That recent cold snap we had (I actually put on a sweater and long pants!) made me realize how much I miss soup. Up north, when we’d get a winter storm, I would avoid cabin fever by mixing up a big pot of soup.
I’d freeze batches of it for a quick and easy mid-week dinner. Here are a few of my favorite soup recipes, most need little more than some crusty bread and side salad to make a complete meal.
Pub-Style Split Pea Soup
Next time you have a ham, wrap the bone in foil and freeze it until you’re ready to make this soup. If you don’t have a ham bone you can substitute two ham hocks.
1 meaty ham bone
1 ½ cups dried green split peas, rinsed
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
5 cups water
1 bottle light beer
1 tablespoon English mustard powder
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Place ham bone or hocks in a 4-qt. slow cooker. Add peas, celery, carrot and onion.
Combine water, beer and mustard; pour over vegetables.
Cook, covered, on high 5-6 hours or until peas are tender.
Note: if not using a slow cooker, use a large stock pot, bring to boil and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove ham bone from soup, cool slightly, trim away fat and remove meat from bone. Cut meat into bite-size pieces; return to slow cooker or stock pot.
Stir in remaining ingredients. If desired, top with minced parsley.
If you prefer a smoother soup, puree the soup broth in small batches in a blender before adding ham.
Bubbie’s Chicken Soup
This was my grandmother’s recipe. Nicknamed “Jewish penicillin,” it’s guaranteed to cure anything.
2½ pound chicken
1¼ teaspoons pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chicken fat (can substitute canola oil)
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
10 cups water
4 celery ribs, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cut chicken in sections (thighs, legs, wings and breasts).
Pat dry with paper towels; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the pepper and salt.
In a 6-qt. stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add chicken in batches, skin side down; cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes each side.
Remove chicken from pan.
Add onion to drippings; cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add celery, carrots and garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Add water, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.
Return chicken to pan along with bay leaves and thyme, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; simmer, covered until chicken is tender, 25-30 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a plate. Remove soup from heat.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones; discard bones and skin. Shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Return meat to stockpot. Stir in parsley and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning with salt and remaining pepper. Remove bay leaves.
Add cooked rice, noodles or matzoh balls, if desired.
Chicken & Dumplings
From the other (gentile) side of the family, an equally heartwarming dish.
1 chicken (3 ½ to 4 pounds), cut up
2¼ quarts chicken stock
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans (10 ¾ oz) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 ½ cups frozen peas and carrot blend
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped peeled potatoes
¼ cup chopped onion
1½ teaspoons seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
2 ½ cups biscuit mix
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup whole milk
Place the chicken, stock and pepper in a stockpot.
Cover and bring to a boil; skim foam.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45-60 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Remove meat from bones; discard bones and skin and cut chicken into chunks.
Cool broth and skim off fat.
Return chicken to stockpot with canned soup, vegetables and seasonings; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
After the liquid has thickened slightly, increase heat to a gentle boil.
Make dumplings by combining biscuit mix with pepper, egg, butter and enough milk to make a moist stiff batter.
Drop by teaspoonfuls into soup.
Cover and cook without lifting the lid for 18-20 minutes.
French Onion Soup
Surprisingly easy to make and so delicious. The secret is a good stock, either homemade or store bought.
4 cups thinly sliced onions
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup butter
¼ cup cognac
6 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 slices French bread (¾ inch thick), buttered and toasted
8 slices Swiss cheese
8 slices provolone
In a large covered saucepan, cook onions and garlic in butter over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes or until tender and golden, stirring occasionally.
Deglaze the pan with cognac.
Add stock and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Ladle hot soup into six ovenproof bowls.
Top each with a piece of French bread with one slice of each type of cheese.
Broil until cheese melts and serve immediately.
Any good, firm fleshed fish (cod, haddock, etc.) will do. You can be fancy and use shrimp, crab or lobster, but if you do so, wait to add the seafood until just before serving so it doesn’t over-cook.
4 bacon strips, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3 cans (12 oz each) evaporated milk
1 can (15 ¼ oz) whole kernel corn, undrained
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (6 ½ oz) chopped clams, undrained
1 pound fish fillets, cooked and broken into pieces
Crumbled cooked bacon, optional
Minced chives, optional
In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.
Remove bacon and excess fat, sauté onion until tender.
Add potatoes and sautéfor 4-5 minutes.
Add milk, corn, butter, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in fish and clams, bring to simmer for 10 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Ladle into bowls, top with bacon and chives if desired.
African Squash and Peanut Stew
As with any great stew recipe, there are almost endless possibilities to change it up. I personally don’t care for coconut milk, so I use cashew milk.
¼ cup cooking oil
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups coconut milk
1 can (14 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen butternut squash cubes
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 bunch spinach or baby kale, washed and shredded
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup cooked grain of choice (rice, cous cous, quinoa)
¼ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
In a heavy soup pot, heat oil and sauté the onion, red bell pepper and jalapeno over medium heat until slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the fresh ginger, garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander and cinnamon, sauté for about 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk, canned tomatoes, spinach or kale, and frozen squash.
Bring just to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer (covered) until the squash is tender.
Add the garbanzo beans and peanut butter and simmer for a couple minutes.
Add fresh cilantro and simmer a couple minutes longer.
Ladle into bowls and top with a scoop of cooked starch and some crushed peanuts.