Tags Posts tagged with "winter soups"

winter soups

Vermont Cheddar, Potato and Dill Soup

By Barbara Beltrami

Chunky and hearty winter soups are fine, but there’s something special about a savory, smooth soup, sipped from a mug. Only as far away as a food processor, blender or kitchen wand, almost any soup can become a satiny pick-me-up to chase away the synergism of winter and pandemic blahs and warm your tummy while you work at home, watch TV or wallow in another best seller novel with a predictable plot. Three of my favorites are Bloody Mary Soup (yes, including the vodka!); Vermont Cheddar, Potato and Dill Soup; and Curried Cream of Carrot Soup.

Bloody Mary Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 stick unsalted butter

4 celery ribs, minced

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 cups canned tomatoes, with juice

3 1/2 cups tomato juice

Freshly grated zest of one lemon

1/4 cup prepared horseradish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup unflavored vodka at room temperature

Juice of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Scallions and lemon slices for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, heat butter over low heat; add celery, red bell pepper and jalapeño pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies over low heat until very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato juice, lemon zest, horseradish, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Puree soup in electric food processor, blender or with wand until very smooth, return to pot and stir in vodka, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce; heat until hot but not boiling. Garnish with sliced scallions and lemon slices, if using. Serve with cheddar flavored crackers.

Vermont Cheddar, Potato and Dill Soup

Vermont Cheddar, Potato and Dill Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

1/2 stick unsalted butter

2 cups finely chopped onions

2 cups peeled and finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

5 cups chicken broth

3 to 4 cups chopped peeled potatoes (about 4 medium)

1 cup chopped fresh dill

Salt and white pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups grated sharp Vermont cheddar cheese

Chopped dill for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot melt butter; add onions and carrots, cover and cook over low heat until soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add parsley, broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover again and simmer until potatoes are very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add dill; remove pot from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. 

Pour soup through strainer and reserve liquid; transfer solids to bowl of electric food processor or blender. Add one cup of reserved liquid and process until very smooth; return pureed solids to pot over low heat, and stirring with wire whisk, return 3 to 4 cups liquid to pot until soup reaches desired consistency. Add salt and pepper, and with wooden spoon, gradually stir in grated cheese. Garnish with chopped dill and serve hot with pumpernickel croutons.

Curried Cream of Carrot Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds carrots, sliced into 1” rounds

1 large onion, chopped

1 generous tablespoon unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 generous tablespoons curry powder

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Plain yogurt for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In large saucepan or pot, over medium heat warm oil to shimmering point; add carrots and onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add butter, garlic and curry and continue to sauté until they release their fragrance, about 45 seconds. Add stock, stir and bring to simmer over medium-high heat; continue to simmer until carrots are very tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. 

Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes, then puree in electric food processor or blender until very smooth (this will have to be done in at least two batches.) Return soup to pot and stir in enough milk and cream to achieve a thick but liquid consistency. Over medium-low heat bring to a gentle simmer until hot. Top with a dollop of yogurt and serve with peanuts or garlic croutons.

Curried Cauliflower Bisque

By Barbara Beltrami

Many readers have asked me for more soup recipes and who can blame them? Winter chills have a way of making us crave bowls and mugs of hot soup for lunch as well as dinner. I make a huge pot of soup every week, as much, I think, for the comfort of its simmering on the stove as the comfort of ladling it into sturdy mugs and bowls and ingesting a sense of well-being despite what’s going on outside. For a little variety this time I’ve focused on pureed soups, which are smooth and very sipp-able from a mug (I think of them as winter smoothies), and I’ve come up with three favorites: Cream of Tomato and Cream of Mushroom, which are guaranteed to keep you zipping right past that canned soup aisle forevermore, and finally a nice spicy Curried Cauliflower Bisque, which will definitely get your taste buds singing.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Cream of Tomato Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup chopped onion

