Soup is an ideal meal on a cold, snowy day

You can make a batch on the weekend and serve it during the week to keep everyone warm

    There are few meals that will heat you up on a cold, snowy day better than a bowl of soup, perhaps accompanied by a crusty roll or topped with crunchy croutons.
    And it’s easy to make a batch of soup on a weekend and quickly heat it up for work-week meals.
    Soups run the gamut from light to hearty, vegetarian to meaty. A cup of soup can whet the appetite, while a bowl can satisfy the most voracious hunger.
    Although it is simple to open a can of soup, making your own isn’t difficult.
    Add browned meat, vegetables, pasta and herbs to broth and simmer until heated through to make a quick and easy soup.
    To thicken your soup, you can puree the vegetables a bit — especially when you use potatoes or a root vegetable — or make a mixture of cornstarch and a little water and whisk it in.  
    If you’re in a hurry, you can use canned broth. You can give canned broth extra flavor by simmering chicken or meat bones in the broth for 15 minutes. Then strain the liquid and use it for your soup.
    But if you have time, make your own broth. You can freeze any broth you don’t use immediately and have it on hand for future soups.
    To make homemade beef or poultry broth, simmer about five pounds of beef or poultry with vegetables in 8 cups of water in a tall pot. Bring to a slow simmer over low heat, skimming the foam that collects on the top frequently, and add a selection of spices and herbs until the broth is flavorful.
    Simmer the broth for several hours, then strain it through a sieve or colander into a metal or glass bowl. Set the bowl into a sink or larger bowl with ice water. Stir the broth occasionally to hurry cooling. Cover and refrigerate broth, then remove the fat that solidifies at the top.
    Be aware that herbs will have a more intense flavor if added at the end of the long cooking process.
    If your finished soup is a little salty, place a raw potato in the pot and simmer with the soup for about 15 minutes. Remove the potato before serving.
     Savory soups and stews always taste better if made a day or two in advance and reheated just before serving.
    Following are a few soup recipes from

Crockpot Pea Soup With Spicy Andouille Sausage

8 to 12 ounces smoked andouille sausage or similar sausage, diced
1 pound dry green or yellow split peas
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
6 cups water or water-vegetable broth combination
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped, optional
Seasoned croutons, optional

    Brown andouille sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Place in a slow cooker along with the peas, onion, celery, carrot, water, thyme and pepper.
    Cover and cook on high for four to five hours, or on low for about seven to nine hours, until peas are tender and mash easily. Mash some of the peas to thicken the soup. Add salt to taste.
    Garnish with chopped parsley and/or seasoned croutons, if desired.
    Stovetop instructions: Combine browned sausage, onion, celery, carrot and liquids in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 1-1/2 hours, until peas are very tender. Stir frequently and add more broth or water if needed.



Low-Fat Broccoli Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
4 cups fresh broccoli, including stems, chopped
2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth or vegetable broth
1-1/2 cups nonfat milk

    Heat oil on medium heat in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Gently sauté onion and celery in oil for three to four minutes, until onion is softened. Add potato and chopped broccoli, followed by the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
    Allow soup to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender in two to three batches and blend until smooth. Return soup to pot and heat gently until ready to serve.



Easy French Onion Soup

3 tablespoons butter
4 cups thinly sliced onions
4 10-1/2 ounce cans condensed beef broth
4 slices French bread, 1-inch thick
4 tablespoons shredded Gruyere cheese, plus more for serving

    In a large skillet or saute pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Saute onion in butter eight to 10 minutes, until very soft and golden brown.
    In a medium saucepan, combine beef broth with cooked onion and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes.
    Place French bread slices on a foil-lined baking pan. Toast French bread under broiler about four inches from the heat until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle each slice evenly with Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses and broil just until cheese is melted and bubbling.
    Pour onion soup into four individual soup bowls and float a slice of toasted French bread, cheese side up, in each bowl. Sprinkle with extra cheese.


Roasted Carrot, Apple and Celery Soup

1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed, halved lengthwise if large, and cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion, peeled, trimmed and finely chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and finely chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional
Freshly ground pepper
    Place carrots, apples and celery in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with two tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 25 minutes, turning once midway through cooking, until fairly tender and just starting to caramelize.
    In a stockpot or large Dutch oven, warm the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute about five minutes, until pieces begin to soften and turn translucent. Add garlic and ginger and saute one minute, until fragrant. Add roasted carrots, apple and celery and stir to coat.
    Add vegetable stock, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
    Remove from the heat and, using a regular or immersion blender, puree the soup.
    If desired, add butter and stir until it is melted and evenly incorporated.
    Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.



