Today is Homemade Soup Day so bubbling away in the kitchen are the following favourite soups:
An Easy but Tasty French Onion Soup
3 large onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 T. flour
2 cans (10 1/2 oz. each) condensed beef broth
2 cups water
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
6 slices toasted French bread (I prefer to leave them as slices but some people like to cube the bread instead. I find it gets soggy too quickly that way.)
3 cups cheese – your preference but my favourite is a blend of Swiss, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack
Instructions: Saute the onions in the butter in a large Dutch oven until softened and just beginning to turn a lovely golden brown. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir in one of the cans of broth. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the rest of the broth, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, uncovered. Some people like to put a piece of toasted bread into each of the ovenproof bowls and then pour in some soup, others like to put the soup in first and then float the bread on top. Sprinkle cheese over top of each serving of soup and place the bowls under the broiler until it melts and browns slightly – this takes about 3-5 minutes but you should watch it closely to ensure it doesn’t burn. A tip I learned some years ago is to keep the oven door ajar when you are broiling as the air that is allowed into the oven helps to keep it from broiling too quickly and burning.
Creamy Almond Soup
Yes almond soup I know it sounds odd but it really is quite delectable…well, if you like almonds!
1 T. butter or margarine
1 T. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (adds just a hint of zing to the taste)
Instructions: Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour to make a roux and season with the salt and pepper. When the roux is smooth and a little bit bubbly remove it from the heat and stir in the chicken broth. Heat this to a boil, stirring constantly – continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the remaining ingredients. You just want to bring the temperature up to a suitable temperature – do not overcook.
Mashed Potato Soup
This is a recipe I like to use when I have leftovers in the refrigerator. The mashed potatoes and the onion are what I consider the essential vegetables but the rest can be adjusted according to what you have on hand. I like to have a total of 2 cups of additional vegetables in total to be able to use – this could be 2 cups of one particular vegetable or a mixture to make up 2 cups. Also, I generally use leftover cooked vegetables but if you have fresh vegetables you can use them as well as long as you mince them well. Note: This is my tweaked version of a recipe I found somewhere online but I have lost the reference to where I originally saw it. If I find it or anyone is familiar with it, please let me know so I can credit the originator of the recipe.
3 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 onion, minced
Other vegetables that I have used with success: carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower (these three are my favourites in this soup), broccoli, green beans, celery (I am not a huge celery fan but I do find that minced up really well it can add a nice taste to dishes like this soup – I never use any more than 1/4 cup but if you really like celery, adjust accordingly)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cream (you can cut calories and fat by using milk if you prefer but I think the cream adds a nice rich taste to this)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (your preference – again since this is often something I make to use up leftovers I tend to use whatever I have on hand and that’s often a blend but cheeses I have used with great success here are brick, cheddar – a sharp one is especially nice, Swiss, Parmesan, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) plain cream cheese (again if you want to cut some fat and calories you can use the fat free kind), cubed
salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: Blend all the vegetables except for the mashed potatoes together in a blender. Put this mixture into a pot along with the broth and cream. Bring this to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Stir in the potatoes and cheeses and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Sweet Potato and Ham Soup
So easy and another great way to use up leftovers! Simply bake some sweet potatoes (or use leftover cooked ones), peel them, and mash them – this can be a rough mash with a fork or potato masher. Stir in enough chicken broth to make it the consistency you want for your soup. Now actually, if you just add a bit of seasoning, this a pretty good soup just this way. However, you can dice up some leftover cooked ham and throw that in to the soup to punch up the flavour a little more. (Cooked crumbled bacon or pancetta is also delicious in this) Heat this up and serve….OR throw in some more items! Putting some baby spinach in and heating until it wilts a bit is good as is some green beans and/or peas. Seasonings I suggest: rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley, cracked black pepper – any or all of these are quite yummy in this soup!
Adapted from a recipe in Woman’s Day magazine