(NO) Soup For You!

This winter I have been making a lot of soup. At first I was intimidated and in some respects I still am. (The soup nazi lives in my brain- for all you Seinfeld folks.)  My past history of trying different soups, attempting to make my own stock haven't been that successful- dishwater my one son will say. 

Alas, I have decided to overcome my intimidation and keep at it.  The results haven't been too bad  but then again, the food critic is at college right now. 

One thing I like about making soup is that I have found that it doesn't take too long.  The biggest time is spent prepping the ingredients. After that, I let the simmer burner on my stove take over or use my crock pot on low.  

Here are some recipes that I have found to be successful and delicious.  As with all my cooking, I may add or subtract slightly to the amounts depending on what I want to "use up" in my fridge.  It is more about keeping the quantities in relative balance.

Italian Sausage Soup (quite hardy and satisfying especially on cold nights):

  • 1 can 28ounce stewed tomatoes, undrained and mashed (I have used diced tomatoes too)
  • 4 cups pared and diced potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tbs. minced celery leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or juice
  • 1 pound hot Italian link sausage (I have used bulk ground sausage and broken it up)
  • 1 pound mild Italian link sausage (ditto)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. dried whole thyme (I have used fresh- about a heaping tablespoon)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • 1 loaf garlic bread or other bread of choice to serve with soup.

Combine first eight ingredients in large Dutch oven; bring to boil.  Reduce heat and cook on low for 45 minutes.  While soup is cooking slice sausages in 1/4 inch circles; do not remove casings. (Or break up the bulk sausage)  Brown sausage in a large skillet, drain and pour off all but 2 tablespoons pan drippings and saute onion until tender.  Drain well.  Add sausage and onion to the tomato mixture.  Add all remaining ingredients except cheese and bread.  Cook covered an additional 45-60 minutes.  Ladle into serving  bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with hot bread.  Serves 8-12 as a main dish.  (I will add a green salad to round out the meal.)  

Butternut Squash Soup (Given to me by my dearest friend.  She made the soup for me during a time when I needed meals.  I have made it numerous times for our family and also to share with others.)

  • 2 lbs. butternut squash, peel, seeded and diced.  (This takes the most time but not so bad once you get the hang of it.  Some markets have pre-diced squash for sale if time is a concession to you.)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup diced, peeled potato ( I use red potatoes so I do not peel them)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 2/3 heavy cream (or milk)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh dill (I add more of the fresh, depending on how big the squash was)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine diced squash, vegetable stock, potato, onion and garlic.  Simmer covered for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.   Puree 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. (I have invested in one of those immersible wand blenders and it has been fantastic!  No lost soup on the sides of the blender if you have to move your soup in batches to and from pot to blender back to pot.)  Add milk or cream, dill, cumin, salt and pepper.  Simmer soup for 5 minutes.  Garnish with dill springs.  Serve with green salad or toasted cheese sandwiches. Serves 4. 

What I like about making a large batch is that I have some to freeze (I use the ziplock quart containers with the blue twist top), some to eat now and some to give away. 

What about you?  Are you a soup person?  Which are your favorites?  Share your recipes below.