one open and see whether it is crisp. The pods should be bright green, firm, and plump.
Yield: Makes 4 Servings
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 medium shallots, sliced
* One 8-ounce russet potato, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
* 3 cups shelled fresh peas (or frozen peas, thawed)
* ¼ cup dry white wine
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra for garnish
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the potato cubes, peas, and wine and simmer, stirring, until the wine is reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 4 cups of water and the tarragon, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with more tarragon.
• Mint would be a great substitute for the tarragon.
• Substitute frozen peeled fava beans and a dash of fresh lemon juice.
Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil or top with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.
Simmer the soup to the desired thickness and use it as a sauce for pan-seared red snapper or grilled chicken.
When cooked and pureed, potato “creams” the soup without adding any dairy. If you prefer a traditional cream soup, add 1/3 cup cream or ½ cup whole milk during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Peas are rich in the B vitamins folate and B6 (both supportive of cardiovascular health) and are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. They also contain good amounts of vitamin K1, which activates osteocalcin, a protein that is critical for bone health.
When in season, fresh peas are relatively inexpensive and are a great excuse to get the young ’uns in the kitchen shelling. Good-quality frozen peas have plenty of nutrient value (they are simply picked and flash-frozen).
"The soups of spring ... wake up the palate and celebrate new life. Their delicate flavors are a reflection, in a bowl, of the rebirth taking place around us in nature, and so require only minimal tampering."
Spring arrived in Washington, D.C., almost overnight, as it seems to do every year. From one day to the next, dirt-encrusted banks of snow became golden hedges of flowering forsythia. The cherry blossom show is now in full swing, and "Snowmageddon" is a distant memory.
I was more than happy to put away my beat-up old snow boots and snow shovel. However, one piece of equipment that is not going into storage is my soup pot. Too many cooks, it seems to me, associate soup with cold weather, and that's a shame because soup is a wonderful way to showcase the ingredients of spring, especially the young, delicately flavored vegetables that are now turning up at farmers markets, and the flowery herbs that complement them so well. Spring onions, baby leeks, sweet fennel, tender peas and asparagus, glowing radishes and tiny new potatoes are all lovely candidates for spring soups.
These soups bear only a passing resemblance to their fall and winter counterparts. Cold weather soups — often more stew than soup — are long-simmered and sturdy with grains, chunky vegetables and hearty broths. They are meant to give warmth and comfort. The soups of spring, to my mind, have a different purpose. They wake up the palate and celebrate new life. Their delicate flavors are a reflection, in a bowl, of the rebirth taking place around us in nature, and so require only minimal tampering.
This is not to say that all spring soups are alike. Far from it. Spring is a temperamental season. Mild, breezy days often are followed by cool evenings or chilly rains. The nice thing about spring soups is that they can accommodate all of these moods, taking a step back toward winter comfort if need be, or a leap forward into summer.
Given my name, it's no surprise that many of the soups that emerge from my kitchen are Italian. Italian home cooking is seasonal, and cooks take pride in expressing the seasons in their creations, especially soups. One of my favorites from childhood is a gentle soup of rice and lettuces cooked in chicken broth. As the soup cooks, the crisp greens first wilt, then turn pulpy, giving up their bright colors. The resulting soup is muted in tone, with a subtle, almost nutty flavor. The rice and the addition of cheese at the end of cooking give the soup just the substance it needs to stand up to a cool afternoon or evening.
My friend Melchiorre Chessa, a Sardinian-born chef who now lives in Umbria, was raised on another nourishing soup, one that combines fresh sheep's milk with spring vegetables, pecorino cheese and broken noodles. In adapting Melchiorre's recipe, I used goat's milk in place of sheep's milk — it's readily available, and its delicate flavor echoes the flavor of the cheese.
Velvety purees make delightful soups for spring, especially as a first course at a weekend luncheon or garden party. A soup made with freshly shelled English peas is dramatically different from the split-pea version we crave in winter. Spring pea soup sports the splashy color of newly mown grass and a fresh taste to match. It takes only minutes to prepare, and is best enjoyed right away, when both the flavor and color are at their peak.
I am also partial to creamy asparagus soup, to which I add fennel for enhanced sweetness, and pearled barley for a bit of body. Accompanied by a thick slice of country bread, a bowl of asparagus soup makes a lovely weeknight supper.