¼ cup flour

4 cups milk

1 bay leaf

1½ teaspoons sugar

Two 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes

½ teaspoon baking soda

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot melt butter over medium heat; add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 or 2 minutes until a smooth paste is formed. Slowly add milk, then bay leaf and sugar and continue to cook and stir until slightly thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes,  baking soda and salt and pepper; add to milk mixture and bring just to a simmer; remove bay leaf and discard. Let cool slightly and puree in batches in food processor or blender. Return to pot and, stirring frequently, bring back to simmer or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Do not freeze. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups chicken broth

1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

2 shallots, peeled and minced

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour

½ cup half-and-half

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium-large pot bring chicken broth to a low boil; add mushrooms and shallots and simmer one hour. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, then whisk in flour until smooth; slowly whisk in half-and-half, bay leaf and salt and pepper and cook until mixture is thickened and smooth, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add mushroom broth to mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Let cool slightly, then puree in batches in food processor or blender; return to saucepan and reheat, stirring frequently, over medium-low flame. Remove bay leaf and discard. Serve immediately with buttered toast or crackers.

Curried Cauliflower Bisque

Curried Cauliflower Bisque

YIELD: Makes 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

1 head cauliflower, separated into even florets

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium onions, chopped

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 teaspoons curry powder or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

DIRECTIONS:

Steam cauliflower until very tender, 10 to 15 minutes depending on size of florets. In a large saucepan heat butter and oil over medium heat; add onions and sauté until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add steamed cauliflower, broth, curry powder and pepper; stir, then transfer mixture in batches to food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return to saucepan and heat over low flame. Top with yogurt and serve immediately with a cucumber salad.

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Cheese and Broccoli Soup

By Barbara Beltrami

I know of nothing to say to begin this column besides Happy New Year and then the obvious, thank goodness the holidays are over, the eating binge of rich food is finished, and I can go back to my reasonably healthy regimen of healthful eating with an emphasis on veggies, fruits, grains, fish, low carbs and low fats! 

And after all the holiday cooking, what better way to minimize preparation than by making a big pot of hearty soup that will include so many of those ingredients that are so good for you? In fact, make a couple of different kinds of soup, freeze them in meal or serving size containers and voila! you’ve got yourself some easy no muss-no fuss one-dish meals that leave you lots of time for that other important regimen, exercise!

Cheese and Broccoli Soup

Cheese and Broccoli Soup

YIELD: Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion, chopped

6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

3 tablespoons sifted flour

2 cups milk

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh broccoli florets

1 cup finely chopped fresh carrot

1 celery rib, trimmed and diced

1 cup each shredded sharp cheddar, Emmenthal or Jarlsberg and Gouda cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a small skillet sauté the onion in two tablespoons of the melted butter until opaque, about 5 minutes. Set aside. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat whisk together the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and the flour (add a few tablespoons hot water if mixture is too dry) about 3 to 4 minutes, until flour loses its gritty texture. Over medium-low heat and whisking constantly, alternately add the milk and chicken broth until mixture is thickened, about 20 minutes. Add sautéed onions, broccoli, carrot and celery; and stirring frequently, cook uncovered over low heat until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir cheese into mixture until it is melted; season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a crunchy salad and bread sticks.

Spicy Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

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

4 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, diced

4 cups chicken broth or stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ cup milk

1½ cups plain Greek yogurt

DIRECTIONS:

In a large covered saucepan, steam squash and carrots until very tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small skillet sauté the onion in the butter until transparent, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer squash, carrots and onion to a large bowl; add about one cup chicken broth. Set aside to cool for 20 to 30 minutes. In a food processor or blender, puree vegetables with a little of the broth in a few batches. Transfer puree to a large saucepan or pot; stir in remaining broth, salt and pepper, nutmeg, ginger and milk and, stirring frequently, cook over medium-low heat until bubbling. Ladle into individual soup bowls and top each one with a dollop of yogurt. Serve hot with a kale salad and veggie chips.