Warm up a winter day with a bowl of soup

There are plenty of options to make on the weekend and reheat during the week for simple, hearty meals

There are few meals that will warm you up on a cold day better than a bowl of soup 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 and is healthier.

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, 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, 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 www.themodernproper.com.


Wild Mushroom Chowder With Bacon and Leeks

4 to 6 strips of thick bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

8 ounces chanterelles or other mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon flour, optional

3/4 cup dry white wine

4 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes, cut in half

1 cup cream

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, fry bacon pieces until slightly crispy. Add butter, leeks and celery and sauté five to seven minutes, until leeks and celery begin to soften.

Turn the heat to medium-high and add chanterelles, thyme and bay leaf. Sauté three to five minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.

Add flour and stir to incorporate. Slowly pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pot. Simmer three to five minutes, until the wine reduces by half.

Add the chicken stock, potatoes, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Add cream and heat through.

Serve topped with freshly ground pepper and fresh herbs.

Roasted Garlic Soup With Kale, Parmesan and Crispy Pancetta

3 to 4 heads of garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 to 8 ounces pancetta, diced

1 small onion, chopped

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 cups kale, ribs removed, shredded

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Trim the tops off the heads of garlic just enough to expose all the cloves. Pour a half tablespoon olive oil over the exposed cloves and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place each bulb right, side up, on a small square of foil. Fold the foil around the bulb and place on a cookie sheet. Roast in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Cool thoroughly.

In a large pot, cook diced pancetta over medium heat five to seven minutes, until crispy. Drain all but one tablespoon of the fat, and reserve crispy pancetta in bowl.

Add onion to pancetta drippings in pan and sauté about 10 minutes, until they start to caramelize.

When garlic is cool, press cloves out of the skins. Place in a blender along with the chicken stock and cooked onions. Purée until smooth.

Return soup to the pot, then add kale and Parmesan and bring to a simmer. Cook until kale is tender, then add cream and heat to desired temperature. Sprinkle pancetta evenly among bowls and serve.

Tomato Bisque With Fried Cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large carrots, diced

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 cups chicken stock

5 to 6 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

1 cup heavy cream, plus more for garnish

Crushed chili flakes, optional

For fried cheese:

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 eggs

2 cups panko

1 pound medium yellow cheddar

1 quart vegetable oil

To make fried cheese, mix flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl. Place eggs in a second bowl and beat until smooth. Place panko in a third bowl.

Cut cheese into one-inch pieces. One piece at a time, dip cheese into the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dip into the egg mixture, coating all sides and letting the excess drip off. Gently press cheese into the panko until coated on all sides, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes.

In a large pot and using a deep fry thermometer, bring one quart of oil to 375 degrees over medium-high heat. Working in small batches, gently lower prepared cheese into the hot oil and cook about three minutes, until golden brown. Using a metal straining spoon, transfer the cheese to a paper towel lined plate. Let cool slightly.

For soup, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots and onions and cook, stirring, about five minutes, until onions are translucent. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaves, olive oil, salt, pepper, and chicken stock.

Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 30 minutes, until carrots are tender. Remove from heat.

Remove bay leaves from the soup and add the basil. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth or transfer soup to the bowl of a blender, let cool briefly and blend until smooth.

Return soup to the pot and add cream. Stir until fully incorporated.

Garnish with basil and a drizzle of cream and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Add fried cheese, stir and serve.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup With Goat Cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 16 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained

3 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté onions and brown sugar about 20 minutes, until caramelized.

Once onions are browned and fully translucent, add garlic and sauté three minutes, until fragrant. Add peppers and tomatoes along with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Season with salt, vinegar, Italian seasoning, paprika and chili flakes.

Transfer the soup in batches to a high powered blender. Purée on high until smooth.

Serve soup with pesto, crumbled goat cheese and croutons.

Dumpling Soup

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons minced, fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

2 large carrots, julienned

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1.5-pound bag frozen dumplings, pot stickers or mini pot stickers

2 cups fresh spinach, packed

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, optional

Heat sesame oil in a soup pot set over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and sauté three minutes, until fragrant.

Add chicken stock, soy sauce, green onions, carrots and salt and bring to a boil. Add dumplings and return to a boil. Cook four minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in spinach. Serve topped with sesame seeds and fresh green onions.

Seafood Bisque

1 pound crawfish meat (or shrimp and crab)

1.5 pounds shrimp

1/2 pound crab meat

1 pound unsalted butter

1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped

1/2 cup flour

1 quart heavy cream

1 quart half and half

1 16-ounce can creamed corn

1-1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large pot, melt butter and saute onions. Sprinkle flour over the butter and onions and stir until flour is fully incorporated.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer 40 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve with white wine and sourdough bread.

Taco Soup

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, diced

1 4-ounce can mild green chilies

2 cups chicken stock

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons taco seasoning

2 14-ounce cans black beans, drained

1 cup frozen corn

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

For topping:


Sour cream


Green onions


In a large soup pot, brown beef with the onions. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes.

Serve warm with cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, green onions and avocado.

White Bean Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, finely diced

1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced, optional

1 bay leaf

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 cups chicken stock

2 14-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 to 3 cups shredded chicken

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped

1 lemon, juiced

Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, jalapeño and bay leaf about five minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook two minutes.

Add chicken stock, beans, shredded chicken, salt and pepper and dill. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chard and lemon juice and simmer  another 10 minutes. If desired, add more lemon juice.

Serve garnished with dill and shaved Parmesan.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 2.5 to 3 pound butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes

1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered

2 sweet apples, cored and sliced

8 garlic cloves

3 sprigs thyme

1/4 cup olive oil

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut cream

Pepitas, optional

Place cubed squash, onions, apple slices, garlic cloves and sprigs of thyme on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with one teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until squash is fork tender.

Discard thyme stems. Place roasted vegetables and cream in Vitamix-style blender. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and secure lid.

Turn the blender on, slowly increasing speed to the highest speed. Blend five to six minutes, until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid. Serve immediately.



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