I have one rule when it comes to making spring soups, and it can be summed up in a single word: integrity. Because of their delicacy, spring soups rely on good ingredients. Start with the freshest vegetables you can find. Woody, bitter asparagus or starchy peas can ruin a spring soup. If you are inclined to make homemade broth to add to your soup, I say go for it. Broth is the foundation of most spring soups, and I have yet to find a commercial product that can match the honest flavor of a homemade one.
I add just enough herbs to perfume my spring soups — I especially like flowery marjoram and the clean-tasting flat-leaf parsley — but not so much that the herbal aroma overwhelms the flavor.
Finally, spring soups are best enjoyed soon after they're made. Their color and flavor dissipate the longer they sit. Much like the season they honor, their beauty is fleeting. But that, of course, is part of the appeal of spring soups.
Every spoonful of this soup, with its tender morsels of carrots and shredded greens, is a welcome taste of spring. Arborio rice and thinly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese add just enough heft. Use a variety of lettuces for a mix of colors and textures. I especially like to add radicchio di Treviso, a longer, slimmer version of the more common radicchio di Chioggia, but either is fine. The greens lose their bright hue when you cook them, taking on muted, earthy tones. I find the softened appearance pleasing, but if you want to perk up the color, gently stir in another handful or two of spinach during the last few minutes of cooking. Adding a small rind of Parmigiano while the soup is simmering boosts the flavor of the broth. This recipe is adapted from my book The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books 2006).
Makes 6 first-course servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 rib celery, trimmed and finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1 small head butter lettuce, washed, trimmed and shredded
1 small head romaine lettuce, washed, trimmed and shredded
1 small head radicchio di Treviso, radicchio di Chioggia or escarole, washed, trimmed and shredded
3 to 4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed
6 cups vegetable broth
1 small piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)
1 cup Arborio or other risotto rice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup thinly shaved or freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, stir in the carrot, celery, onion and parsley, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have begun to soften and the onion is translucent. Season with salt and then stir in the butter and romaine lettuces, radicchio and spinach, tossing the greens so that they are well-coated with the other ingredients. Cook, stirring from time to time, for 5 minutes or so, just until the greens have wilted.
Pour in the broth and toss in the Parmigiano rind, if using, and bring the broth to a gentle simmer. Stir in the rice, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let the soup simmer gently for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary and a generous grinding of black pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the shaved or grated Parmigiano cheese.
Ladle the soup into a serving tureen or into individual bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining cheese.
This recipe was given to me by Melchiorre Chessa, a Sardinian-born chef who now lives in Umbria. This soup was a favorite of his as a child, and indeed, its gentle flavor and nourishing qualities are perfect for children. Tender vegetables and broken spaghetti are simmered in a soothing milk-based broth. In Italy, Melchiorre makes this soup with fresh sheep's milk, an ingredient that is hard to come by here unless you own a herd of sheep or know someone who does. An excellent substitute is goat's milk, available at many supermarkets and health-food stores, though cow's milk will do in a pinch. This recipe is adapted from one in my book The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books 2006).
Makes 4 first-course servings
4 cups whole goat's milk (Trader Joes has it in their dairy isle)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or to taste
2 cups cut-up young green beans (1-inch pieces)
6 or 7 baby carrots (3 to 4 inches long), halved lengthwise
1 pound baby yellow potatoes, scrubbed clean and halved or quartered (about 2 cups)
1 1/4 cups broken spaghetti (1-inch pieces)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
1 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, combine the milk and water, and bring almost to a boil over medium-high heat (do not let the liquid boil over). Stir in the salt, green beans and carrots, reduce the heat to medium, and cook at a bare simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to turn tender. Add the potatoes and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until they are just tender. Stir in the pasta and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes if using frozen, or slightly longer if using fresh, until they are tender but still bright green.
While the peas are cooking, put the cheese in a small bowl and add a few spoonfuls of the milky broth. Stir the cheese and hot broth together to make a thin paste, and stir this paste into the soup until fully incorporated. Add a generous grinding of pepper, and stir gently but thoroughly.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with an additional sprinkle of cheese.
