and Potato Soup
vegetable soups are in peak form, satisfying souls with
homey flavors and flaunting the season’s vibrant color
rich, full-bodied soups are the entry point for the
comfort-food scene, but "they still have a semblance of
being lighter," says Ellen Brown, author of "Soup
of the Day." "We are not at the point of having a
big plate of mac and cheese."
soups ignore the pale and meek vegetables and instead
gravitate toward the bold and deep ones, which have strong,
earthy flavors. So while carrots, acorn and butternut
squashes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, and mushrooms are
in, avocado, sweet peas, asparagus and fresh tomatoes are
Nistico, food editor of Taste of Home magazine, says
"there also is something anchoring about fall soups,
and the falling temperatures cry out for them."
quintessential, stick-to-the-ribs fall soup, start with the
base flavor in the form of onions, scallions, leeks and
garlic. Then soften those vegetables by adding butter, ghee,
canola oil, olive oil or bacon fat, and sauteing them over
low heat. When they are just about tender, add a vegetarian
or meat stock and simmer until they are tender. Finally
puree the soup to make it smooth and silky.
the rich and velvety texture of a soup by adding coconut
milk, heavy cream, sour cream, half-and-half, or simply
whole milk. Or elevate the taste by adding a teaspoon of
curry powder, orange juice or maple syrup.
are no hard-or-fast rules when it comes to transforming
soups to be served in fall. "Potatoes are a wonderful
blank canvas that go well with anything," Brown says.
So a plain potato soup can be taken up a notch by adding
leeks or mushrooms or bacon. Or convert a tomato-ginger-mint
soup to a carrot-ginger soup with a tropical accent by
adding coconut milk. For a southwestern touch, add cumin
powder and chipotle chilies to canned black beans and frozen
corn kernels and garnish with cilantro instead of parsley.
different spin to a French Onion Soup by adding dumplings
and softened leeks to a beef jus spiked with brandy and
finally topping it with Gruyere cheese. Or go with an
Italian Onion Soup, which is an upside-down version of its
French cousin. Melt provolone and mozzarella cheeses over
croutons with Italian-herb seasoning and pour hot beef broth
it comes to the broths, long-simmered ones are the way to
go, Brown says. But avoid strong-flavored scraps such as
cilantro stems, and potato or turnip peels when making it at
home. Also stay away from intense colors such as beet peels
or old and rotting vegetables. "But if you are buying a
store-bought stock, opt for lower sodium ones," Nistico
says. "You could always add more salt as you
can be cooked in or added later, Nistico says, but it is
better to cook in sturdier herbs such as thyme, rosemary and
bay leaves and stir in herbs such as cilantro, chives and
parsley at the end. Basil is more loosey-goosey and could be
added in the beginning or at the end.
in a soup gives an opportunity for contrasting textures, and
they do not have to be limited to croutons, according to
Nistico and Brown. But they should add something to the
overall soup. This means you could add grated Parmesan
cheese that has been baked, broken bread sticks, diced
hard-boiled egg, chopped nuts, chow mein noodles, crushed
tortilla chips or nachos, wonton wrappers, and in fact
anything that would fit on a soup spoon.
could also go in the other direction and add sour cream,
fresh cream or a swirl of herb oil," Brown says.
Nistico recommends adding a little browned butter, olive oil
or even a balsamic vinegar glaze.
the end of it all, it is the vegetables that are the stars;
they work well together as a team and yet hold onto their
Steven Felder of Stagioni in Pittsburgh’s South Side says
sweet potatoes, carrots and squashes such as butternut and
acorn are the rites of a hearty fall soup. "But just
because the soups are hearty it does not mean they are
heavy," he adds. "It is more about the flavor
should know because after all his Sweet Potato Soup won the
overall soup category and the vegetarian category in last
year’s South Side Soup Contest.
author Ellen Brown had adapted this recipe from the
restaurant Binkley’s, in Cave Creek, Ariz. I in turn
substituted water for white wine, and light cream for heavy
cream to cut the richness of the soup and make it friendly
for all ages. The soup can be prepared up to 2 days in
advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat over low
heat, stirring occasionally.
tablespoons unsalted butter
pounds carrots, sliced
celery ribs, sliced
small onion, diced
tablespoons grated fresh ginger
cup coconut milk
tablespoons pure maple syrup
and freshly ground black pepper to taste
tablespoon desiccated unsweetened coconut
the butter in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add carrots,
celery, onion and ginger; cook until the vegetables are
water, and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the stock, coconut
milk and maple syrup.
to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low
and simmer for about 30 minutes.
off the heat and puree soup with a hand blender. Add cream.
