Warm body and soul with a bowl of soup

Use seasonal vegetables and broth to make a healthy meal that will delight the taste buds

Fall is in the air, so it’s time to drag out your stock pot and make a kettle of hearty soup.

Not only will the soup warm your body, but the delicious smells that will fill your home as the soup simmers will add a touch of coziness to the atmosphere inside.

To take full advantage of the fresh flavors of the season, create an autumnal soup for lunch or dinner.

Soups typically have seasonal vegetables added to a broth, chowder or bisque, giving them a delicate, light flavor as compared to winter soup’s warm and hearty flavors. Vegetables like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squashes, spinach and even seasonal fruits like apples can bring a warmth to the stovetop.

A favorite fall and winter soup is chili, which has endless variations.

It’s hard to imagine not being able to find a recipe that suits your taste. When making these soups, use homemade chicken or vegetable stock for the best flavor.

Create an aromatic foundation by sautéing chopped onion, shallot, leek, spring onion or green garlic until softened, then add trimmed and chopped vegetables.

In general, figure on about 1-1/2 pounds of vegetables to 4 cups of stock.

Mix complementary vegetables, such as peas and turnips, carrots and celery root or spinach and fennel.

If you have leftover cooked vegetables that would harmonize, add them near the end of the cooking time.

Remember that green vegetables such as asparagus and peas will keep their color better if cooked uncovered.

In general, a blender will do a better job of pureeing soup than a food processor.

Put the solids into the blender jar or work bowl first, then add just enough liquid to make a thick puree.

With the motor running, add more liquid until the soup is the consistency you like.

A little half-and-half, cream or creme fraiche can be added for richness, but it isn’t needed for most soups.

Following are hearty fall soup recipes from www.epicurious.com. epicurious.com


Butternut Squash Soup With Pumpkin Butter

Vegetable oil spray
1 2-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 cup milk or half-and-half
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 10-ounce jar pumpkin butter
Chopped pistachio nuts

    Place the squash halves, cut side down, in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Pierce the skin sides several times with a fork. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes, until squash is tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
    Using a large spoon, scrape the flesh from the squash into a food processor. Discard the skins. Add 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth, cinnamon, marjoram, thyme and nutmeg, then puree until smooth.
    Transfer puree to a large saucepan. Whisk the milk into the soup over medium heat. For a thinner consistency, add remaining broth, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Ladle soup into warmed bowls. Top with a dollop of pumpkin butter and sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts before serving.
    Option: Roll diced squash in a bit of canola oil and ground cinnamon. Spread on a sheet pan, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake in a 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Add sweet bits of squash when pureeing the soup.


Smoked Salmon Chowder

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups milk
8 ounces smoked salmon, flaked
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chives, chopped

    Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat. Add leeks and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add potato, celery, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth and simmer about 15 minutes, until the potato is tender.
    Add tomato paste and milk, then the salmon and bring the mixture back to a simmer for a few minutes. Don’t let it boil or the milk will separate. As soup simmers, stir in the cream.
    Remove from heat, garnish with chives and serve.

Pork Noodle Soup With Cinnamon and Anise

2-1/2 pounds country-style pork ribs
6 cups water
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup Chinese Shaoxing wine or medium-dry sherry
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
3 3-inch-long cinnamon sticks
1 whole star anise
5 1/2 ounces bean thread (cellophane) noodles
Chopped cilantro
Sliced scallions

    Gently simmer all ingredients except noodles in a 6-quart heavy pot, covered, skimming as needed, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until pork is tender.
    Transfer pork to a bowl. Discard bones, spices and garlic, then coarsely shred meat. Skim fat from broth, return meat and bring to a simmer.
    Rinse noodles, then stir them into broth and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes, until noodles are translucent and tender.


Carrot Fennel Soup

2 medium fennel bulbs with fronds
1 pound carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 medium onion, quartered
1 garlic clove
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon fennel seeds

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position.

    Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1 tablespoon and reserve. Discard stalks and remaining fronds. Slice fennel bulbs 1/4-inch-thick and toss with carrots, onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a four-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned and tender.
    Process half the vegetables in a blender with broth until very smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Repeat with remaining vegetables and water. Thin to desired consistency with extra water and simmer 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    Finely grind fennel seeds and stir into remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
    Serve soup drizzled with fennel oil and sprinkled with reserved fronds.
    Fennel oil can be made 2 days ahead and kept at room temperature.


Spinach Stracciatella Soup

1 12-inch length of crusty baguette, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thirds
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups water
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus additional for serving
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
1 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus additional for serving
2 large eggs, beaten

    Brush cut sides of baguette with oil. Arrange, cut sides up, on a baking sheet and bake on a rack in the lower third of a 400-degree oven about 10 minutes, until golden.
    Heat water with broth, salt and pepper in a 2-1/2-quart saucepan over moderate heat until hot. Stir in frozen spinach and cheese and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes, until spinach is just tender.
    Add beaten eggs in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly.
    Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and serve with a slice of toasted baguette in the soup.

Texas Beef Brisket Chili

6 large dried ancho chiles
6 ounces bacon, diced
1-1/4 pounds onions, chopped
1 5-pound flat-cut beef brisket, cut into two 1/2- to 3-inch cubes
Coarse kosher salt
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1-3/4 cups fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer
1 7-ounce can diced roasted green chiles
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
4 cups of 1-1/2-to2-inch chunks seeded peeled butternut squash
For garnish:
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chopped red onion
Diced avocado
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Warm corn or flour tortillas

    Place chiles in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover and soak from 30 minutes to 4 hours, until softened.
    Sauté bacon in heavy large oven-proof pot over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium,  cover and cook about 5 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle beef all over with coarse salt and pepper, place in pot, stir to coat and set aside.
    Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Place chiles in blender. Add 1 cup soaking liquid, garlic, chili powder, cumin seeds, oregano, coriander and 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt. Blend to puree, adding soaking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if very thick. Pour puree over brisket in pot. Add tomatoes with juices, beer, green chiles and cilantro stems. Stir to coat evenly.
    Bring chili to simmer. Cover and bake in a 350-degree oven oven for 2 hours. Uncover and bake another hour, until beef is almost tender Add squash and stir to coat. Roast uncovered for 45 minutes, until beef and squash are tender, adding more soaking liquid if needed to keep meat covered.
    Season to taste with salt and pepper. Tilt pot and spoon off any fat from surface of sauce.
    Chili can be made 2 days ahead. Cool 1 hour, then chill uncovered until cold. Cover and keep chilled until reheating it.


Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 pound boiling potatoes
2 medium Granny Smith apples
1-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock or broth
2 to 2 1/2 cups water
Sour cream

    Cook bacon in a 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons fat in pot.
    Cook celery, carrot and onion in the fat over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned. Add cinnamon and cook 1 minute, uncovered, stirring.
    Peel potatoes and coarsely chop. Peel and core 1 apple and coarsely chop.
    Stir squash, potato, chopped apple, stock, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into onion mixture, then simmer uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender.
    Puree soup in four batches in a blender, then heat in cleaned pot over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Add additional 1/2 cup water to thin, if necessary.
    Cut enough of remaining apple into thin matchsticks about 1-1/2-inches long to measure about 1/2 cup.
    Serve soup topped with sour cream, bacon and apple matchsticks.

Tasty Tomato Soup With Brown Butter Croutons

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
5 cups canned whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
For croutons:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 slices European-style rustic bread, crusts removed, cut into 3/4 to 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

    Heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, water, cream, salt, red pepper flakes, celery seed, oregano and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
    Remove soup from heat and puree in batches in a blender. Return soup to the pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
    To make croutons, heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat and cook about 3 minutes, stirring often, until the butter is golden brown and aromatic. Remove from heat.
    Put bread cubes in a bowl and pour the brown butter over them, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven about 20 minutes, until toasted and golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven.
    Serve soup hot, garnished with the croutons.



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