Tender, grassy green asparagus, aromatic spring onions and sweet fennel mingle harmoniously in this soup honoring the first flavors of the season. Adding pearled barley to the mix gives it a little more substance. Accompany the soup with country bread for a nice one-dish supper. This recipe is from my book The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books 2006).
Makes 6 first-course servings
6 cups water
Kosher or sea salt
1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
2 pounds asparagus
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 spring onions, bulbs and tender white part of stalks sliced crosswise, about 1 cup*
Put the barley on to cook before you start the soup: In a large saucepan, combine the water and 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Slowly pour in the barley. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes partially covered, or until the barley is tender but still a bit chewy. It should not be mushy at all. Reduce the heat if necessary so that the barley cooks at a gentle, steady simmer. Drain the barley in a colander placed in the sink and let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
While the barley is cooking, trim off the tough ends from the asparagus and discard them (or add them to the pot in which you are heating the broth to enhance its flavor; remove them before adding the broth to the soup). Cut the asparagus stalks into 1-inch pieces. Set aside the tips. You should have about 4 1/2 cups asparagus pieces, not including the tips.
In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the spring onions and fennel, reduce the heat to medium-low and saute, stirring from time to time, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir vigorously to combine. Pour in 1 cup of the broth and stir for a minute or so to incorporate thoroughly. Slowly pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and add the asparagus pieces — except for the reserved tips — and the parsley sprigs. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and let the soup cool for 10 minutes.
Using an immersion or standard blender, puree the soup until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any tough fibers, and return it to the pot. Stir in the cooked barley and warm the soup over low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
While the soup is reheating, put the reserved asparagus tips in a steaming basket placed in a pot of boiling water, cover and steam for 4 to 5 minutes, or just until tender. Or, put the tips in a plastic storage bag along with 1 tablespoon water. Set the open bag in a microwave oven and cook on high heat for 3 minutes, or until the tips are bright green and just tender.
To serve the soup, stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese. Ladle the soup into a large serving bowl or tureen, and top with the reserved asparagus tips and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. You can also serve the soup in individual bowls, garnishing each serving with a few asparagus tips and a sprinkle of cheese.
This light soup, adapted from a version in my book The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books 2006), is nothing like its heavy winter cousin, split-pea soup. Fresh marjoram imparts a delicate perfume, and a splash of cream gives it a velvety texture. The soup has a beautiful, grassy green color and a delicate fresh taste. I like to garnish it with a dollop of mascarpone and a spoonful of quick-pickled radishes and cucumbers, which add a bright contrasting note in flavor and color, as well as an appealing crunch. Look for freshly harvested English peas at the farmers market, and make sure they have not been hanging around too long — peas lose their sweetness and turn starchy quickly.
Makes 4 first-course servings
For The Pickled Radish
3 to 4 radishes, cut into thin slivers or small dice (1 cup)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin slivers or small dice (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 small spring onion (bulb only), thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
For The Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced spring onions or leeks (bulbs and tender parts of stalk)
1 small sprig fresh marjoram
1 small spring fresh thyme
3 to 4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups shelled English peas (about 4 pounds in the pod)
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Mascarpone cheese or creme fraiche, for serving (optional)
To Make The Relish
Mix together the radish and cucumber with the coarse salt. Place the radish and cucumber in a small colander set over a bowl and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and pat vegetables dry with paper towels.
Transfer the radishes and cucumbers to a bowl and stir in the spring onion, vinegar, oil, sugar and a grinding of pepper. Gently toss to combine. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until serving time.
To Make The Soup
In a medium Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the spring onions and saute, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they have softened but are not browned. Add the marjoram and thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Pour in the broth, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Carefully tip in the peas and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are just tender but still bright green. Take off the heat and remove and discard the sprigs of marjoram and thyme. Using an immersion blender or a standard blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you want a perfectly smooth soup, strain it through a medium-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and discard the solids.
Return the soup to the pot and place over medium heat. Stir in the cream, salt and pepper to taste. Heat until just warmed through.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of mascarpone topped with a spoonful of pickled radish.
Domenica Marchetti is the author of Big Night In: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian-Style and The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (both published by Chronicle Books). Her articles about contemporary Italian home cooking have appeared in The Washington Post, Cooking Light, Fine Cooking and other publications. She is at work on a third cookbook, about pasta. Visit her Web site at domenicacooks.com.