Cooking Cove: More tummy warmers for winter weather

Cooking Cove: More tummy warmers for winter weather

Carrot, Squash and Ginger Soup

By Barbara Beltrami

Last week’s column was devoted to tummy warmers and so is this week’s. What kind of a food columnist would I be if I didn’t devote at least one winter column and maybe more to hearty winter soups? Especially in this weather!

Ah, soup, glorious soup. Anyone who’s ever shivered, had numb toes and fingers and chattering teeth knows how wonderful a mug or bowl of hot soup is. There are so many to choose from, and I love them all. That’s because not only are they comforting, nourishing and savory but also because they’re one pot meals full of nutrition and appetite satisfaction.

Moreover, they just keep giving and giving if you make big vats of them and then divide them into containers for freezing. And they are oh so easy! You pretty much just throw the ingredients into a pot, cover it and simmer till done. And here’s an idea you might like. How about using one of the thicker soups as a pasta sauce? You can puree it or leave it chunky and reduce the liquid. Whatever kind of soup you make, be sure to serve it with lots of crusty bread, a mixed salad and a light red wine such as Beaujolais.

Carrot, Squash and Ginger Soup

Carrot, Squash and Ginger Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 cups water or chicken broth

One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS: Steam the squash and carrots until very tender. In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat; add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. When slightly cooled, being careful of spattering oil, add water or chicken broth, steamed squash and carrots, ginger, salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through, about 15 minutes; remove from heat; let cool to lukewarm. In 2 or 3 batches, puree in food processor or with immersion blender until smooth. Reheat, stirring frequently, and add more liquid if too thick; sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately with stir-fried veggies and brown rice or refrigerate for later use.

Escarole and Bean Soup

Escarole and Bean Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

6 cups water or chicken broth

1 head escarole, washed and chopped

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt to taste, if using water

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS: In a large pot, heat oil, add onion and over medium-high heat, cook until slightly golden; remove from heat. When slightly cooled, being careful of spattering oil, add water or chicken broth, escarole, beans, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir, return to heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until escarole is completely wilted, about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve immediately with crusty bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil or refrigerate for later use.

Mushroom and Barley Soup

Mushroom and Barley Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups beef broth or stock

2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 celery ribs, thinly sliced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 pound thinly sliced white or baby portobello mushrooms

1/3 cup barley

1/2 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: In a large pot, combine all ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-low heat, partially covered, until veggies and barley are tender. Note: For an even heartier soup, if desired, add approximately 1 to 2 cups small chunks of cooked beef at the beginning.

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