Then season with salt and pepper to taste.
soup back to a simmer.
with dry coconut before serving.
8 to 10.
Adapted from "Soup of the Day" by Ellen Brown.
lentil soup, with an Indian accent, is a model of simplicity
and complementary flavors. If you are cooking the lentils in
a pot, soak them for 30 minutes first.
chickpea lentils, dried (channa dhal)
yellow split-pea lentils, dried (thoor dhal)
tablespoon canola oil
teaspoon cumin seeds
medium onion, finely chopped
cloves garlic, finely chopped
jalapeno, finely chopped
teaspoon turmeric powder
and freshly ground pepper to taste
tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
the lentils, and then place them in a pressure cooker or a
medium-sized pot. Add enough water to cover the lentils,
plus 1/2 cup extra. If cooking in a pressure cooker, follow
cooker’s instructions. If cooking in a pot, stir
constantly and add more water as necessary so that the
lentils don’t stick to bottom of the pot. Cook over medium
heat for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
heat oil in pot. Add cumin seeds and cook until they
splutter and are lightly brown.
onion, garlic and jalapeno, and cook for about 3 minutes.
Once cooked, add lentils to vegetable mixture, and then the
a hand blender, puree dhal until lentils are smoothly
blended. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add
more water if necessary to thin the dhal.
butter and cilantro. Mix gently and serve.
sharp cheddar cheese and half-and-half amp the velvety
texture in this luscious soup, which is robust and refined
at the same time.
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
medium onion, finely chopped
stalks celery, finely chopped
low-sodium chicken broth
pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
chopped broccoli florets
cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion
and celery; cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth, half-and-half, potatoes, bay leaf, 2 cups
water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to
heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender, about
season broccoli with salt, cover, and microwave until
crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
potatoes are tender, turn off the heat and remove the bay
leaf from the soup. Puree soup with a hand blender until
smooth. Thin with water if necessary. Return soup to a
simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in broccoli and season
with salt and pepper.
cheese and stir until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and
top with croutons.
Adapted from Food Network magazine, October 2011
be deceived; the silky bisque has a bite to it. But if you
want to reduce the heat, remove the seeds and devein the
tablespoons olive oil, divided
medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
cups chopped onion
cup chopped celery
cup chopped carrot
garlic cloves, minced
teaspoons green chilies, minced
ground black pepper
tablespoons sour cream
oven to 400 degrees.
1 tablespoon of olive oil over the cubed squash. Bake for 40
minutes or until cubes are very tender. Let them cool.
remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 10 minutes or until
vegetables are just tender.
the garlic and chilies; sauté for 2 minutes. Add squash
cubes and stir. Then add the chicken stock and bring to a
boil. Add salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for
about 30 minutes.
off the heat, and while soup is still hot, puree with a hand
in half-and-half. Season with black pepper and add more salt
if needed. Transfer bisque to individual bowls, and top each
serving with a dollop of sour cream.
AND POTATO SOUP
leeks and potatoes assert themselves here without shouting
at each other in this rustic soup.
pounds small russet potatoes peeled, but left whole
pound leeks, trimmed and chopped
and freshly ground pepper
potatoes, leeks, onion in a pot with stock. Season lightly.
to a boil; then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 30
a slotted spoon, lift the potatoes out of the pot and mash
with the butter. Return the mashed potatoes to the pot, stir
thoroughly, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes further,
soup gets too thick, add a little water to thin to the
and season with salt if necessary. Ladle into bowls and add
a good grinding of black pepper.
Kitchen Garden Cookbook," by Caroline Bretherton
Make the soup a day in advance, says Gina Nistico, food
editor of Taste of Home magazine, because the flavors deepen
when they sit.
the last 30 seconds, make a little well and add some minced
garlic for a pronounced flavor, Nistico says.
Deglaze pan with wine or broth for added flavor.
Watch the heat and don’t rush the cooking time by cooking
the soup on high heat. Time and temperature control are
important, Nistico says.
Don’t kill your vegetables, says cookbook author Ellen
Brown, by overcooking them.
Use proteins that can stand up to a longer cooking time such
as beef and boneless, country-style pork ribs along with
mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion).
When freezing leftover soup, fill a plastic bag with one
serving and place the bag flat, Nistico says, because it is
easier to thaw them. Also remember that sour cream, pasta,
rice and fresh potatoes don’t freeze well.