Bowled Over

Bowled Over

Making hearty soups, chowders, bisques, chili, and stews is a fun and delicious way to stay warm once the winter chill bites the air.  One of the great things about making winter soups is you can basically add whatever you like depending on what’s in season and your particular tastes. With any soup you decide to make, you can include different fresh ingredients, and each time you can be creative by developing unique flavors with spices, herbs, meats, vegetables, and even fruits.

You can utilize your local farmers’ market or fresh produce market to find out what local ingredients are in season and select the ones you like best.  Making soup is the perfect way to have control over what you put into your mouth because you know exactly what ingredients are going into it. In addition, soup making is very flexible, and you can choose to follow the recipe verbatim or add and eliminate ingredients as you wish.

Using fresh spices and herbs is a great way to be creative and have fun when concocting your soup.  It’s all about personal taste. For a spicier soup, throw in some cayenne pepper and garlic.  For a sweeter soup, put in a dash of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and even apple cider.  For creamier soups, add as much heavy cream or milk you need to get that perfect creamy consistency.

Squash and pumpkin are two vegetables that are in season this time of year and delicious in soups.  Fruits in season such as apples and pears can add an extra element to these soups.  To make a soup really hearty, add sausage, chicken, potatoes, kidney beans, and cabbage.  Still not full?  Make homemade biscuits or crusty bread to either dip in the soup or have with butter on the side.  Depending on the soup, adding homemade dumplings to it can make it even more filling and satisfying.

To warm up on these chilly days and cold nights this winter, make a pot of soup and indulge in one of the most popular and guilt-free comfort foods.  Winter soups often incorporate all of the food groups and make great use of leftovers. They are also crowd pleasers, and the recipes can be passed down through generations.  Soup making can be a wonderful conversation; people of all ages and all walks of life can have fun with it.  Of course, you can make a fresh pot of soup any time of the year, but when the weather is frosty and chilly, it makes standing by the stove and eating a hot dish even more enjoyable.

            So have fun and make your favorite soup this winter or try a new recipe that may become another favorite!

1/4 cup Minced onion

3 tbsp. Butter

1/2 lb. Shrimp, cooked and chopped

1/2 lb. Crab meat, cooked and flaked

1/2 lb. Scallops, cooked and chopped

1/2 lb. Lobster, cooked and cubed (optional)

1/3 cup Dry white wine

2 cups Water

1 pint Heavy cream

2 Egg yolks, beaten lightly

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. White pepper

1/4 cup Sherry or brandy

Sauté onion in butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until onion is opaque. Add shrimp, crab, scallops and lobster and cook 2-3 minutes. Add wine and water. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes to blend flavors. Put pan back on low heat, add cream and heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Mix a little hot bisque into the egg yolks and mix well. Pour egg yolks into pan and heat for about 5 minutes. Add seasonings and sherry, stir well. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

2 lbs. Russet potatoes

1 lb. Leeks, washed and chopped

1 Onion, chopped

1 Celery stalk, chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

5 cups  Chicken stock or broth

1/2 cup Milk

4 tbsp.  Butter

2 tbsp.  Chopped flat leaf parsley

to taste Salt and pepper

6 tbsp.   Cream or half-and-half

1/2 cup Shredded cheddar cheese or chives

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the potatoes, leeks, onion, celery, carrot; cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock or broth, 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and potatoes are soft. Mash the potatoes and vegetables in the pot or transfer to a blender or food processor in batches and process until smooth. Be sure the soup has cooled for 15 minutes before processing in a food processor.  When ready to serve, reheat the soup, serve in bowls and swirl 1 tablespoon half-and-half into each serving. Sprinkle with chives or shredded cheddar cheese.

1/2 lb. Ground beef, lean

1 Onion, chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

16 oz. Tomatoes, canned

1 cup   Celery, diced

2 Carrots, diced

1 Large potato, diced

16 oz. Frozen corn kernels

16 oz. Frozen mixed vegetables

1 cup   Water

1 tsp.   Salt

1/2 tsp. Pepper

In a 5 quart pan, over medium heat, sauté the garlic and onion in a small amount of oil until tender. Add the ground beef and cook until brown, stirring to break up meat. Drain if necessary, then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and water to the meat. Add the carrots to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes then add the potatoes and celery. Simmer for 5-10 more minutes then add the frozen corn and vegetables and cook for about 10 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings to taste.

1 tbsp. Olive oil

1/2 cup Chopped onion

1/2 cup Thinly sliced celery

1 can  Cream of chicken soup

1 cup   Low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup   Cooked wild rice

1 cup Canned, sliced carrots, drained

2 cans  Chunk chicken breast in water, drained (3 oz. Each)

1/2 tsp. Chili powder

1/2 tsp. Ground cumin

Pinch   Ground chipotle chile

1 cup   Shredded, Pepper Jack cheese, divided

1/3 cup Evaporated fat-free canned milk or heavy cream

3 tbsp.   Chopped cilantro

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onion and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in soup and broth. Add rice, carrots, chicken, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chile and 3/4 cup cheese; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors, stirring often. Add evaporated milk and chopped cilantro. Garnish with remaining cheese and sprigs of fresh cilantro.