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Soup season

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

Yellow and orange leaves, crisp morning air and trick-or-treaters signal the start of soup season. The general theme of most soup recipes is a good base of chicken, beef or vegetable stock. A variety of seasonings can keep the flavor savory and mild or spicy and hot. The protein can be chicken, pork, beef, turkey, Italian sausage or as simple as a can of navy beans.

I like to keep my soups simple and pair them with focaccia or a French bread with a salad.


Winter Squash Soup

Give this soup a chance. It’s a perfect addition to your sandwich at lunch. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and croutons.

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 c. yellow onions, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
3 c. chicken stock
1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin pack
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 c. half-and-half

In a large stock pot over medium heat, combine butter and oil. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes; stir occasionally. Add squash, stock, pumpkin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Process mixture with a stick blender or carefully pour into a blender and process. Stir in half-and-half and heat on medium-low heat for 5 minutes.


Turkey-Vegetable Soup

This soup is a great way to use leftover cooked turkey and is best served with a crusty bread or biscuit suited for sopping up the delicious broth.

3 (14.5-oz.) cans chicken broth
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. carrots, thinly
1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
2 c. cooked turkey, diced
3/4 c. wide egg noodles
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

In a large stock pot over medium heat, combine chicken broth, celery, carrots and onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in turkey, noodles and parsley. Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10, or until noodles are tender. Season with black pepper and salt.


White Chicken Chili

I often substitute a can of white beans (drained and rinsed), packaged shredded cheeses and chicken breast tenderloins if I want to shortcut this soup.

1 c. navy beans
4 c. water
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 (16-oz.) jar salsa
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 block Monterey Jack cheese, cut into chunks
1 block pepper jack cheese, cut into chunks

Soak beans in a large stock pot overnight covered with 4 inches of water. After soaking, drain and rinse beans. Pour into a slow cooker with 4 cups of water. Add chicken broth, salsa, onion, cumin, salt and pepper; stirring to combine. Add chicken breasts. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove chicken and shred; return to slow cooker and stir to combine. Stir in cheeses. Cover and cook on high for an additional hour.


Bean and Bacon Soup

The key to this easy soup is quality smoked bacon. I use the entire 16 ounce package and put the entire 8 ounces in the soup and use the remainder as a garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

1 (8-oz.) pkg. smoked bacon, diced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced celery
1 clove garlic, minced
4 c. chicken broth
3 (15-oz.) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce

In a large stock pot, book the bacon until crisp; remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Cook the onions, carrots, celery over medium heat about 5 minutes or until they soften; stirring often. Add garlic and cook one additional minute. Stir in chicken broth, beans, salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Process with a stick blender until about half the soup is pureed and smooth. Stir in the tomato sauce and 3/4 of the bacon. Heat an additional 5 minutes.

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