Thursday, January 8, 2009

Soup and The Soup

With Christmas and the New Year behind us we are officially in what I like to call, "the sucky part of winter." Despite my mother pointing out every single day around Five PM that the sun was still out which meant the days were getting longer, which in turn meant that Spring was right around the corner, which really just means that my mother is crazy - because winter has only begun and we have many more cold days to get through before we can pull out our flip-flops once more (Although my mom wears flip-flops in the winter anyway for walking around the house. This btw is the same mother who when I was younger swore that the very thought of wearing a shoe that had a part that went between your toes was so unbearably uncomfortable that she would never have anything to do with them and neither would we It wasn't until I went away to college that she mysteriously converted to the ways of the flip-flop).

Anyway, without the distraction of the holidays winter can start to feel like an endless amount of grey, cold, and miserable days and on these types of days nothing tastes so wonderful as a bowl of soup. With that thought in mind I decided to post a few of my favorite soup recipes.

This first one is from allrecipes. I made it over the holidays for my family using some of the leftover ham from our Christmas dinner.

Delicious Ham and Potato Soup


  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.
I make this pretty much as directed, except towards the end I use a masher to smoosh the potatoes so the chunks are smaller and some of them just melt away. Also, it didn't thicken up as much as I wanted it to, so I threw in a bit of instant potato flakes and that made it the perfect consistency.

This next recipe is a Rachel Ray one from the Food Network and is what I made to go with our Christmas ham. It was a great starter and while I was originally skeptical about the relish it turned out being the best part of the soup and really just made the recipe for me.

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 turn of the pan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 ribs celery with greens, finely chopped (save time and purchase celery already washed, trimmed and cut into sticks, this makes chopping fast work)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (28-ounce) can cooked pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • 1 crisp apple, such as McIntosh or Granny Smith, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add bay, celery, and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce, to taste, then cook flour a minute. Whisk in chicken stock and bring liquid to a bubble. Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate it into the broth. Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in cream and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

While soup cooks, assemble the relish: combine apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey and cinnamon.

Adjust seasonings in soup and relish and serve soup in shallow bowls with a few spoonfuls of relish.

I added a lot more seasoning to the soup, just because it tasted a bit bland to me. I also added a bit of mace seasoning, which had been part of a Squash soup recipe that I made years ago and just gives a little bit of a kick. For the relish I doubled everything, except the onion, which I halved.

My final soup recipe is one that I discovered last winter and now make at least once a month throughout the winter months. It's also from the Food Network, but this time from Tyler Florence. The grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and green apple recipe that was featured on the same show is also delicious and I would recommend it, but I don't make them together because it is just too heavy for me that way.

Hunter's Minestrone


  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1/2 pound small rigatoni
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3/4 pound loose sweet Italian pork sausage
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely minced
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 12 slices baguette
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Combine the stock and halved garlic head in a big saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes to give the stock a nice, garlicky taste; strain out the garlic. Keep warm.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the rigatoni.

Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the sage, rosemary and thyme and warm the oil over medium heat to infuse it with the flavor of the herbs, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with the side of a big spoon until well browned. Chop the carrots, celery, and onion in a food processor. Add to the saucepan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.

To the pan with the sausage stir in the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, cannelloni beans, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water for 6 minutes; it should be slightly underdone. Drain and stir into the simmering soup. Add the parsley, and salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste. Discard the bay leaf and herb sprigs.

To serve, preheat the broiler. Put the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and float a couple of the baguette slices on top.

The only change I make to this recipe is to use turkey instead of pork sausage, just because it is less greasy and fattening, but tastes just as delicious.

Finally I cannot talk soup without mentioning my weekly Friday night guilty pleasure - The Soup on E!. It is just a bunch of clips from the past week of television, internet, and whatever else with totally funny commentary. Honestly you just have to see it for yourself. You can watch clips here or catch it on E! either on Friday night or during the week when they replay it a million times.

Any fans of soup or The Soup out there? Leave a comment and let me know.


  1. I am a fan of soup; I'm definitely trying that ham & potato one--always in search of a good potato soup.

    And I''m a huge fan of The Soup as well! Love, love, love Joel McHale!

  2. I love sout - too bad my kids and the hubster don't...and when they do want soup is something plain or boring, like chicken. Enjoy! :)

  3. I LOVE soup! My family does too and always want me to make more of it.
    I'm copying this recipes.