Warming Winter Soups

Now is the season for making delicious homemade winter soups. With a good stock, basic kitchen staples, fresh produce and the following recipes, you can put any of these soups on the table in no time.

| October/November 2007

Eat in season with these simple, savory winter soup recipes. Once you taste soup made with fresh produce, you’ll never go back to soup in a can. Plus, homemade goodness doesn’t have to mean spending all day in the kitchen.

Cold Weather Soup Recipes

Basic Vegetable Stock Recipe
Tomato Tortilla Soup Recipe
Fresh Garden Minestrone Soup Recipe
Blue Cheese Broccoli Potato Soup Recipe
Sweet Corn and Red Pepper Soup Recipe

Warming Winter Soups

Soup season is right around the corner, and if you have a garden, the best ingredients are just a few steps away. Fresh produce from your garden or the farmers market is the key to flavorful homemade soups. Whether it’s a chilled berry purée, a light brothy soup or a thick, creamy winter warmer, once you’ve tasted the rich and comforting results of your labors, there’s no going back to soup in a can. Plus, homemade goodness doesn’t have to mean spending all day in the kitchen. With a good stock ready to go, basic kitchen staples and fresh produce, you can put a delicious soup on the table in about half an hour. And most soups freeze or can beautifully, so you can put a scrumptious soup together one day, and enjoy it for many meals to come. You may have heard that soup always tastes better the next day — it’s true! Homemade soups cost a lot less, too — especially if you garden. If not, look for great end-of-season deals at the farmers market, and stock up!

The All-Important Soup Stock

Soup stock is the often unnoticed foundation that makes a soup full-bodied rather than bland and watery. It’s a flavorful liquid in which vegetables, meat and/or fish are cooked slowly, in order to extract their full essence. Making soup stock is a perfect companion to gardening. Simply toss your less-than-perfect culls (complete with trimmings, leaves and peels) and those too-small-to-peel garlic cloves and potatoes, plus a few herbs and seasonings into a heavy pot filled with water. (I find that starting with cold or room temperature water helps the veggies exude even more flavor.) Then just let it simmer while you go about your day.

You can keep plenty of stock frozen and ready to use. If you have a little extra room in the freezer, you also can store veggie trimmings that would have ended up in the disposal or compost pile, until there’s enough for great stock.

Soup stock can be based on vegetables, fowl, beef, fish or even miso. Experiment with different ingredients to suit your tastes and use what’s in season and on hand. You don’t need to peel any veggies — the skins add nutrients and flavor. Just rinse the dirt off. With chicken, skin is optional; it provides more flavor, but also more fat. Simmered bones add calcium and other nutrients, but you can leave them out if you prefer.

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