Autumn Soup Round-Up

Well, it’s finally cooling off here in Austin, Texas, and that means it’s time for soup!

Until I was about 25, “soup” meant a watery, salty concoction from a can. The only soups I’d had were along a narrow spectrum of grocery store awfulness: chicken noodle, potato, vegetable.

In 2008, I received a copy of Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites, by Food TV chef Giada de Laurentiis as a gift. Laurentiis is my actually favorite of the new breed of television cooking celebrities. Italian food is my favorite regional cuisine. I’m not a food snob; I write a food blog, but, as you may’ve noticed, the meals I make are comparatively uncomplicated, as well as affordable. I like junk food and make no apologies. Laurentiis’s style is approachable and her dishes are simple, healthy, and delicious. I also like her because, like me, she’s short!

The first recipe I made from Giada’s Kitchen was her Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup. It’s a straightforward recipe: butter, onions, garlic, herbs, beans, broth, and cream. But it introduced me to the real possibilities of soup.

After I realized how ridiculously tasty and filling this simple soup was, I started experimenting. I made a potato soup on the same template. I made creamy vegetable soups. I made my soup a little fancier, and complex, by adding toasted nuts. I made it healthier by adding a huge batch of pureed greens. I realized the possibilities are endless! And soup is so budget-friendly, too. As long as you keep the basics on hand (onions, herbs and spices, broth), you can make virtually anything into a great soup. It’s also a great dish to warm up for lunch when you’re at work on just in a hurry. And it freezes brilliantly. Eventually, I even made Julia Child’s french onion soup!

It’s about time for a trip to Wheatsville, and I know what I’ll be stocking up on: soup fixins! I like to keep the following items on hand:

Vegetable broth
Mushroom broth
Chicken broth
Beef broth
Garlic
Shallots
Onions
Salt
Pepper
Heavy cream

I use boxed, organic broths. I do not have the time to make my own broth; hopefully, I will someday. Here’s a basic introduction to making your own chicken broth.

I also find that shallots add a depth of flavor you can’t get from plain old onions, though I use those, too.

Use fresh garlic.

Cream makes everything better. Sometimes, if I have any, I’ll also use a little sour cream, especially with chicken- and/or greens-based soups.

Another tip: use your saved bacon fat as a base for sautéing the onions and garlic.

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite soups. Make some of this easy no-knead bread, get busy cooking, and start enjoying soup!  Click on any link or picture to go straight to the recipe.

Amazing Asparagus Soup

 

Roasted Acorn Squash and Red Lentil Soup

 

Creamy Greens Soup with Hot Italian Sausage

 

Quick and Cheesy Corn Chowder

 

Creamy Garlic Zucchini Soup

 

Broccoli and Pine Nut Soup

 

Stella’s French Onion Soup


 

Zucchini and Red Pepper Soup


 

Summer Squash (and Corn) Soup

 

Stella’s Pumpkin Soup

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