Mushroom Barley Soup

3 tablespoons olive or untoasted sesame oil
1/4 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup hot water
1-1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 cup pearled barley
4 cups vegetable stock or water
4 tablespoons tamari
1 branch fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh dill

    Heat oil over medium flame in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or 3-quart pot.
    Drain the soaked shiitakes, reserving liquid. Finely chop skiitakes and add to the pot along with the sliced mushrooms, chopped shallots, onions, celery, carrot and barley. Increase heat to medium high and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until mushrooms have browned and vegetables are beginning to soften.
    Add soaking liquid from the shiitake mushrooms, as well as the vegetable stock, tamari, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 40 minutes. Add more water or stock if the soup seems too thick.
    Taste the soup, adding a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper if needed.
    Remove thyme branch and bay leaf. Sprinkle with dill and serve.



Cream of Wild Rice Soup

3/4 cup wild rice or 2 to 3 cups cooked wild rice
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 ounces ham, bacon or pancetta, optional
2 medium leeks or small onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
5 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable broth
1 to 2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken or turkey
2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
Dash sea salt
Dash freshly ground pepper

    Bring four to six cups water to a boil. Add wild rice and salt and cook about 30 minutes, until the rice is tender to the bite. Drain and set the rice aside.
    Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add ham, bacon or pancetta if using. Cook about two minutes, stirring occasionally, until meat is sizzling, some of the fat has rendered and it is just barely starting to darken on the edges.
    Add leeks or onions, celery and carrots and cook three minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften.
    Add broth, chicken, thyme sprigs and reserved wild rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes so flavors can blend. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs.
    Stir in cream  and bring back to a simmer. Add salt to taste. Serve hot with a grind or two of pepper on top.


Potato and Ham Soup With Cheese

3 medium red potatoes, peeled, cut into small cubes
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons ​flour
3 cups milk
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup ​cooked ham, cubed
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, optional

    Bring water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Drain, reserving one cup of cooking liquid. Set potatoes and cooking liquid aside.
    Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté chopped onion in the butter until tender. Add flour and stir until smooth.     Season with a little pepper and continue to cook one minute, stirring.
    Gradually add the reserved cooking liquid, milk  and potatoes. Stir well, then add cheese and ham. Simmer soup over low heat, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes before serving.
    Variations: Replace ham with browned breakfast sausage or Italian sausage. You may also add 1/4 cup chopped green onion to the soup mixture along with the ham or add one cup chopped fresh spinach or corn kernels when adding the ham and cheese.


Hearty Tomato Beef Barley Soup

2 tablespoons butter or canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped
1 small parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 ribs celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1/2 cup barley, rinsed and drained
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon beef base
4 cups water or more as needed
8 to 12 ounces roast beef, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Pepper to taste
For stock sachet:
12 parsley stems
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

    Make stock sachet by placing the ingredients in the center of a four-inch square of cheesecloth, bending the parsley stems and thyme sprigs in half to fit. Fold the cheesecloth so opposite ends meet in the center, creating a bundle. Tie an 18-inch length of butcher’s twine around the bundle, leaving the ends free. Set aside.
    In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, saute onion, turnip, parsnip, carrots and celery until slightly caramelized. Add garlic, barley, and potatoes and saute two minutes.
    Add tomatoes, beef base, water, and sachet, tying the ends of the twine to the handle of the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer one hour, uncovered, until barley is cooked, stirring occasionally.
    Remove sachet, add beef and heat until warm throughout. Adjust seasonings.
    Serve in a heated bowl with a parsley garnish, if desired.



Creamy Semi-Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 to 3 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 10-3/4-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 10-3/4-ounce  can cream of mushroom soup
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 scant teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1-1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
4 ounces medium noodles, cooked and drained
Kosher salt
Croutons, crackers or biscuits, for serving

    In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and celery and sauté until onion is tender.
    Add parsley, chicken, chicken broth, soups, poultry seasoning, thyme and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Add frozen peas and carrots, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
    Stir in the cream or half-and-half, along with the cooked noodles. Salt to taste. Heat through.
    Serve soup with crackers or hot baked biscuits or top with croutons or oyster crackers.





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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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