Soup-er Dooper Soups

          Everyone has their “go to” person for help. In my foodie world I have several cooking gurus that I regularly tap for advice, support, aid and most of all, recipes when I know their expertise far outweighs mine. For cakes, it’s Sarelle Weiner owner and head pastry chef of Edible Gems by Sarelle, for bread, it’s Connie Kadish and her mom Annette Eleff, , however, for soup, it’s one of my oldest and dearest friends, Marsha Arons.

          It’s somewhat humbling to know that my own kids and spouse will turn up their collective noses at my attempts at what they perceive as “her” soups and say, “it’s ok, but Marsha makes it better”. So with this edict in mind I asked Marsha if she would mind sharing a few of her (and my families) favorite soup recipes just in time for the onslaught of fall and winter vegetables. The following recipes are all user friendly and can be served any time of the year when the thought of cooking even one more meal is cause for a minor hissy fit.

Note: Marsha’s recipes don’t have exact measurements because, like any good cook, she creates by sight and taste. I’ve modified the tomato bisque recipe slightly so as to give the reader an idea of how much of specific ingredients to use. Her words of wisdom stared with “Almost any soup I make includes the caramelized onions as a base.  I like to add whatever fresh veggies are available and make my roux with potatoes instead of flour.  You just must add a little more salt than you are used to because the potatoes use up a lot”. Words I can live and eat by.


3 fat large Vidalia onions chopped

4 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons sugar

1 small can tomato paste

1 large can chopped/diced tomatoes, with liquid

3 large baking potatoes


dill fresh is best but dried will do in a pinch


1/2 to 1 cup milk, half and half or cream (optional)

In a large stock pot melt the butter and cook the onions with the sugar, salt and pepper (stirring frequently) until they are very soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the potatoes, tomato paste, tomatoes and their liquid and enough water to make sure that the potatoes are covered. Bring the soup to a boil and then cover and simmer until the potatoes are soft (about 1/2 hour). Add fresh parsley (great for leftover from seder), dill, salt and pepper and more sugar to taste.  

Emulsify in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until smooth, add milk if desired (or half and half) Best if served the next day and reheated.

Slightly modified from Marsha’s original recipe


MARSHA’S PUMPKIN SOUP (Her daughter Rachael’s favorite)

3 fat large vidalia onions, chopped, heated in margarine or olive oil with salt and pepper and sugar until onions are translucent. Add chicken stock left over from sedars. Add two cans pumpkin. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and cinnamon.  Emulsify.  Heat to boil and simmer.  Also better served the next day.


3 Carmelized onions (use butter). Add 3 large baking potatoes peeled and diced. Season with salt, pepper and sugar (pinch). Emulsify the potato/onion mixture; remove from heat. Add three cheeses:  mozzerella, cheddar, parmesan (about 12 oz total–I use mostly cheddar and parm). add milk if desired. Much better re-heated!!! (Can be a little flat if eaten the same day)


A recipe from my cooking school days. Still easy, still delicious

3 pounds fresh asparagus, tips cut off and reserved, woody ends removed, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 medium red onions, chopped

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

8 cloves garlic, coarsely minced

1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 teaspoon salt, (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon black pepper

cayenne pepper, to taste

1 large tomato, seeded, juiced and finely diced, for garnish

Melt the butter or margarine in the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus stalks, carrots, parsley, tarragon, salt, black pepper and cayenne to the broth. Reduce to a simmer, partially covered, and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and let cool. Using a blender or food processor, puree the broth and vegetables in batches of 2-3 cups. If you like a thinner soup, strain some of the soup before returning it to the pan.  At this point, you can store the soup, covered, in the refrigerator for a few days and the soup can be finished just before serving. Before serving, heat the soup over medium heat. When bubbling, add the asparagus tips, and simmer until the tips are tender and the soup is hot, about 10 minutes. When you serve the soup sprinkle some of the diced tomato on top. Serves 7 to 8.


when you puree the heck out of the cauliflower, you get a nice creamy consistency without having to add milk or cream

1 large cauliflower, separated into florets

1 tablespoon garlic, mince

1 teaspoon crushed red peppers

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cup broth (vegetable, chicken or a combination)

2 tablespoons paprika

2 teaspoons cayenne

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons (or more) black pepper

1 bunch parsley, chopped for garnish

In a large pan of boiling water par boil the cauliflower for about 4 minutes or until tender. Remove from boiling water and let cool slightly. In another stock pot heat the broth until boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover. In a skillet heat the olive oil and sautee the garlic for about 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Then toss in the cauliflower. Cook, stirring and break up the cauliflower slightly, for about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower mixture to the simmering soup an then add the paprika, cayenne and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes then remove from heat and let cool. Puree with a blender, immersion blender of food processor.  

Heat through, garnish with parsley and serve. This soup can be made up to a week in advance. Serves 6 to 8.


Sophisticated and practical and a really different kind of soup.

1 small melon, cut into 1-inch cubes (making about 2 cups puree)

1 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon water

1 pint strawberries

1 ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

ice water for thinning


4-6 small scoops kosher for pesach or homemade berry sorbet or sherbert

4-6 fresh raspberries for garnish

Puree melon cubes with honey, salt, and water. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Puree strawberries with pepper and balsamic. Strain, then pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. When ready to serve, stir both purees and evaluate their consistency. Thin whichever one is thicker (usually the strawberries) with enough ice water to make it the same consistency as the other. Measure a scant 1/4 cup of melon puree into each of the chilled cups, then measure a scant 1/4 cup of berry puree into the center of the melon puree. Swirl gently, then top each with a small scoop of sorbet topped with a rasberry. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.


An unusual first course

1 large cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and chopped

3 yellow peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup sliced onion

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

1 and 1/2 tablespoons lime juice


Garnish: cilantro or parsley sprigs

In a food processor or blender puree the cantaloupe, peppers, yogurt, wine, onion, and chopped cilantro. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt. Refrigerate until well chilled. When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top each with a sprig of cilantro or parsley. Serves 4 to 6.


Marvelous, rich, and on the tart side, this soup is truly refreshing

3 cups blueberries

4 cups water

pinch salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 cups sour cream

3 tablespoons corn starch

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Boil the 2 cups of blueberries in the water. Stir in salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Remove from heat. Whip corn starch into the sour cream, then whip both into the hot liquid. When well blended, return the pot to the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in another 1/2 cup of blueberries, and chill in refrigerator. When ready to serve, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries and ladle into bowls. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Diane Kasterson St. Louis MO


This soup version of the classic Provencal dish is good hot or cold, pureed or not, as a first course or a meal.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 small eggplant, chopped (about a cup)

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (you can also substitute green or red)

2 pounds fresh or canned tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced fine

1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

pinch cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: balsamic vinegar and shreds of fresh basil

In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil for about 3 minutes  then toss in the eggplant, zucchini, and pepper and saute, stirring from time to time, another 5 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes with their juice and stir. Stir in the basil, thyme, stock, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. If you are going to serve the soup hot and chunky, ladle it into bowls immediately. Spoon a little balsamic vinegar over each serving and sprinkle with fresh basil.

If you’d like to serve it as a puree, ladle the solids into the blender first, then thin with the broth. You can serve it hot immediately–or chill and serve it cold. In all cases, garnish each bowl at serving time with a dribble of balsamic vinegar and fresh basil shreds.


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