EZ Winter Soups: Something just a little different

For anyone who feels that chicken soup is the one and only comfort soup that will take away the chill of winter stop reading, this blog entry  is not for you. For anyone looking for a new kind of soup to herald the coming blizzards, something different and exciting to serve the family and friends that will be sharing the fruits of your  kitchen labors (and watching football on that big screen TV that is really TOO big for the family room) keep on going.

This is the time of year when leisure time is at a premium and nobody wants to spend anymore time than they have to in the kitchen prepping and cooking.  So many other things (like, again, watching football, raking, and generally rejoicing that the kids are back in school) to do. Soups should be one of the simple thing you make and using ready made broths and stocks (both meat and vegetable) have made it incredibly easy (time wise) to whip up a big, flavorful pot of soup in less than an hour.

I’ve chosen some of my favorite fall soup recipes that utilize squash and a variety of other  vegetables that are readily affordable and available to share in this column. You’re going to love how delicious it is to start a meal with the words………..and now for something completely different.

PUMPKIN AND CHICKEN CHOWDER

2 red bell peppers (about 14 ounces)
2 jalapeño peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
3 leeks, white and light-green parts only
1 pumpkin (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1 ear corn, kernels removed (1 cup)
3 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

 Preheat oven to broil. Place the red peppers and jalapeño on a baking sheet and cook them under the broiler, turning occasionally, until the skins blacken — about 10 minutes. Seal the charred peppers in a plastic bag for 10 to 12 minutes. Peel, stem, seed and cut peppers into 1/2-inch pieces. Set them aside. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over a medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned. Remove the chicken pieces and keep them warm. Add the leeks and pumpkin and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the corn, peppers, chicken, broth and oregano and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, about 30 minutes. Garnish with sour cream if desired and serve hot. Serves 8.

HOT APPLE SOUP

This is a really great way to start a simple meal of sandwiches and salad.

4 Green apples (Granny Smith)
4 McIntosh apples
2 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup cream

Whipped cream for topping
 
Peel, core and quarter apples. Combine all ingredients except cream in saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer 15 min. till apple’s are soft. Puree; return to pan; add 1 cup cream and heat through but don’t boil. Garnish each serving with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE WITH BOURBON MAPLE SYRUP

Hummmm what should we do with the left over bourbon………….

3lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 pound butter
1 qt milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon dry mustard
1tablespoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper

In a heavy bottom pot melt the butter and add the onion and the garlic; cook over med-low heat till just softened and translucent. Add the brown sugar and simmer till melted in. Add  the butternut squash, nutmeg, mustard, cinnamon milk and cream and simmer till the squash is cooked through. Put soup in the blender (carefully) and puree. Strain and season to taste with salt and pepper. To Serve, drizzle the top of each individual bowl with the Bourbon Maple Syrup. Serves 6 to 8.

For the Bourbon Maple Syrup

1 cup Bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple Syrup

In a small pot add brown sugar and bourbon and reduce the mixture over a low flame till the mixture is thickened and foamy. Add the maple syrup and simmer 3 more minutes. Let cool to room temp before using

THAI PUMPKIN SOUP

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon butter
1teaspoon minced garlic

4 shallots, minced
2 small fresh red chili peppers, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

fresh basil for garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat the peanut oil and butter over low heat. Cook the garlic, shallots, and chilies in oil until aromatic but not browned. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Cook until the pumpkin is tender, 15 to 20 minutes (longer if necessary) In a blender, blend the soup in batches to a smooth consistency. You could sprinkle fresh basil over this for a garnish. Serves 6 to 8

CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH CURRIED ONIONS
 Ingredients:
4 strips of bacon, diced
2 cups of onions, sliced
1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon flour
5 cups light vegetable or chicken stock
1 medium potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 and 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound cauliflower, broken into flowerets and the rest chopped
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 cup chutney
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons green onion, sliced diagonally

Method:
Fry bacon til crisp, then remove, drain, and reserve. Pour off all but about 3 Tablespoons of the bacon fat and scrape up the bottom of the pan a bit, then add onion, garlic, curry, and cayenne and stir for about a minute. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, til the onions are soft. Add the sugar, turn up the heat to high, and stir until the onions are brown–about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and set aside.

At the same time, bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan and add the potato and a teaspoon of salt. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and tumeric, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, cooking until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool a minute or two.

Puree 3/4 of the cauliflower mixture with the chutney, then pour back into the pan with the remaining cauliflower mixture. Stir in the onion mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. At this point, you can hold it in the refrigerator til you are ready to serve it. Just reheat when you’re ready.

When ready to serve, stir in the crumbled bacon, parsley, lemon juice, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the green onions. Serve immediately.

SOUTHWESTERN VEGETABLE SOUP  

6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup water
1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, with liquid
1 cup frozen yellow cut corn
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 cup diced Spanish onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 corn tortillas, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
dash garlic powder

Garnish
1 cup grated cheddar cheese blend
1 cup crumbled corn tortilla chips

1. Combine all the soup ingredients in a large saucepan or soup pot over high heat. Be sure to
mince the corn tortillas into small pieces with a sharp knife before adding them to the soup.
2. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the soup
has thickened and tortilla pieces have mostly dissolved.
3. To serve soup ladle 1 1/2 cups into a bowl. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of the grated
cheddar/jack cheese blend over the top of the soup, and then a heaping tablespoon of crumbled
corn tortilla chips over the cheese.
Makes 6 servings.

ZUCCHINI BISQUE SOUP
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup zucchini, shredded
2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

In a saucepan melt the butter and  saute the onion until tender. Stir in the chicken broth, zucchini and basil, salt, nutmeg and white pepper. Heat the soup to boiling and then cool  to room temperature. Puree a portion at a time in food processor; leaving slightly lumpy. Soup can be served hot or cold. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: