off this Pasta e Fagioli with pesto and Parmesan
cheese and serve it with warm, crusty bread.
are known for their cookie swaps. But Kathy Gunn, owner of
Midway Community Kitchen in Carrboro, N.C., thought why not
a soup swap?
the wintertime, there is not as much to do, you might as
well make soup and trade with friends," Gunn says.
Midway Community Kitchen, a cooking school, is offering the
community this new practice starting this month.
Participants can register online for $10 and bring four
quarts of soup and get this bowl-of-comfort party started.
was inspired by her almost-name-twin, Kathy Gunst, the
resident chef for WBURís award-winning radio show
"Here and Now" and the author of several cookbooks
including the newly released "Soup Swap: Comforting
Recipes to Make and Share." (Chronicle Books, 2016)
a pretty cool concept," says Gunst, who started a soup
swap with her neighbors and friends in Maine. "Six
years later we are still doing it."
January to April, Gunst and her group meet once a month on
Sunday to savor the flavor of these liquid fusions of
comfort. "So many older people grew up on homemade soup
but thereís an entire generation that donít know what
homemade soups are about," she says.
Lucindy Willis of Terrapin Cove in West Yanceyville, N.C.,
offers a few secrets to making good soups. Homemade broth is
best. Keep it simple with seasonings; use thyme for chicken
soups and winter stews, and oregano and basil for minestrone
soups. To add a little heat, a pinch of red pepper flake
does the job. Donít use any ingredient that will overpower
the other ingredients, such as too much rosemary or lots of
garlic and onion in a cream soup.
warn my cooking students not to overuse the seasonings or
use too many varieties of spices," says Willis, who is
teaching an upcoming soup class at Southern Season in Chapel
Hill, N.C. "Each seasoning should be used to bring out
the flavors of the broth and the ingredients."
often makes soups as gifts. "One Christmas I made four
huge stock pots of soup and stored them in 2-cup plastic
containers with secure lids," she says. "I then
presented friends and family with four different freezable
soups for their winter lunch enjoyment. With this type of
project, I focused on creating four very different types of
soups: gumbo or chili, Italian wedding meatball, chicken
tortilla, stuffed potato or another cream soup, such as
broccoli. Soups that feed the soul."
loves the idea of a soup swap: "How lovely it is to
open your freezer on a cold winter day and discover a soup
that will go perfectly with that brie and cranberry panini."
A. Lacy is a freelance writer and the author of "Sunday
Dinner, a Savor the South cookbook" by UNC Press of
Chapel Hill. Reach her at
GUNSTíS TIPS FOR A SOUP SWAP
Share the story behind the soup. "Before we eat, we
introduce our soups. Every bowl of soup has a story behind
it." Sometimes the soup is inspired by a family member,
other times it may be influenced by the produce selections
at the farmerís market.
Make enough soup for 10 full servings. That often means
doubling a recipe.
the soup swap, start with a small sampling. Donít eat a
whole bowl. Taste each soup and then decide if you want a
Find people who like to cook or want to become better cooks.
Make sure the cooks are like-minded. For example, everyone
likes meat. Or everyone is vegetarian.
Take turns hosting. The host provides side dishes, or a
salad, bread and desserts. Everybody else brings a pot of
soup. Encourage folks to bring over a slow cooker for
heating soups. You only need to heat the soup being served.
The soup for taking home doesnít need to be heated.
Everybody needs to bring mason jars or containers for soups
to take home. Use tea towels to cushion the containers you
transport your soup in and the mason jars so they are not
banging around during transport.
