Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soup 201: Five Fall First-courses

 Last week I had to drop something off at Jenn's apartment which is in a little town about a half hour west from where I teach.  It was such a gorgeous day that we decided to drive to a little farmer's market we had passed before, but never took the time to stop at.  The little old couple that worked there were so cute; they told us about the produce they had just received and what farms it had all come from.  I couldn't resist buying a box load of their wares - some I decorated my house with and the rest got made into yummy fall soup!  All five of these soups are super easy.  They call for very few ingredients because sometimes a simple soup made out of a vegetable  is just delicious without a whole lot of extras. The tomato/pepper soup was inspired by a recipe passed onto me by Aunt Gayla.  It called for white bread, ground almonds, and arrow root. Since it sounded like too much work, I pared it down to the directions below.  I found the pumpkin soup in a Libby's advertisement.  Yes, it involves the canned vegetable, but its a whole lot easier than stewing a big old pumpkin on the stove! The broccoli soup came from an old friend who used to live in the hills of Brown County.  When I gave up potatoes for a low carb diet, I hit upon replacing them in everything with cauliflower - including the soup below, and the black bean soup was something I threw together one day that was always a favorite with Caroline.

Red Tomato/Yellow Pepper Soup                                       
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, put through press
2 large yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4 large red tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon of ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
Take two separate pans and put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in each one. Saute 1/2 of the diced onion in each pan until soft. Add one clove of the pressed garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the yellow pepper to one pan and the tomato to the other one. Put 2 cups of chicken broth into each pan. Add 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 a teaspoon of pepper to each pan. To the tomatoes add the thyme and the basil. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Then, puree each mixture separately with a blender or food processor. Put each mixture into a pitcher. Serve soup in bowls by slowly pouring the tomatoe mixture from one side and the pepper mixture from the other. Garnish with chopped green onion.

Curried Pumpkin Soup 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, put through press
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken broth
1 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (16 oz. can)
1/2 cup skim milk
Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add curry powder, coriander, pepper flakes, salt, and garlic and saute one minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and skim milk and simmer 5 minutes. Pour into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy. Pour into bowls and garnish with sour cream and sliced green onion.

Broccoli Soup 
1 head of broccoli
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups of skim milk
Cut the broccoli flowerets into bite sized pieces. Place the broccoli and olive oil in a large pan, cover, and keep on medium heat (stirring occassionally) until the broccoli is soft, but not mushy. Then sprinkle the flour, salt, and pepper over the broccol and gently mix it until the flour is not dry. Over medium heat while stirring, alternate adding the cheese and the milk until both are mixed in. (Don't let mixture boil or it will curdle)

"Loaded" Cauliflower Soup 
1 head of cauliflower
1 15oz. can of chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese
2 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
sliced green onion
Core and cut the cauliflower into pieces. Place cauliflower in a pan along with water and cook it until it is very soft. Drain the water and using a blender or food processor, puree it. Add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper and simmer 5 minutes. Pour into bowls and serve with the cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, and sliced green onion on top.

Black Bean Soup 
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, put through a press
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz. cans of beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
pepper jack cheese, monterey jack cheese, sour cream for garnish
Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the garnishes. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with the garnishes. (This soup can also be pureed)

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