Soup’s On!

RECIPES AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBIN FANNON @rsvpRobin

Whenever I tell someone I’m going to make a pot of soup, the typical response is “Oh I love soup!” In fact, if there is someone on the planet that doesn’t like soup, we have not met.  There is no better time of the year to enjoy a steamy bowl of soup than January.  Yes, even in Florida!

Apart from being easy to prepare and delicious to eat, soup has so many wonderful health benefits.  Since it’s mostly liquid, it is hydrating (be mindful of the salt content), fills you up and helps keep you satisfied. It can ward off a cold or flu and is power packed with beneficial nutrients.  Load up on soup with lots of veggies, beans or lentils and you’ll easily reach your daily nutritional and fiber quota. You can also thicken soups with a simple peeled white potato instead of using cream or flour. Most soups also freeze well so it’s easy to keep some on hand.

So pull out that stock pot (or crock pot) and start chopping. Your family and friends will soon be exclaiming MMMM…MMMM…GOOD!


Roasted Red Pepper Soup (shown e)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 jarred roasted red bell peppers
  • ¼ cup drained and rinsed white beans 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and pinches of salt and pepper and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, fennel, carrots, and thyme leaves. Stir and cook until the carrots begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar, red peppers, beans, tomato paste, broth, and ½ teaspoon salt. Simmer until the carrots are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the simmered soup to a high-speed blender with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and puree until smooth. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste. 


Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup (shown above)

Ingredients

  •  1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  •  1 medium, or 1/2 large onion, cut half
  •  1 garlic clove, unpeeled
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  Salt
  •  White pepper
  •  6 cups vegetable stock, recipe link
  •  1 ½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  •  1 bay leaf
  •  1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  •  4 teaspoons sour cream

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.

Add the carrots, onion and garlic to a sheet tray and spread out evenly.

Drizzle with olive oil and an even sprinkling of salt and white pepper, mix until coated.

Roast in the oven for 35 minutes until tender..

In a large saucepan add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.

Add the carrots, onions, garlic squeezed out of it’s peel, ginger and bay leaf.

Simmer for 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, or add to a blender in batches, blend soup until it is smooth and reaches the desired consistency, if it is too thick, add more stock.


Classic French Onion

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (approximately 5–6 large onions)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups of beef stock (or veggie stock)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoondried thyme)
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • baguette
  • grated or sliced cheese (such as Gruyere, Asiago, Swiss, Gouda or Mozzarella)

Instructions

Caramelize the onions. In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until well for about 30 minutes until caramelized (but not burnt), initially stirring every 3-5 minutes, then about once a minute near the end of caramelization to prevent burning*.  Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 1 minute.  Stir in the wine to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Simmer the soup. Add the stock, Worcestershire, bay leaf, and thyme and stir to combine. Continue to cook until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Discard the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.  Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Toast the bread.  Preheat oven to 400°F.  While the soup is simmering, slice the baguette into 1-inch thick pieces and arrange them in single layer on baking sheet.  Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the bread is toasted and golden around the edges.  Remove and set aside.

Broil the topping. Switch the oven to the broiler.  Once the soup is ready to serve, place your oven-safe bowls on a thick baking sheet.  Ladle the soup into each bowl, then top with a baguette slice and your desired amount of cheese (I used about 1/4 cup shredded cheese for each).  Place on an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat and broil for 2-4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 heads cauliflower, broken into florets 
  • olive oil cooking spray 
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 6 cups water 
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Place the cauliflower florets into a large bowl of lightly salted water; allow to stand for 20 minutes. Drain well, and arrange on a sheet of heavy aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Spray the olive oil cooking spray evenly on the cauliflower.

Preheat the oven’s broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.

Broil the cauliflower until browned, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large soup pot, and cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes; stir in the garlic and roasted cauliflower. Pour in the water, season with salt and black pepper, and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Blend the soup in the pot with an immersion hand blender until creamy and smooth.


Ravioli En Brodo

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen Ravioli or Tortellini filled with cheese

Instructions

In a small stockpot, bring stock to a boil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in tortellini. Cook pasta according to package instructions (it should float to the top when finished). Remove from heat, and serve hot.


Greek Avgolemono Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts chicken stock or broth (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 cup cooked chicken (optional, shredded)
  • 1 medium onion (finely diced)
  • ½ cup long grain white rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 lemon zest strips (about 2 lemons, zested)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup lemon juice from zested lemons
  • sprigs of dill for garnish
  • Instructions

To a large pot, add 1 tablespoon olive, onion and lemon strips.

Allow to sweat over low-medium heat while covered. Make sure that no color develops.

Add chicken stock or broth to the pot long with the rice, bay leaf and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to and simmer until rice is tender and stock is aromatic, about 20 minutes.

With slotted spoon, remove and discard bay leaf and lemon zest strips.

Increase heat to high and return stock to boil, then reduce heat to low.

Place stick blender into the pot and blend for a few seconds. If you do not have a stick blender, place about 2 cups of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, yolks, and lemon juice lightly until combined.

Taste and season with extra salt, pepper and lemon juice if necessary.

While whisking constantly, slowly ladle about 2 cups of hot stock or broth into egg mixture; whisk until combined.

Add chicken. (optional)

Pour egg-stock mixture back into pot; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until soup is slightly thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes.

After this, do not simmer or bring to a boil as this will cause the soup to get gummy.

Serve immediately with sprigs of dill, extra lemon zest and black pepper.

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