Bring everything you need to serve the soup ó all the
ladles, garnishes, toppings and tools needed to complete the
dish. Dedicate a big tote bag for carrying all the soup and
Once you return home, label all the soups with the names and
dates if you decide to freeze them for later use. Donít
fill containers to the top. Generally, cream soups donít
PEA SOUP WITH SALSA
soup is adapted from one of Lucindy Willisí favorite soup
cookbooks: Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread by Crescent
pound black-eyed peas
7 to 9
cups chicken stock, divided
teaspoon dried oregano
teaspoon dried cumin
teaspoon dried basil
teaspoon dried coriander
tablespoons tomato paste
Spicy V8 juice
tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
teaspoon soy sauce
teaspoon Tabasco sauce
cloves of minced garlic
1 to 2
large Vidalia onions, chopped
1 to 2
tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3
carrots, peeled and diced
or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
celery with leaves, diced
and pepper to taste
salsa, sour cream, cilantro
large, heavy soup pot, cover black-eyed peas, washed and
picked over, with water (add more water than you think since
the peas absorb the water). Let them soak overnight.
the beans in a colander, then return the beans to the pot.
Add 6 to 8 cups chicken stock to cover beans by 2 to 3
inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Add
bay leaves, oregano, ground cumin, basil and coriander.
Cover the beans and let them simmer, stirring occasionally
ó until you can easily squash a bean against the side of
the pot with a wooden spoon. Keep the soup over low heat.
tomato paste in 1 cup chicken stock. Add to simmering
black-eyes, along with V8 juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy
sauce, Tabasco sauce and minced garlic. Give the mixture a
good stir to combine.
separate skillet, sautť chopped onions in olive oil until
transparent, 3-4 minutes. Add carrots, red or yellow bell
pepper and celery. Continue cooking until they soften a bit,
another 2 minutes. Stir these vegetables into the soup,
scraping the skillet to get the flavorful bits. If you think
the soup is too thick, add additional stock.
time to taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. Simmer another
15 minutes or so uncovered.
the hot soup into bowls, and top each serving with salsa, a
dab of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro, if desired.
traditional pasta and bean soup is simple and satisfying. In
this version, the stock is scented with fresh rosemary,
generous chunks of cubed boneless pork loin roast, white
beans, garlic, tomatoes and a small shaped pasta. You can
also substitute 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch
pieces for the pork loin. Add the bacon to the stockpot and
cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to
10 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Pour off all but 1
tablespoon of the bacon fat. Add 1 teaspoon flour to the fat
and whisk over low heat for 2 minutes. Then proceed as
directed. Itís a thick, hearty, main-course soup. Serve it
with warm, crusty bread. From "Soup Swap" by Kathy
Gunst, (Chronicle Books, 2016).
tablespoons all-purpose flour
ounces boneless pork loin roast, cut into Ĺ-in cubes
tablespoons olive oil, divided
dry white wine
small onion, diced
garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
medium carrots, peeled and diced
medium celery stalks, diced
cup packed chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, divided
teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves, divided
chicken stock or broth
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
cup small pasta (conchigliette, ditalini, tubetti or orzo
cooked white cannellini beans or canned beans (drained,
rinsed and re-drained)
of hot-pepper sauce (optional)
pesto, Parmesan cheese, crusty bread
the flour into a shallow bowl or pie plate and season with
salt and pepper. Lightly coat all sides of the pork with the
large stockpot over medium-high heat until hot but not
smoking, then add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Working in
batches to avoid crowding the pan, cook the pork, stirring
occasionally, for about 5 minutes per batch, until browned.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned pork to a bowl.
the wine to the pot, turn the heat to high and simmer,
stirring with a wooden spoon to release any bits clinging to
the bottom of the pot, for 2 minutes. Pour the wine mixture
into the bowl with the cooked pork and set aside.
the heat to low and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive
oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about
3 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the
carrots, celery, 2 tablespoons parsley and 1 teaspoon
rosemary; season with salt and pepper; and cook, stirring
occasionally, for another 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock
and tomatoes, turn the heat to high, and bring the mixture
to a boil. Stir in the pasta, beans and browned pork with
all its juices and cook, partially covered, for 10 to 12
minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more
salt and pepper if needed. The soup is ready when the pork
is tender and the pasta is just cooked through, still al
dente. Just before serving, stir in the remaining 2
tablespoons parsley, 1 teaspoon rosemary and the hot-pepper
sauce (if using).
the soup into mugs or bowls; top with a dollop of pesto,
Parmesan cheese and serve with slices of crusty bread, if