Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted – a combination of the holidays, vacation, and just plain lazy I guess! Well, my New Years Resolution was to do at least 3 posts per week…. and go to the gym….. and loose 40 pounds….. and drink less wine….. Well, I think the posts have the most chance of happening!
It’s Sunday, and Lynne and I are doing our favorite thing – sitting in front of the fire, watching movies, cooking and eating! We actually are starting a diet tomorrow, so today is kind of a last hurrah! Have some peanut soup simmering, and I am probably going to make Fettuccini Alfredo, with a home made sauce – super easy. But this is a column about soups.
I LOVE making soup! Hot ones, cold ones – just about all kinds! Got a ham bone after the holidays? You have the base for a beautiful 16 bean soup. Bag of dried beans, water and throw in the bone, add some mashed potatoes and viola – home made soup!
The best thing about soups, is it doesn’t take a graduate degree in chemistry to make them! 9 out of 10 have the same base – water, onion, celery, butter, flour and chicken stock. At that point, it’s just a matter of what flavor you want! Everyone loves home made soup – especially if they are a little unusual. We have had soup parties, – with 3 or 4 kinds of soups in crock pots, and served in paper cups. Easy finger food for a crowd that is more substantial than simple chips and dip!
A storage tip: Freeze leftovers in plastic zip lock bags in servings for one or two – freeze flat. They take up little room in the freezer, and are easy to microwave for a quick easy meal. One last tip – most soups require the base to be blended after it boils for a bit – always be SUPER careful when blending hot liquids – they can explode out of the top of a blender with suprising force, and can not only make a huge mess, but injure as well. Always use small, slow pulses until fairly smooth.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
Butternut Squash Crabmeat Bisque: This is a perennial favorite in our house! Simple to make, easy to freeze, and REALLY good!
Ø Two bags frozen butternut squash
Ø 2 cups water
Ø 1 large celery stalk, chopped fine
Ø 1 medium onion, chopped fine
Ø 2 tbs butter
Ø 2 tbs all purpose flour
Ø 3 cups chicken broth
Ø Salt and pepper to taste
Ø ½ cup heavy cream
Ø 3 cans high quality crab meat, or 1 lb fresh crab meat, claws
1 Thaw squash, place in a 3 quart sauce pan, with celery, onion and water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat, do not drain.
2 CAREFULLY blend mixture with a hand blender or food processor until smooth, put aside.
3 Melt butter in large sauce pan, and slowly stir in flour, whisking constantly until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat
4 Stir chicken broth into flour mixture, heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Stir in squash mixture, add drained crabmeat, and heat to just boiling.
5 Add heavy cream, stirring constantly till hot – do NOT boil
This is Colonial Williamsburg’s King’s Arms Tavern’s signature soup. We have made it for company, and many think it a bit strange..” Peanut soup.. really?” It may sound a little strange, but boy is it fantastic – and I have yet to see ANYONE who doesnt like it! A GREAT winter soup!
Ø ½ stick butter
Ø 1 medium chopped onion
Ø 2 stalks diced celery
Ø 3 tbs flour
Ø 8 cups chicken broth
Ø 2 cups smooth peanut butter
Ø 1 ¾ cups ½ and ½
Ø ½ cup finely chopped peanuts for garnish
- In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add onion and celery, cook till translucent, stirring often
- Stir in flour, and stir till thickened
- Add chicken broth, increase heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.
- Lower heat, and puree with hand blender
- Whisk in peanut butter and cream, whisking often – do NOT boil
- Serve topped with chopped peanuts
Serves 10 to 12
Pumpkin Gorgonzola Soup. This is a simple, elegant Fall/Winter soup that is perfect for company.
Ø 1 15 oz pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
Ø 1 ½ cups chicken bullion
Ø 1 tsp ground sage
Ø 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
Ø ¾ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Ø 2 large green onions, finely chopped
Ø Pinch of nutmeg
Ø Tsp salt
- Cook pumpkin, broth, 1 onion and sage in a large saucepan, until mixture comes to a boil
- Stir in evaporated milk and most of the cheese
- Reduce heat to low, stirring frequently until cheese is melted
- Serve garnished with remaining sliced green onion and cheese
Vishyssoise. This is a classic French soup, served chilled, that most have heard of, and associate with fancy French restaurants. The truth is, it is a super simple soup to make, sure to impress your guests with your cooking prowess! Even though it is a chilled soup, this can be served year round.
Ø 1 tbs butter
Ø 1 medium onion, diced
Ø 2 medium potatoes, peeled and coursly chopped
Ø 1 stalk celery, chopped
Ø 1 can, 14.5 oz chicken broth
Ø 1 ½ cups half and half
Ø ¼ tsp salt
Ø ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Ø 1/8 tsp black pepper
Ø Chopped fresh chives for garnish
- Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Cook onion until translucent
- Stir in potatoes, celery and broth, raise heat and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until vegetables tender
- Puree in blender – CAREFULLY
- Pour into large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients except chives
- Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled
- Serve garnished with chives.
Well, there you have it – four awsome soups that aren’t your grandma’s chicken noodle! All of these are great soups to serve for company, or just make to enjoy on a cold winter day.